Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
November 2011

In this Issue

Events Calendar Member News
Visiting Lectureship
October Star Party Report
Web Links

Events Calendar

Weíre having a MEETING DATE and LOCATION CHANGE for a special program this month.  Our meeting will be on WEDNESDAY, November 16 at 7:30, at the W. A. Gayle Planetarium, in Oak Park, in Montgomery.  Dr. Jonathan P. Gardner from the Goddard Space Flight Center will give a talk titled: "A Scientific Revolution: the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes".  This will be free and open to the public, with Auburn Astronomical Society providing telescopic viewing outside the planetarium following the lecture. [See details below

The dark-sky star party weekend falls on Thanksgiving weekend Saturday, November 26. Thereís also an important intrastate football game played IN Auburn, spoiling the night sky from our observing site at Cliff Hillís farm.

November 15, Cosmology lecture at room 324 Irma Moore Hall AUM, 6:20 - 7:35pm. 
November 16, Monthly meeting 7:30, W. A. Gayle Planetarium  [see details below] 
November 26, Star party or Iron Bowl

AAS Visiting Lectureship

The Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship Program of the American Astronomical Society is a program of two day visits by professional astronomers who bring the excitement of modern astronomy and astrophysics to colleges of all types. Participation is open to two-year colleges and four-year undergraduate institutions throughout North America including Canada and Mexico, and, especially institutions that do not offer an astronomical degree. 

New member, Chad Ellington, IOTA Secretary/Treasurer and AUM Astronomy Adjunct, has arranged to have Dr. Jonathan P Gardner from the Goddard Space Flight Center come to Montgomery for the presentation. He is the Chief of the Observational Cosmology Laboratory and Deputy Senior Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope there.  His topic will be the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. 

Dr. Gardner will also be giving a cosmology talk to Chadís astronomy class. Heíll
be discussing "Cosmology: Dark Energy and Inflation" on Tuesday evening, November 15th Introduction to Astronomy course on the AUM campus from 6:20 - 7:35pm

Chad writes:

My class is on the 3rd floor of the Irma Moore Hall (also labeled Medical Technology or Nursing on the outside). There are only 2 classrooms on the 3rd floor with mine on the east side of the building facing the parking 324 to be more precise. There are multiple ways into the building with the lone elevator dead center of which. This is the building to your left as you drive into campus off of Taylor Road...across the drive from the Library Tower. General parking is not enforced after 5 or 6pm, but do stay out of any Reserved spaces (Faculty, Handicapped, ...)  If anyone from the astronomy club wants to show up, it shouldn't be a problem, but the classroom talk will not be advertised to the general public. Hopefully some students from the other Introduction to Astronomy course show up too. Either way, there should be plenty of room for all of us interested parties.  Jonathan has also expressed interest in meeting informally with students on "How to get a job with NASA". 

Special thanks to Chad and Auburn Montgomery for securing our speaker, and to Rick Evans and Troy University Montgomery and the City of Montgomery, for making the planetarium available to us and drawing on his considerable publicity contacts with the local radio and television stations and public schools.  At this writing, Frank Ward, Tom McGowan and I will be there with telescopes. I'm guessing one hour for the presentation plus a Q&A period, so stargazing should begin about 9:00.  Since all we'll have to look at will be Jupiter, I think we're looking at less than an hour with the scopes.  Please Let me know if you can help with your telescope.

Web Links

Jim Lauridson wrote:
In case your club does not know of the cubesat from AU that was launched last Friday:

From John Zachry:
 Check this video out:

From Brian Combs:
Here is a 15 frame animation I made between 3:31 and 5:49 UT on October 23, 2011. 

For the handful of us who still need to polar align, <>

Member News

Please join me in welcoming new member Chad Ellington and welcoming William Baugh back into the fold.

Larry Owsley wrote:

Can you help with Bob's question?
"Larry, is this photo genuine? The moon to sun size does not seem possible." 
Bob is correct to notice the relative sizes of the Sun and Moon.  Even with the Earth's and Moon elliptical orbits, but the Sun and Moon always appear to be within a few arc minutes of half a degree.

Another clue is the relative brightness of the Sun & Moon.  The Sun is magnitude -26 while the Moon at/near new, is for all practical purposes, invisible.  The glare of the Sun overwhelms the unlit side of the Moon.  The only time we can "see" the new Moon is during a solar eclipse.  Also see:

AAS treasurer, John Zachry, wrote to say that the discount  magazine subscriptions/renewals have been sent to the publishers.

October Star Party Report

On October 22, Russell Whigham, C-11; Alan Cook, 3.5-inch Questar, 10-inch Meade LX50, 20x100 binoculars; Chad Ellington, 10-inch Meade LX200 and four of his astronomy course students; Phil & Becky Hosey, C-11 on an Atlas mount and prime focus mounted Hyperstar digital camera doing imaging, met at Cliff Hillís farm. The objects that Phil imaged included NGC 7293, M 33, NGC 253 and NGC 1499. Here are some of Philís amazing astro-images:

Eagle-eye Chad spotted ROSATís swan song and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Chad wrote:

Did you hear about ROSAT coming down? It did so only some 140 minutes after we saw it last night. The last confirmed observation was by a fellow south of us in FL at 2330 UT. turns out that is exactly when we saw it too. Since we watched it disappear into Earth's shadow, we all may have been the last people to have seen it in orbit. Granted it did make it another 1.5 times around the planet before coming down so other observations may yet come in. Pretty exciting either way.

Hope to see everyone at this special meeting,