Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
February 2013

In this Issue

Events Calendar Public Star Gaze Updates
Wetumpka Crater Tour Web Links
2013 Dues
Member News

Events Calendar

We’ll hold our monthly meeting on Friday, February 1, at 7:45PM, in room 215 of Davis Hall, the Aerospace Engineering Building. Riders from the Montgomery area are welcome to meet at the home of Russell Whigham, 518 Seminole Dr., and carpool over to Auburn.  Plan to be ready to leave for Auburn at 6:45PM. 

Our program this month will be a special presentation by William Baugh, who will tell us about the design and construction of his recently completed 18-inch Dobsonian. 

Our new moon star party this month will be on Saturday, February 9, at Cliff Hill’s farm

Feb. 01, Monthly meeting in room 215 of Davis Hall
Feb. 09, Dark-sky star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
Feb. 21, Wetumpka Crater Lecture 
Feb. 23, Wetumpka Crater Lectures & Tours
Apr. 20, Astronomy Day, W. A. Gayle Planetarium

Wetumpka Crater Lectures & Tours

There will be a free public lecture on Thursday, February 21, at 7 p.m. in the Wetumpka Civic Center and conducted by Dr. David T. King Jr., Auburn University professor of geology.  A repeat of the lecture plus tours of the impact crater for the public will be on Saturday, February 23. 

The Saturday lectures will begin at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with van tours loading immediately following. Reservations are required and must be made before February 18. Space on the tours is very limited. Participants will meet at the Wetumpka Civic Center 15 minutes prior to their tour time. Cost for the tour is $20 for adults and $10 for children up to age 12, accompanied by an adult.

Details at:

2013 Dues

Annual AAS memberships ($20.00/$10.00 for full-time students) were due in January.  Families are covered with a single membership. Your dues allow us to purchase DVDs for programs, continue our affiliation with the Astronomical League, and to buy, upgrade, and maintain our loaner scope program and tape/DVD library. 

If you don’t see your name below, please make your check payable to “Auburn Astronomical Society”.   If you’re unable to attend the meeting, mail your dues to: 

Auburn Astronomical Society 
c/o John B. Zachry 
501 Summerfield Road 
West Point, GA 31833 
If you have a question about your dues, e-mail John at :

AAS members who are current on their 2013 dues are: 

1) Glynn Alexander
2) Anthony J. Camerio
3) Alan Cook
4) Scott A. Cook 
5) Dr. Rhon & Joyce Jenkins
6) Everett Leonard
7) Rodger & Vicki Morrison* 
8) Dwight Norris ** 
9) Allen Screws
10) Gail Smitherman **
11) John Tatarchuk **
12) Frank Ward
13) Russell Whigham 
14) John Wingard 
15) John B. Zachry

*   New Member
** Welcome back! 

We’ve never made a big deal about membership and encourage “AAS friends” to attend and participate in meetings, star parties, and public events.  But, there are a few benefits that are restricted to members: 

    • Discounts on purchases from Oceanside Photo & Telescope
    • Discounts on subscriptions for Astronomy and Sky & Telescope  magazines 
    • Access to the society's extensive video tape, book, and DVD library
    • Access to the society's Loaner Scopes
    • Because the Auburn Astronomical Society is affiliated with the Astronomical League  members are entitled to enjoy all of the benefits afforded to League members, including observing programs and quarterly issues of The Reflector.

If this will be your first time to join,  please print out the Membership Application form, and include it with your check.  We need your address to ensure that you’ll receive your Reflector

Special thanks to those members who do not attend on a regular basis but still want to help us out by paying AAS their membership dues. 

Public Stargaze Updates
Forest Ecology Preserve Winter Stargaze
January 19, 2013

Jennifer Lolley had been trying to have us back for a stargaze for her Forest Ecology Preserve group for almost two years.   On January 19, we finally made it happen. We met at the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest on Moore's Mill Road, in Auburn.  A few of us arrived at sunset (5:00pm CST) so we could set up the telescopes before dark.  The official start time was 7:00pm CST. Jennifer had the gate open early for us and had the observing field mowed that morning.

The week before, the weather forecast was looking pretty good.   By Saturday morning it was looking more iffy, but we had waited too long to let this one slip by just in case the clouds dissipated. 

All evening, we were stymied by a combination of spotty high and low clouds.  So, our primary targets were the Moon, a few binary stars, and Jupiter.  On occasions, we were treated to a patch of clear sky and steady seeing.  Many were able to see Jupiter's Great Red Spot.  We had a good turn-out and plenty of telescopes.  Except for the line leading to John Tatarchuk's 25-inch, the queue was 6-8 people at most. 

Temperatures were mild for a January night, ranging  from the low-50s to upper 40s.  Jennifer had hot drinks for us to take the chill off. Thanks to our AAS volunteers:

• Everett Leonard - 10-inch Orion IntelliScope
• Rhon & Joyce Jenkins - AAS 8-inch Dobsonian loaner scope
• John Tatarchuk - 25-inch Dobsonian
• Alan Cook - 3.5-inch Questar and 20x100 binoculars
• Allen Screws - 10-inch Dobsonian
• Frank & Christopher Ward - 12-inch Meade LightBridge Dobsonian
• Russell Whigham - 11-inch SCT
• Scott & Carol Cook - 8-inch Dobsonian
• Tony (sorry , I didn’t get your last name) - 12-inch Dobsonian
• Rodger & Vicki Morrison 10-inch Newtonian

Still planned our stargazes, for Tuskegee Airmen NHS, in March and Wetumpka Boy Scouts at a date yet to be determined.

Web Links

Audio of the phenomenon known as "chorus," radio waves within Earth's magnetosphere that are audible to the human ear, as recorded on Sept. 5, 2012 by RBSP's Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science (EMFISIS). Five six-second 'events' are captured in this sample, and they are played end-to-end, one right after the other, without gaps. Credit: University of Iowa: <>

Thanks to John Zachry for calling our attention to this video:  Asteroid 2012 DA14 Simulation Video <>

Great graphic for SCTcollimation:

Member News

From, Rodger Morrison:

I am a faculty member at Troy University and fairly new to amateur astronomy.  Last spring, I ended up with a little 75mm Newtonian with no mount and was able to get a look at the moon through it by holding it in my lap.  I was hooked.  I strapped the thing to an old camera tripod I had and got a look at Jupiter, the moon, and Orion.  I knew then I had to get a different telescope, so I pieced together a 150mm F/5 Newtonian, acquired a CG-5 mount, and a set of Meade Kellner eyepieces.  I have a pair of Canon DSLRs, so I was able to dedicate one of them to astronomy, got a T-ring, Meade projection adapter, some eyepieces, Telrad, and a bunch of other misc. stuff.  This Christmas, I spent a little money on myself and upsized to a 254mm F/4.7 and hung it on my CG-5 (I know…  I’m pushing the weight here).  I have been able to get a few fair beginners pics <> and am really enjoying myself.  I hear that there were a couple of astronomy clubs in Alabama, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Auburn has one (I have a Ph.D. from Auburn).  So, I plan to join as soon as I can drop the application in the mail.

[Editors note: Rodger has sure come a long way in a few months!  I was quite impressed with his focusing and processing skills to get those fantastic images.]

For the past couple of years, John Tatarchuk has been at the University of Texas, pursuing his master’s degree in EE.  It is our good fortune now, to have John back in  Auburn working on his Ph. D.  John is the most skilled observer that AAS has ever had.  One of my favorite observing stories is when several of us were pulling an all-nighter at Conecuh National Forest and John spotted an “extra” 3rd magnitude star in Cetus around midnight, and recognized it as a geo-synchronous satellite.  John is still looking for company when he goes back to CNF.  Welcome back John!

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,