Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
October 2013

In this Issue

Events Calendar Public Stargazes Web Links Member News

Events Calendar

There will be NO October meeting at our usual meeting place.  Once again AU’s football schedule has home games for the first two weekends.  Parking will be next to impossible anywhere near our usual place and attempts to find alternate locations have not been successful.  This will be the last time this year we’ll have to contend with this.  Our November meeting will be on Friday November 1, in room 215 of Davis Hall, the Aerospace Engineering Building.

In lieu of an October meeting, we’ll be hosting a new moon stargaze for Boy Scouts on Saturday, October 5.  See details below.

Oct 04, NO Monthly meeting (see above)
Oct 05, New moon stargaze for Boy Scouts in Lowndes County
Oct 08, Good ISS pass
Oct 12, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site stargaze 
Oct 30–Nov 03, Deep South Regional Star Gaze
Nov 02 (?), Darkest Alabama Sky star party at Conecuh National Forest
Dec 07, Forest Preserve fall stargaze
Dec 14, Cloud date for Forest Preserve fall stargaze

Public Stargazes

October 5:Frank Ward’s son's Scout Troop stargaze in Lowndes County

Frank gave a “teaser” presentation to about two dozen Boy Scouts using his Lightbridge Dobsonian and tripod mounted binoculars at the monthly Scout meeting on September 24 to get them ready for the stargaze. This was a chance to introduce AAS and more importantly, the night skies, to these young minds.  Frank writes:  “I think more adults were excited than the boys but several scouts had good questions.”

Frank met with [property owner] Dr. Payne at his farm in Lowndes County. They found a good location on a hill with minimal lights with a  good view of most of the sky.  Lights from a storage shed in the distance behind some trees and another farther off. It should be a good site. The Boy Scout troop will camp out further away near a small lake/pond. The boys will hike up to the site. The hill is just off the private dirt road. We should not have any traffic going by.  Dr. Payne will have the site bush hogged the day before we arrive.

Directions from Montgomery: From I-85 south, merge with I-65 south. Travel to exit #151 (Hayneville/Davenport exit, AL 97 N) and turn right. Proceed 1.2 miles and turn left onto Julian Town Road. Go exactly one mile and turn right onto a dirt road. Follow the dirt road until you come to a fork in the road with a lone dead tree on the left. This tree stands on the edge of the site on a hill. There will be electric fencing around the site (it is a cattle farm, after all) but the gate will be open. Frank will arrive early for some views of the Sun with the AAS PST.  [Map & Directions

Sunset will be at 6:25 P.M.  If you’d like to caravan down from east Montgomery, meet at the I-85 exit 11 (AL highway 126) Chevron station and be ready to leave at 5:45.

October 12: Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site 

Ranger, Christine Biggers,  has been waiting a long time to host this event.  Let's hope the weather cooperates this time.  Sunset in Tuskegee will be at 6:12 P.M. with telescopic observing of Venus and the Moon beginning about 7:00.  We’ll set up our telescopes in the grassy area adjacent to the upper parking lot [MAP]. Please let me know if you can help with this. If you have some knowledge if the iOptron MiniTower goto, Christine could use your expertise with their telescope.

December 7: Forest Preserve The fall stargaze that had originally been planned for November 23, has been rescheduled for December 7, with December 14 as a “cloud” date.  Jennifer Lolley is looking into the possibility of having this stargaze at Kiesel Park.  Details next month.

Web Links

Wonderful Astronomy Apps For All Stargazers!

A unique look at a unique observatory: Dr. Michael P. Sterner, University of Montevallo, sent this video featuring the James Wylie Shepherd Observatory  at the University of Montevallo:

"The whole Moon", as opposed to our full moon, which is really only the illuminated half seen by us earthlings.  Here’s a new NASA video from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbit.  Note the familiar earth-facing side (beginning and end of video) is about half filled by dark basaltic lava flows, the “mare” that Galileo mistook for seas of water, not hardened magma.  But the far side is lacking in such dark features that make out the familiar “man in the moon” of folklore, and is in fact about 10% BRIGHTER than our own full moon.  The most obvious far side feature is the huge Target Bull’s-eye, Mare Orientale, visible on the left side as the moon starts to rotate to the right at the video’s start.

Member News

Discount Magazine Subscriptions/Renewals
AAS treasurer, John Zachry, will be collecting for club subscriptions to Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines during the month of October and at the November meeting.  The cost is the same as last year: Astronomy (Regular $42.95), Club rate $34.00. No minimum number of subscriptions required.  Sky & Telescope (Regular $42.95), Club rate $32.95.  We must have 5 subscriptions/renewals to qualify.  Send checks made out to 
Auburn Astronomical Society, to:  

Mr.  John Zachry, Secretary/Treasurer 
501 Summerfield Road 
West Point GA 31833 
Conecuh National Forest
Last month we mentioned the possibility of an overnight trip to Conecuh National Forest.  Saturday November 2 seemed like the best date.  Since then John Tatarchuk learned that he cannot go that weekend.  We’ve had one request from an interested out-of-state amateur to join us there.  Let me know if you are planning to go. 

Rodger Morrison apparently did not get the memo that you’re not supposed to have knee surgery that keeps you sidelined from star parties during the month of October.  Rodger reports that he’s on the mend and no doubt itching to get back under the stars.  We wish Rodger a speedy recovery.  Eddie Kirkland also reports that he’s pretty much back to normal, following his recent surgery.

ISS Pass
On Tuesday, October 8, the ISS will be rising in the SW at 7:21PM CDT, reaching zenith at 7:24, and fading into the NE horizon at 7:26.

Space News from John Zachry

• LADEE spacecraft reach Moon October 6.
• Juno spacecraft Earth flyby @ 310 miles October 9.
• India Mars Orbiter launch October 21.