Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
March, 2014

In this Issue

Events Calendar 2014 Membership Dues Member News
Star Party Report Public Stargazes Web Links

Events Calendar

We’ll hold our monthly meeting on Friday March 14, at 7:45pm, in room 215 of Davis Hall, the Aerospace Engineering Building, on the main campus of Auburn University

Our next dark-sky star party is scheduled for March 29.  Watch for possible new dark sky site.

March 09,  2 p.m. Opening of the W. A. Gayle Planetarium 2.0
March 09,  Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson, several Fox Network channels
March 09,  Daylight Saving Time Begins
March 14, Monthly meeting in room 215 of Davis Hall
March 29, Dark-sky star party.  Location TBA
April 05, Forest Preserve Stargaze at Kiesel Park
April 11, Monthly meeting in room 215 of Davis Hall
April 15, Total lunar eclipse
May 10, Astronomy Day at the W. A. Gayle Planetarium

2014 Membership Dues

Our current AAS membership stands at 22 members.  AAS memberships ($20.00/$10.00 for full-time students) were due in January. If you’re not sure if you’ve paid already, check the “Members” link on the navigation menu.  If your name is “grayed out”, we have not received your 2014 dues.  If you have questions, e-mail John Zachry to resolve the discrepancy.

Member News

Please welcome Wil Malone an AU student from Huntsville as our most recent new member. Jason Foley of Montgomery has requested that he be added to the e-mail list.

From Rodger Morrison:  March 20 - Regulus Occultation by asteroid 163 Erigone: It's not quite in our observing area, but some might be interested in having a look anyway.

SARA Convention:  Neighbor and amateur radio astronomer, Dr. James Lauridson ask that I pass this along to our AAS members: 

Would [AAS members] have any interest in attending the annual SARA conference in Green Bank, WV?  We could drive together.  The Radio Jove conference follows it and we would attend it also.  It is a chance to get an insiders view of the big radio telescope, etc.

Info here:
Green Bank SARA Conference 29 June - 2 July
June 29 through the morning of Friday July 4, 2014

I am a member of SARA.

Contact Jim via e-mail if you’re interested.

Star Party Report
Rodger Morrison

Well, our monthly stargaze was nearly a bust.  Clouds set in just before sunset and did not let up until after 11pm.  Wes Schwarz and I were the only two that showed, but we had a good time.  Temps were cool, but were about 10 degrees on the low side of comfortable.  Dew was not a serious issue, and seeing was not too bad either.  Generally speaking, we spent much of our time tinkering with our hardware and not much time actually shooting images of anything.  Wes spent much time getting his new 8” RC OTA up and running as he wants, but by the time he was shooting M51, the sun started lighting up the eastern sky.  I was also shooting M51, and got in about an hour’s worth of data collection, so I hope I got something good.  I’ll start processing later this week, as I have time.  I also shot the Beehive with my 10” Newt, but my focal length was too long to do it justice.  While it was cloudy, I spent some time doing something I never heard of anyone having to do.  I had to adjust the focuser height adjustment set screws to make the focuser perpendicular to the OTA center bore.  I noted during an earlier outing, that my imaging field was not evenly focused across corners SE to NW.  This took about an hour of using a Bahtinov mask and waiting for starts to keep through clouds.  I also spent about an hour or so fighting with getting my autoguider camera focused and finally gave up.  I switched the guide camera to a different guidescope and all was well from there, at least for the evening.

As I told Wes, if I had known the clouds were going to be that bad, I probably would not have gone either, but the forecast said clear after 8pm, so I went.  Oh well.  Maybe next month will be better and we can be at a different place.  I will be contacting the property owner again this week, and will keep you posted.

Rodger Morrison
March 1-2, 2014


Public Stargazes

Jennifer Lolley has asked that we try again to host her Forest Preserve group’s stargaze at Kiesel Park tentatively set for  April 5. Also in the works are a public stargazes for Wind Creek State Park near Alex City and some Cub Scouts from Opelika.  Please let Rhon know if you can help with these.

Web Links

HuffPo links courtesy of Larry Owsley:

Private Cargo Ship Makes Special Space Station Delivery -

Physicists Weigh In On Stephen Hawking's New Black Hole Paper -

Mysterious Object Sparks Lawsuit Against NASA -

'If My Idea Is Wrong, Physics Is Ultimately Doomed' -

Insane New Footage Of Edge-Of-Space Skydive -

The Transformation Of Technology Into Art -

Asteroid's Strange Interior Glimpsed For First Time Ever -

Mars Slammed By Space Rock -

Strange Wobbly World Spotted By NASA's Planet-Hunting Probe -

Exotic Particles, Extra Dimensions May Await Discovery -

Mystery Of 'Doughnut' Rock Solved -

Weird 'Cloud' Takes Astronomers By Surprise -

Space Agency Seeks 'Targets' For Ambitious Asteroid Mission -

Mystery Of Big Bang's Echo Solved? -

Planet's Giant Moon Like You've Never Seen Before -

Northern Lights On Ringed Planet Are Like 'Fireworks' -

Our Moon Like You've Never Seen Before -

Einstein's 'Lost Theory' Found Hiding In Plain Sight -

Weird New State Of Matter Discovered In Most Unlikely Place -

Weird Rock Renews Debate Over Life On Mars -

Elusive Black Hole Winds Much Stronger Than Once Thought -

More links:

Duncan Mask SCT Collimation <>

BBC News: Crystal is 'oldest scrap of crust'

New York Times: It’s Snack Time in the Cosmos

Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey with Neil De Grasse Tyson stepping in for Carl Sagan, this much anticipated program will hopefully be as much as watermark in space science education as was the original.  Begins March 09 on the Fox Network.  For more, link to:

From: Brian Combs: Mars. Note the clouds over Olympus Mons and Tharsis.

Seeing was excellent last night! Europa is seen to the right of the GRS:

Seeing was pretty good for a change when this 3 minute Mars image was made:

From Christopher GoJupiter’s Red Oval BA and Ganymede!   Surface details can be seen in Ganymede.   While the white center of Oval BA was resolved.  Note the bright outbreak in the NEB.

Webb Telescope:

Charlie Rose: D-Wave Quantum Computer

Where did Earth’s Water Come From?

Remember the meeting date change,