Greetings Astrophiles!


The November meeting of the Auburn Astronomical Society will be in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering building, on the main campus of Auburn University, Friday, November 1st, at 8:00PM.  Among the items to be discussed, will be the date for our field trip to CCSSC.  Montgomery area car poolers, meet at my house (518 Seminole Dr.).  As usual, we head for Auburn at 7:00PM sharp.  If you've never been to my house, you can get a map from our web site:  Select "Members and Friends" from the main menu, find my name, and click on [Map to my house].


November 9 is the nearest Saturday to the new moon.  Let's hope for clear skies and Indian Summer temperatures at Holley's Field.  


Dave Halupowski (
We've been running into Dave at all of the regional star parties, going all the way back to the early days of the Georgia Star Parties.  He's the Vice President of the Escambia Amateur's Association in Pensacola FL.  He's an active host for the public events put on by EAAA.  We were set up next to Dave and his 10" Meade SCT at the recent DSRSG (see below).  It's good to finally have an e-mail contact for the Pensacola club.

Michael D. Sandras  (
Mike is a member of the Pontchartrain Astronomical Society, in the "Big Easy". His was the "other" C-11 at DSRSG's for years.  In exchange for his being our e-mail contact for PAS, we'll give him a little space for his "For Sale" column.  Mike writes:  

"Thanks for the information you have been sending.   I have been 
passing the info to Barry Simon.  Looking forward to seeing y'all next 
week at the DSRSG.
I would appreciate a favor.  I have a two month old Meade ETX Astro w/ 
carry case, photo adapter, 45 correct image diagonal and dew shield for 
sale.  It is a good performer and I am selling it only because I found 
something else that I just gotta have.  Problem is if I get the other 
scope w/o selling the ETX, the wife will see me in divorce court!  If 
you know anyoune interested in this package please let them know I have 
one for sale.  Cost new $675, I will sell package for $600 including 
shipping or will sell for $575 if someone picks it up.  I will have it 
@ the DSRSG if I haven't sold by then."

Michael D. Sandras
Curator FMDLSC Planetarium & Observatory
        UNO Observatory
& Member Pontchartrain Astronomy Society  d)(504) 468-7229  e)(504) 340-0256

Dennis Grantham  (
After responding to Dennis's query about AAS, I asked that he tell us a little about himself.  Dennis writes:

"I have had my computer at home for only a week and a half, so I am still
getting used to all the things I can do with it.  I am spending a lot of time
on the net (probably too much time), with most of that time browsing through
topics dealing with astronomy.  I have been in touch with Astronomy Magazine
homepage, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, Johnson Space Center, Galileo
Spacecraft, Nine Planets, Astronomy Photo of the Day, etc.  There is still a
lot of "astronomy stuff" out there that I haven't had a chance to get to.  I
am slowly working my way to some of it.  It is extremely fascinating. It is
starting to keep me up late at night in front of the computer. I found Dr.
Jenkins' name while looking through the "clubs" section of the American
Astronomical Society's homepage.

As far as my line of work, I am a mechanical engineer at von Gal in
Montgomery.  It is also known as Litton von Gal or Western Atlas.  It is a
long story.  In a few weeks it will be a part of H&K Systems of Minnesota.
 We manufacture automatic palletizers for the food and beverage industry.  It
is fun work, but the hours are long sometimes.  Then there are times when I
must go out of town for a few days. Oh, well.

My current telescope is a fine model from the Sears & Roebuck catalog of 1973
when I was 11 years old.  At the time it was the best telescope I'd ever
seen.  (The only one I'd ever seen.)  I had only looked at the moon through
it, until I rediscovered it recently in the storage shed.  I put it back
together, found Jupiter one night, and was surprised to find that I could see
the Galilaen moons!  They were not very clear, but they were there.  Now that
I know that there are finer telescopes available, I am trying to figure out
how I can afford a larger one.  I have done some "star-gazing" recently, and
with the help of a friend's binoculars have located the Andromeda Galaxy and
other neat things.  As far as a new telescope goes, I have my eye on the new
Meade LX10 8" scope.  With all of the motors and field tripod I think it
should last me the rest of my life.  What do you think?

Well, I have taken up enough of your time, and the kids want to "play on the
computer."  I will contact you later about getting to the next meeting.

Thank you,


P.S.  Four dogs and a hamster.  Antique tractors."
(End of Dennis's reply)

(The P.S. was in response to my question about "any pets and other hobbies?")
We're all looking forward to meeting you, Dennis.


I always get a little nervous when we have perfect, deep blue skies the first part of a week before a star party.  This usually guarantees clouds by the weekend.  But, the weather gods were smiling on us this time.  We're just not accustomed to weather patterns like this any other time of the year, here in the southeast, but it happened the week of the annual Deep South Regional Star Gaze last month.  

The drive to McComb was pleasant. Because of the somewhat earlier than usual date of the DSRSG this year, the hardwood foliage color was not at its peak, but the cotton fields were ripe for harvest.  The new speed limits for divided highways and interstates put me in McComb almost an hour earlier than in past years.  

I staked out my spot on the "Alabama" area on the observing field at Percy Quinn State Park. Moments later, Dave Halupowski, then the members of the Moblie Astronomical Society arrived. After everyone had set-up their gear, we all adjourned to "Mr. Whiskers", the all-you-can-eat catfish restaurant just down the road from the park, for what has become a Thursday evening tradition at DSRSG.  Later in the evening, Robert Rock arrived, followed the next evening by Mike Fulmer.  Ken Poshedley (AAC) and Dave Halupowski (EAAA) were absorbed into our little group as the sole representatives from the states of Georgia and Floridia, respectively. 

We had a pretty full observing agenda for the first part of the evening.  During twilight, we were treated to passes of Mir and HST within minutes of each other.  We had re-runs of this show on Friday and Saturday nights as well.  Next, we wanted to catch comet Hale-Bopp before it slipped behind the trees.  We did, and it still seems to be living up to expectations.  Jupiter had a Io's shadow transiting its disk.  Later, I picked up where I left off last year on my Herschel List, but found myself lost in Camelopardolis with no naked-eye stars within ten degrees of my targets.  "To heck with this, I'm here to have fun", I thought to myself, and began revisiting some of the objects which I had written "good" next to, on my charts.  Eventually, Rod Mollise (MAS), and I began comparing views of the "Helix" nebula.  The Helix is the nearest planetary nebula to us, but has very low surface brightness.  We found the best combination to be with a 26mm Plossl eyepiece and the O-III filter, using his 8 inch Celestron Ulitma and my C-11.  We decided to see if it looked any better in Pat Rochford's (MAS) 24 inch. It did!  The last object observed on Saturday night/Sunday morning was NGC 246, another planetary nebula, in Cetus, which appears as a broken ring in my scope, but in Pat's, it was a perfect disk.  A perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

We'll have some pictures of the folks and their scopes at DSRSG to post on our web page as soon as I get them from Robert.  If you think you might like to go next year, the dates are October 30 through November 2.

Check out the following newly listed web pages, listed under "Our Favorite Astronomy Web Sites", on the AAS homepage:

Amateur Astronomy Online, Celestial WWW (orbital elements), Fernbank Science Center, New Star Gazers, Northern Cross Observatory News, Star Facts, The ASTRONOMY Cafe, LightSpeed, STARTIMES, and The Astronomer Magazine. 

Clear Skies,