X-Sender: (Unverified)
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 09:39:04 -0400
To: (Rhon & Joyce Jenkins), (Larry Owsley), (Allen Screws), (Christy Screws), (Gerald Marfoe), (Ferenc Fodor), (John Shaw), (Rich Hammett), (John Whigham), (Scott Enebak), (David Stanbury), (Randy Russell-AUM), (Ward Knockemus-Huntingdon), (Marc Schrier), (Jeff Clark), (Robert Rock), (Jim Chesnutt), (Furman Smith), (Russell Whigham), (Mike Fulmer), (Jim Burns), (David & Raye Newton), (Ron Hatherley), (Tony Miller), (Neal Murphree), (Dennis Grantham), (William Baugh), (Scott Thompson), (Ricky Wood), (Paul McKee), (Yen-Ming Cheng), (Mike & Adam Roberts), (Jim Locke), (Tim & David Rich), (DAVID E. GREGORY), (Dacia Marshall), (Chris Talley), (Luther Richardson), (J. D. Perez), (Michael Bozack), (Jean-Marie Wersinger), (Jason Ramsey), (Christian Nelson), (Chad Dicke), (Carole Rutland), (Jim Wert), (Astronomy)
From: (Russell Whigham)
Subject: ASTROFILES, May '97
X-Attachments: C:\HOMEPAGE\MIKE1.JPG;

Greetings Astrophiles,


In order to accommodate those attending the Peach State Star Gaze, the May
meeting of the Auburn Astronomical Society will be on the SECOND Friday, May
9, in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building at 8:00 PM.  As usual,
Montgomery area car poolers, meet at my house (518 Seminole Drive).  We'll
head for Auburn at 7:00 PM 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].

Because the new Moon falls on the previous  Tuesday, I think we can squeeze
in a star party at Holley's Field the following Saturday, May 10.  This
could be the last time for us to see comet Hale-Bopp together.


The top item on the agenda for this month's meeting will be a proposal by
Dr. Joe Perez, from the Auburn University Physics department, for a joint
venture with the Auburn University Physics Department, the City of Auburn
and the Auburn Astronomical Society for the construction of an observatory.
Here's the original message from Dr. Bozack, and subsequent correspondence
with Dr. Perez on the subject:

>Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:24:12 -0500
>From: (Michael J. Bozack)
>Subject: Donated Telescope
>Russell:  We have a good opportunity to obtain a donated 16" telescope from
>an AU alumni who lives near Dothan.  The telescope is a home-built
>instrument and is pictured on p. 48 of Sky and Telescope from July, 1962.
>The donor's father (since deceased) built the telescope and wanted to donate
>the instrument to AU with the stipulation that we really use the telescope
>and not just show it as a museum piece.  
>A parallel development is that the mayor of Auburn [Jan Dempsey] has a real
interest in
>developing Keisel Park (outside of Auburn [on Wire Rd.]) into something
more than a
>walking path.  She has agreed to let us site the telescope in an open field
>at Kiesel, a site which looks pretty good -- it is relatively dark and has a
>low tree line.  
>The donor, my boss, our Dean of Sciences, and the mayor have all endorsed
>this project.  Currently we are working on details such as pricing an
>observatory dome to house the instrument and getting electrical power out to
>the site.
>Question for You:  We want the Auburn Astronomy Club to be involved from the
>start.  We would like to have someone go out and look over the site (there
>are a couple of choices to place the instrument) and give their opinion, as
>well as lend other valuable assistance.  We view the telescope as something
>to be shared by AU physics and the Club, and we plan to put a concrete slab
>in place so other amateurs can bring their portable telescopes out and hook
>them up.  Further, we want to have a small storage shed built to house the
>telescopes we currently are using for our undergraduate astronomy course.  
>Let me know if you folks are interested in giving us your feedback as to the
>site, and further, if you know of good sources to buy an observatory dome.
>Thanks Russell.  Mike


>Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 15:16:52 -0500
>From: "J. D. Perez" 
>Subject: Observatory
>Hello Dr. Perez,
>>Mike Bozack forwarded your e-mail message to me regarding our working with
>>the city to put an observatory in Kiesel Park.  If you would like, I would
>>be happy to come to your next meeting to discuss the project with you.
>>Please let me know about time and place.
>Thank you for your reply.  We would really appreciate your coming to our
May meeting.  It will be on Friday, May 9, in room 215 of the Aerospace
Engineering Building, at 8:00 PM.  I have forwarded Dr. Bozack's  message to
the society's officers.  We are eagerly anticipating participation in this
joint venture.  A representative from the City of Auburn would also be welcome.
>In my original reply to Dr. Bozack, I said:
>>Has the "dome" concept decision already been made?  
>>The reason I ask is (at this point it's only a suggestion -- not a
proposal) that since we lost our observatory several years ago, we've had no
place to house our 12.5" Cave Astrola.  With a roll-off roof design it would
be possible to house the donated 16 inch scope, and if approved by our
membership, some sort of long term loan arrangement of our 12.5".  A
roll-off roof design would also be cheaper and possibly done by City or
University labor and could incorporate the space needed for the storage shed
for the astronomy course instruments eliminating the need for a separate
structure.  The dome design also limits the number of people inside.  Of
course if the dome dollars are also being donated, maybe that's the way to
go, but I think we're talking tens of thousands of dollars.
>If the donor is committed to a dome, you'll probably want to contact Dr.
Carole Rutland (, at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center
in Columbus GA for sources,  cost estimates, and any problems incurred.  
>We have some experience with the roll-off roof design. Our club built a 14'
X 40' (a little TOO big) observatory back in the early eighties.  We had the
club's 12.5" and 10" in the center with four pier positions for the members
who wanted to take advantage of them.  Ours was made of five foot high
concrete block walls, 2 X 6 rafters and 2 X 10 ceiling joists, and
corrugated steel roof panels.  The roof was on rubber casters in tracks.
The entire roof assembly was winched off and on.  We have several
suggestions if the roll-off roof design is being considered.
>(See the attached file"MIKE1.JPG")   
>The Auburn Astronomical Society's president, Dr. Rhon Jenkins, was the
primary architect and work-site foreman.  I'm sure he could answer any
questions that might come up.  The attached .JPG is the only digital image
we have.  It was made shortly before the observatory's destruction.
>I'll be sending out the May issue of e-newsletter in about two weeks.  I'll
include the proposal.  Please pass along any new developments.
>Hoping we can do business,

Why don't we start a list of considerations, using our collective inputs, to
come up with 
some guidelines for the planners, architects, and contractors.  Bring your
ideas and suggestions to the meeting.  Here's what we've come up with so far:

(1)  Dark.  Any exterior lighting must be switched from inside the observatory.
(2)  Maximum horizons.  Preference to the southern horizon.  Well drained.
(3)  Observatory should be oriented in a north-south direction with the roof
rolling off to the north.
(4)  Chain-link fencing and/or other security measures.
(5)  Landscaped with evergreen shrubs
(6)  14' X 20' (only a suggestion for now).  Wall height = 5 feet.
(7)  Pier foundations must be isolated from the rest of the building.
(8)  Separate switchable lines for white and red lights (dimmer switches for
both).  A-C supplied to each pier position and along each wall.  
(9)  Flat-black interior.  Darkest indoor-outdoor carpet.
(10) Electric winch or "garage door" opener for roof.
(11) White exterior finish
(12) Cinder block or steel exterior with steel door.
(13) Desk and storage space for books, charts and telescope accessories.
(14) Storage area for astronomy lab scopes.
(15) Phone line, for security of students as well modem if you want to hook
a computer up to the telescope and send data back to Auburn over the
(16) An internal storage closet with it's own padlock, on a separate key
from the main door, for pilferable equipment.
(17)  Observing pads with A-C for individual telescopes.
(18)  Wheelchair accessibility
(19)  Parking area
(20)  Restroom and lavatory
(21)  Ventilation fans
(22)  LED's and foam rubber padding for low clearances and protruding obstacles.

Add your suggestions here:

This could be the most exciting thing to come our way in several years.  Be
sure to attend the meeting and share your thoughts.  Perhaps we can visit
the proposed site after the meeting.


Robert Rock and John Shaw have both added their latest Hale-Bopp images to
their astrophoto pages and your editor has some H-B images of his own new
astrophoto page.  Also, go to the link to the Mobile Astronomical Society to
have a look at Rod Mollise's comet images.  If you have some pictures to
share, you can have your own page.  Just scan your images in a JPG format
and attach them to an e-mail to me.  

We also have a new link from the main menu to "Field Trips"; pages
describing our astronomy related sojourns.  So far, we have pages on: The
Deep South Regional Star Gaze,  Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the Millry
dark-sky site, and the meeting with Alan Hale and Tom Bopp.  Under
construction are pages about the Peach State Star Gaze and the Wetumpka
Meteor Crater.  And finally, a new page called the "Astronomical Exchange"
for your "for sale" and "wanted" items.


It's not too late to make plans to attend the 1997 Peach State Star Gaze.
See last month's ASTROFILES or go the Atlanta Astronomy Club's web page and
follow the link to PSSG for a list of programs and speakers and a
registration form.


We were pleased to have visitor Vernon Lawrence from Montgomery, at the
April meeting.  Fellow amateur astronomer and Boy Scout's of America
organizer, David Gregory was also at the meeting to make a proposal for  the
AAS to sponsor an Explorer post.  Although we didn't feel that this was
something we could to do at this time, we welcome David to the group and
look forward to seeing him again soon and often.

New to the mail list are:  Chris Talley, Dacia Marshall and Dr. Joe Perez.
Our latest edition to the Fax List is Nancy Coburn in Wetumpka.


William Baugh is soliciting advice about Barlow lenses.  William would like
to hear about first hand experience with 2" and 1.25" barlows to be used
with his 12.5" Meade telescope. 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting, if not before,


Attachment Converted: C:\MSPRING2\DOWNLOAD\MIKE1.jpg
Russell Whigham
Montgomery AL

Auburn Astronomical Society