Date: Mon, 02 Jun 1997 19:19:53 -0400
To: (Rhon & Joyce Jenkins), (Larry Owsley), (Allen Screws), (Christy Screws), (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), (Margie Brand), (Marcus and Susan Howell), (John Howard), (Vince Cammarata), (Thad Phillips), (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, June 1997

Greetings Astrophiles,


The June meeting of the Auburn Astronomical Society will be on  Friday, June
6, in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building at 8:00 PM.  Several
people have asked about our old Moore's Meadow Observatory.  Rhon will bring
slides to show how we built the first one, give a little history on how it
came to be and why it had to go.  We'll also see  what changes we will be
making on the Kiesel Park Observatory.

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].

Let's plan the June star party for the following Saturday, June 7 at
Holley's Field.


The Auburn Astronomical Society was well represented at this year's PSSG.
Attending were: Robert, Allen, Scott, Ricky, your editor, and prospective
members, John Howard, from Childersburg and Darwin Ridgway, from Prattville.
Joining us there were fellow "Bama Gang" members, Judy Anderson and Sherri
Martin from the Mobile Astronomical Society as well as former MAS member
Elaine Osborne who drove down from her home in Virginia for the event.  

I make it a practice, whenever possible, to attend all three days of the
regional star parties to improve the odds of clear skies.  I was not
disappointed.  While Friday night consisted mostly of cloudy skies, it
provided an opportunity for that all important part of any star gaze -- the
social aspect.  Lots of experiences were exchanged and other mutual
interests were discovered as we enjoyed the mild spring evening.  Both
Thursday and Saturday night revealed dark, transparent, and steady skies as
some worked on their "Peach Fuzzies" list of deep-sky objects and others
collected a few more Messier and Herschel objects, or just enjoyed touring
the spring and later summer and even fall constellations.  On each of the
two clear nights, the first object was our old friend, comet Hale-Bopp.
Thursday night was a little on the cool side, but nothing a warm coat
couldn't correct.  Saturday night was just long sleeve shirt weather all
night long.  Several excellent speakers gave lectures and workshops Saturday
afternoon.  We made our requisite trip to the "Fresh Air Bar-B-Q" Friday,
and some went to the Traditional Saturday evening meal at Buckner's
Restaurant.  Thanks to PSSG chairman, Ken Poshedly and other members of the
Atlanta Astronomy Club for a wonderful weekend of astronomy and friendship.  


Visitors included our guest speaker, Dr. Joe Perez; several first timers,
Margie Brand, Paul Mckee; new member Nancy Coburn and her guest, Jan
Hargrove. We also would like to welcome our new members from Enterprise,
Marcus and Susan Howell.  They're currently building a six inch dobsonian.

Among the regulars were, Rhon and Joyce Jenkins, Ron Hatherley, Jim
Mclaughlin, Robert Rock, Allen and Christi Screws, John Shaw, John Zachry,
David Newton, Marty Skelton, Scott Enebak, and your editor.

Dr. Perez presented the plans for the Kiesel Park observatory and answered
questions from our members.  The University and the City of Auburn are
committed to this project.  Dr. Perez just wants us to come up with a
design. I've created a new web page to chronicle the progress of this project.


Bidding fare well to Comet Hale-Bopp were:  Scott Thompson, Ricky Wood, John
Howard, Dwayne and Marty Skelton, David Rich, Jim Mclaughlin, David Stanbury
and friend Vince Cammarata, Nancy and Roland Coburn,  Paul McKee, Margie
Brand, Robert Coram, Ron Hatherley,  Robert Rock and your editor.
Prospective telescope buyers were able to try out eight telescopes of every
imaginable size and optical and mechanical design.


On the evening of Saturday, May 24, we met at Kiesel Park for a combination
picnic and site survey for the proposed Kiesel Park Observatory.  In
attendance were:  Rhon and Joyce Jenkins, Joe and Karni Perez, Allen and
Christi Screws, John Zachry, Robert Rock, Ron Hatherley, Marty Skelton,
Yen-Ming Cheng, yours truly with my two children John and Suzanne Whigham.
A big THANK YOU! to Joyce for providing the Bar-B-Q, buns, drinks, plates,
napkins, forks and spoons, and preparing the salads, homemade cookies and
cake, and making the picnic a most enjoyable event.  After our meal, Rhon
presented his drawings of the proposed new observatory.  Following the
presentation we adjourned to the field that is to be the site of the
observatory.  With ominous clouds threatening, we  selected a site that will
best meet our requirements.  Dr. Perez seemed pleased with the  proposal and
will have cost estimates done.


I have owned the Meade ETX, although a very short time it was long enough to
find out the good and bad features about it. Also I can give a report on how
the 2045 holds up to its Meade name. 

To start, I went to Birmingham with Mike and I had made up my mind I wanted
the 96mm ETX, since the 2045 was not available anymore, so I was told by
Meade.  They suggested I call the mail order places. After about 20 or so
calls and no Meade 2045, here goes a rush trip up to the Galleria. I came
back all pleased that the Meade ETX would be quite fine. In being a Maksutov
scope I can say the optics are about as good as any refractor of this size.
After a few field tests and learning that you can not go lower than about 20
degrees from the horizon looking South, due to the short fork arms, I got
disturbed. Even though the optics were great  I decided I want ALL the sky.
Also the design is not for large hands to get to the R.A. knob. The ETX is
made from some plastics, the tube is metal, and in changing internal
batteries I noticed  the only thing holding base assembly to the forks was
this tiny
sheet metal screw with a one-quarter head on it. This is when I hopped in
the car and back to the store for a refund.

Now for the good news. I called a few more mail order places and  when I
came across EYE ONE from Ohio, who has an 800 number in the Birmingham
yellow pages I found what I was looking for. They had just received 9 of the
4 inch Meade 2045,s. I said hurry up and send one and in one day I received
what I think is the BEST  little scope ever built. It is made with all metal
parts. It does have a spur gear instead of a worm gear, but it is all metal
and seems to track for piggyback photo just fine. It came with a 26mm
Plossl, but I found with my 30mm eyepiece it gives 1.6 degree field of view.
This is just perfect for polar alignment, without a polar finder scope. A
few quick rotations of the tube with Polaris on the edge of the field you
are aligned well enough for some pretty good photography.  I never got that
far with the ETX but with its plastic spur gear I can not believe it would
be that great anyway. Also the optics are very good  on the Meade 2045. I
agree with Meade that there is a very small difference in optics between the
ETX and 2045. I can only say that I still got a view of the Owl Nebula in
the 2045 and even dim galaxies looked OK for a small scope. There may be a
difference technically but for viewing it was not enough for me to be
concerned with. I will say that the mechanical construction of the Meade
2045 is about the best it could be. It is solid and tight.  

To sum it up anyone wanting a small scope go for a 2045, by the way  EYE ONE
may still have a few. They somehow got them in just after I called Meade,
kinda odd, or maybe luck? Even if you can not get a Meade  2045 and you just
want to observe and do no photography then you may be pleased with the ETX.
Just watch out for the one-quarter inch screw holding the thing together.
Otherwise since it is small and very light it may prove to be OK for some.
By the way both scopes track with internal motor drives. They are both very
portable as well. I have to say it was  good to get first hand experience.
If all this seems to favor the Meade 2045 over the Meade ETX then you have
read well. I have to say that Meade may be trying to get a Questar type
scope out but it far from the real thing both in design and in price. The
2045 is just a very good low priced instrument. The ETX is just a lower
priced alternative. Anyone who needs more info can e-mail me or just ask in
person. I will be more than happy to tell  you what I know about both
instruments. I saw write ups in Sky and Telescope on both in back issues. I
can not remember which issues but if you really like I will find out which ones.


David Gregory needs some folks to help his scouts earn their Astronomy
Badges.  David Writes:
>I would like to propose a summer project to the club....At our Boy Scout
camp in West Point, GA, we will be conducting our summer camp.  About 100
Scouts will be camping per week.  The camp will last 4 weeks.  In the past,
I have helped teach the "Astronomy" merit badge.  There are certain
requirements the boys have to complete to earn the badge.  I have usually
set up one night each week for a "Star Party" and helped the boys locate
various constellations.  I would set up my simple telescope to view some
planets.  I would like to ask the club's help this summer.  Would several
members be willing to be merit badge counselors, go one night each week to
the camp and help teach the badge? .... probably on Tuesday nights? : June
24th / July 1st / July 8th / July 15th.  It takes about 25 mins. to get to
the camp from Auburn.  If anyone is interested, they can call my house,
334-749-6826, or E-mail me at   Thanks for your
consideration of this project.
David Gregory<

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,


Russell Whigham
Montgomery AL

Auburn Astronomical Society