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Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 21:23:55 -0400
To: (Rhon & Joyce Jenkins), (Larry Owsley), (Allen Screws), (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), (Luther Richardson), (J. D. Perez), (Michael Bozack), (Jean-Marie Wersinger), (Jason Ramsey), (Christian Nelson), (Chad Dicke), (Thad Phillips), (Rick Evans -- W A Gayle Planetarium), (Alisha Vila), (David T King Jr ), (Carole Rutland), (Jim Wert), (Astronomy)
From: (Russell Whigham)
Subject: ASTROFILES, July 1997

Greetings Astrophiles,

This will be an abbreviated ASTROFILES edition.  Even ASTROFILES gets a
summer vacation. ;-)

One year ago this month, the Auburn Astronomical Society's web page was put
on the Internet.  Happy anniversary web page!


Because our normal July meeting date falls on the Fourth of July, and
subsequent Fridays posed problems for some, there will be NO MEETING in
July.  We'll pick up were we left off in August.  


If the weather abates, we will plan to meet at Holley's Field on Saturday
July 5.  During the summer months, here in the deep south, the atmosphere is
so laden with moisture that transparent skies are not much more than a fond
memory.  But, just in case we get a long overdue clear night, we'll be there.  

El Niņo is not to blame for the weather this time. It's the fault of all of
those who ordered telescopes to see comet Hale-Bopp, and are just now
accepting delivery of their new instruments.


Rhon gave a slide presentation of the society's original observatory at
Moore's Meadow, that was both a trip down memory lane for those of us who
built it, and a preview of what we have planned for Kiesel Park.  We were
pleased to have as first time visitors, our newest members, Marcus and Susan
Howell, who drove all the way up to Auburn from Enterprise.  We're looking
forward to seeing them again soon.


*Since several of us were interested in the barn-door tracker at PSSG there
are directions to build one (with pics and motorized too, I think) at

*The Huntsville National Space Society chapter that was attempting to launch
a `rockoon' at Wallops Island has succeeded- details at (this
is a description of the overall project,there are links to the latest
updates, future plans and the Huntsville NSS chapter home page)  

*There is an interesting article on EVAs and building the space station in 
this month's `Air and Space' magazine from the Smithsonian/NASM-it's
usually on the magazine racks of most local bookstores.



     The week of June 30 promises to be a busy and memorable one 
in the history of space exploration, with the landing of NASA's 
Mars Pathfinder spacecraft on Independence Day, a Space Shuttle 
launch of the STS-94 microgravity science mission, and ongoing 
activities on Russia's Mir space station.

     NASA will offer near-continuous access to these events for 
the media and the general public.  In addition to standard Space 
Shuttle-related mission activities, NASA TV will provide coverage 
of daily status briefings on Mars Pathfinder and extensive live 
programming on July 4-6 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) 
in Pasadena, CA.  Telephone audio links will be available during 
overlapping events and numerous Internet sites are accessible for 
status reports and imagery.  JPL also will operate a full-service 
newsroom for the Pathfinder landing from June 30 to at least July 11.

     The latest comprehensive schedule for NASA TV, and updates to 
it as events progress, is available from NASA Headquarters; JPL; 
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; and, Kennedy Space Center, FL.  
It also is available on-line at the following URL:


Mars Pathfinder Coverage Information

     News media should contact JPL's Public Information Office at 
818/354-5011 for information on credentials for its newsroom.  
Please also notify JPL if you have a need for a Mission Audio feed 
of the STS-94 mission distributed to your work location in the von 
Karman Auditorium.

     Beginning on June 30, the Mars Pathfinder landing newsroom at 
JPL will be open at 818/354-8999, during at least the following 
hours (all times EDT):

June 30-July 2       11 a.m.-8 p.m.
July 3               11 a.m.-11 p.m.
July 4               9:30 a.m.-3 a.m. 
(July 5)
July 5-6             11 a.m.-3 a.m.
                     July 7-11          11 a.m.-8 p.m.

     Status reports on mission activities for Mars Pathfinder will 
be issued by the JPL Public Information Office.  Daily audio 
status reports will be available by calling 800/391-6654 or 

     A pre-landing briefing on Mars Pathfinder and its science 
objectives at Mars will be held at JPL on Tuesday, July 1, at 1 
p.m. EDT.  If the STS-94 launch remains scheduled for this date, 
this briefing will not be shown live on NASA TV.  A taped 
rebroadcast of this briefing currently is planned for later that 
evening and the next morning.  Media can access a live audio feed 
of this briefing by calling 818/354-6170.  During the briefing, 
the STS-94 countdown can be heard on a Mission Audio feed to JPL.

     Extensive information on Mars Pathfinder, including an 
electronic copy of the landing press kit, related press releases, 
fact sheets, status reports and images, is available from the JPL 
World Wide Web home page at URL:


     The Mars Pathfinder project also maintains a home page at URL:


    These sites may receive heavy traffic on the days close to 
landing, but Internet users around the world can follow the 
mission by way of multiple local mirror sites that are now on-
line, with links listed at the Web site above.  The Internet sites 
feature updates on mission activities and will provide Pathfinder 
photographs of the Martian surface, once they become available.  
The sites also will feature a bird's eye view of the Mars 
Pathfinder mission operations area at JPL, via a live video camera 
feed that is updated every 15 minutes. 

     Images returned by the Mars Pathfinder lander and rover will 
be released to the news media in electronic format only during the 
mission via addresses furnished to media upon request.  These 
sites will include files offering the highest spatial and color 
resolution of images returned by the Pathfinder lander and rover.  
Images also will be carried on NASA Television during daily Video 
File broadcasts.

STS-94 Coverage Information

     As with all Space Shuttle missions, the Johnson Space Center 
newsroom will be staffed 24-hours a day throughout the 16-day STS-
94 mission, Microgravity Science Laboratory-1, beginning at 9 a.m. 
EDT on July 1.  Information regarding the mission can be obtained 
by calling the JSC Newsroom at 281/483-5111. 

     Information on STS-94 is available through several sources on 
the Internet.  The primary source for mission information is the 
NASA Shuttle Web.  This site contains information on the crew and 
their mission and will be regularly updated with status reports, 
photos and video clips throughout the flight.  The NASA Shuttle 
Web's address is URL: 


     If that address is busy or unavailable, the STS-94 Countdown 
Page can be found at URL:

and the MSL-1 Home Page can be found at URL:


     Television coverage of STS-94 on NASA TV during the heaviest 
period of Mars Pathfinder activities will include update reports, 
Flight Day Highlights, the "Mission Update" program and Mission 
Status Briefings, when warranted.  Uninterrupted air-to-ground 
feeds of conversations between the astronauts in orbit and ground 
controllers along with mission commentary can continue to be heard 
on Mission Audio, which will be distributed to the NASA centers, 
as is usually the case during Shuttle flights. 

     During the time when Mars Pathfinder activity is seen on NASA 
TV, a clean TV feed of Shuttle coverage also will be available at 
JSC.  Reporters covering Mars Pathfinder at either JPL or the 
Kennedy Space Center will not be able to obtain a clean TV feed of 
Shuttle coverage after launch, only the programmed feed of both 
Mars Pathfinder and Shuttle activities through NASA TV.

     If the launch of STS-94 is delayed until July 4, NASA will 
issue an updated TV events programming schedule at the Web site 
listed at the beginning of this Note To Editors.

    NASA Television is broadcast on the satellite GE-2, 
transponder 9C, C Band, 85 degrees West longitude, frequency 
3880.0 MHz, vertical polarization, audio monaural at 6.8 MHz.


PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

Contact: Diane Ainsworth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           June 24, 1997


     Internet users around the world may begin following the Mars 
Pathfinder spacecraft as it approaches Mars and prepares for a 
July 4 landing by way of a variety local mirror sites that are 
now online.   

     The Internet sites feature updates on mission activities, 
and will provide Pathfinder photographs of the Martian surface 
once they become available. The sites also feature a bird's eye 
view of the Mars Pathfinder mission operations area at NASA's Jet 
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, via a live video camera feed 
that is updated every 15 minutes. 

     "We're expecting a siege of hits on July 4," said David 
Dubov, Mars Pathfinder webmaster at JPL. "Our best estimate, 
based on past events such as Galileo, the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 
collision in 1994, Comet Hale-Bopp's return and other celestial 
events has led us to plan for at least 25 million hits on July 4, 
and a similar level of hits per day during the week following 

     To accommodate the overwhelming interest among the public, 
JPL will have about 20 mirror sites around the world by the end 
of June so that people can use the sites closest to their homes 
rather than trying to access the JPL site.  "Most of the domestic 
sites were picked because of their connection to the National 
Science Foundation backbone, a very robust network that can 
handle high traffic," said Kirk Goodall, Mars Pathfinder web 
engineer. "Combined, these mirror sites will be able to service 
up to 30 million hits per day."

     During landing day activities and the Pathfinder rover's 
primary, seven-day mission, members of the public should access 
the following Pathfinder mirror sites closest to their homes:

Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, Inc.
Load capacity per day: 15 million hits/day 

CompuServe, Inc.
Load capacity per day: 10 million hits/day 

Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Load capacity per day: 6 million hits/day

NASA Ames Research Center
Moffet Field, CA
Load capacity per day: 5 million hits/day 

National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA) 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, IL
Load capacity per day: 4 million hits/day
Cornell Theory Center
Cornell University, NY
Load capacity per day: 4 million hits/day

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR #1) 
Boulder, CO
Load capacity per day: 4 million hits/day 

San Diego Supercomputer Center
San Diego State University, CA
Load capacity per day: 4 million hits/day 

NASA Kennedy Space Center
Cape Canaveral, FL
Load capacity per day: 2 million hits/day 

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA
Load capacity per day: 1 million hits/day

National Center for Atmospheric Research 
(NCAR #2) Boulder, CO
Load capacity per day: 1 million hits/day 

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
University of Pittsburgh, PA
Load capacity per day: 750,000 hits/day 

NASA Lewis Research Center
Dayton, OH
Load capacity per day: 500,000 hits/day 

The Catlin Gabel School
Portland, OR
Load capacity per day: 500,000 hits/day 

National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) 
Tokyo, Japan
Load capacity per day: 2 million hits/day 

Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Load capacity per day: 1 million hits/day

The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research 
Organization (CSIRO)
Sydney, Australia
Load capacity per day: 1 million hits/day 

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex CDSCC - NASA/JPL) 
Canberra, Australia
Load capacity per day: 500,000 hits/day 

IKI (Institute for Space Science)
Moscow, Russia 
Load capacity per day: 250,000 hits/day 

     Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of 
low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet 
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, manages the Mars Pathfinder 
mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

Until next time,


Russell Whigham
Montgomery AL

Auburn Astronomical Society