Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 17:22:45 -0500
To: (Rhon & Joyce Jenkins), (Larry Owsley @ Home),
        OWSLEY@ALUMNI.AUBURN.EDU (Larry Owsley), (Allen Screws), (Allen Screws @ Home), (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), (Neal Murphree), (Dennis Grantham), (William Baugh), (Scott Thompson), (Ricky Wood), (Mike & Adam Roberts), (John Howard), (Paul McKee), (Yen-Ming Cheng), (Jim Locke), (Tim & David Rich), (DAVID E. GREGORY), (Dacia Marshall), (Chris Talley), (Margie Brand), (Marcus and Susan Howell), (Vince Cammarata), (Luther Richardson), (J. D. Perez), (Michael Bozack), (Jean-Marie Wersinger), (Jason Ramsey), (Christian Nelson), (Thad Phillips), (Rick Evans -- W A Gayle Planetarium), (Alisha Vila), (David T King Jr ), (Ted Kicklighter), (Jason & Claudia Glasgow), (Lee Cook), (Jason Schein), (Rick Fanning), (Scott Fanning), (Jim Stierle), (Kenneth Bryant), (Gary Whiteside), (Ronald Hornsby), (Mark A Kunkel), (John Zachry),
        cookala@GROUPWISE1.DUC.AUBURN.EDU (Dr. Alan Cook), (Carole Rutland), (Jim Wert), (Astronomy)
From: (Russell Whigham)
Subject: ASTROFILES, December '97

Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
December, 1997

Seasons Greetings, Astrophiles!


The December meeting of the Auburn Astronomical Society will be on  Friday,
December 5, at 8:00 PM (beginning) in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering
building.  As usual, Montgomery area car poolers, meet at my house (518
Seminole Drive).  We'll head for Auburn at 7:00 PM. 

The main item on this month's agenda, will be a visit to see the exhibits of
the proposals for the Kiesel Park observatory by Dr. Alan Cook's
architecture class (see the paragraphs below.)  Following a short business
meeting in our regular meeting room, we'll plan on carpooling over to Dudley
Hall around 8:30 to see the exhibits. 


AAS president, Rhon Jenkins, sends the following messages:

I spent three hours this afternoon going over a number of observatory
designs that the architecture class had come up with.  It turns out that
EACH student will submit a design.  This includes drawings (some quite
detailed), 3-D models (for some) etc.  As you might expect from a class that
size, some were not good, some were OK, and three or four were excellent.  I
was very pleasantly pleased with the level of effort and originality with
some of them.  Now, bad news and good news .... bad first: since there are
17 (I think) designs, they won't all be available on the internet.  They
are, however, going to make a public presentation the week after
Thanksgiving to professors, at least one representative from the City of
Auburn, and as many members of the AAS as we can muster on a weekday.  I
don't have the exact date or time yet.  For those who can't make it then,
I'm going to try to get some sort of display set up for our December meeting.

One design that struck me as particularly innovative was as follows:
imagine a cake-shaped cylinder which is cut into two half-cake slices of
nearly equal radius.  Now imagine that the slightly larger portion can slide
around behind the smaller one so that what remains is half-open.  Now place
three telescopes on an arc in the open space.  half open to view, closed
completely when not viewing.  the problem is in the load bearing structure,
but she's aware of this and is working on it.  It's really quite striking
when you see her 3-D rendering of it.

There are several others.  I think we're going to be quite pleased with the
final outcome.



As per the message below, the exhibits will be on display on Friday,
December 5.  Alan Cook assures me that Dudley Hall will still be open at 8
on Friday night, and that all of us will be able to view them at that time
(even though the students themselves won't be there).  He also indicated his
willingness to carry on with the project with selected students if we (Perez
and us) can agree on one or two designs for more detailed work.


From: Alan Cook 

Dear Star Watchers;

You are invited to participate in the exhibition and review of preliminary
design schemes for an observatory complex to be located in Kiesel Park.
This project is a joint enterprise between the City of Auburn, the Auburn
University Physics Department, and the Auburn Astronomical Society.

The projects are from Prof. Alan Cook's AR 301, Third Year Architectural
Design Studio.  Each of the  seventeen students have spent five weeks
developing their ideas and presentations, many of which are digitally
modeled in 3-D.  Some of the designs should be available on the internet in
the near future for your perusal.

The exhibit and review will take place from 1:10 PM until 5:00 PM on Friday,
December 05, 1997; in the second floor Hallway exhibit space of Dudley Hall.
Please come and give us the perspective of your expertise and points of view
as potential users.


In an effort to have all membership renewals coincide with the calendar
year,  AAS treasurer, John Zachy reminds us that if you haven't paid your
dues for 1998, the rate is:  $15.00/per year, $7.50 / 6 months, $3.75 / 3
months, $1.25 / month (half rate for full-time students.)  Make checks
payable to:  Auburn Astronomical Society.  You can bring your dues to the
meeting or mail them to: 

Auburn Astronomical Society
Mr.  John Zachry, Secretary/Treasurer
501 Summerfield Road
West Point GA 31833


New to the e-mail list: (Ronald Hornsby), Titus AL; (Mark and Nathan Kunkel), Auburn AL;
cookala@GROUPWISE1.DUC.AUBURN.EDU (Dr. Alan Cook,  professor of the
architecture class working on the Kiesel Park observatory project;  
and (yes, it's true!) (John Zachry)West Point GA.

New members:

Rick & Scott Fanning (Rick)  (Scott)
Prattville AL  36066;  
Paul McKee , Eclectic AL  36024;                
Jason Schein , Auburn AL  .


At last month's meeting, we were given a lecture on the subject of the
Wetumpka Meteor Crater, by Dr. David King Jr., of the Auburn University
Department of Geology.  It was beyond a doubt, the best program we've had
this year.  Thanks to Dr. King for the presentation and to Rhon for securing
the lecture hall. 
The following day, Saturday, November 8, was a bracing, sunny, late-fall day
-- just perfect for exploring a meteor crater.  Gathering in Wetumpka for
our field trip were:  David King, Larry Owsley, Robert Rock, Scott Thompson,
Ricky Wood, Ron & Jeanetta Hatherley, Allen & Christy Screws, Jason Schein,
David Newton, Russell Whigham, and five of Dr. King's students.  We met at
the Hardee's in Wetumpka, piled into three vehicles, and headed out on what
turned out to be a most enjoyable and informative tour.  Dr. King has
graciously sent several images of the major points of interest on the field
trip to be put on our web page as soon as I can get them scanned.  I'll let
you know when it's up.


New Scope:

John Shaw bought Ken Bryant's Meade 2120 SCT.  We should be seeing more of
John at the star parties, now that he'll be getting back to some serious

In Transition:

Ricky Wood has sold his 8" Meade and seeking a cure to his aperture fever.
Ricky sent this note:

Good luck!   I sold the scope today!!!!!!!! Can't decide between The
Celestron 11" or the Meade 12" LX200 probably leaning toward the LX200 for
the computer controls and the GO-TO capability. Hope to c u soon at next
star-party. Through Astro-Mart to a guy in Mobile met him in Greenville to
look at it and he had the cash so he took it home. I told him about the club
in Mobile and he is going to contact them and join.

For Sale:

David Rich is doing a little eyepiece house-cleaning and has the following
for sale:
26mm Sirius Plössl 1.25" eyepiece.  Like new.  Paid $50.00 -- Asking $25.00. 
4.8mm TeleVue Nagler, 1.25" eyepiece, $100.00.  Contact David Rich, 793 Dark
Corner Rd. Tallassee AL  36078.  Phone:  334-283-2480

Under Construction:

Scott Thompson has recently had his Astro Physics 800 mount upgraded,
incorporating new encoders and the  NGC MAX controller.  He's also begun
construction of his personal observatory at his home in Alex City.  Scott

Thought I would give you an update on the mount adjustments and additions. I
finally got my mount back from Astro Physics/ Company 7. Last night I was
able to go out and test the encoders out.  

After I unboxed everything I looked at the RA Encoder that sits on the main
clutch and It covered it totally. I then started asking myself questions on
how I was to unlock and move the scope in RA with the clutch covered? I am
still not pleased with the engineering or thought that went into that idea!
Once I got it together in the carport and set it up in the day time I was
able to move the scope easily with the clutch locked down. 

The next night/last night I lined the scope for DEC=0 or 90 degrees from
polar and set the NGC MAX and then went on to the first star and then the
second. The instructions said that I should get a WARP of .5 plus or minus
and I got a 0.0 which was perfect! Don't ask what a warp is because the
instructions don't say... I think it's some sort of species of flying bug!

My first object was M57 and moved right to it with no problems! Next came
NGC 253, M33, M31, M15, M42, M73, M1, NGC7074? very faint! and all were dead
center of the eyepiece!!! I went on to observe about 25 total objects in
about 2 hours. 

I think I will keep it! Wonderful thing encoders. No more spending 25
minutes starhopping for faint fuzzies. I still like star hopping but with
bo-nocs! HA.

Next on the list will be a CCD. 

Update on Scott's Observatory:

ST:  I got my mount/pipe in the ground yesterday with Ricky's help. I have
not decided to put a cement slab down or wood?   I know that a slab will
heat up and not dissipate as fast as wood. I have thought of putting wood
boards over the cement later to eliminate this problem, however I don't
think it will be that much of a problem since the roof will cover the floor
from the sun. What would you suggest. Was the one that Auburn had a problem?

The slab will be easier and as cheap to build and I am still leaning toward
this idea.

Ready to pour!

RW:  It sounds like you've already thought this through pretty well.  I
agree that heat absorption will not be a problem if the slab is shaded
during daylight hours.  We never did any temperature measurements on our old
observatory but I never felt a need to do so.  The quality of seeing was
always much more a function of the atmosphere than the structure.

I'm pretty sure you already know this, but I'll ask anyway.  Are you
isolating the pier from the rest of the slab?  On ours, we just built a
plywood form over the footing for the pier flush with the slab.  I don't
think we ever removed the plywood, as it dampened vibrations between slab
and pier pretty good. 

ST:  Yeah, the plywood thing sounds good and I had already planned to put
something like plywood or that fiber stuff you see them put between slaps
for expansion and contraction.

RW:  How about the walls?  Concrete block or traditional framing?  Roll-off roof
or dome?  What are the dimensions?

ST:  The walls will be traditional framing with exterior wood on bottom, top
and corners for moisture support. The size is 12X12 with a small room for
where the roof will roll off to be the warm up room and computer room in the
future. I will be employing church trusses for the extra height inside for
the refractor. I want is high as possible. I like straight through viewing
but hate to bend over. HA!

I guess the next step is to pour the slab when it gets dry enough and when I
have a time off from work. Looks like next Saturday. 


From time to time (and regrettably, in an inconsistent way) new members and
friends and been asked to  respond to a little questionnaire that I came up
with to help us get to know each other a little better.  Now, in an attempt
to rectify past oversights, I've made an interactive form to facilitate the
process.  You can access the form at: or by clicking "Membership
Application" at the "Main Menu ", and scrolling to the end of the
application form and clicking on "Vita Questionnaire".

I am fully aware of the concerns of  the privacy issue at stake here and
have provided a space for you to let me know if you'd rather not have this
information made public, either in  Astrofiles  or on  the web page.  But,
please have a look at it and complete as much (or as little) as you're
comfortable with.  If you've already done the "interview" or have already
sent me some background on yourself, you can have your own "Vita" page by
just sending me an e-mail to give me the go-ahead.

Links to the "Vita" pages can be found on the "Members and Friends" page
beside your name. (See mine under Russell Whigham to see how it will look.)
If you'd rather that some or all of the information not be published, just
make that known in the "Your Space" box (item 13).


Our November star party date was rained-out.  East Montgomery received five
inches of rain that day -- more that a month's worth in a single day.  For
an explanation, see the "Member News" above.   This month's star party will
fall on December 27; perfect timing for trying out those new astro-toys
you'll be receiving over the holidays.  The Geminid meteor shower will fall
on New Moon this year.  

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,


Russell Whigham
Montgomery AL

Auburn Astronomical Society