Astrofiles
Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
August, 1998

 

Greetings Astrophiles,

 IN THIS ISSUE

 
August Meeting 
Kiesel Park Observatory 
Member News 
 New On The Mail List 
David Malin  at CCSSC
Neat Stuff On The WWW
New Lightweight Mirror 
Through The Eyepiece 
Perseids 
Puzzler 
Russian Orbiting Spotlight, Update
Wetumpka Meteor Crater
 

AUGUST MEETING
The August meeting of the Auburn Astronomical Society will be on Friday August 7, at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering building. This month's star party will be on Saturday, August 22, clouds and temperature permitting

KIESEL PARK OBSERVATORY UPDATE
                    From: John Shaw jshaw@physics.auburn.edu
                    To: rjenkins@eng.auburn.edu

Subject: observatory

I talked with Dr. Perez and he is trying to get in touch with the people in building sciences. Apparently they were enthusiastic and promised a quick response, but the department head is gone for the summer and the estimates have not appeared. Perez made calls to building science, the architect, and the city and hopefully someone will reply this week.

 Best regards,
John

 

MEMBER NEWS
David Newton brought his new Orion ShortTube 80mm refractor to share with us at last month's meeting. It will share time on the night sky and his daytime hobby of birding.

David also brought to our attention, the Elderhostle program at the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. There are usually at least two or three programs there each year. He would like to go, but it would like to have someone else go along. Contact David, dnewton@auburn.campus.mci.net , if this sounds like something you'd like to do.

NEW ON THE MAIL LIST
Richard Feuerriegel richardf@acesag.auburn.edu . Richard has a Meade 90mm (1000mm focal length) refractor with equatorial mount that he uses on planets, moons, nebulae, star clusters. He's been in the hobby less than a year and sounds eager to expand his expertise. He graduated from Auburn University in 1994 with a BS in Computer Science, with a human communication minor and now works as a network administrator in the ACESAG network (Al. Coop. Extension System / College of Agriculture ). See more on Richard's bio page under the "Who Are We?" link on the AAS web page. We look forward to meeting Richard.

Brian McGee kbmcgee@hiwaay.net lives in Florence AL. Brian writes: I'm thinking about buying a used Meade 4500 4.5" reflector. Dustin Smith is a local friend, and he got me interested in this hobby.

And just in case the didn't think the Web was World-WideÖ

Asanka Magedaragamage, a student from Colombo, Sri Lanka. submitted his personal bio via our web page. Since he's unlikely to attend any of our meetings, I didn't publish his vita, but if you're looking for a long distance astronomy pen pal, his e-mail address is: asanka@panlanka.net

DAVID MALIN -- "A UNIVERSE OF COLOUR"
Just a reminder that that famed astro-photographer, David Malin will be speaking at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center on Wed., August 5th,7:00 p.m. EDT . Tickets are $5/person. Contact:
Carole Rutland, Executive Director
Coca-Cola Space Science Center
701 Front Ave.
Columbus, Georgia 31901
ph 706.649.1470, fax 706.649.1478

I have my ticket and will be leaving Montgomery at 4:00 PM if anyone wants to ride over to Columbus. Anyone in the Auburn-Opelika area wanting to catch a ride, should contact me before Wednesday afternoon.

NEAT STUFF ON THE WWW
Contributed by Larry Owsley

http://shopping.discovery.com/genre/telescopesbest_sellers.html Itís our pleasure to announce the new TELESCOPE & ACCESSORIES selection at Shop Discovery, the one-stop shopping site that delivers new discoveries to your home. For a limited time only, when you purchase a telescope online we will send you a FREE SKYWATCHING CD-ROM.

http://shopping.discovery.com/genre/telescopesbest_sellers.html

Just click at the address above or if your email doesnít hyperlink this address, just copy it into your Web browser and click your way through our new selections.

Weíve worked hard to make it easy for you to discover your world and we want you to bring those experiences home. Now we introduce a fun way to experience the vast sky above. We invite stargazers of all levels to come browse through our exclusive online telescopes and accessories selection. We offer a UNIQUE, FUN, EASY, SECURE, and CONVENIENT way to learn about skywatching and we want you to find the perfect telescope to fit your observing level and needs.

We also offer an assortment of accessories that will enhance your astronomical viewing, and we conveniently show you which accessories can be used with each telescope. We have a wide selection of PLOSSLS, BARLOW LENSES, ERECTING PRISMS, ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY ACCESSORIES, COLOR FILTERS, and more!

For those of you with questions about where to begin exploring our vast universe we have a place for FREQUENTLY ASKED STARGAZING QUESTIONS, with those questions that every observer wants to know from the absolute beginner to the more advanced observer. http://shopping.discovery.com/product/scopes/scopefaq.html

And if we donít answer your question(s) from our FAQ page we have a Live Online Forum to talk all about telescopes, all the time. We would love to hear from you. We want to know your skywatching techniques: what you see, what tools you use, or any other questions you may have. Come to Shop Discovery and click on TALK TELESCOPES.

Come and check out Shop Discovery today and you can capture those unique discoveries that will last a lifetime! Thank you for allowing Discovery to help you explore your world.

I haven't read much of the information yet, but this URL appears to be a good one for information about impacts. http://www.herald.com/justgo/armageddon/aster/index.htm

NEW LIGHTWEIGHT MIRROR
From: Clouseau@webtv.net (ASTRO Mail List)

I attended the Mason Dixon Star Party in southeastern Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. While there, I attended a presentation I think many of you would be interested in. The person who gave the presentation was doing research under a grant from NASA. The idea was to develop a lightweight mirror for telescopes. The purpose of doing this was to possibly put a robotic telescope on the moon as cheaply as possible. What his team developed was sheets of carbon fibers saturated with epoxy laid over a glass mold. When they dried, the inside surface was refined to a state of extreme smoothness with lasers. The surface was then coated with the reflective material. The result was a very strong and lightweight mirror. A 6" prototype was passed around at the meeting. This mirror weighed approximately 5 ounces. Larger mirrors are currently in production. The statement was made that in the not too distant future, it would be technically and financially reasonable to expect amateur astronomers to own a 1-meter telescope. Iíve forgotten the exact weight but I believe the weight of this mirror would be about 25 pounds. Using current laser technology, they say they can produce mirrors machined to a smoothness greater than current professional scopes.

THROUGH THE EYEPIECE
Dustin Smith sends his binocular observations from Waterloo AL:

Date: 07/27/98
Time: 9:50pm-11:06pm

Weather: A few scattered clouds on the eastern horizon, otherwise very clear. The crescent moon dropped below the western horizon at around 10:15 or so. Near the end of the session, clouds began rolling in from the east, and I saw lightening. This eventually made me end the session.

Equipment: 10x50mm Tasco Binoculars, August '98 Sky & Telescope Map

My father bought a MagLite flashlight, and a small MagLite came with it, which runs on 2 AA batteries. I disassembled it, and painted the front glass with red nail polish, creating a red flashlight. Works very well, looks nice, free, and much more durable than any $20 flashlight sold commercially. Also, my grandparents subscribed me to Sky & Telescope for my birthday.

Using the MagLite and a star map from the August '98 issue of Sky & Telescope, I went outside to try to locate as many objects as possible. Here is an overview of my findings:

9:50 - Walked out to the center a large field to the west my house, and sat in a lawn chair. I kept my dogs company while my eyes adjusted to the                darkness.

10:00 - Looked for the Andromeda Galaxy. I found a small patch of gray light, but since Andromeda was only halfway above the horizon, I'm not sure if it wasthe galaxy or not.

10:05 - Found M39 and the constellation Cygnus the Swan.

10:10 - Found M11 and the constellation Aquila.

10:15 - Located M16, M17, M18, and M25.

10:20 - Found M22, M25, M28, M8, M21, M20, and M23. Most of these were visible in the same field of view. M8 was visible to the naked eye. Also, I located Sagittarius (teapot).

10:25 - Found M6 & M7, both of which are visible to the naked eye. M7 looks great through the binoculars, and is resolved to the center.

10:28 - I was finally able to see M4, a faint globular cluster in Scorpius.

10:32 - Tried to find M19 & M62 (both are globular clusters) near Scorpius, but was unsuccessful.

10:35 - On the S&T map, there is an article about finding the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) in binoculars. The author says he could detect it in 7x50mm binoculars, and it was very easily seen in 10x50mm binoculars, even during a full moon. I tried to find it, but I was unable to because of the sheer number of stars in Sagitta (it's right smack in the center of the Milky Way star clouds). I guess I'll try again when the moon is out, so it will block out all the dim stars of the Milky Way.

10:45 - Located the constellation Cepheus. According to "The Stars", it was named after King Cepheus of Ethiopeia, Cassiopeia's husband.

10:47 - Searched for M52, but again the stars of the Milky Way blocked it out.

10:50 - Located the constellation Draco, the dragon. It was much easier to find that I expected, especially its tail.

10:52 - Located the constellation Lyra, and the star Vega. Vega will be the North Star in 12,000 years.

11:02 - Located the constellation Bootes.

11:04 - Located the constellation Corona Borealis.

11:06 - Searched for M51 in Ursa Major, but was unsuccessful. However, I got a nice look at M13 in Hercules.

11:08 - Ended the session.

Dimmest object found - M4 in Scorpius, magnitude 5.9.

 

PERSEIDS
The Perseid meteor shower will be exceptionally difficult with a waning gibbous Moon; the maxima are predicted for August 12, 14h UT and August 12, 22h UT.

 
PUZZLER
Most of us know that Isaac Newton made the first reflecting telescope (in 1672). You may not be aware that his "Newtonian" had a spherical mirror. Half a century later in 1723, the design was improved by parabolizing the objective. Can you name the person responsible for this improvement?

 To reveal the answer, highlight the space below this line.
  John Hadley who was later immoralized on the Moon with his eponymous rille.

RUSSIAN ORBITING SPOTLIGHT, UPDATE
From: Joe Mize <jmize@globe-net.net>
The Astro-Photography Mailing List

The Russian plan to light cities from space foiled by money shortage. A plan to illuminate Russia's sun-starved northern cities with a huge mirror in space has been postponed indefinitely due to lack of funds, space officials said Friday. The 100-foot space mirror, called Znamya 2.5, was designed to work like the moon by reflecting sunlight onto parts of northern Russia, lighting them during long nights. The Znamya, or Banner, would have been launched in November. "We are struggling to raise funds to send regular supplies to the station, let alone the Znamya," said Sergei Gorbunov, a spokesman for the Russian Space Agency.

The mirror was to be attached to a cargo ship that would release it after the ship docked with the Mir space station. "There is no place for that mirror aboard the cargo ships because we can only ferry the most vital supplies to the station," Gorbunov said. In February 1993, Russia ran a similar experiment called Znamya 2, but the mirror was barely visible on Earth, said Vera Medvedkova, a spokeswoman for the Mission Control.

The new Znamya, which was to be followed by larger mirrors, would have resembled a shooting star, not a large object such as the moon, Gorbunov said. Space officials had planned to keep the 12-year-old Mir in orbit through the end of 1999, but the last crew is now expected to depart next June. (ASSOCIATED PRESS) (By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV)

WETUMPKA METEOR CORE SAMPLING DAILY REPORTS
Go to  latest updates from Dr. David King's quest for the elusive shocked quartz at the crater.

 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,

 
Russell