Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
November, 1998


Greetings Astrophiles,

November Meeting 
October 10 Star Party
Member News
Help Wanted
New On The Mail List 
DSRSG '98 Report 
On The Web
The Future Of Holley's Field 
For Sale
Nulled Starlight
January Program
Magazine Subscription Update
The November meeting of the Auburn Astronomical Society will be on Friday, November 6, in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building at 8:00 PM. Montgomery area car poolers, should meet at my house (518 Seminole Drive). Weíll head for Auburn at 7:00 PM. If youíve 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].

Our normal new moon weekend for a star party will be on Saturday, November 14. The Leonid meteor storm should be best on Tuesday, Nov. 17. We can decide which or both at the meeting.

Due to exceptional weather, and because several of us would be in Mississippi for the DSRSG at the time of the normal New Moon weekend star party, we had an unscheduled star party on Saturday October 10, at Holley's Field. Attending were: Bob Haas with his 20-inch Obsession, yours truly with the C-11, Alan and Max Cook with their 10-inch Meade LX50, Jim Burns and son Jonathan, Paul McKee, Nick Nicholson and his wife, and Brandon Wright. We enjoyed sharing (Bob did most of the sharing) views of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus, and many deep-sky show pieces. It was my first time to observe Stephan's Quintet. Wow!
Paul McKee, , after years of shopping, is the proud owner of a new Celestron, 8-inch Celestar, computerized SCT. We look forward to seeing more of Paul at the star parties now.

William Baugh, (work), & wbaugh@mindspring ( home), has made it official, and is now a member of AAS. William does his astronomy with his 12.5-inch Meade Dobsonian. Welcome aboard, William.

 Please join me in welcoming new member, Tom McGowan, who owns a 8-inch f/4.5 and a 20-inch f/5 home built Dobs. A native of Massachusetts, Tom now works for the U.S. Postal Service in Montgomery, and has been an amateur astronomer for about 13 years. An avid observer, Tom has just returned from the Oki-Tex Star Party. Tom found out about our group from the feature article in the Montgomery Advertiser last month.

Also affiliating with the AAS is Jeffrey Schaub, . Jeffrey gives a Montgomery address but divides his time between here and his fishing lodge in Canada, where he lives during the summer months. Jeffrey owns a Televue 102 and a Celestron 11" Dobsonian. See Jeffrey's thumbnail bio at :

 Charles A. Boyd , , also of Montgomery, has found us. Charles has been using his small reflector for several years and is now thinking about upgrading to something a little bigger.

From: David. Newton
Subject: Pictures of Home from Space From: Rick Fanning
Subject: Solar Filter
Michael Crouse , has joined the world of the wired. Michael has been a member since last year, but has been unable to attend meetings and star parties because of job hours. That has changed now and we look forward to seeing him often. (I met Michael, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, while mailing a package. He recognized my name on the parcel, and introduced himself.)

Everett Leonard, . Everett drove up from Phenix City to attend our October meeting.

Jack McDaniel, : We first met Jack back in the early 90's when Shel Finkle attempted to start an astronomy club in Montgomery. And while the Montgomery club never really caught on, Jack's interest in astronomy has not waned over the years and he is now considering purchase of a telescope. You may have seen Jack's letter to the editor of the Wetumpka Herald, advocating "full-cut-off" outdoor lighting fixtures.

Randy Farmer , . Randy wrote:

Hi, my name is Randy Farmer, a senior in MIS at Auburn University. A childhood interest in astronomy has recently been rekindled. I found the Auburn Astronomical Society's web pages through some FAQ or another I stumbled upon in sci.astro.amateur. Myself and a good friend of mine with similar interests have been going out over the past few nights, taking advantage of the clear skies. He owns a 3-inch refractor, and I have a 3-inch short tube. Nothing spectacular, but they're old scopes we both owned in JR High. :) I've also got a passing interest in photography. Dr. Robert Haas, : Bob has recently returned to his hometown of Montgomery and has established his family medical practice here. Bob has an acute case of amateur astronomy. In addition to the 20-inch mentioned above, he has a 36-inch that he uses in search of supernovae among other things. A very active observer, Bob has found a site near Weogulfka, where he goes to observe. You can see a photo of Bob in the October issue of Sky & Telescope, page 71. Bob and his 36-inch are in the middle.

Mark "Buzz", of Montgomery writes:

We must bid farewell to Seth Adkins who has moved to the Atlanta area.
 If the 1997 DSRSG was the year of El Niño RAIN, then 1998 will be remembered as the year that it was so HOT. Only the first night required even a sweatshirt. All of the other nights were given to short sleeve observing. We had cloudless skies for most of the four-day event, but the temperatures were more reminiscent of early September. We all know what high humidity and warm temperatures do for transparency, but the lack of inky-black skies not withstanding, we shared many hours of good observing. Representing the AAS on our annual trek to McComb Mississippi were: Scott Thompson, Ricky Wood, Robert Rock, Mike Fulmer, Jack McDaniel and Russell Whigham. In addition to the usual fall deep-sky show pieces we observed comet Giacobini-Zinner, incredible views of the Veil supernova remnant (in Pat Rochford's 24-inch), NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula (in Rod Mollise's 12.5-inch), and Io's disk superimposed on the darkened limb of Jupiter, followed by it's shadow transiting the planet. And during the daylight hours, we renewed our friendships with the members of the Mobile, Jackson, Baton Rouge, New Orleans  and Pensacola clubs, and all die-hard observers from years past.  Barry Simon, DSRSG Founder/Organizer/  & Host , writes:

Many thanks to Barry for making this year's DSRSG another huge success!

Satellites and skywatching:
Iridium satellites spark skywatching
Web sites for satellite watchers
List of some other visible satellites
From: Wordsmith
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--orrery

orrery (OR-uh-ree) noun
A mechanical model of the solar system.
[After Charles Boyle, Fourth Earl of Orrery (1676-1731), for whom one was made.]

"In 1774, the largest orrery ever built into the ceiling of a house was installed in the Netherlands. Itís still in operation today and shows the planets moving around the sun at their actual rate of speed." Mike Best, Modern-day Planetariums Like Down-to-earth Devices, Gannett News Service, 10 May 1994.

You may have seen them in science museums or observatories and now you know what they are called.

It is strange that an orrery is called an orrery and not a graham considering that George Graham was the person who invented it, circa 1700. Instrument-maker John Rowley made a copy for the Earl of Orrery and named it in honor of his client. And that name has stuck ever since.

To see a picture of Rowley's creation, visit:

As most of you know "our" dark sky site is for sale. That's the BAD news. The GOOD news is that it's been for sale since comet Hale-Bopp was in the solar neighborhood.

I called the number on the "For Sale" sign (Lester Holley Jr.) about the Holley's Field property. I spoke with Ms Holley. Their asking price is $3,500.00 per acre. The entire parcel is 30 acres. If my calculator is working right, that comes out to $105,000.00. BUT, Ms. Holley was quick to say that the price was negotiable. I've never negotiated land deals before, but the asking price does seem rather high. Maybe that's why it hasn't sold yet. All it would take to spoil the site is just one home with obligatory "security" lights.

We discussed the matter at our October meeting. Allen Screws suggested that we might think about trying to buy or lease some property (assuming that we lose this site, and that we could find something reasonable). Allen said that we should look for property that couldn't pass a "perc" test and had no power lines or other utilities run to it. Paved roads would be nice.

Bob Haas has suggested a site near Weogulfka up in Coosa County, that he and other members of the Birmingham club use. I'm eager to try it out, but it would be over a 2-hour drive both directions for folks in the Auburn area. I think we've considered a site in the Tuskegee National Forest, but have never really persued it.

If you know of any property fitting our needs within a reasonable driving distance for most of our members, please send your information to Rhon .

Celestron Super Polaris C8 (SPC8) Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope

The SPC8 combines the qualities of the Celestron C8 with the super Polaris drive base. A hand-held microcomputer can be attached. The Schmidt-Cassegrain optical design enables serious deepsky observing and astrophotography, and is portable for field-work. The system is capable of immense light-gathering, satisfying fully the needs of the serious amateur astronomer and photographer.

diameter: 203mm (8")
observable: 14th magnitude
photographable: 16th magnitude
visible objects: moon, planets, all Messier objects, most NGC objects
F/10 focal ratio

1. equatorial mount
2. 26mm Plossl
3. 6 x 30 finder
4. 8 x 50 right angle finder scope
5. polar finder - illuminator
6. tripod
7. carrying-trunk

This scope is in mint-condition. It has been appraised by C. Treadwell (Mgr., Rivers, Dover, NH) at $900.00: that is the price (firm). E-Mail Robert:

From The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Under the right circumstances light from two separated telescopes can be combined to create a signal whose spatial resolution is better than that for either of the single telescopes. This interferometry technique can also be used in reverse: the light paths for the two beams can be adjusted to create not a maximum but a minimum. Thus the starís light can be nulled out. Astronomers have demonstrated this principle by canceling the image of the star Betelgeuse, leaving behind the faint glow of a surrounding dust nebula. The researchers expect that with adaptive optics, a ground-based nulling system could be used to image Jupiter-sized planets around nearby stars beyond the sun by subtracting the distracting stellar glare. (Hinz et al., Nature, 17 September 1998.)
The father of Dr. Raghu Mukkamala, collegue of Jim Mclaughlin, will be our speaker for the January 8 meeting. The senior Dr. Mukkamala's specialty is binary stars.
Special thanks to AAS treasurer, John Zachry, for all of his time spent working on getting our magazine subscriptions ordered. If you didn't get your renewal information in to John at the October meeting, you still can take advantage of the offer. John writes: For rates etc., see:

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,