Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
August, 2000

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In this Issue

August Meetings July Star Party 20 Year Anniversary
For Sale Member News  New on the Web Page
  Book Review  

August Meetings

This month's meeting will be on Friday, August 4 at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  Montgomery area car-poolers should be ready to depart for Auburn at 7:00 PM.  We have new set of video tapes on "The Planets".

This month's star party will be on Saturday 26, at the Cliff Hill Farm.

July Star Party

On Saturday July 29, Rhon & Joyce Jenkins, Mark Pratt, Alan and Max Cook, Susie Jensen,  John Clifton, Allen Screws, Everett Leonard, Marty Skelton your editor along with our host, Cliff Hill, met under less than ideal skies on our maiden visit to the new observing site.  We were able to coax a few of the brighter clusters and nebulae out of the moisture laden sky.  Rhon had invited a reporter and photographer from the Auburn Plainsman to see what we do at star parties to supplement their coverage of our twenty year anniversary celebration.

20 Year Anniversary Banquet

The twentieth anniversary of the Auburn Astronomical Society will be celebrated with a banquet on Saturday, September 9, 2000 at 5:30 PM at the Good Ol' Boys restaurant on Sandhill Road, south of Auburn.  The fare (see menu below) includes steak, fish and salad bar.  Our after dinner speaker will be Dr. David T. King Jr. and Lucille Petruny , speaking on "The New Discoveries at Wetumpka Impact Crater." 

AAS president, Dr. Rhonald Jenkins and Joyce Jenkins are coordinating the event. The restaurant has requested a head count to better accommodate us. Rhon is asking that if you think that you'll probably (or definitely) plan to attend, that you let him know.  Include your name and the number of people in your party.  The sign-up sheet that was passed around at the July meeting netted 18 already, so get your reservations to Rhon ASAP!

For Sale 

Meade 12.5-inch Dobsonian; Special offer with purchase (3 pc. Lens); Orion Collimating Eyepiece; Telrad Reflex Sight; Moon Filter; UltraBlock Filter; Set of 4 Filters Sun, Moon, planetary, & nebula);  Set of 3 Eyeguards; Solar Filter.  Total   new cost (including shipping) was $1376.34.  I am  asking  $650  for  it. Your organization and  my  brother  are  the  only  ones  I  would  sell  to at that price. 

Nigel Hornsby
Frankiln AL
334-412-6993    (cell  phone - rolls  over  to  my  pager) or 
334-724-9391 (office) 

Member News

Winston Blackmon writes:

I use an astronomy program called MICA, (Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac).  It's the same program that is used by the U.S. Naval Observatory.  I've been using it for a few years and really like it.  What's a good way to find out if anyone else in our group is using this program?  Thanks. 

Mark Moe has moved to Virginia. His new e-mail address is   Please keep us apprised of your astronomical adventures, Mark.

New prospect, Mark Brown of  Prattville, called to express interest in AAS.  Mark uses his Celestron C-8 to do astrophotography and is eager to try out our dark site.  Thanks to Rick Fanning at the W. A. Gayle Planetarium for the referral.

Tom McGowan has his old e-mail address back:

New on the Web Page

The AAS "Field Trips" menu has a new link -- "Educational Outreach" that describes our visits to area schools.  So far, we've had three of these school star parties and another is already in the works for later this year.

Book Review
Superstrings and The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

"Progress in science proceeds in fits and starts. Some periods are filled with great breakthroughs; at other times researchers experience dry spells. Scientists put forward results, both theoretical and experimental. The results are debated by the community, sometimes they are discarded, sometimes they are modified, and sometimes they provide inspirational jumping-off points for new and more accurate ways of understanding the physical universe. In other words, science proceeds along a zig-zag path toward what we hope will be ultimate truth, a path that began with humanity's earliest attempts to fathom the cosmos and whose end we can not predict."  Brian Greene 

Brian Greene received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the physics faculty of Cornell University in 1990, was appointed to a full professorship in 1995, and in 1996 joined Columbia University where he is currently a professor of physics and mathematics. He has lectured at both a general and a technical level in more than twenty countries and is widely regarded for a number of ground breaking discoveries in superstring theory. 

To learn more about Brian Greene, visit:

I am just finishing Greene's book 'The Elegant Universe' from which the above quote was taken and I can tell you that this is the best physics book I have read in a while!  It introduces string theory in a very understandable way without losing any detail. It also goes over quantum mechanics, theories of relativity, and other modern topics with elegance and style. Greene is quite a teacher -  I would say that his skill rivals that of Feynman.

Here's a link to the full text of the first chapter of this book.  Read it and if you like it I suggest you get the book - you will not regret it.

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,


Russell Whigham
Montgomery AL
Auburn Astronomical Society, Webmaster and Astrofiles editor