Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
October, 2000

In this Issue

October Meetings Banquet AAS History Page
Member News September Star Parties School Star Parties
Deep South Regional Star Gaze Filippo Salviati  J For Sale

October Meetings

This month's regular meeting will be on Friday, October 6 at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building, on the campus of Auburn University. It's an out-of-town game weekend, so maybe you can find a parking space.

There are two possible opportunities for star parties again this month. October 21 falls one day after the third quarter Moon giving us at least 7 hours of observing. Let's schedule this one for Cliff Hill's farm. The following Saturday, October 28 will be just one day after New Moon. Let's leave the site open for this weekend. Perhaps we'll try the Sandy Ridge site if Richard can make the arrangements with the land owner. Look for definite decision in your "In Box" as the date nears.

20 Year Anniversary Banquet

On September 9, upwards of forty members and friends of the Auburn Astronomical Society met at the Good Ol' Boy's restaurant for an evening of good food, and fellowship, nostalgia, and the latest findings on the Wetumpka Meteor Crater by Dr. David T. King Jr.

Following the meal, we reminisced as we viewed slides of the early days of the society. These included scenes from our Astronomy Day events at the Village Mall, and the public star parties at Chewacla Park, the May 30, 1984 annular eclipse, the construction, completion, and dedication of the Moore's Meadow Observatory, and our ten-year anniversary banquet. The images on the screen only slightly resembled a few of us now -- apparently trimmer waistlines and darker hair was in vogue in the eighties.

Following the slide show, Dr. King presented the results of his work taking the core samples at the rebound point (central peak to us astronomers) that revealed the elusive shocked quartz -- proof that this is, in fact, a meteor crater. We also learned that a model of a shallow sea covering the impact site would match the evidence found during the drilling. The shallow sea was hypothesized earlier. Now there's evidence.

Special thanks go to Rhon & Joyce Jenkins for the hours of planning and preparation to make our anniversary celebration a resounding success.

AAS History Page

All of the memories stirred while reflecting on the beginnings of AAS, have renewed an interest that I've entertained for some time. I'd like to add an AAS History page to the Web site. Founder, Keith Husdon, has sent me several scanned images of the "old days". If you have some that you could contribute, please send them my way. Thanks!

Member News

Rhon and Joyce Jenkins are recently grandparents for the first time. Jim & Kayla McLaughlin are expecting their fifth little IRS dependant any day now. Dorn and Tarin Majure recently had a baby boy. Tom and Julie (Ross) McGowan were married on September 7. Congratulations all!

We have two new folks added to the mail list this month. David DiPofi , lives in Montgomery and has a new 4.5-inch Celestron reflector. Rod Havens , works as a counselor at Drake Middle School in Auburn. He also runs a blueberry farm at his home in Camp Hill. Rod was looking in the astronomy section of Barnes and Nobel recently and our own, Mark Pratt seized the moment and told Rod about AAS and gave him the Web address. Thanks Mark! We look forward to many nights under the stars with David and Rod.

September Star Parties

It's a good thing we scheduled two star parties last month. September 23 was hot and humid. Given the miraculous clearing at the August event, several of us showed up hoping for the best. Well, at least the thunder gave us fare warning so we could pack up the scopes before the rains fell.

Quite a different story on September 30. With temperatures in the mid-50's, fair weather clouds dissipated as night fell and a mild breeze kept dew off of the optics all evening. The Milky Way was brilliant from Cliff Hill's farm. Early in the evening, we were treated to a grouping of the 3-day-old Moon, Venus, and (with the help of binoculars) first time star party attendees, Rod Havens and his daughters Lauren and Ali were given a telescopic tour of the fall sky. Star party regulars attending were: Mark Pratt, John Clifton, Tom McGowan, and your editor. We stayed until just after midnight as steady seeing revealed impressive views of Saturn and Jupiter. Best object of the night has to go to "The Veil" nebula as seen through the C-11, using Tom's OIII filter and TeleVue eyepiece. Nights don't get much better than this.

School Star Party Calendar

Susan Mallett of Thomas Head Elementary School in Montgomery, has asked us do a star-party on Monday, December 4 at 6:00pm. This would be one day after first quarter. The "Straight Wall" will be at its prime and Saturn and Jupiter will be well placed for observers as well. This will be our second year for this event at Head School. We all had a wonderful time last year and are looking forward to doing it again. Thanks to Tom McGowan for acting as liaison.

And, for our east-Alabama/west Georgia members, Rhon forwards this message:

I am an 8th grade math teacher at Opelika Middle School. I am a member of the Gladstone/Apple Valley radio astronomy team (GAVRT). I just returned from California where I had training on a radio telescope. The Lewis Center for Educational Research, JPL, and NASA operate and control this program for schools. I do not know if you know anything about this program. I am working up a unit on astronomy at my school for the whole 8th grade. It will be an interdisciplinary unit. To end our unit our school will be gathering data from Jupiter on Dec. 7, 2000 via the Internet. The project is being called Cassini-JMOC. I was wondering if the Auburn Astronomical Society would be willing to help by providing telescopes and people to include a star party on Dec. 7. I have contacted the necessary people to turn off the lights around the school. We will be collecting data from 6:00 - 8:00pm. Anything you could add would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Michele Matin

Deep South Regional Star Gaze


The Deep South Regional Stargaze starts 3 weeks from today. As of yesterday, our pre-paid registration stood at 66. The registration is running about 10 ahead of the same time last year. Our total registration last year was 191. Considering how registration is going now, I would advise each club to remind their members to get their registration forms in. Registration forms and other information for DSRSG 2000 can be found at

I have received confirmation from Rex Allen (Rex’s Astro Stuff) that he will be at the DSRSG. He has requested a cabin to set up and I have him in Cabin 3. This has necessitated that I do some shifting around. As of this writing I am keeping Cabin 2,5 and 8 as Baton Rouge, Jackson and Mobile respectively. As the other cabins fill up, I will have to move people from other groups into these cabins. I cannot do that if you fill them first. I anticipate that I can only hold off on putting "other" people in these club cabins for another week to 2 weeks at the outside. Encourage your members to get their registrations in. ASTRONOMY magazine will be supporting us again this year. I do not know if they will have a representative down, but we have been promised some additional give-aways.

Regarding ACTIVITIES - Wednesday and Thursday are open, with the exception of our first door prize drawing on Thursday afternoon. (3:30PM). Friday starts off with a "field trip" that morning to the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) near Livington, LA followed by a stop at the Pontchartrain Astronomy Society LPMOS Observatory/Observing Site for a quick tour on the way back. This activity will take all morning. On Friday afternoon, I have an open slot from 1:30PM to 2:30PM. DOES ANYONE HAVE A TOPIC/PROGRAM that they would like to give at this time? At 2:45PM we will have our final talk of the day on medium format photography by Frank Castagna (plenty of slides and equipment show and tell). On Saturday we will have a talk at 11AM by Wayne Wooten from EAAA (Pensacola) on THE KNOWN UNIVERSE, the STAR TREK Perspective. This program takes a look at the extra solar worlds discovered over the last decade. They are divided into the Klingon Empire and the Federation Worlds, based upon R.A. position.

Should be fun! I do have a time slot available at 1PM if anyone can fill that one. (Please note - other programs are available, some may be shown at night if we need them in the event of bad weather, but I would like to get some more participation. Please volunteer.

If anyone has questions, please e-mail me or give me a call at (504) 283-7592
Barry Simon, Managing Director
Deep South Regional Stargaze
18th Annual Deep South Regional Stargaze Registration
Percy Quin State Park
October 25th thru October 29th, 2000

All checks payable to Deep South Regional Stargaze (or DSRSG), remit to: Barry Simon, DSRSG Chairman, 842 Crystal St., New Orleans, LA 70124 E-Mail me @ if you have questions. For registration verification, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope or include an e-mail address.

Product Review by Filippo Salviati J

The Trashmeadtron 115mm f/10 Deep Sky computer controlled telescope has become a minor sensation overnight. Handcrafted in Botswana by Southern Africa's most distinguished optical house. Containing flawless soda ash glass, seasoned cellulose fiber tubing and recycled AK47 cartridge cases, this telescope has entered the computer age. The four-element, semi-fraunhofer / apochromat mates flawlessly with the full range of ten simplified Huygens eyepieces, the 2mm version giving a dramatic 2,300 times magnification, with the field wide enough to show the whole of Callisto, while the mega wide-field 40mm at 28 times magnification, fully displays half of Mare Crisium.

The specifications of the Computer drive are still a trade secret, assisted by the fact that the operating manual is written in medieval Swahili, but pointing the Trashmeadtron in the general direction of any star using the 5 x 5 finder, will result in a star (though usually not the one in the finder) making its way into the field of view of the eyepiece, providing of course that the eyepiece doesn't fall out of the focuser during this process.

Want to see color in the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Sirius, and The Moon ? The Trashmeadtron will astound you with its range of colors, which no other telescope comes close to displaying, especially with the shorter focal length eyepieces.

With a suggested retail price of only $995.99, (street price of $10) these scopes are selling fast. Unconditionally guaranteed for the life of any good alkaline battery, this is a great scope for the unwitting amateur astronomer or anyone who has daydreamed of owning that beautiful telescope that stood before him or her at their local WAL-MART store.

For Sale

Meade LX200 10" f6.3 v.3.2
Meade f6.3 focal reducer
Meade illuminated reticle MA 12mm
Meade Super Plossl 26mm
Meade Super Wide Angle 13.8mm
Meade Super Wide Angle 18mm
Orion Ultrascopic 7.5mm
TeleVue 2.5x barlow
Filters: OIII, Narrow Band, Broad Band, Moon, 5 colors

I am asking $2,000

From: "Wayne Wooten"
Subject: Baader solar filters

Price break. We now have the 1" Baader solar filters mounted to 5x8 cardstock, ready for visual use or with binoculars or even 60mm refractors, for just $5. Great for the Christmas Eclipse! No shipping/handling with a group order. We have a set of circles to help you match up the front of your objective cell with the center of the Baader filter, and then you can tape the filter and holder in place, or better yet, if you still have your plastic objective covers, cut a 1" hole in the center of them and use them to hold the Baader mount in place. I have found this ideal for binocs (leave the other side cover uncut, of course), and the detail on the sun you can see with even 10x50s is amazing. Best $5 you can spend in astronomy today! Remind your members of the very favorable review of Baader filters in the September S&T.

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,