Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
December, 2000

In this Issue

December Meetings Monthly Star Parties Star Party at St. Mark Dues Reminder
Filippo Salviati Member News On the Web Thoreau


December Meetings

Dec. 1 (Friday) Monthly Meeting. This month’s special program will be Mr. Larry Lee speaking on The Origins Of The Space Shuttle, at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  Montgomery car-poolers shold meet at my house (518 Seminole Dr.) and be ready to head for Auburn at 7:00 PM

Dec. 5 (Tuesday) 6:00 PM -- Star Party at Thomas Head Elementary School on the Atlanta Highway, across from K-Mart in Montgomery.  Last year we had at least 200 students, teachers and parents, so we’ll need all of the help we can muster.  Please let me (Russell) know if you think you can help.  Susan Mallett, principal at Head, writes:

Russell, the reason we changed it to Dec 5 is that our PTA planned a PTA
meeting for that evening, and we are just combining the two events for
efficiency and, hopefully, a better turn-out.  I do hope this is OK.  We
thank you very much for your efforts in making this happen.  I look forward
to seeing you about 5:30.
Dec. 14 (Thursday) 7:00 – 9:00 PM -- Star Party at Opelika Middle School 1206 Denson Drive

Rhon Jenkins sends the following message:

I met Michele Matin this afternoon over at Opelika Middle School.  Let me give you an overall picture first.  The date and time have both changed.  The date is now Thursday, December 14 (was December 7).  The time is now 7-9pm (was 6-8 pm).  At that time, the school will be having a sort of “astronomy fair” for the 7th and 8th grade classes, marking the end of their astronomy studies in their science classes.  There will be several activities going on at one time in various locations in the school .... we would be one of them.  There is a beautiful location to set up telescopes behind the school .... two very large grassy play areas.  We can have either or both.  Ms. Matin will see to it that, insofar as possible, the lights are off (or at least minimized).  For what we want to do, the area is ideal.
Now for directions:
SHORT VERSION (FOR THOSE FAMILIAR WITH OPELIKA): go along 2nd avenue to 5th street.  Turn north on fifth, pass the “monkey park”, look up the hill and to the left, and there’s the school.
LONG VERSION: Take I-85 to exit 62 (old US 280 exit).  Turn left (coming from the south) or right (coming from the north) towards Opelika.  Before you reach the 3rd traffic light, you’ll see a sign for the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail on the right.  Turn right here .... this is 6th street.  Go north on 6th street to 2nd avenue.  Turn right one block to 5th street and turn left..  You’ll have a couple of stop signs ...  you’ll eventially see Northside School on the right, followed by a small park (the monkey park) on the right.  5th street miraculously turns to Denson street here, but don’t worry .... you’re almost there.  Go another block and you’ll see a group of buildings on the left.  The first is a rec center ... the second is the school (Opelika Middle School).
A list of participating schools and teachers, with contact numbers, can be found at: 

Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) Partial Solar Eclipse (40%)

Monthly Star Parties

Both of our November star parties were clouded out.  New Moon for December falls on – you guessed it – Christmas Day.   Why don’t we plan one for the third quarter weekend, Saturday, December 16 – location to be announced.We’ll discuss the Christmas Day solar eclipse at the meeting to see if there’s enough interest to schedule a group event or if it might be better (because of the holiday) to observe the event on an individual basis.
David Di Pofi has a potential new observing site for us to try.It’s in Macon County about half-way between Montgomery and Auburn on county road 13 (south of US 80).We’ll keep this in mind for a future star party.

Star Party at St. Mark United Methodist Church

Mr. Joe Champion called to ask that we help with a star party at St. Mark Methodist Church on Taylor Rd. in Montgomery, for the young people of the church and their parents on November 15.  Jack McDaniel with his 4.5-inch reflector, David Di Pofi, lending moral support, and your editor with the C-11 were there to share views of Jupiter and Saturn with a group of about twenty.  Despite rather overcast conditions, everyone was able to have a look at the gas giants and their moons between the passing clouds.  Joe wrote:
Russell and Jack,
Thank you for coming to St. Mark United Methodist Church.  We really appreciate the time you took to share your knowledge of astronomy with us.  Everyone enjoyed the look.  We would like to try it again next year if your schedules permit.  We’ll try to plan it a little better next time.  Of course we will try to make you eat again!  Tentatively, I might like to try to help you on December 4th since you’ll have so many students. 
Joe Champion
Joe has a telescope nearly identical to Jack’s, and has expressed an interest in our group.

Membership Dues Reminder

Memberships for 2000 expire this month.  If you haven’t already renewed, you’ll need to send 
  • $15.00 for Regular Membership
  • $7.50 for Full-Time Students to:
    Mr. John Zachry, Secretary/Treasurer
    Auburn Astronomical Society
    501 Summerfield Road
    West Point GA 31833
Make checks payable to: Auburn Astronomical Society.  You can save the postage and bring your dues to the meeting.  For questions about your dues or membership status, contact John at 

Professional Grade Mirrors Now Available At Amateur Prices
News report from Filippo Salviati

Thinking about building that large Dob ? Wondering about how to get a Quality mirror? Well, here’s the answer. Using the finest research grade acrylic and our advanced optical techniques, these mirrors are unconditionally guaranteed to be a genuine 1/30th wave (your choice of radio wave or Bondi wave).

Available from f/4 to f/10, or if you cannot decide, at three or four focal lengths in the one mirror, these optics are unconditionally guaranteed to show all the colors of the moon, as well as normally obscure comets lurking around many of the brighter stars.
We are now accepting orders for mirrors from 10-in to 50-in. When ordering, please specify your choice of wave measurement: radio wave or Bondi wave.  Optical wave tested mirrors incur an additional  fee of approx $400 per inch of aperture. Send deposit to:   Yessi Shankem Optical, Inc.
520 Badstarz Lookoutta Way
Czandu,Pakistan 7954

Member News

Richard Allen writes:
I took my daughter and a friend of hers to the Space and Science Center in Columbus yesterday for the seminar on telescopes.  Learned a lot and saw a couple of people from the Friday night meeting there.  Nice telescope they gave away.  The people there were helpful and I learned more about the scope that I have.  The director of the observatory said that the short scope with the corrector lens does not take high power well, but is designed more as a rich field scope.  He did say that the Collimation is especially important with short scopes as they are affected more when out of alignment by the corrector lens.  I will need help getting mine in alignment as I have not figured this one out yet.
Still looking for a XT8 however, as you say, not many people are getting rid of them.  Astromart has a couple, but they are not real deals, will more than likely have to wait till I can but a new one.
See Richard’s Biographical Profile at the AAS “Who R We” page.

Nigle Hornsby writes:

I sold the 12.5" Dobson to Richard Brideau.  I purchased a Meade LX200  7" Maksutov-Cassegrain. I received it today.  I went with the 7" mainly because of size and weight. The Dobson I owned previously was heavy and difficult to transport because of its' size. I also had problems storing it. I hope that I don't regret sacrificing the "light gathering capability" of the Dobson, for something that is more portable.  I hope the "Go To" feature of the LX200 is not as complicated as it seems to be.

On the Web

Here’s a good slide show about light pollution.  The slide show can be found at Dark Skies Northwest website.
The November-December 2000 issue of Rod Mollise's  Mobile Astronomical Society newsletter, Skywatch, is now available for download at <>  Articles this time include:
  • 18th Annual Deep South Regional Star Gaze--Rod Mollise
  • Review: Meade ETX 60AT--Pat Rochford
  • Review: Cartes du Ciel (freeware astro program)--Rod Mollise
Here’s a great (Excel) spreadsheet.  It list all the NGC objects with commentary on the first page, and switching tabs (on the bottom of the page) lists out:
2) All the Messier objects 
6) Double Stars 
7) ARP Globular Clusters 
8) Open Clusters 
10) "Doc G's List" 
12) "MEADE 351 STAR DATABASE" and 
13) the GREEK ALPHABET (by the Greeks) 
If you'd like a copy it is available at: <

Quote on the Heavens from Henry David Thoreau 

“As the skies appear to a man, so is his mind. Some see only clouds there; some, prodigies and portents; some rarely look up at all; their heads, like the brutes’, are directed toward Earth. Some behold there serenity, purity, beauty ineffable. The world runs to see the panorama, when there is a panorama in the sky which few go out to see.” 

        -- HDT Journal - January 17, 1852 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,