Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
November, 2001

In this Issue

November Meetings Magazine Subscriptions
AAS Tape Library DSRSG 2001
Eastwood Christian School Leonid Meteors
Member/ Friend News  

November Meetings

This monthís meeting will be on Friday, November 2 at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building on the main campus of Auburn University.

Our November star party will be on the weekend of  Nov. 16/17 (Friday if itís clear Ė Saturday as a backup) squeezed in between Novemberís TWO full Moons, at Cliff Hillís farm.

Magazine Subscriptions

Discounted magazine subscription rates are the same as last year: 
Sky & Telescope --- $29.95
Astronomy --------- $29.00

To get this special rate, you must be 2001 dues paying member of Auburn Astronomical Society. We need 5 subscriptions for each magazine before we can get reduced rate. 

Membership dues to A.A.S. $15.00 is due in January but most members pay at time subscriptions ordered. *

Please get your request to John by November 10. This will give you a week after the November meeting.  Last year instead of sending in one order to each magazine John had to send in 4 separate requests to each.

Sky & Telescope $29.95 $29.95 $29.95  
Astronomy $29.00 $29.00   $29.00
2002 Dues $15.00  * $15.00 $15.00
Total $73.95 $58.95 $44.95 $44.00

Make checks payable to Auburn Astronomical Society

If you want to mail your orders and/or 2002 dues, send them to:

John Zachry
Treasurer, Auburn Astronomical Society
501 Summerfield Road
West Point GA 31833

If you have any questions, e-mail John at:

AAS Tape Library

AAS V.P. and Program Chairman, Allen Screws, submitted the following list of video tapes that will be made available to AAS members to be checked out for one month.  If there are tapes you missed or would like to see again, let Allen know before the meeting so he can have them ready for you.  Submit your requests to or   

Title Description 
Meteorites A 2 set tape on meteors and their history
Aurora-Rivers of Light Interesting 40 min. tape of aurora in Alaska
The Pathfinder The 1997 Mars rover mission, and future missions
The Universe A 50 min. tour of the cosmos
The Planets 8 tape set of the solar system atmospheres, surfaces and exploration
COSMIC Voyage A tour of  the universe in powers of ten; from the microscopic to the largest structures in the universe 
Comet Odyssey Time-lapse photography of Comet Hyakutake and the story of the amateur  astronomers who made them
Telescope Building with John Dobson The 'character' who invented the Dobsonian scope shows you how to build one of your own.
The Digital Universe Lecture slide/tape of a modern electronic sky survey
What Makes the Big Bang Big Lecture slide/tape of the beginning of the universe
WIMPS versus MACHOS Lecture slide/tape of  dark matter
Mysteries of the Universe 2 hour tape set on the  development of modern astrophysics
The Milky Wayís Invisible Light The structure of the Milky Way galaxy

Deep South Regional Star Gaze 2001

DSRSG 2001 will be remembered both for the weather -- with all four nights perfectly clear all night long, and for the renewal of acquaintances with old friends -- both terrestrial and celestial.  Representing the Auburn Astronomical Society were Eddie Kirkland, Robert Rock, Russell Whigham and, from w-a-a-y back in AAS history, Charles Floyd.  For those who donít remember, Charles is an attorney who lives and practices law in Phenix City and who gave an enormous boost to our fledgling club by donating his 12.5-inch f/7 Cave Astrola to AAS while we were in the construction phase of the former Mooreís Meadow Observatory near Society Hill.  After a 20-year hiatus, Charles is itching to get back into the hobby and has his eye on a C-14 and CCD imaging.  We also met up with Bill Prados, Birmingham Astronomical Society member who has attended a star party with us at Cliff Hillís farm as well as all of our old observing buddies from the Mobile Astronomical Society.  

On Wednesday night the temperature dropped into the mid-thirties by midnight, with very dry air affording high transparency and contrast, the best possible conditions for the deep sky objects.  Each night thereafter warmed slightly until Saturday night when it was sweatshirt weather observing.  After pushing our own telescopes to their limits, we strolled up and down the field mooching looks through several of the big Dobs there (one 30-inch Starmaster with Go To, and several in the 25-16 inch range) as well as the Mak-Newts and other optical exotica.  In contrast to the light buckets, Eddie shared a different perspective on the night sky with his alt-az mounted 4-inch refractor which gave uncropped views of the North America and Veil nebulae, and the majestic Andromeda and Triangulum galaxies.  On-the-field talks of interest to observers, a walking tour of the telescopes, with their modifications explain by each owner, and solar observing filled the daylight hours.  Next yearís DSRSG Ė 2002,  will be from October 30, through November 3.  A Deep South Regional Star Gaze message board is now available for postings on eGroups.  It can be accessed at:

Eastwood Christian School Star Party

On Monday, October 22, Robert Rock, with his Meade ETX 90; Jim McLaughlin, with his 8-inch Meade LX-200; and Russell Whigham and the C-11; assembled at Eastwood Christian School, in Montgomery to give a star party on the school grounds of the school for the fifth grade students.  While waiting for dark we began with views of the six-day-old Moon, followed by views of Mars, and, Alberio.  Special thanks to Robert for coordinating the event with ECS science teacher, Teresa Johnson.

Leonid Meteors Part I
Leonid Meteors Likely To Storm This November
Roger W. Sinnott, Senior Editor 

If predictions by the world's top meteor experts hold up, early on the morning of November 18th skywatchers in North America can expect to see their most dramatic meteor shower in 35 years. These meteors, called Leonids because they appear to radiate from the constellation Leo (the Lion), will signal the collision of Earth with streams of fast-moving dust particles shed by Comet Tempel-Tuttle.

In the November 2001 SKY & TELESCOPE -- the magazine's 60th-anniversary issue -- meteorologist Joe Rao assesses the predictions provided by three teams of specialists. Rao concludes that two dramatic displays called "meteor storms" appear likely.
A burst lasting perhaps two hours is expected in the predawn hours of November 18th for observers throughout most of North and Central America.  The maximum rates should occur at 5:00 a.m. EST (corresponding to 4:00 a.m.  CST, 3:00 a.m. MST, 2:00 a.m. PST). With no moonlight spoiling the view, the storm may briefly generate anywhere from several hundred to 1,000 or 2,000 meteors per hour for observers with clear, dark skies.
An even bigger storm arrives 8 hours later for viewers rimming the far-western Pacific Ocean. Because these locations are on the other side of the International Date Line, this peak occurs before dawn on November 19th.  Several thousand meteors may streak across the sky for an hour or so starting at 3:30 or 4:30 a.m. in eastern Australia (depending on location);
2:30 a.m. in Japan; and 1:30 a.m. in western Australia, the Philippines, and eastern China.
Meteors create momentary "shooting stars" when flecks of interplanetary dust strike Earth's atmosphere at high speed. The Leonids, which are one of a dozen or so annual meteor showers caused by cometary dust, arrive at a blistering 44 miles (71 kilometers) per second -- the fastest known.  Typically showers produce one meteor every few minutes, though often there are bursts and lulls. Two years ago the Leonids briefly peppered the skies over Europe and the Middle East with up to 2,500 meteors per hour. In 1966 lucky observers in the southwestern United States gaped in awe for 20 minutes as Leonid meteors fell at the rate of 40 per second!

More about the prospects for a Leonid storm appears in the November issue of SKY & TELESCOPE. This issue marks the diamond anniversary of the monthly magazine for amateur astronomers launched by Charles and Helen Federer in November 1941. The Federers took on the challenge of merging THE SKY (which had been published by New York's Hayden Planetarium) and THE TELESCOPE (then published by Harvard College Observatory). Today the magazine is enjoyed by some 250,000 skywatchers worldwide.

SKY & TELESCOPE will issue another press release closer to the date of the Leonid meteor shower containing background information about meteors and how to observe them. More information is already available on the magazine's Web site at:

Leonid Meteors Part II
Joe Rao  


Dear Leonid watchers:

    I am just now putting the finishing touches on my Leonid Meteor Shower Website.  It contains plenty of information and useful links concerning the upcoming 2001 Leonid display.  Check it out at: or 
<A HREF="">Click here: Joe Rao's Leonid Webpage</A>

Hope you all find it interesting!
  -- joe

Leonid Meteors Part III
Lew Gramer 

The volunteers who administer the 'meteorobs' global meteor mailing list, and our associated Web site  , have compiled a list of links about the Leonids. Right now there are a large number of resources on the Web about the LEOs. Here is a Links page highlighting some critical ones:

This is the featured page of our entire Web site for the current month, so if you forget the above link, simply use the following simple URL:
Clear skies all!
- -- 
Lew Gramer

Member/Friend News

From: "Phillip Hosey" <> 

Hey Russell,
Is this a sign?  I got the message [star party reminder] 3 times!  Anyways, I woke up in the middle of the night this past weekend and got the 'urge' to get back into astronomy!  Can you believe it?  Anyways, I don't have any equipment anymore. (refer to previous stupidity on my part), so I am going to attempt to build an 8" dob, it''ll take time, but maybe by the time the PSSG rolls around next spring I'll be back.
Well it's about time.  Of course I believe it -- that's why I left you on the mail list.  What have you been up to for the past year?
Well, I've been working and going to college.  Bought a house over the
summer and have been working on my programming skills.  But the sky is nice
from my back deck, so I can't resist.
Thanks for waiting until after DSRSG to return to the hobby.  The last time you were there the local fauna were lining up, two by two looking for an ark.
Thanks, that gave me a good laugh !  :)
We'll be thinking about you down there on the beautiful dry clear dark nights.
Yea, I'll bet :/
I'll make plans for the next one...


Hope to see everyone at the meeting,