Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
July, 2002

In this Issue

July Meetings AAS Shirts
Membership Free Downloads
Celestron Lives  

July Meetings

Because of the conflict with the holiday weekend, we've adjusted our normal first Friday meeting back one week and have our July Meeting on Friday, July 12 at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.

This month’s star party will be on the following day, Saturday, July 13, at the Cliff Hill farm.

Taking Orders for AAS Shirts

Several new members have asked about our AAS logo pique polo shirts.  If you (sorry, members only) would like a shirt (or another shirt), please let me know so I can forward your requests to Ricky Wood who has agreed to handle this for us.  Two years ago the price was $25.00 shirt with the AAS logo plus $2.00 if you'd like your name on it – especially nice at public events.  Prices should be about the same now, but Ricky can give us a current quote if there has been a change. 


AAS Treasurer and ALCOR, John Zachry, writes:

We have two new members added to the Auburn Astronomical Society. Total membership now is 29.

Mackall W. Acheson, Maxwell AFB, AL,

Curtis (Curt) Terrell, Sylacauga, AL,  (See Curt’s “Who R We” page for more about him.)

 Then, Jason Ramsey, who has been out of touch for a couple of years, writes: 

If you are still doing this mailing list please change my e-mail address to: .

And, on 20 Jun 2002, Grant Moon wrote:

 Dr. Jenkins,

 This is Grant Moon, son of Frank Moon, and former member of the Auburn Astronomical Society. I have just enrolled into Auburn in the Industrial Systems Engineering program and wanted to know is the AAS is still going? I didn't find information in the Tiger Cub publication and was puzzled that it was not there. Please tell me if the club is still going, and when the meetings are.


 Grant Moon

 To which Rhon replied:

We are indeed still in business, meeting the first Friday of each month at
8pm in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  You won't find
info in the Tiger Cub because we are not affiliated with Auburn University
(and never have been).

It's great to hear from you!  I'm going to forward this to Russell Whigham
and he'll get you on our e-mail list (yes, we've moved into the 20th
century, now that it's the 21st).  Also, you can visit our website at

Hope to see you soon.

Rhon Jenkins

Grant also writes that he needs a Telrad.   He has a Telrad base already attached to his 8-inch Dob, but would like to buy or borrow one for our July star party.  If you can help him out, let him know at

On the debit side of the ledger we’ve lost two pillars of the society:

From: "Mark A. Brown" <> 
 Subject: Farewell 

Greetings Russell, Rhon, and AAS Members:

I guess this is farewell. I'll be on my way to O'Fallon, Illinois next week. Because my wife is military, I follow her from one destination to the next. I really can't say what I'll be doing there as far as employment. I'll have to wait and see. 

I wanted to pass along to you that I've enjoyed getting to know some of the members of AAS and being part of the organization. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend many of the meetings or the New Moon Star Parties due to prior engagements or events going on at the Planetarium. 

However, I think the most memorable of events I was able to attend or be a part of was the 2001 Leonid Meteor Shower out at Cliff Hill's Farm and Astronomy Day 2001 and 2002. AAS contributed a great deal to the W.A. Gayle Planetarium while I was there. Rick Evans and I tried to make every effort to plug your organization as much as possible during our school and public shows. I know that Rick greatly appreciates all the support you give the Planetarium and the special events that you help out with. 

Kind of an interesting story to pass along.... When I first started working at the Planetarium, I asked Rick Evans and Rick Fanning (former Gayle Planetarium employee) what they usually did for Astronomy Day events. They basically told me that AAS came out and supplied telescopes for viewing and the Planetarium presented a show. In the back of my mind, I said...."That's it?" From other star parties and Astronomy Day events I had been involved with in the past, I was used to guest speakers being present, astronomy related displays, hands on activities, and door prizes being presented. I had attended numerous events in Texas and in Colorado with various activities and fun for all ages. I figured that with such a great facility and with AAS, I should expect the same thing during Astronomy Day here. When I told Rick and Rick about this, the response I got was, "Mark, this is Montgomery, Alabama. People just don't do that here." I guess that is where I started to brainstorm. 

Anyway, the beauty of working at the W.A. Gayle Planetarium is that Rick Evans is a very open minded person and takes the time to listen to what his employees have to say. He took my ideas and suggestions and "ran" with them or allowed me to act on many of my ideas and together with AAS we coordinated two great Astronomy Day events. I think it's wonderful that over the last five years we've seen a dramatic increase and awareness in this nationally recognized event. I hope that it continues to grow and more people attend in years to come with more focus on AAS and the Planetarium. I only wish I could stick around and be a part of it again. 

I guess there is a challenge in front of me. I've been in touch with one of the members of the Riverbend Astronomical Society near O'Fallon, Illinois and they are very interested in sprucing up their Astronomy Day event as well as their organization. This is a group that has formed from the much larger St. Louis Club. Currently they only have 7 members, but yet are members of the Astronomical League and hosted their first publicized Astronomy Day event in April. Although I won't have a planetarium to work in or with such a large astronomy club like AAS, I hope to be able to coordinate some events for them and help them out. In addition, the president of their club is Gary Kronk who you may recognize for his work on comets and his contributing work to Sky & Telescope. I'm looking forward to meeting the members and this new opportunity. 

I will try to keep in touch with AAS and the Planetarium. Good Luck to all of you and thanks for allowing me to be a part of your organization. AAS is a great organization to be part of and you all do some wonderful work especially with the public schools around the local area. I want to give a special thanks to Rick for everything he's done for me, the challenges he presented to me and the opportunity to help make things happen inside and out of the planetarium. Thanks a million Rick. I greatly appreciate it! You Da' Man! 

Farewell and Best Regards,

Mark A. Brown 

Farewell Mark.  The pleasure has been all ours.

And, alas, Tom and Julie McGowan have moved to Kingman AZ, in search of more pristine skies, despite my best efforts to change their minds.  I thought sure that setting Arizona on fire would have done it.  Given our recent record of clear star party weekends, Tom may have had a legitimate point.  They’ll be renting in Kingman until Tom finds some dark-sky acreage out of town.  Tom has promised to send his new e-mail address after they are settled in.  We’ll really miss Tom & Julie but we’ll always have the good memories of many nights under the stars together.

Free Downloads

Free Lunar Atlas and Sky Chart Software

From: Largy Claude <> 
To: "'ASTRO-L'" <> 

I've just discovered a good free lunar atlas: Virtual Moon.  This software is from Christian Legrand and Patrick Chevalley, known for its excellent Cartes du Ciel - Skychart, and enables you to display the lunar globe in real time, taking librations into account. It describes more than 1,000 objects and can display their photos from the LOPAM - Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon.

The URL for download it is

For the record, the size of the .exe is about 3.5 MB, to which you may add 26.7 MB of files for the LOPAM pictures. A graphic card is recommended.

Clear skies.


Sky Charts 2.74
June 16 2002 



A new version of Cartes du Ciel is now available.

It introduce some new function as the ability to draw the nebulae outlines build with the Catgen program, a quick search box, the ability to translate the constellation names and to search by object common name. A complete list of the change is include in the file readme.txt.

A new program contributed by Christopher Welfare will help to update the artificial satellites TLE file, it is available from the download page.

This version also interface with the Virtual Moon Atlas, a new freeware I do in collaboration with Christian Legrand.
Please take a look at for more information and to 
get the program.

Best Regards,
Patrick Chevalley

Rod Mollise, author of  Choosing and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope has written an excellent review of the next generation of dew control, the Dew Buster, at

The latest version of Rod’s SCT/MCT Used Buyer's Guide is now available. This version adds the Celestron C90s. 

How do you get the Guide? Just go to the url below and click on it in the menu of choices you'll find--it's free. BUT...this is a large .pdf document now...60 pages and lots of pictures, so allow plenty of time for it to download if you're using a dial-up connection!

Celestron Management Buys Company’s Assets

See the details at:

Hoping to see everyone at the meeting,


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