Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
September, 2002

In this Issue

September Meetings August Star Party
Member News Astronomy on Public TV
Regional Star Parties AAS  Shirts
For Sale  

September Meetings

Our  August meeting will be Friday, September 6 at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  Our program will be, Stellar Living: A House with a Sol, presented by AAS member, Alan Cook.  Alan writes about his program: 

This is about the Solar Decathlon House that is being created by an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty from Auburn University's College of Engineering and the College of Architecture , Design and Construction.  It is one of 14 university team entries that will be erected on the mall in Washington, D. C., later this month and continuing into October.  The house is intended to be totally powered by solar energy including the production of a surplus of energy to power an electric car.  The house is to include the use of common appliances as well.  There are ten categorical events that will be evaluated thus making the competition a decathlon.  The Auburn entry makes use of the symbolic and chronometric potentials of the sun.
By the way, William Baugh is doing the HVAC system installation for the house this week and Jeff Graves has been working on the computer system for it.  

This monthís star party will be on the following Saturday,  September 7,  at the Cliff Hill farm.

August Star Party

On Friday, August 9, members and friends of AAS met under clear skies for the first time in several months for an evening under the stars.  Attending were:  Allen and Christy Screws, Eddie Kirkland, Mack Acheson and his guests, Bryce, Austin, and Aaron Vilt, Evelyn Cook, Susan(?) Green, Charles and Norma Floyd, Everett Leonard and your editor.  A thoroughly delightful evening was enjoyed by all as we shared eyepiece time on the summerís glorious star clusters and nebulae.

Member News

Jack McDaniel

The Masters degree is finished,  I have a new job with Public Health managing part of the accounting office that deals with federal grants.  No change in the house , wife, or kids department.  will you include me on the E-mail list for the news letter?
Jack W. McDaniel

Hello Jack,

It's great to have you back!  Our school star parties haven't been the same without you.  

Thanks for the e-mail address.  You're back on the mail list now.  Congratulations on your degree!
Looking forward to seeing you again soon,


Gail Smitherman

Went out for a time Saturday night.  The sky was glorious.  Saw a few meteors but was too tired to stay up late.  Had  a Lord of the Rings  movie party at my house that night.   It is a great movie , if you haven't already seen it but it is looong!!! Can't wait until the next one.    Mosquito threat has kept me in some these summer nights, but they don't seem to be as bad as at the early part of summer.  Miss you guys.  

Take care,

Hello Gail,

I'm glad you were able to catch a few Perseids.  We saw only a handful, but they were nice and bright with persistent trains.  I wasted at least an hour trying to find Comet Hoenig.  I hate to be whipped by a 9th magnitude object.  My only excuse is that I was trying to see through the light bubble over Auburn & Opelika.  We still had lots of fun sharing looks at the summer objects, though.

I was soaked in 100% DEET, but the skeeters didn't seem to be a problem.  Some hungry bats were helping us out in that department.

Maybe some day you'll be able to meet with us under a dark sky,


David Newton

Hello David,

At 04:55 PM 8/11/2002 -0500, you wrote:

Any thoughts on an astronomy field guide that will work south of the equator?
I want to give one to a professional safari guide I met recently.  He doesn't really want a super-duper field guide, but he would like to be able to point out some of the major objects and offer comments about them.
Almost any field guide will show stars all the way down to the South Celestial Pole.  The problem is the poor folks south of the equator see the traditional constellations upside-down.  

I don't remember if you were at the meeting when Tom McGowan gave the program on his trip to Australia, but one example he gave was that the Constellation Bootes, which to some in the northern hemisphere looks like an "Ice Cream Cone", appears to those down under as the "Neck Tie".  If your friend is in Kenya, the problem wouldn't be quite as bad as for the Aussies, but I guess lying on a blanket one could make the N. hemisphere patters match a field guide.  

A search on using "southern hemisphere  field guide to the stars or sky" yielded several pages of links.  

I have the old Peterson series book,  A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets by Donald H. Menzel.  There are some later editions by Jay M. Pasachoff , but I'm not familiar with those.  Either of these would be fine I think.

I hope this helps a little.

Hope to see you again soon,


Mark Brown

Hi Russell,
Hmmmmmm....I've not been here but two months and I've got people hunting me down for my illegal activities. Just kidding. I received a message from a Jamie Goggin who had contacted you and Rick Evans both on my whereabouts. 
I'm not sure how she made the connection that I was moving to the St. Louis area from your website, but anyway she said you wanted my updated email.
No luck with the Perseids. We had a lot of cloud cover. I did manage to pop outside for a few minutes and catch some earthgrazers, but that was it. Hope all is well. 
Best Regards,
Mark Brown

Nichole Long
Hi, this is Nichole Long. As of Sept. 1, will be discontinuing its free e-mail services. is no more. From now on, please e-mail all society news & other messages to my new e-mail address: .


Alabama Public Television, Discovering Alabama

Here are a few programs that should be of interest to our members:

September 6, 2002 1:30AM Wetumpka Impact Crater
September 13, 2002 9:30PM Night Sky
September 15, 2002 6:30AM Night Sky
September 15, 2002 1:00PM Night Sky
November 26, 2002 2:30AM Night Sky

Unless youíre just dragging in from a late star party, you may need to brush up on your VCR programming skills for a few of these.                                                                          

And speaking of the Wetumpka Meteor Crater, plans for development of the site can be found at: 

Regional Star Parties

Are you about ready for some cool dry air and dark transparent skies?  How about a field full of telescopes, astronomy vendors, and nationally known speakers?   Here are your options:

Peach State Star Gaze,  Oct. 3 - 6, 2002

Having outgrown their location at Indian Springs State Park, near Jackson GA, the PSSG will have this yearís event just over the Georgia state line near the junctions of Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  PSSG is know for great workshops and speakers.  This year will feature Wil Tirion, author of Sky Atlas 2000, and co-author of Uranometria 2000, as well as Americaís number one amateur astronomer, David Levy.  Be sure to bring everything you want autographed.   

The AAS delegation, at last count, will include, William Baugh, Eddie Kirkland, Ricky Wood, Scott Thompson, and Russell Whigham.  Others are encouraged to join us.

Tennessee Star Party Oct. 4-6, 2002

Just over an hourís drive up the road, near Crossville TN, another band of amateur astronomers will be gathering for more of the same.  The TSP, not to be confused with the other TSP in Texas, will have as their featured speaker, Richard Berry, who will speak on the subject of his expertise,  image processing.  (I do wish they could spread these out a bit so as not to be in competition.)  Registration forms and other information about the weekend can be found at the above link.  
Thanks to Scott Smith   Ridgetop, TN for letting us know.  

Deep South Regional Star Gaze,  Oct. 30th Ė Nov. 3rd, 2002 

This will be the twentieth anniversary of DSRSG and event organizer, Barry Simon, has planned a schedule for this year to surpass all previous events.  Know in the past primarily as an observers event, DSRSG XX will have David Levy as the keynote speaker, (in case you missed him at PSSG).  Rex Allen of Rexís Astro Stuff will be on the field plying his wares to hoards of hardware hungry amateur astronomers.  Ole buddy Rod Mollise of the Mobile club, author of Choosing and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope, the regionís (if not the nationís) foremost authority on Schmidt Cassegrain Telescopes, will give a workshop on SCT collimation.  See the link above for full details.

Registration  forms, liability waivers, agendas, maps, meal and accommodation information are available at the respective links above.

AAS Shirts

Ricky Wood writes:
Only Gail Smitherman and Russell Whigham have sent in orders. I was waiting to see if more were ordering so I would not have to place several single orders.
Ricky Wood
Letís set a deadline of September 14 for the shirt orders.  See the August Astrofiles for ordering information.  Letís not make this a burden for Ricky.

For Sale

From: Charles Harris
Item 1 - This package includes the Celestron heavy duty tripod, Astromaster, and AddTec 9v RA Drive, Astromaster Manuals. This setup was replaced with a Vixen GP/Skysensor 2000 mount. The Astromaster alone is over $300. All sells for $500 money order plus shipping. Primary motive for selling is to reduce my equipment list so I can fit other items around the house. If you have any questions please email me. To see additional pictures of the mount, Astromaster Controller and AddTec Controller email me.  
Item 2 - Takahashi Sky Patrol - Portable equatorial mount specially designed for small aperture refractor or camera lens. Light weight, small size, 4-D cell powered. Built-in polar alignment scope. Includes battery pack, plastic carrying case, instruction booklet. Built-in drive corrector with two buttons, tracks at sidereal rate red button tracks at 4X sidereal rate. Very accurate. $250  
Photos taken with both mounts at 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,

Russell Whigham
Montgomery AL
Auburn Astronomical Society, Webmaster and Astrofiles editor  
AAS Web site: