Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
Because of the conflict with the Peach State Star Gaze, our October meeting will be Friday, October, 11 at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building. Anyone from the Montgomery area is welcomed to carpool over to Auburn for the meeting. Just meet at my house at 518 Seminole Dr. in time to load up and head out by 7:00 PM.
Robert Rock will be acting as coordinator for a star gaze for the 8th grade students of Eastwood Presbyterian School on Thursday, October 10. This will be at the home of Ms. Ann Bode (see directions below). Sunset will be at 6:18 PM, so we’ll need to be there by 6:00 PM if we’re to have any chance of seeing the slender crescent of Venus. The Moon will be four days old and should show lots of detail in the craters and mountains. Here are the directions to Ann’s house:
Go to Emerald Mountain Amoco go east on Rifle Range and turn left at the very
By: Rod Mollise RMOLLISE@aol.com
1. Do NOT leave the scope unattended for even a moment. Period. Not so much because of the danger of theft, but because that shiny, high-tech looking thing is an awful temptation for inquisitive fingers big and small. If you have to leave for a moment, station a buddy at the scope to watch things. I generally stake down the tripod legs with tent stakes and line, too, just in case.
2. Be sure you have a dewshield on the scope. If you don't, fingers WILL touch your corrector before the evening is over.
3. After you finish your goto alignment, remove the finder and store it. Otherwise, lots of little and big folks will yearn to look through it (it looks like a telescope), and will grab it in the process, probably ruining your alignment.
4. Limit yourself to one or two low/medium focal length eyepieces with good eye relief. When and eyepiece is not in your scope, it goes in your pocket. This will ensure nothing walks away.
5. Put rubber eyeguards on the eyepieces. And have some alcohol wipes at hand for wiping the mascara and other gunk off 'em.
6. Provide a stepstool of some kind for the little folks, and help 'em up. These are your most important customers--cater to 'em.
7. Your LX200 GPS draws about 1.5 amps while slewing, and much less while tracking. However, a good decent-capacity battery or battery pack is a good investment. I use a 17ah jump start battery pack with a 12vdc output. This will run my Nexstar 11 GPS all night.
8. Make sure you're really familiar with alignment procedures if this is a fairly new scope. Also be sure you know how to do a non-gps alignment in case satellite visibility is a problem in this location.
9. Objects. _Have a list made up before you go_. Focus on the bright and splashy. The Ring is a fairly good object, but the public, and especially the little folk, will have trouble seeing it. Bright, small open clusters are good. So is the Moon if it's in the sky (that's what the public and the youngsters REALLY want to see rather than deep sky objects). I'd pick a night where there's some Moon. You can do deep sky stuff after it sinks into the west. Another thing that the little people want to see BADLY, believe it or not, is just a bright star. Show em Deneb, followed by the lustrous double, Albireo. M13 is probably bright enough to impress 'em. The Double-double is another winner.
10. Be firm, but understanding, with young and old. As your next customer steps up to the eyepiece repeat: "Just LOOK; don't TOUCH."
11. Know what you're talking about. Wanna be embarrassed?
Stand there with egg on your face when Little Miss asks you how far away
M13 is if you don't know the answer! Have vital statistics for all the
objects on your list at hand. Sure, you can get this off the autostar,
but that means fumbling with buttons. Much better to be familiar with the
The lens that I bought is a big jump in
what I had last time that I went up there. My camera is giving me a fit,
but I am hopeful that I will be able to work it into taking pictures of
This was the first year at the new facility located
just over the Georgia state line in Tennessee, about a mile from the North
Carolina border, for Peach State Star Gazers. Representing AAS this
year were: Eddie Kirkland, William Baugh, Robert
Rock, Scott Thompson, Ricky Wood, Brent Holman
and Russell Whigham. Members Jim McLaughlin and John
Tatarchuk had planned to attend but were sidelined by the threat of
The facility has well built, clean, and attractive buildings (if somewhat scaled down for people shorter and trimmer than some of us) for lodging, dining, and meeting rooms. The observing field offered enough space for everyone – the main short coming at the previous site at Indian Springs. Of the three nights, Thursday was pretty much limited to socializing with old friends and toasting to each others health. Friday was better but we had to move about the sky to avoid scattered clouds. Saturday was the only night that allowed us to take full advantage of the clear night sky. Although there were light domes in a couple areas, the sky for the most part, was transparent and contrasty.
One building near the observing field had coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks for the chilled late night observers. During the daylight hours the same building was home for the several vendors who plied their wares to eager amateurs with money to spend. Thomas Bopp was there. I saw several people with their autographed posters of his famous comet.
If the weather was somewhat less than ideal, the high caliber speakers Friday and Saturday more than made up for it. David Levy, had his audience spellbound as he spoke of his mentor, Gene Shoemaker. David’s advice to any would be comet hunter – If you’re doing it just to have your name on a comet, your chances are pretty slim and you’re bound to be disappointed. If, however, you enjoy the trip along the way, stopping to see all that the night sky has to show, your trip will be most enjoyable whether or not you reach your original destination.
Wil Tirion talked of his transformation from a young Dutch amateur astronomer seeking better sky charts to the world’s preeminent celestial cartographer – from pencil and ink to the latest computer graphics.
Sky & Telescope editor, Kelly Beatty, gave a talk on the odds for a catastrophic asteroid or comet impact with Earth. The short answer – don’t lose any sleep over it. You’re much more likely to be done in by automobile accident than an asteroid.
Atlanta Astronomy Club member, Rich Jakiel, gave us several challenging deep sky objects to try for. He calls them his “mean and nasty” objects that push an observer’s skill to the limits
Hats off to Ken Poshedly and the entire PSSG staff for a wonderful weekend of amateur astronomy.
Deep South Regional
Star Gaze, Oct. 30th – Nov. 3rd, 2002
If for some reason you couldn’t attend PSSG 2002,
you’ll have another shot at a regional star party later this month at the
Deep South Regional Star Gaze. Here is a tentative schedule of events:
For AAS members who wish to subscribe to or renew their favorite magazine(s), the rates again this year are:
Sky & Telescope --- $29.95
To get this special rate, you must be 2002 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 some members pay at time subscriptions ordered.
Make checks payable to Auburn Astronomical Society.
If you want to mail your orders and/or 2002 dues, send them to:
If you have any questions, e-mail John at: email@example.com
Let’s go ahead and take care of this month so
John won’t have to place our order two or three times. Thanks as
always to John for taking time to do this.
Please join me in welcoming our newest member,
Dr. Dwight R. Norris firstname.lastname@example.org
of Auburn. Here is Dwight’s online interview:
Area(s) of special interest: Deep sky; SETI
Send Your Name
Here is the web site for those who wish to send
their name to Mars. All ages accepted. I am going to send in full name
plus Zip Code plus USA. Names probably collected by computer so it probably
won't know I sent more than just name. Sent my name on the Mars Polar lander
but it crashed. Sent my signature on the Cassini spacecraft but lost confirmation
Hope that all of you are well. Life with
three kids keeps me quite busy. Anslee has been taking riding lessons
at the university for the last year and has done well at the local horse
shows. I am sure the next thing is to start traveling to bigger shows.
From: "John Zachry" email@example.com
I wish you would tell everybody about this incredible Moon movie you can get at http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap991108.html. Try it. Takes a little time to download each phase of the Moon but once you have them all it automatically creates full lunar cycle movie. –
I ORDERED SHIRTS TODAY 09/12/02 SHOULD BE READY FOR PSSG.Thanks for your time an effort on this, Ricky
10" Meade Dob
I thought I would drop a line and see if you might
know anyone that may be interested in a MEAD 10' DOB AND 40mm Sirius plossl
26 mm , 12,5 mm all never used asking $550.00 for all. I live
in Florence Alabama my name is Craig. You may give my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 256-764-1879
Hope to see everyone at the meeting,
Auburn Astronomical Society, Webmaster and Astrofiles editor
AAS Web site: www.mindspring.com/~rwhigham/