Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
November, 2002

In this Issue

November Events Galileo On PBS Deep South Regional Star Gaze
431 Nephele Occultation Leonid Meteor Shower Magazine Subscriptions
Satellite Spotting Free Downloads Timothy Ferris Interview

November Events

Our  November meeting will be Friday, November 1 at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.

This month’s star party will be on the following Saturday, November 2, at the Cliff Hill farm.

Galileo's Battle For The Heavens

On Tuesday October 29, 2002 at 7:00PM, PBS will air a two hour NOVA episode on the life of Galileo Galilei. 

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

Representing AAS at the twentieth anniversary of DSRSG will be,  John Tatarchuk, Eddie Kirkland, and Russell Whigham.  (Where’s Robert?)  If you’ve been thinking about going, it’s not too late.  The weather forecast for the end of the week is looking pretty good.  Organizer, Barry Simon writes:

We will have a 44" Dobsonian coming down from the University of Kansas.  Looks like the observing field will have a new "Top Dog" this year!
Ultimate amateur astronomer, David Levy will be the featured speaker on Friday.

431 Nephele Occultation

If you’ve never had a chance to time an asteroid occultation, you may want to give this one a try early Saturday evening, November 2 (star party night).  The asteroid is quite dim at magnitude 13, but the occulted star is relatively bright at about magnitude 6.  Although somewhat south of the predicted path, it should be fun to watch the asteroid approach, then recede from the target star.  Who knows,  if the actual path is more to the south than the prediction, you may even get to witness the occultation!  The link above has links to event time, finder charts and the path prediction.

Leonid Meteor Shower 2002

No one who stayed up for the Leonid storm last year will ever forget that display.  This year, the good news is that it falls on a weekend again.  The bad news is that the Moon will be only 2 days before full.  If you missed it last year, you may get an encore.  If you saw it last year, well, I don’t need to tell you what you could be missing.

Magazine Subscriptions

For AAS members who wish to subscribe to or renew their favorite magazine(s), the rates are:

   Sky & Telescope --- $29.95
  Astronomy ----------- $29.00

  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:

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

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

The orders needs to go in this month.  Thanks as always to John for taking time to do this.

Atlantis/ISS Flyby Wednesday Oct 16
From: "Gail & Marvin Smitherman" <

Gail Smitherman Wrote:

Hi Russell, 

I had an email about the flyover of shuttle and station just after sunset to the north/northwest so I decided to try my luck seeing them. I thought they would be 2 faint moving stars.  I was looking a little too far to the west when shifting my vision northward I saw two bright white lights moving directly form my yard! There was no mistaking them, two white lights maybe a hand and 1/2 apart!   By this time I was in the middle of the street calling to any neighbors who happen to out in their yards.

In the darkness I heard: which one is shuttle and which is  the space station, how high up are they, are they going to Florida, wow that is something to see.   They passed over  heading south eastward just to the left of my house and then suddenly  were gone.  I guess at that angle they no longer reflected the light.   It was just very cool!!! There is another pass tomorrow night but they will be farther apart.  Keep looking up, there is always something to see! 


And I replied:

Hello Gail,

Your message inspired me to check out <> where I found a favorable pass Friday evening about 6:50 PM.  It was the ISS without the shuttle which was on its way back home.  It popped over my tree-blocked north western horizons as brilliant 0 magnitude flying star.  I watched sail all the way to my south eastern horizon.  There was supposed to be an Iridium Flash a few minutes later, but a dense cirrus cloud interfered.

Thanks for calling this to my attention,


P.S.  Did you know that you can customize the "Heavens-Above" site to your location so you don't have to enter you location each time?

Free Astronomical Downloads

Astronomer's Digital Clock version 3.2 is available for download from: <>

The latest version of Patrick Chevalley's flat-out wonderful freeware program, Cartes du Ciel, v2.75, is now available.  <>

Timothy Ferris Interview on NPR

National Public Radio’s Living on Earth had an  interview with author, Timothy Ferris on their October 27 edition.  You can read the interview (or listen to the MP3 audio) at: 

Until next month,