Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
December, 2003

In this Issue

December Events November Star Party
Chiefland Star Party 2003 Lunar Eclipse
Member News Membership Dues Reminder

December Events

December 05, AAS meeting  8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering building.  *
December 08, Earliest sunset of 2003
December 14, Geminid Meteor shower.
December 20, Star Party at Cliff Hill’s farm.
December 22, Winter Solstice

*  Anyone who lives in the Montgomery area is encouraged to meet at my house (518 Seminole Dr.) to carpool over to the meeting.  We’ll leave for Auburn at 7:00PM.  RDW

November Star Party

On Saturday November 22, AAS members and friends met at Cliff Hill’s farm for our monthly star party.  Attending were: Peter and Japhet Nylen, 8-inch Hardin Optical Dobsonian; Ray Kunert, 10" LX200GPS;  Andy and Rebecca Camerio, Orion 120 EQ f/8.3; Paul Williamson, Orion 120ST f/5 refractor, Russell Whigham, C-11 SCT; Mack Acheson,  Orion Atlas 10 f/4.7 reflector; Alan Cook, 10-inch Meade LX50;  Alan Akin, Orion ST80 refractor; and William Baugh 12 inch home-built Dob and 120mm f/5 refractor.

The night was clear and cool, dropping to 45 degrees by midnight when we left.  Both transparency and seeing were very good.  The E and F components of the Trapezium were easy toward the end of the evening.  Saturn was steady and highly detailed at 350X.  We swapped looks through each others telescopes, shared celestial target suggestions, and exchanged filters and eyepieces for the best possible view of each object.  A good time was had by all.

Chiefland Star Party – November 19-23, 2003

Always on the hunt for a good star party, I made the 5 ½ hour trip down to Chiefland, FL for the annual Chiefland Fall Star Party.  I went on Wednesday, November 19; John Tatarchuk came down on Friday.  Wednesday night was nice and clear, and very transparent, but also fairly windy.  Several times during the night a gust of wind would slue my dob around or send it to the zenith; but the good news was that there were no dew problems.  I was able to observe 30+ objects before my tired body made me turn in at 2:00.  Thursday was a blustery day as well but by dusk became very calm, and DEWY.  Having gotten only about 4 hours sleep the night before, I had to give it up at about 11:00 with only about a dozen objects observed.  But the night’s main attraction was not at the eyepiece.  From just after dusk for about three hours we were treated to a spectacular aurora.  Yes, from Florida.  And midway through the display a very bright bolide flashed across the aurora. 

Friday afternoon, John arrived and brought with him a new toy, a four inch Stellarvue achromat mounted on a Unistar mount.  After  playing around with the Unistar, I judged it to be superior to my Televue Telepod mount, and so planted seeds of envy and desire.  Santa, are you reading?  Friday and Saturday nights were repeats of Thursday in that it was very dewy and we were constantly battling this foe.  But both nights were clear except for a couple of hours Saturday, and both nights had times of great seeing.  Particularly on Saturday night the seeing allowed John and I to observe Saturn and Jupiter at 700x with my 16” Midnightelescope dob.  If we had had higher powered eyepieces, we felt 1000x was doable.  I also observed a transit of one of the moons of Jupiter in both the dob and my Televue 102.  In both the moon looked like a pearl moving across the planet.

Overall, we had a great time of observing and nearly perfect observing conditions.  We were able to observe through a lot of different scopes including a couple of 24-25” dobs, observed with some friends, including Rod Mollise and Pat Rochford from Mobile, and ate seafood at Cedar Key; what more could you ask.  Sign me up for the Chiefland Spring Star Party in next April.

Eddie Kirkland
Auburn, AL

Lunar Eclipse

Bill Blankley <> 

 There was a fairly good turn-out for the lunar eclipse of November 8.  More than 60 viewers showed during the four hours we were setup.  Ages from kindergarten to seniors were present. 

Should we try to do a monthly or bi-monthly public party Fridays from 6-8/9 close to first quarter and has that been tried in the past and didn't work.  Good times coming for the moon, Saturn, Jupiter that don't need dark skies.  Let's talk about it at the meeting.


Member News

From: Laura Kelly <> 
Subject: Leaving for Germany 

I will try to get up next weekend for the star party.  This will be my last weekend in Alabama.  I leave for Stuttgart, Germany, on Thanksgiving Day.  Thanks for including me in on your e-mail list and sending me the latest and greatest happenings.  I have really enjoyed the few times that I have gotten to be with you all and hope that I can continue to be involved with astronomy clubs in Germany.   I'll keep you informed of what they have over there as far as clubs are concerned. 

Thanks again! 


From: Dave Burnett <> 
For Sale: Discovery 17.5 " Truss Dob 

Telescope is 21 months old and in very good condition. Two small (1/4" diameter) scuffmarks on the edge of the mirror are all that keep me from classifying this scope's condition as excellent. The marks are positioned so that one is covered up by one of the mirror retaining clips.

I enjoy the great views that I get with this scope but not the transport,  set-up and stepladder required when using this big truss dob. I've decided to sell and eventually downsize to an 11 or 12.5-inch scope. I am not interested in a trade at this time. The features and accessories are stock - see Discovery's website for details.

I will include my homemade wheelbarrow handles in this deal. If you ordered this same scope today with the handles, the price including shipping would come to approximately $3800. I will sell for $2600 and you won't have to wait 13 months as I did. I will not ship so pick-up must be here in south-central Alabama (Montgomery area). I will consider meeting within a 200-mile radius of Montgomery.

Clear skies & thanks for looking. 


Dave Burnett

Mack Acheson and his wife are the proud parents of a new baby girl.  Congratulations, Mack! 

Membership Dues Reminder

Memberships for 2000 expire this month.  If you haven’t already renewed, you’ll need to 
Send $15.00 for Regular Membership or $7.50 for Full-Time Students to:

Mr.  John Zachry, Secretary/Treasurer
Auburn Astronomical Society
501 Summerfield Road
West Point GA 31833

Make checks payable to:  Auburn Astronomical Society.  You can save the postage and bring your dues to the meeting.  For questions about your dues or membership status, contact John at 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,