Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
This month’s meeting will be on Friday, June 4, at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.. Riders from the Montgomery area are welcome to meet at the home of Russell Whigham, 518 Seminole Dr., and carpool over to Auburn. Plan to be ready to leave for Auburn at 7:00PM.
June 8, Transit of Venus (see below).
Our star party this month will be on Friday/Saturday, June 11/12 at Cliff Hill’s farm. We actually have two good weekends this month. The above has Moonrise at 2:00 or 3:00AM, which won’t be a problem for most of us. The following weekend June 18/19, will also be an option. Surely we can get at least one good night out of the four.
When and Where: Venus will be nearing the end of its transit at sunrise in Auburn on June 8, 2004 at 05:33. Montgomery residents will get to sleep for four more minutes that morning, where sunrise will be at 05:37. Since we’ll be nearing the Summer Solstice, The Sun will be at 62 degrees (0 degrees is North, 90 degrees is East) when it clears your unobstructed eastern horizon. If you don’t have a good horizon in your back yard, you have a couple of options. For the Auburn folks, the western end of Cliff Hill’s runway should be very good. If someone has planned a public viewing, or found a better place closer to town, let me know where and I’ll get the word out.
In Montgomery, we’ve been asked to share our solar filtered telescopes with Joe Albree’s AUM math class on the tenth floor of AUM’s Library Tower. Volunteers from our group so far are Paul Williamson, Susanna Fillingham, Robert West, Mack Acheson, John Clifton, Russell Whigham, and Ray Kunert. If you want to join us there, you’ll to let Joe know so that he can have your name on the list for the security guard. The East Room is a large conference room located near the elevators, so it should be easy to find. Ray has visited the room and reports, as Joe told us at the May meeting, that although the windows are recessed, viewing to the northeast will be good. The windows have permanent blinds (adjustable tilt, but not “raisable") within the double panes, but they should pose no problem with the Sun’s image when focused at infinity. This minor problem should be more than offset by being able to enjoy the event in the comfort of air conditioning!
Here are links to maps that will help you get to the AUM Library Tower:
Safety: Shade #13 or #14 welders shades are deemed safe but most welding supply houses do not keep shades this dark in stock.
You can find information on the safety aspects of solar observing and a list of filter suppliers at:
If you plan to photograph or video the event,
you can practice by using the full Moon on June 3, as your practice target
to achieve a good image size and white balance. Use the same filters
for imaging the Sun as for visual use. If you video, see if your
camcorder has a time lapse feature, say 1 second exposure every 15 seconds,
to make your movie more dynamic.
AAS treasurer, John Zachry, reports a budget surplus of just over $1,000 in the society’s bank account. Some suggestions for how to spend the money are:
AAS Shirts ($25.00 each) We’ve been nickeling and diming Ricky Wood every year with orders for one or two AAS shirts. A proposal has been made to order a dozen or so in an assortment of sizes to make them more readily available for new members.
LCD projector ($1000 +) for Power Point and astronomical software presentations.
SLOOH ($50 - $100 per year) Subscription to time on a C-14 telescope in the Canary Islands) http://www.slooh.com/faq.html If we opt for this, we’ll need a volunteer to coordinate it.
Solar prominence telescope (to be used for school and other public events) such as the Coronado Personal Solar Telescope ($500) http://www.buytelescopes.com/product.asp?pid=6580
Chrome “barefoot” accelerator pedal ($8.00) for Rhon’s Corvette. http://www.dealsonwheels.com/partsandaccessories/detail.cfm/part_id/1345773
OK, just kidding about that one, but bring your other ideas and suggestions to the June meeting for discussion.
On the weekend of May 21/22, the Flint River Astronomy Club hosted their first “Georgia Sky View” at Camp McIntosh on the grounds of Indian Springs State Park near Jackson, GA. By doing so, they filled a void in the southeast regional star party calendar that was created when the Atlanta Astronomy Club changed their regional “Peach State Star Gaze” from the spring to the fall and relocated in the Tennessee mountains. Thanks to the members of FRAC, we now have a regional spring event nearby once again.
Because it was their first such event, they wisely limited the number of attendees to 75. I was able to make the cut as late as the weekend before, so few if any were turned away because of the limit. I was only able to attend on Saturday. It’s a three hour drive from Montgomery – just over two from Auburn. Ray Kunert and Eddie Kirkland arrived on Friday and had already staked the AAS claim on the eastern side of the observing field. It was unseasonably hot, making the shade from Eddie’s canopy very much appreciated. The field was well populated with telescopes, but not to the point of being crowded. We passed the afternoon visiting, inspecting the telescopes on the field, and attending the presentations and door-prize drawings in the auditorium. Ray has become the official “AAS door prize winner” at regional star parties which entitled him to chauffeur Eddie and I, to The Plantation Steak House, in Jackson, for an early dinner.
We returned to mostly cloudy skies, as was the case for most of the previous evening. Because of the heat, I had deferred setting up my telescope until after sunset. As darkness fell, it was still partly to mostly cloudy with no hint of clearing. So, the C-11 never was never set up and I had become a “telescope bum”. By 10:00PM temperature had dropped to a comfortable level and there was enough clear sky have a good look at comet NEAT with my 15x70 binoculars. I later to stayed busy finding myriad deep-sky objects with the binoculars as well as in Eddie’s 16-inch and Ray’s 10-inch. By 01:30, fatigue was beginning to set in, so I headed for the bunkhouse, happy that I had made the trip.
Camp McIntosh is a well maintained facility and the skies surprisingly dark considering its location midway between Atlanta and Macon. The event was very well organized with very nice door-prizes, and good programs and speakers. The observing field had been mown, with active ant beds having recently been treated. Event organizers made a conscience effort to group friends and fellow club members together. The field was well marked off to maximize its usage. The rules were simple and based on common sense courtesies. A much appreciated touch was the sausage & biscuits and cinnamon rolls made available at midnight on the field. Everyone was friendly and made us feel right at home.
Thanks to Steve and Dawn Knight, event coordinators, for their time and efforts, and to all of the other FRAC members who worked so hard, to make the first GSV a huge success. I hope that as soon as they recover from this year’s event, that they will see fit to make this an annual tradition.
An amateur rocket team this month will attempt to send a 21-foot-tall rocket carrying a ham radio avionics package into the fringes of space. The launch by the Civilian Space Xploration Team (CSXT) could occur as early as Monday, May 17, from Black Rock Desert in Nevada. A CSXT try to reach space in 2002 ended some three seconds after launch when the rocket's engine exploded. Avionics Team Leader Eric Knight, KB1EHE, says CSXT has since rebounded from that devastating blow with a newer, bigger vehicle.
DAVID O. DARLING
416 WILSON STREET
SUN PRAIRIE, WISCONSIN 53590-2114 USA
I am sending this letter to inform you for the need for lunar observers. They are needed to participate in a global effort to monitor the Moon for Lunar Transient Phenomena. Lunar Transient Phenomena is short lived changes detected on the Moon and can consist of glows, flashes, darkening of lunar features and red and blue color phenomena. My goal is to coordinate and combine the talents and efforts of the professional and amateur astronomical community from around the world to monitor the Moon during upcoming spacecraft missions to the Moon. This concerted effort will be to assist all observers who choose to participate with the latest information about lunar transient phenomena and the latest information on reported events. There will also be coordinated observing programs to examine the behavior of historical lunar transient phenomena sites under similar lighting conditions.Hope to see everyone at the meeting,