Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
December, 2004

In this Issue

December Events Mary Olive Thomas Track Star Gaze Report
Magazine Renewal 2005 Membership Dues
Submitted Links  Fond Farewell
Please Welcome… Chiefland Star Party 2004

December Events

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, December 3, 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.

Our star party this month will be the following weekend, Friday/Saturday, December 10/11, at Cliff Hill’s farm.  We’ve had good success at scheduling our star parties on either/or Friday / Saturday evenings.  Keep an eye on the weather and pick the best night.  All things being 
equal, Saturday seems to be the day of choice for most. 

Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest Star Gaze
Rhon Jenkins, AAS President

Yes, the stargaze happened (or at least something did).  It was a lovely drizzly, foggy night, but Greg Glasscock, Allen Screws and I unloaded our stuff under the pavilion and set up for a show-and-tell.  Greg and Allen did a great job under trying circumstances.  As expected, there weren't many folks there (but there were some, especially kids).  Margaret provided hot cider and other goodies.  We were there almost two hours.  Hopefully we can try again next year and hope for better weather.

Magazine Renewal
John B. Zachry, AAS Treasurer

Club subscriptions to SKY & Telescope and to ASTRONOMY magazine have been sent in. Any member still wanting to get a club subscription to either of the above can still do so by sending me an e-mail or letter. Club discount subscriptions to SKY & Telescope for $ 32.95 (Regular price $42.95) and/or ASTRONOMY magazine for $29.00 (Regular price 42.95). 

If you cannot be at our next meeting to pay for their subscription(s) please send me an e-mail (and pay later) or letter (with check) telling me you want to be included. Checks must be made out to “Auburn Astronomical Society” - not to me.


Address: Auburn Astronomical Society
c/o John B. Zachry 
501 Summerfield Road
West Point, GA 31833


Membership Dues Reminder

Memberships for 2004 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 the address above.  Again, 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 

Submitted Links

From: Scott Thompson:
Here are a few Lunar [eclipse] pictures from last month...

From: John Zachry
Cassini Encounters with Saturn's Moons" schedule. 

Fond Farewell

Mack Acheson called to say that he and his family will be leaving the area soon pending orders from the U.S. Navy.  Few AAS members have displayed the contagious energy and genuine enthusiasm as Mack.  I’m sure he’ll take that with him where ever he goes.  It’s been a pleasure, Mack.  Good luck!

Please Welcome…

Charles (Chuck) Lewis
Montgomery AL

Telescope:  Meade 10" LX200 GPS SCT 

AAS:  Are you a seasoned amateur astronomer or just getting into the hobby? 

CL:  I wouldn't say "seasoned". I've had a little experience with my 6" reflector but haven't played with it for quite a while.

AAS:  What was your first experience that attracted you to astronomy? 

CL:  I became interested in the comet  Kohoutek, back in the 70's. Never did see it through my telescope but did get a view of it from an airplane. The real hook, though, was seeing Saturn the first time.

AAS:  Tell us a little about your family members; spouse? kids? siblings? significant other?

CL:  I met my wife Bette in 1963 in Selma while stationed at Craig AFB for pilot training. We have been married for 41+ years and have three sons—Thomas, Bill and Stephen. Thomas and Stephen are  married, and Bill has a "significant other." Thomas works in film and video production in Los Angeles. Bill teaches art in a public school near Boise, ID. Stephen raises fish—tililpia—on our farm near Lowndesboro. We have three grandchildren.  Thomas and his wife Liz have a ten year old daughter. Our youngest son Stephen, an AU graduate in fisheries, and his wife Jo—also an AU grad—have a three year old daughter and a 17-month old son.

AAS:  Can you tell us a little about your formal education?

CL:  I was graduated in 1963 from Grove City College in Penn. with a BS in mechanical engineering.

AAS:  Do you have any pets? What kind?; How Many?

CL:  Yes, we have a  3 1/2 year old black Lab named Tallapoosa, Tally for short.

AAS:  Where do you work? If you're retired, what was your occupation?; If you're still in school, have you chosen a career?

CL:  After college I entered the Air Force, where I spent four years after completing Pilot training at Craig AFB in Selma. From there I went to work for United Airlines and was employed as a pilot  just shy of thirty years.

AAS:  Besides astronomy, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

CL:  Stamp collecting, woodworking, magic

AAS:  What was your first or favorite car?

CL:  My first car was a 1962 Dodge Lancer. Pretty nerdy, huh? The closest I came to owning my dream car, an early Corvette, was my 1996 Chevy Super Sport with a 'vette engine. 

AAS:  What was your first or most interesting job?

CL:  My first real job was the Air Force, although I had many summer jobs while going to school.

AAS:  Tell us about your favorite vacation.

CL:  Our best vacation was an all-expense-paid tennis vacation to Amelia Island, Florida, back in the 70's

AAS:  Have you ever lived in some other part of the U.S. or another country? Where?; When?

CL:  I have lived in N.J., Ohio, Ill., Calif., and Mich. All this moving around was due to the Air Force and being employed by United Airlines.

Chiefland Star Party 2004
by Eddie Kirkland

The Chiefland Star Party is held each November at the Chiefland Astronomy Village in, you guessed it, Chiefland (Florida, that is).  More information about the Village is available at  This year two of our club’s members attended: Ray Kunert and yours truly.  The star party is normally a week long event; Ray went down on Saturday and I on Sunday.  There were supposedly 300+ people registered but while I was there, I don’t think the actual count made it that high.  Last year’s event was bigger.  However, I left on Thursday morning which is when many people start showing up, although the weather forecast for the remainder of the week indicated cloudy conditions. 

According to Ray, Saturday night had excellent skies.  Of the nights I was there, only one was marginal with clouds ended the observing early.  So I had three and a half excellent observing opportunities.  One night, I forget which, we had a beautiful auroral display.  There were at times 3 or 4 columns of bright light shimmering with a pinkish hue. 

The first night I mostly looked at “eye candy” objects, but later searched for some things I’d never seen.  I got to try out a Paracorr with my dob as well as some nice big Nagler eyepieces and a Sky Commander DSC, all of which I am now lusting after.  Are you reading this, Santa!!  I also made a few friends, one of whom had a NICE 24” Starmaster dob with go-to.  Views through it of some planetary nebulae were awe-inspiring.

Chiefland is a great venue for star parties.  I addition to all the nice people and hundreds of scopes to look at, there were two vendors there that went home with some of mine and Ray’s money.  Hey, Ray, did you ever tell your wife about the two Naglers you brought home.  Ray and I also partook of the opportunity to visit nearby Cedar Key one day to eat some fine seafood at Frog’s.  Oh yeah, thanks, Ray for putting up with me in your very nice RV; now that’s the way to camp.  All in all we had a great time at Chiefland, but don’t take my word for it, go experience it for yourself.

Hoping to see everyone at the meeting,