Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
November, 2005

In this Issue

November Events Upcoming Events
Discount Magazine Subscriptions Member News
Telescope Classes  2006 Georgia Sky View
Space News October Star Party

November Events

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, November 4, at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  If available parking space is still an issue, Rhon suggests trying the on-street parking on Wright St., the first street (north) off of W. Magnolia.  This will be an “away” game weekend, so maybe it won’t be too bad.  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 
7:00 PM. 

Our dark-sky star party this month will be on Saturday, November 26, at Cliff Hill’s farm,f Hill’s farm, clouds permitting of course.   This will be Thanksgiving weekend, but we’ll try. 

Upcoming Events 

November 4, November meeting
November 7, Mars will be at opposition
November 17, Leonids (Waning Moon interferes) 
November 26, (Thanksgiving weekend) Star Party at Cliff Hill’s farm
December 2, December Meeting
December 3, Star Party at Cliff Hill’s farm
December 9,  Venus at greatest brilliance
December 14,  Geminid meteor shower (Full Moon interferes)
January 6, January meeting
January 28,  Star Party at Cliff Hill’s farm

Discount Magazine Renewal/Subscriptions

This is your last chance to sign up for club discounted subscriptions for Sky & Telescope and/or Astronomy magazines. AAS treasurer, John Zachry, must get them in this month.  John writes:

The cut off date will be Wednesday, November 9, 2005 when I will send them in.  I will mail in club subscriptions for members anytime after that date but as a favor to me if you want a discount subscription I wish you would tell me early even if you have not given me a check. 

Club subscription to SKY & Telescope is $32.95 (members save $10.00 off of $ 42.95 Regular price). 

Club subscription to ASTRONOMY magazine is $34.95 (members save $ 8.00 off of $42.95 Regular price).

If you cannot be at the November meeting to pay for your subscription(s) please send John an e-mail (and pay later) or letter (with check) telling him you want to be included. We need at least 5 subscriptions to each to qualify for discounts. Checks must be made out to “Auburn Astronomical Society”.


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

Member News

Aaron Wilson
Here’s my info for the webpage… I hope to make it to the next meeting… but you can almost always count on me appearing at the star parties (if held at Cliff Hill Farm).  THANKS!

Aaron Wilson
8-inch Meade LX90 SCT, MX7C, Canon Rebel Digital SLR

Area(s) of special interest:  Working through the Messier Catalog, Galaxies, and planetary observing… improve my CCD astro-photography skills.

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

I’ve always had an interest, but only really made it a hobby in late 2002.  I’m still learning my way around the sky, but hope to improve my star-hopping skills as time goes by. 

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

I was hooked during a 4th grade camping trip where the elementary school science teacher brought his 8” equatorial dob and we got to see Saturn and its moons along with some clusters... 

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

I met my wife Staci in high school in Southern Indiana (near Louisville, KY), and we married in 1998.  Staci has a PhD in molecular biology (plant genetics), and is doing post-doctoral research at North Carolina State Univ in Raleigh, NC.  Yes… we are living as “geo-bachelor-bachelorette” until I finish my school at Maxwell AFB in Jun 2006... I’ll move back to Raleigh at that time. 

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

I earned a BS in Criminology from Univ. of Louisville (KY), and am currently working on a MS in Military Aerospace Application and Management at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL.

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

A couple fish, and one very cute cocker-spaniel named Annie.

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

I’m an Air Force Reservist currently on one-year of active duty orders attending USAF Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB.  Normally I work full-time as a defense contractor supporting command and control and intelligence systems, networks, and databases (C4ISR) for the Air Force.  As a part-time reservist, I would perform drill weekends at Langley AFB, VA I charge of intel surveillance and reconnaissance missions by U2 and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). 

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

Too many (or rather, too many that compete for my wallet!).  I have a 1967 Chevy Camaro that I’m slowly restoring (you can never be done.  I also enjoy computers, reading, camping, hiking, and road/mountain biking.

AAS:  What was your first or favorite car?

That 1967 Camaro was my first car…. and remains my favorite.

AAS:  What was your first or most interesting job? 

My most interesting jobs have been ones that I can’t really talk about?  However, there was one memorable military conference in the United Arab Emirates where I was responsible for pulling together the presentations and speeches for 15 US and Arab General Officers… it was a bit like herding cats.  Everything went very well (much to the delight of our UAE hosts)… in return for a job well done, my Emiri counterpart offered one of his palaces (harem included!) for me to stay in!!!  I kindly declined, explaining my wife would be somewhat less enthusiastic about the idea; however, I valued his gracious offer, and we settled on an extravagant Bedouin-tent dinner instead.

AAS:  Tell us about your favorite vacation. 

So far, the best vacation entailed 10 days hiking and camping along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina back in summer 2003.  Saw lots of wildlife, lost some weight, and had a great time unwinding after returning from 6 months in the Middle East for Op. IRAQI FREEDOM.  My wife and I hope to travel to Australia/New Zealand and Europe at some point in our life. 

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

Grew up in southern Indiana until 1996; spent 10 months in San Angelo, TX (the best skies I’ve seen yet!); 1996-1998 in southern Turkey (and a few trips to England, Germany, and Italy); and 1998-2005 in Columbia, South Carolina while assigned to Shaw AFB.  I “enjoyed” several 3-6 month deployments to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and a very short stay on the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier during its deployment in the Persian Gulf. 

Scott Thompson

I just started writing a new column, Under the Stars,  in the Lake Martin Living magazine. I have referred a few folks to the club so maybe we will get some new members. 


John Clifton
I just wanted to write and update you all on my whereabouts. I finished my coursework at Auburn last summer and recently returned to my home state of MN to do my pre-doctoral internship in psychology. I am working at Hazelden, which is a world leader in addictions treatment. I am also finishing my dissertation via remote control at Auburn. Oh, I'm also getting married in less than two weeks (another reason I've been scarce). I still get out to observe every now and then, although it's usually just with my binoculars. Since I now have a garage, I may even eventually get around to setting up the 8" SCT on wheels. I'm closing down my Mindspring e-mail in the next few days, but my university e-mail will still be good ( for the next year. 
All the best, and clear skies!

John Clifton

Telescope Classes

Rick Evans reported a disappointing response to the offer of telescope classes at the W. A. Gayle Planetarium from those on his mailing list.  Four or five replied, but not enough to justify the effort.  Perhaps next year?

2006 Georgia Sky View

This year we have extended the party by one day. It will be held April 20 through April 23. We are currently working on the schedule of speakers and door prizes. This information will be added to the website once it is confirmed.   We look forward to seeing all of you there. 

Dawn Knight, Registrar 

Space News
John Zachry
Hayabusa spacecraft will make two landings on Itokawa one on November 12 & another landing November 25.

Pluto has 3 moons!

Major dust storm now on Mars

Venus Express launch date is now November 9

October Star Party

Patrick Moylan, Aaron Wilson, Everett Leonard, Mark Pratt and his son, Roman and visitors: David, Dennis, and Donna Johnson,  traveled to Cliff Hill’s farm for great evening of observing

It was a bit cool, but that make for very transparent skies.  We waited for Mars to get overhead about midnight, and had good views, but we later learned that dust storms were engulfing the Red Planet.  We watched the space station brighten, then disappear into Earth's shadow.  We also saw dozens of meteors -- most looked like Orionids.  And, of course, we had a final look at the summer showpieces as well as the best of the fall and winter deep-sky objects. 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,