Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
August, 2009

In this Issue

Events Calendar Member  News
July Star Party Report  For Sale
Web Links  

Events Calendar

We’ll hold our August meeting on Friday, August 7, at 7:45PM, in room 215 of Davis Hall, the Aerospace Engineering Building.  The doors to the building automatically lock at 8:00PM, so if you’re running late, rap on the door nearest our meeting room and we’ll let you in. 

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 6:45PM. 

Our new moon star party this month will be on Saturday, August 22 at Cliff Hill’s farm, clouds permitting of course. 

August 7, August meeting 7:45PM, in room 215 of Davis Hall,
August 12, Perseid meteor shower (best during predawn hours on August 13.)
August  22, Monthly dark sky star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
October 11-18th Peach State Star Gaze 2009 will be held at the Deerlick Astronomy Village 
October 14-18 DSRSG  Wednesday, at The Feliciana Retreat Center, in Norwood, LA
October 17, Anyone up for a trip to Conecuh National Forest?

July Star Party Report

On July 18, Frank Ward, Alan Cook, Russell Whigham, and Larry Jenkins, and his girlfriend Kelly met at Cliff Hill’s farm for an evening of unseasonably cool air.  We had a couple of virtually cloud-free hours, but were pestered with spotty high clouds most of the evening.  Through a thin cloud parked right over the 10th  magnitude star, I was able to observe it as it  dimmed to the brightness of the asteroid (790, Pretoria) at the appointed time, but with only 50% certainity that it was the actual occultation and not just extinction by the moving clouds.  No solid data to report.  However, several people in Georgia, using photometric observations, determined the the target star was a previously unknown binary!  See their results at:

Scroll down to the 2009/07/19 results for 790, Pretoria, and click on the “Asteroid Profile” links to see the photometric light curves.   I encourage everyone to try this the next time the opportunity presents itself.

Web Links

CalSky  I recently discovered a service from  Not only will it alert you of ISS and STS passages ( I actually like Heavens-Above maps better for this), but also when the satellites  will transit the Sun or Moon.  My favorite feature is the prediction of Iridium Flares.  Unlike the ISS passages, these are very local predictions.  I just dragged the house icon on the map to my exact location (it somehow knew I lived in Montgomery), entered a user name and password, then my e-mail address.  You can select from a menu if you'd like ISS passes, ISS transits of the sun and moon, Iridium flares, and many others, or all of them.   I also changed my alert notice interval to one day prior to the event.  A few minutes later, I received an e-mail, alerting me to a -7.2 iridium flare.   Here is an example of the lunar transit alert.  (This will only be good for people on the east side of Montgomery).

ISS Crosses the disk of the waning gibbous Moon
Monday August 10, 2009
7h34m36.36s (morning event)
Transit duration=0.77s
Satellite at Azimuth=257.6° WSW 
Altitude= 32.0°
The LRO has photgraphed the Apollo hardware left on the surface of the moon:

AAS Shirts  We want to remind you that the current shirt offer will expired July 27th.  From now on, shirts will be available by contacting us and dealt with on a one to one basis.   Steve Durham at Marge's Monograms.

Light in your eyes?  I saw this and had to share. Just seems like something we would do! 
Dark skies. really really dark lol

Check out the latest offering from Celestron:

Burnham Memorial   The Robert Burnham Jr. Memorial is now a part of the Lowell Observatory Here's a nice photo from The Lowell Observatory Blog:

Possible Perseid Meteor Outburst: This year's Perseid meteor shower could be even better than usual. According to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, a filament of comet dust has drifted across Earth's path and when Earth passes through it, sometime between 0800 and 0900 UT (1 - 2 am PDT) on August 12th, the Perseid meteor rate could surge to twice its normal value. Check for details and observing tips. 

Member  News

From Scott Thompson
Just a FYI but I am changing jobs and going to work at Auburn University next month. I should be able to make the meetings each month! 

From Phil Hosey
I set up a Flickr account to host my images.  You can view them as well as download larger versions to use if you'd like.  Here's the link:

I'll be uploading some of the older image as well when I get a chance to reprocess them.


For Sale

Dave Burnett has updated his ad for his Starmaster ELT dob with 11" Zambuto primary (f4.55).  See the ad on the Astronomical Exchange page.  

Green Laser Pointer:  5mw with chrome barrel.  $20.00 Russell Whigham

Hoping to see everyone at the meeting,