Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
September, 2010

In this Issue

Events Calendar AAS 30 Year Anniversary
New Members  Public Stargaze
Vocabulary Lesson SLOOH
Web Links

Events Calendar

In lieu of our normal first Friday meeting that fell on Labor Day weekend, our September meeting will be held in conjunction with our public stargaze on Saturday, September 11, at the Forest Ecology Preserve’s, Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest on Moore’s Mill Road, in Auburn (see below).

September 03, Meeting date changed to 9-11 because of Labor Day
September  11, September meeting/stargaze at Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest
September  12, First meeting of AAS in 1980
September  21, Jupiter at opposition
September  22, Fall Equinox
September  27, Moon two degrees south of Pleiades

October 9, AAS 30-Year Anniversary/October meeting
October 15/16, American Heritage Girls stargaze, in Prattville

December 20, Total eclipse of the Moon This eclipse will be fully visible from North America. The moon enters penumbra at 11:28 A.M. CST on December 21 and leaves penumbra at 5:06 A.M. CST on December 21. 

AAS 30 Year Anniversary

The Auburn Astronomical Society’s 30-year anniversary banquet will be on October 9, 2010, at 6:00PM at Good Ol’ Boy’s restaurant at 1843 Sandhill Road in Auburn (Lee County Road 10), just under 2 miles from US 29 S; 3.5 miles from Society Hill Road.  We’ll order from the menu and an 18% gratuity will be added to your order.  Thanks to Joyce and Rhon Jenkins for making the arrangements. 

Our anniversary banquets have traditionally been family affairs – a time to share a bit of what we do with friends and family.  We also hope that former AAS members will come back for a visit, and perhaps, get back into astronomy. 

The restaurant needs an approximate head count.  If you plan to attend, please let Rhon know how many will be in your party. Rhon also requests that, if you have any newspaper articles or photographs of the clubs history, that you send them to him to be used in his PowerPoint presentation, following the meal.

New Members 

Please join me in welcoming one returning member and two new members:

Jeff Crawford, from Columbus, goes way back with AAS.  Jeff was a member in 1984, at the dedication of our Moores Meadow Observatory.

Also from Columbus is new member, John Wingard.  John has a 3.5-inch Questar and has been in the hobby for several years. 

Rohan Patel is from Sylacauga, and an is an Auburn University aerospace engineering major.  Rohan is just getting started in hobby, but has had a long time interest in astronomy. 

Welcome all!

Public Stargazes

Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest 
Moore’s Mill Road, Auburn
September 11, 7:00PM

Jennifer Lolley and the members of her Forest Ecology Preserve group have invited us back to the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest for a stargaze.   Sunset will be at 6:54 PM, with activities getting underway at 7:00 PM, with telescopic observing about 45 minutes to an hour later.   Amy McKay will be bring some of her older Cub Scouts, as well.  The gate will be open from 5:30 on if you prefer to set up your scope before dark.  Jupiter rise will be at 7:21 in the east.  The 3-day old crescent Moonset will be at  8:51 PM, so we should get to view some of the brighter deep-sky objects, as well. Moon will be in a nice grouping with Mars, Venus, and Spica in the west. 

Please let us know if you can bring your telescope.  I’ll be sending out some suggested deep-sky objects for observing in a day or so.  If you’d like to help, but don’t have a telescope, we’ll need someone to point out the four, 3rd magnitude or brighter satellites.  Check out images of our previous MOTDF stargazes. 

Directions to Mary Olive Thomas Forest

For those familiar with Auburn:  on Moore’s Mill Road, one mile east of the Ogletree Village shopping center ... on the north side of the road.  There will be a sign at the gate.  The shopping center is at the intersection of Moores Mill Road and Ogletree-Hamilton road.  This intersection is east of Dean Road, on Moore’s Mill. 

For those coming from out of town:  take exit 58 off I-85 (Tigertown exit) south (away from Tigertown) on Gateway Drive .  This exit road takes a curve toward the east and, approximately 0.7 miles after you get off the interstate, intersects Society Hill Road (runs north-south).  It's a fairly large intersection, so it'll be hard to miss.   Approximately 3.2 miles later, Society Hill intersects Moores Mill at a flashing red light.  There's a convenience store called the LAZ-B at this intersection.  Turn right on Moores Mill.  The gate will be about 0.9 mile on the right.

GPS:  Latitude:   32° 34.881'N, Longitude:   85° 25.328'W 


Our September program was a continuation of our SLOOH online observatory project.  We began with Allen Screws at the keyboard, followed by Alan Cook, and Michael Pastorett.  After logging on, Allen quickly learned to manipulate the telescope controls one of the many telescopes, located in the Canary Islands, and reserved a time-slot for imaging our first object, Jupiter.  For many of us this was the first time we’d seen a live CCD image appear before our eyes.  Soon, the Great Red Spot was easily visible.  We imaged several objects including planetary nebula NGC 40, Jupiter,  Uranus, and M-74. 

Vocabulary Lesson

Sidereal:  1. Relating to the stars. 2. Measured with reference to the apparent motion of the stars. 
This word appears within two more common words that show our historical interest in the stars. "Desire" literally means "of a star" in the sense of wishing upon a star, while "consider" means "together with a star" and is connected to an older meaning of "observe". 

Web Links

Just in case you haven’t already heard, check out this nice memory of Jack Horkheimer’s life. 

Asteroid discovery over time:  It's based on some WISE data. See <> for the abstract and <>  for the PDF paper.

YouTube - Go For Launch! Space Shuttle The Time-Lapse Movie 

Discover new pulsars, your computer.  Several programs, most famously SETI@Home, use millions of personal computers to help research huge amounts of data for scientific analysis.  New Einstein@Home  has great promise is looking for new pulsars.  Link to: <>

On the tube:  “Bad Astronomy’s” Phil Plait is on The Discovery Channel with a new series, “Bad Universe”  premiered on Sunday August 29, at 9 PM CDT. 

Comet 103P Hartley 2 in Pegasus is currently at magnitude ~11.4. It is starting to show some structure.  The light curve indicates that this comet will reach magnitude 5 by year's end! Scroll down to the Magnitudes Graph. 

The GRS and Oval BA from Christopher Go.

Jupiter movie from Drew Sullivan   Note you can see the bands rotating at slightly different speeds. 

Watch Titan occult a binary star system

Hope to see everyone at the stargaze,