Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
December, 2010

In this Issue

Events Calendar Total Lunar Eclipse
Public Stargazes Web Links

Events Calendar

We’ll hold our December meeting on Friday, December 3, 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. 

Allen Screws ordered a series of video lectures that have been very well received at our past few meetings.  We’re looking forward  to the next one.  We also hope that Alan Cook will bring his new Questar for show & tell.
December 3, Monthly meeting 7:45PM, in room 215 of Davis Hall.
December 4, Star Party at Cliff Hill’s farm or SEC Playoff
December 7, Earliest sunset of 2010
December 13/14, Geminid meteor shower.  Best from Midnight to morning twilight
December 21, Total eclipse of the Moon (see below)
December 21  Winter solstice 5:38p.m. CST

Public Stargazes

Jennifer Lolley has cancelled the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest stargaze for December 4.  The date was chosen before it seemed possible that Auburn might be at the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

We still owe Amy McKay’s Cub Scouts a stargaze.  December, I’m afraid, will be too busy for most of us, so we’ll see if we can pick a date in January for her guys.

Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse

Beginning shortly after midnight on Tuesday, of December 21, we’ll have a total lunar eclipse.

  • First contact, 12:33 a.m. CST
  • Second contact, 1:41 a.m. CST 
  • Third contact,2:53 a.m. CST
  • Fourth contact at 4:01 a.m. CST
Web Links

Several AAS members qualify for a trip to Mars! 

CERN snags 38 antihydrogen atoms

From Dr. Wayne Wooten, EAAA, in Pensacola:

John Dobson who paved the way for astronomy outreach regardless of access to professional facilities, was interviewed in the first episode of a new series of webcasts, "Living Legend Series" - a project of Astronomers Without Borders' on Saturday, November 13 2010.  You can watch the 5 part webcast videos at:

Two AU connections from Larry M. Owsley:

Auburn researcher part of team to trap, hold anti-hydrogen atoms 
An international team of scientists including Auburn University physics professor Francis Robicheaux has trapped and held the antimatter version of the hydrogen atom for the first time in history. The team's breakthrough could test fundamental physics. The journal Nature published the results of the experiment Nov. 17. The lack of antimatter in the universe remains one of the biggest mysteries of science. The research collaboration at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland, has confined the anti-hydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap for more than 170 milliseconds, a breakthrough in that while large quantities of the atoms were first made at CERN eight years ago, the scientists could not store them. To read more, go to the news release

Hansen book on space shuttle accident to receive prize for best book
Auburn history professor and Honors College director James R. Hansen will receive the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2011 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award for his book, "Truth, Lies and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster." Published by the University Press of Florida in 2009, the book was co-authored by Alan J. McDonald, the director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project for Morton-Thiokol, Inc., at the time of the Challenger accident. The award is presented for the best original contribution to the field of aeronautical or astronautical historical non-fiction literature published in the last five years dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics and astronautics on society. To read more, go to the news release

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,