WASP
WASP
The Warren Astronomical Society Paper
WAS
Volume 33, Number 1 January, 2001

icon Book Review of Cosmic Catastrophes by J. Craig Wheeler
by Mike Simonsen

This book could have just as easily been entitled "Everything Mike Wanted To Know About Stellar Evolution and Variable Stars, But Didn't Know Where To Ask".

The first chapter deals with star formation, the hydrogen burning cycle and the evolution of single stars. Chapter two takes you on a trip in time to the end stages of a star's life cycle. Immediately, I was hooked as the topics of Red Giants and stellar winds were introduced.

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icon Members
by Joe Van Poucker


astro chatter Astro Chatter
by Larry Kalinowski

This issue of the WASP will probably reach you before January 1, so I'm going to take this time to wish all of you a happy holiday season and I hope all of you take the time to appreciate what you have instead of what you'd like to have. Don't stop wishing though, It's what keeps us driving forward in life.

Looks like Leonid meteor predictions are getting better than ever. November's predictions for the east coast were right on as many observers in New [continued]

icon The SwapShop
by Larry Kalinowski


icon November Cranbrook Meeting Minutes
by John Herrgott




icon Book Review of Cosmic Catastrophes by J. Craig Wheeler, continued

The next three chapters tell of binary stellar evolution, accretion disks, white dwarfs, and the origin and evolution of cataclysmic variables. Now we're talking my language!

Five more chapters cover supernovae, neutron stars, pulsars, black holes and quasars. These are the major areas of study and interest to the author, and are the core of the topics covered in this book.

The last two chapters deal with some really strange objects and theories. Gamma-ray bursts, black holes and wormholes, string theory and singularities.

All this may sound a bit intimidating at first glance, but the book is written in plain English for plain folk. There are no mathematical formulae to wade through and the chapters are built upon the foundation of each of the previous chapters in a way that lets the reader understand how all these topics are interrelated.

Another thing I appreciated about the book is the freshness and up to date nature of the information. This book deals with many topics on the cutting edge of astrophysics and the reader is given the most recent research, observational data and theory. This book should remain viable for many years to come.

I checked out a copy at the local library, but it's going on my Christmas list in the "must have" column!

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icon Members

New Members for November 2000: W.A.S. Anniversaries for January 2000:
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astro chatter Astro Chatter, continued

York and other states saw meteor counts go as high as 250 per hour. It amazed many because the last quarter Moon was expected to cause observing difficulty. It even looks better for next year's shower. Those Leonids could become one of the best showers for the years 2001 and 2002.

All of us involved in understanding science know that the next millenium really starts on January 1, 2001, because of the Christian method of counting years. Seems like the haves back then didn't like to start numbering years with zero, so they used one instead. Actually, it gives us all a chance to celebrate again, even though most of the general public let out all their millenium steam last year.

Speaking of zero, that number can be easily overlooked in ordinary number counting when it comes to everyday activities. Many of us are so used to counting by starting with one, that its easy to forgive others when they do the same. However, the importance of the number becomes apparent when we try to discribe a series of numbers on a graph. It's becoming more and more important today because graphing is becoming a way of life, a method of displaying evidence or data in such a way as to bring out any abnormal or positive data grouping. With the advent of negative numbers, zero became an absolute necessity because the origin of a graph made more sense with a number called zero. Whenever we cross from positive to negative numbers, the zero becomes evident. Overlaying a positive and negative one on a graph makes no sense. When counting, zero represents none, not nothing.

Another fairly bright comet is entering the northern hemisphere skies and it carries the co-discovery name of Utsanomia-Jones (C/2000 W1). It proves that humans can still beat the critical eyes of those automated sky scanners that belong to the LINEAR and CATALINA teams. Perihelion takes place on December 26, 2000 and the estimated maximum magnitude should be around 5.5. There's one bad apple though. It'll never get up more than ten degrees above the south-west horizon at the end of evening twilight. If you don't mind observing during late evening twilight, you have a better chance of spotting it above the neighborhood trees. An ephemeris for December will be available from yours truly, just for a phone call.

I think everyone in the club knows there's going to be a partial eclipse of the Sun on December 25. If not, this mention should pass the word. The eclipse starts (first contact) at 10:52am. Maximum is at 12:27pm, and last contact will be at 2:03pm. At maximum, the Sun will be about 65% covered.

Four more moons have been discovered orbiting around Saturn, bringing the total count to twenty-two. Uranus is now second with twenty-one. The annoucement was made during a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasedena, California.

Ken Wilson and wife Betty stopped in to say hello at the Macomb meeting in November. Ken is an old WAS member who helped build the Stargate Observatory back in the seventies. He's the co-author of a well known book titled Making And Enjoying Telescopes. Along with Robert Miller, their book featured tips on telescope building, observing and photography. Ken is Director of Astronomy at The Science Museum Of Virginia in Richmond. All you old timers can reach him at kwilson@smv.org, if you want to say hello. He came to Warren to see his folks for the Thanksgiving holiday.

It looks like you and I are going to help pay for the resurrection of the Iridium satellite constellation. The government is going to buy the company and use the satellites for communications themselves. They also plan to let the public use it too, in about six months. So the waiting ends. The satellites won't come down, yet, and you and I will continue to see those bright flashes for awhile longer.

Destination Mir, the NBC program that was supposed to be version two of Survivor, now has to be renamed. The Russians decided, again, to bring down the Mir space station in February 2001. The new winning survivor was to be trained for a space ride in the Russian station. Now NBC has to salvage whats left of the program and give it a new theme, to save the money already put into the program.

The US government has cancelled another NASA program. Much of the personnel assigned to the Pluto mission were protesting the cancellation of the program. It's the only planet that hasn't been scrutinized by some kind of space probe.

Here's a tip from Rik Hill, the AAVSO solar coordinator. You can get the latest space science news from a webpage at www.universetoday.org. It's a neat little webpage that has you pick today's news or any past news you may have missed. Don't forget www.heavens-above.com for Mir, ISS and Hubble satellite predictions, as well as other satellites.

Intel has now released the Pentium IV for production by original equipment manufacturers. The new Pentium is capable of running at 1.5 GHz, perhaps even faster.

There's been a lot of discussion going on concerning asteroids and planets. In 1999, the Astronomical Union decided to keep Pluto a planet, even though it could also be termed an asteroid. With the discovery, in 2000, of a four hundred mile wide body between Neptune and Pluto, the debate was rekindled by the press. If you use the LFK method of classification, all planets are spherical globes, all asteroids are irregularly shaped bodies. Composition doesn't matter.

The December computer meeting, on the 28th, is up in the air right now. An announcement will be made at the banquet. Gary Gathen's home is in Pleasant Ridge, MI. He's located at 21 Elm Park, three blocks south of I-696 and about half a block west of Woodward Ave. The January meeting will be on the 25th.

I'll be seeing all of you at the Awards Banquet. Don't forget to buy some raffle tickets to help pay for those unexpected bills. If you have anything astronomical or astronomically related, that you feel someone elese might get some enjoyment out of, donate that item to the raffle the night of the banquet.

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icon The SwapShop

This column is for those who are interested in buying, trading or selling items. Call 810-776-9720 (larrykalinowski@yahoo.com) if you want to put an item for sale or trade in this section of the WASP. The ad will run for six months. The month and year the ad will be removed, is also shown.
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icon November Cranbrook Meeting Minutes

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This page was created by Jeff Bondono, and last changed on December 17, 2000. Modified by Doug Bock on February 18, 2001