The Warren Astronomical Society Paper

Volume 28, Number 7, July, 1996

Table of Contents

A Cloudy Night at Stargate

by Brian Benning

Well, once again Michigan weather was true to form and we had clouds and some rain for our dinner and star party at Stargate, May 25th. In fact, it never cleared up at all. In spite of the weather we had a pretty good turn out - 25 members.

A few of the members opened up the observatory and were checking it out but decided to close it up due to the weather. Quite a few of the members enjoyed watching the hockey game in spite of the fact that the Red Wings lost. Everyone enjoyed the food that was brought and the children had a good time playing. The rest of us socialized and a few took pictures.

I always have a good time when I get together with others in the club, but do not get too many opportunities to go to events and do some observing, so I must admit I was a little disappointed. Some of us were even going to spend the night, but decided against it. I believe everyone was gone by 11 or 12 o'clock.

None of us let this dampen our spirits, however, and we look forward to the next time we can get together and call out "All right! Clear skies!".

Computer Chatter

by Larry Kalinowski

The club's twenty-two inch Dobsonian is so close to being done that I can taste the one hundred and ten inch focal length and the image it produces. Final assembly will be attempted very soon.

What's the difference between an IBM computer clone and a compatible? In a nutshell, a clone is both software and hardware compatible. A compatible is only software compatible. If you're concerned with just running programs designed for the IBM computer, buy a compatible. But, if you're concerned about future hardware upgrading, buy a clone.

One of our previous members of the WAS stopped by to say hello at a Denny's brunch on Saturday, June 1. Rik Hill and family were on their way to a younger brother's wedding, here in Michigan, when he called some of us older members and asked for a reunion. Rik was one of those guys that took a chance at asking for an observer's job at Kitt Peak and was surprised to get it. He considered it a dream job for an amateur astronomer. It's one of those dreams that became a reality.

We're going to have a blue Moon on June 30th. That's what the general public calls the full Moon that occurs a second time during the month. Don't ask me why. If anyone knows the background for this bit of name juggling, give me a call and explain.

Vega is well above the north-eastern horizon at this time, making observations of Beta Lyrae (Sheliak) quite easy. If you want to contribute to a worthwhile endeavor, start making your magnitude estimates now. We may be able to get six or more months of data this year. Forms for magnitude estimation are available by contacting me or picking them up at our regular meetings.

Hale-Bopp is still in the constellation Sagittarius, getting ready to move into Scutum. It's near the Sagittarius-Scutum-Aquila border, about ten degrees above Jupiter. Basically a morning object, its predicted magnitude for June 20, is 6.6. However, it can be seen late at night, around eleven, just rising above the south-east east horizon. Still quite a ways away (3.06 AU), the comet is approaching us head on, so not much of any tail can be seen. A coma is visible but still only hints at what is about to happen when it makes its closest approach to the Earth on March 22 and 23 (1.32 AU) in 1997. The predicted magnitude during that close approach is -1.5. Being thirteen times farther away than Hyakutake was during its closest approach, Hale-Bopp should have a slower apparent motion, be better defined and appear less nebulous. Comet Kopff is nearby, about six degrees above Jupiter, at ninth magnitude. Kopff, however, will not get much brighter, when it reaches perihelion in mid July.

Tasco is taking advantage of Hale-Bopp in their advertising. POPULAR SCIENCE has two page-length ads enticing the public to view that comet with one of their telescopes. Amateur astronomy might gain considerably because of the comet and its hype.

This year's Perseid meteor shower, the night of August 11 and 12, will be well observed because of the dark sky around new Moon. However, the Sunday night-Monday morning happening, may mean taking a day off work if you want to do a serious job of observing it.

Computer shows for late June will be in Taylor, Saturday, the 22nd, at the Democratic Club Of Taylor, 23400 Wick Road, four blocks east of Telegraph Road. In Farmington Hills, on Sunday June 23, at the Farmington Hills Activity Center, 28600 Eleven Mile Road, three blocks east of Middlebelt. In Livonia, on Saturday, the 29th, at the Livonia Elks Lodge Hall, 31117 Plymouth Road, one block east of Merriman, one mile south of I-96. In early July, it's Dearborn's Adray Sports Arena on Sunday, July the 14th., 14900 Ford Rd., one block east of Greenfield.

The summer and fall computer meetings, May through October, will return to Gary Gathen's home in Pleasant Ridge, three blocks south of I-696 and a half block west of Woodward. His address is 21 Elm Park. Gary's phone number is 810-543-3366. The June and July meetings will be on the 27th and 25th respectively. The fourth Thursdays of those months.

Texas Star Party Observing Report

by Doug Bock

Please see Doug's complete copy of the article.

Sounds like quite a week, Doug. Warning: next year I'm coming along with you. I hope many club members will join us. - ed

Notes from the Editor

by Jeff Bondono

The Warren Astronomical Society now has a home page on the World Wide Web! Check it out yourself by typing the URL listed on the WASP's masthead. This page includes club info, the WASP, the most up-to-date club calendar available, email addresses and web pages for club members, a listing of books in our club library, and more. Suggestions should be directed to Jeff Bondono.

Effective immediately I'll be enforcing our long-published Cranbrook meeting cutoff date for submissions to the WASP. I'll gladly accept submissions after that point, but they will be delayed for a month. I do this to insure I have time to create the quality publication that the club deserves. Information gathering, layout, proofreading, printing, and copying all take time, and I do not plan to rush through it.

Masterpieces Messier Missed

by Jeff Bondono

NGC 6210 at 16h44.5m +23d49m

I'll bet you think I'm going to write about another galaxy, right? That would be a pretty safe bet, but even safe bets sometimes lose. NGC 6210 is a bright planetary nebula located about one-third of the way from Hercules' western foot to his eastern foot. I first saw it during May of 1985 from Madison Heights with my 8" Newtonian, just 7 months after delivery of my first telescope. This alone should tell you that this planetary is bright, and the catalogs call it 9.7 magnitude. I noted that a disk first appeared at 272x, indicating that this planetary is quite small. Indeed, its size is only 20x13 arcseconds, one-quarter the size of the Ring Nebula. A UHC filter made it stand out a bit better from the sky background, but not significantly so. Without the UHC, the blue color of the planetary was prominently visible.

My notes from a 1986 observation from Utica indicate that it is bright enough to be easily visible in 49x, but small enough to require at least 122x to see that it is nonstellar. Even 272x showed no central star.

A 1992 observation from Imlay City, still with the 8" newtonian finally showed an occasional glimpse of the central star at 272x. I noted that the star was just barely brighter than the bright glow from the nebula. Various catalogs list the star as 13.7 magnitude, or 12th magnitude. The fact that I could see the star above the glow of the nebula with an 8" telescope suggests to me that 12th magnitude is closer to the truth. To see the central star, be sure to crank up your scope to ridiculously high power. The light of the nebula will be spread out more and become fainter, but the light from the central star will remain concentrated in a small spot. The contrast improvement will improve your chances of seeing it.

Recent pictures and descriptions of this object are in Astronomy Magazine, September 1991, pages 79-80 and Sky and Telescope, April 1995, page 99. In the Observing Handbook and Catalog of Deep Sky Objects, the authors say "The nebula is recognizable at 50x in a 10-inch scope. High magnifications reveal a bluish 25"x15" oval in position angle 90 degrees, with a sharp, starry point in the center." Maybe I'd better get out again and observe it with the 14" scope. I apparently never saw, or at least never noted, any elongation in this planetary.


Astrofest will be held this year from Friday, September 6 to Sunday, September 8. This is one of the nationally recognized starparties, and was recently highlighted inn the January 1996 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine. For details, pick up the brochure at a club meeting or call 312-725-5618.

Camping and Gazing

Annual Perseids Camp Out

Friday, Aug 9th till Sunday, Aug 11th at Port Crescent State Park. All those wishing to attend must make their own arrangements. Port Crescent State Park is full, but Sleeper State Park is nearby, as are several private campgrounds. It would be wise to make your reservations now. You can contact the state parks through their 800 number. Remember the peak time for the Perseids will be Sunday night/Monday morning, so you may wish to plan accordingly.


The Southern Michigan Unorganized Regional Festival of Stargazers is Michigan's premier dark-sky star party. It will be held from Thursday, August 15 till Sunday August 18th at the abandoned airstrip site near Hillman, Michigan. Although the star party officially starts Thursday, people are welcome to arrive as early as Tuesday, August 13 to observe. A mere $15 fee will admit one person to the star party for the entire weekend. Although the camping facilities are primitive (read as portable bathrooms, outdoor shower), the observing from this site is spectacular. Several club members have attended in recent years and had a great time. Join in the fun! For more information and directions, pick up a SMURFS '96 flyer at a club meeting or contact Kurt Kemp at 810-732-7829, send him email or visit the Smurfs '96 web page.

Eyepiece Sale

1-1/4 eyepieces, all in good condition. Contact Mike Roman 810-585-3679 (days)


by Greg Milewski

Did you know that.... from The Cosmic Mind Boggling Book, by Neil McAleer, Warner Books, New York, © 1982.

Minutes of Meetings

by Blaine McCullough

CRANBROOK MEETING: Thursday, May 2, 1996 MACOMB MEETING: Thursday, May 16, 1996 Return to WASP page
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This page was created by Jeff Bondono, and last changed on June 16, 1996.