The Warren Astronomical Society Paper

Volume 29, Number 2, February, 1997

Table of Contents

Annual Awards Banquet

by Brian Benning

Well, I finally made it to the annual awards banquet and am glad I did. I didn't go my first year in the club because I was a new member and I didn't know very many people in the club. The next year I just couldn't make it. In December of '96 I made it a point to attend. I found it to be as fun as everyone said it would be.

There were about 60 people in attendance. I knew most of the ones there. There was plenty of time for socialization before the meal. After a toast by our president we ate. I must say that the food was very tasty. The dessert was very good too.

After dinner John Herrgott handed out the awards. Many deserving members received awards. Some received multiple awards.

Next on the agenda was the slide show. The presentation was excellent and it was put together quite well. It was a good representation as to what went on with the club in '96.

Finally it was time for the raffle. The raffle was very enjoyable but would have been more fun if I would have won something. I spent $10 on tickets but lost. I'm glad the money went toward the club. John Herrgott explained that there was quite a nice assortment of prizes offered this year. There were a lot of lucky winners.

After the raffle there was more time for socialization and then the evening winded down. Everyone said their good-byes and I'm sure they look forward to next year's banquet. I know that I do.

Computer Chatter

by Larry Kalinowski

According to the latest photos of Hale-Bopp, there seems to be five or more jets spouting gas from the core. The jets are almost evenly spaced, giving the head-on comet the look of a wagonwheel without the wooden and steel band that form the outer rim. CCD photography brings out the spoke-like effect. The spokes may not be recognizable with the naked eye. Nevertheless, the tail should be quite wide when viewed from the side, as it will be when it finally makes its rush across the sky during the late winter and spring.

Four new programs have been added to the WAS shareware library. VGASTARS is a simplified planetarium program, limited to sixth magnitude. Your youngsters might find it easier to operate. Features include panning left, right, up, down, zooming in and out. Run it from the A: drive. LUMIDEMO is a Lumicon created program to help telescope users pick a range of eyepieces based on magnification, field of view or exit pupil. Filters are discussed. ORBITS3D graphically shows the tracks of four prominent comets in 3-D (stereo) mode. You'll need a pair of red and blue eyeglasses to view this program. You can change the depth of field and orbit tilt if you want a better view. GALAXY COLLISIONS simulates the effect of one galaxy passing near or through another galaxy. You can change the number of stars and the mass of the first galaxy. The second galaxy is represented by one star which also has a variable mass. Store your galaxy designs and play each scenario over and over again. OUR COSMOHOOD has been upgraded and is shown as a new version.

I counted 55 people at the WAS's 1996 awards banquet. If you were there, I'm sure you're still carrying a smile on your face from the fine cuisine and festivities. I did miss one thing though.... those wing-dings.

My hat is off to a very famous astronomer who did his best to prepare us for a grand possibility... the first radio contact with beings beyond our solar system. Dr. Sagan passed away from a bout with cancer and pneumonia last December. He left us with many memories... his television series and numerous books about the universe and the scientific method. His association with The Planetary Society constantly promoted planetary exploration. He was more than an astronomer. He was an astronomer's astronomer. Who now, will be able to start where he left off, debunking the high priests of superstition.

The January meeting will be at my home in Roseville, on Thursday the 23rd. The address is 15674 Flanagan, two blocks west of Groesbeck Highway and two blocks north of Common Rd. (12 1/2 Mile Road). (810-776-9720). Please use the side entrance. Look for the yellow porch light.

Masterpieces Messier Missed

by Jeff Bondono

NGC 2261 at 06h39m +08d44m

NGC 2261, aka Hubble's Variable Nebula, is catalogued as a bright 2'x1' nebula surrounding the 10th-14th magnitude variable star R Monocerotis. This is an interesting object since the size and brightness of the nebula change over the course of months or even days.

I first saw it from my backyard in Shelby Township during 1987 with my 8" Newtonian. This was on a night of a first quarter moon. The moon and the light pollution at this site conspired to make it show as only a very faint 1' glow, but moonless skies at the superior Stargate site should make it an easy object for an 8" scope.

A 1988 observation from the same site with the same scope, but without the moon, showed it as a 1' faint blur, both with and without a nebula filter.

A 1995 observation from Doug Bock's Northern Cross Observatory using my 14" Newtonian showed a 2' triangular fan-shaped nebula with a 12th magnitude star on the south end. The shape of the nebula and the star at one end made this look like a comet. I noted it as very bright and easy to see at all magnifications. A nebula filter made the object less visible than the unfiltered view. Blaine and Doug also looked at the object that night.

The changes in the nebula are due to some combination of the variability of the illuminating star and moving shadows cast on the cloud by dark masses drifting near the illuminating star. An excellent article on the nebula is in Burnham's Celestial Handbook, volume 2, pages 1202-1206. That article includes twelve pictures on page 1204 which show the changing visual appearance of the object.

While you're in the neighborhood, be sure to observe the Christmas Tree Cluster, NGC 2264, about 1-1/4 degrees to the north-northeast. Its a bright 20' cluster that you can't miss.

Minutes of Meeting

by Glenn Wilkins, Secretary

CRANBROOK MEETING - January 2, 1997

Dave opened the meeting at 7:43 by introducing the new officers and thanking the previous officers. John Herrgott will continue to interface with Metro Park representatives, and correspond with Alcor on our behalf.

Treasurer's Report - Ben Tolbert presented the annual report which reflected a balance of $3,568.72 as of December 30, 1996.

Remaining Appreciation certificates were presented. Finalization of the 1997 WAS Event Schedule will be accomplished at the Officer's Mtg. on 1-9 and published in the WASP. At least 2 major events will be planned in March/April relating to Comet Hale-Bopp. Dave would also like to try an offsite this summer and schedule planetarium shows - one of which would be a family night.

There will be a partial lunar eclipse on Sunday, March 23.

Dave's Interest Survey indicated that 19 of 27 respondents were interested in astro photography and/or deep sky subjects. Cosmology also rated high. These results will be considered in selection of future events and presentation topics.

Marty Kuntz noted that the current Mir apparitions are worth seeing.

A "we're thinking about you card" was circulated for signatures for Frank McCullough who is in a nursing home.

Larry Kalonowski showed us his new hi-tech planespheres which include coordinates for locating objects which are not shown.

There was a general discussion, based on recent news reports, about the possibility of perturbed Trojan asteroids striking the earth.

A 25 minute break commenced at 8:45 and featured homebaked cupcakes & drinks generously donated by Angie Judd.

The feature presentation was by Lou Faix who demonstrated his home made "Ultra-demodulated/phase reciprocating/oscio-degalvinator", otherwise known as a cold camera. The use of the Peltier Effect for electrical cooling was discussed along with general photographic theory and the history of the film industry.

The meeting ended at 10:30 with a general invitation to socialize at Denny's.
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