The Warren Astronomical Society Paper
Volume 29, Number 6, June, 1997
Table of Contents
Carl Sagan, 1934-1996
submitted to the WASP by Glenn Wilkins
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Carl Sagan on December 20th. after
a long illness. He was fortunate, however, in being able to spend his life doing what he
loved most. He chose astronomy soon after learning to read and discovering to his amazement
that the stars were suns and that our sun was merely a nearby star. When he was 12 his
grandfather asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He answered, 'an astronomer.'
'Yes,' his grandfather replied, 'but how will you make a living?' Carl then supposed that,
like all adult men he knew, he would be consigned to a dull, repetitive, and uncreative job;
astronomy would be done on weekends. It was not until his second year in high school that he
discovered that some astronomers were paid to pursue their passion. He was 'overcome with joy'
that he could follow his dreams full-time!
Carl was born in N.Y. City and earned his Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the
University of Chicago in 1960. For six years he worked at the Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory. From 1972 to 1981 he was Associate Director of the Center for Radio Physics
and Space Research at Cornell. Although he was deeply involved with NASA and The Planetary
Society, he is most famous for popularizing astronomy through his Cosmos series on public
television. He also published several books for the general public including The Dragons
of Eden for which he won a Pulitzer Prize.
We have lost a grand and eloquent spokesman for astronomy and astrophysics. He will be missed.
by Larry Kalinowski
The biggest show of the year, the Kensington Metropark, Comet spectacular, turned out to be
better than expected. Estimates of total attendance go as high as 5000 for the two days.
Every significant Astronomy club in Southeast Michigan was there, giving attendees the
image of a huge amateur astronomy convention, with ongoing lectures and constant public
attendence. The club's 22 inch Dob really attracted a crowd. There were times when I could
see a line with nearly a hundred people waiting to take a peek through it.
Microsoft has introduced the Pentium II chip, capable of outrunning the Pentium Pro, its
present 200 Mhz performer. The Pentium II will run at 233 and 300 Mhz. The 233 Mhz chip
will retail for $600 and the 300 Mhz chip for $2000. Surprisingly, the new chip will not
be exchangable with the old Pentium Pro. It'll be a modular designed chip that slips into
a slot, instead of the flat design we're all used to seeing. According to Microsoft, the
new chip takes advantage of a new bus design called the Dual Independant Bus.
There's talk of another Kensington star party again next year. If it happens, it could become
a yearly event, scheduled whenever future astronomical events are known to occur.
If you don't mind hunting for the proverbial 'needle in a haystack,' Comet Mueller (C/1997 D1)
could be your next challenge. Perihelion won't occur until October, so you've got plenty of
time to search. However, it won't get any brighter than twelfth magnitude during its close
approach to the Sun. It'll be a challenge for Dob owners. By the time you read this the comet
will be in the constellation Lynx, moving southward toward Cancer. Use your favorite planetarium
program to plot the comet against the background sky. David Chandler's newsletter
(based on the IAU Circular #6563) gives the following elements:
COMET MUELLER (C/1997 D1)
Rumors abound concerning the possible merger of Compaq and Gateway 2000. Compaq is attempting to
buy out Gateway.
- T: 1997 OCT 9.527
- e: 1.000000
- q: 2.375280
- Peri: 179.9820
- Node: 277.8220
- i: 142.1480
- Absolute Mag: 7.5
- Magnitude Coeff: 10.00
- Epoch of elements: J2000.0
Speaking of Gateway, it looks as though that company is going to have to change it's name pretty
soon. The year 2000 is coming fast. Who wants to buy a computer, from a company dated 2000, in
the year 2001.
The May computer meeting will be at Jack Szymanski's home, on Thursday the 22nd and the June
meeting is tentatively at Gary Gathen's home on Thursday the 26th. Jack's meeting will be another
'Comet Special', so all attendees are requested to bring any photos or slides that they've taken
of Hale-Bopp. All new visitors will receive a free Windows planetarium program. A map showing how
to reach Jack's place will be available at the May Macomb meeting. His phone number is 810-468-5479.
14th Annual Summer Solstice Star Party
See the official page at Doug's site
Where: Northern Cross Observatories
When: June 6-8, 1997
Cost: $3.00 per person or $5.00 per family
Camping is allowed, but you must pack in/out everything. There are Motels nearby (5 miles) that you can make reservations at.
NCO is located near Fenton, MI. We will also have speakers on Saturday afternoon.
- Enter at your own risk
- No Alcohol
- No Pets
- Bring your own food, we only provide the barbeque grill
Activities that are planned as of now
- Observing Friday and Saturday Night
- Volleyball Saturday afternoon.
- Talk on the building of the roll-off observatory
- Comet Hale-Bopp roundup. Bring your pictures and slides of the comet and any events you participated in related to the comet.
We will have a slide projector setup. So show your stuff.
- Childrens Observing program
- Adult Observing Program
- Solar Observing
Minutes of Meetings
by Glenn Wilkins
Cranbrook - March 6, 1997
Macomb - April 17, 1997
- Dave opened the meeting at 7:43 with 31 members and guests in attendance.
- The secretary read a letter from the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority that they have gladly
accepted our invitation to attend our comet party at Stargate on April 3 (Thursday). John Herrgott
noted that it is important that the WAS make an especially good showing at our first outing with them
since this alliance has the potential to be very beneficial for our observatory facility. Beverages
will be provided and a slide program is being prepared by Blain & Jeff.
- Dave met with Metropolitan Beach representatives on 3-5 and determined that we will set up between
the sidewalk and nature center although other alternatives are being considered. Set up on April 4/5
can start at 5:00 and the program will be over at 10:00. Don't forget tripods & binoculars as well
as telescopes. We will offer beverages, t-shirts and comet stickers as well as information on the
comet and the WAS. Any offers of help through Dave will be warmly received!
- The Kensington party hours will be 6 PM to midnight for the general public on April 25/6. Five
astronomy societies have committed support and two more are pending. Each society has been asked to
prepare a 20 minute presentation. Fred Judd will bring the 22" scope. Off course, volunteers are
also needed for this exceptional opportunity for amateur astronomy.
- Solar scopes & help are needed for Astronomy Day at Cranbrook on April 12.
- Doug Bock announced that plans for the Badaxe star party on May 2/3 are being revised since
Justin's Campground has been closed. An attempt is being made to move to Duggan's private Campground
near Port Austin. There is a concern about lights at this site.
- Hale-Bopp is meeting all expectations so far with reports on the net that the tail is 20 deg. long
from dark sites! Four to six degrees of the tail are even visible from most city locations now with
improvement from night to night.
- Doug Bock was the feature speaker with a fine history of Charles Messier's career, and slides of
Messier objects and aurora. The meeting ended at 10:00.
- Dave called the meeting to order with 30 members and guests in attendance. He thanked Angie Judd
for her expert help in sewing the light shroud for our 22" scope.
- The weather was perfect for the 'Cranbrook' meeting at Stargate. Attendance was high and all
enjoyed a splendid view of the comet in good company with plenty to eat and drink thanks to Ben
Tolbert and Angie.
- Unfortunately, the Michigan clouds returned for the two following evenings at Metro Beach.
Dave was disappointed in the media response for the event, except for the Free Press. Astronomy
Day at Cranbrook also suffered from clouds so an inside show was presented. One set of binoculars
was aimed at a can of Comet cleanser for those wishing to see a comet! None-the-less, $90 was
raised for the WAS at the event.
- Plans for the Kensington Comet Party were finalized with 2 to 3,000 people expected to attend
if the weather is good. Comet T-shirts will be available for only $10 and stickers will be 50 cents.
- Ben reported that the treasury balance was $3,732.87 as of April 17, an increase of $182.55 over March.
- Blain reported that 11 lecturers have already volunteered for Stargate, but still more are
needed. Bob Halsall is offering observatory training on the evening of May 17 at Stargate. The
new gate keys also fit the two light control boxes. The floodlight can be turned off by unscrewing
the bulb, but we must remember to screw it back in on departure.
- Blaine's daughter, Sandy, showed us her fine light pollution project which she did for school.
- Glenn showed us a feature article, in color, with a local amateur astronomer, Ron Zachary, covering
most of the front page of the March 30 issue of The Eccentric. The subject was, of course, Hale-Bopp.
- After the break, Dave D'onofrio and Brian Benning show us their fine comet slides. The feature
presentation was put together in record time by Lou Faix and described a structured meteor counting
event that was organized during the 1978 Persied shower. Lou would like to hear from any members
who might be interested in a similar effort this August. 14 participants would be needed to be meaningful.
- The meeting was closed at 10:05 with an invitation to regroup at the Coney Island.
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