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.


Computer Chatter

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.

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
Rules: 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.
Activities that are planned as of now

Minutes of Meetings

by Glenn Wilkins

Cranbrook - March 6, 1997 Macomb - April 17, 1997
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