The Warren Astronomical Society Paper

Volume 29, Number 11, November, 1997


Table of Contents


Don't Miss Those Events

by Marty Kunz

Recently an occultation of the Moon and Saturn was missed by many people. An occultation is when the Moon passes in front of an object in the sky. This is a rather rare event but it's not the end of the world if you missed it. Fortunately it's going to happen again if you live on the east coast. This time it will occur in the early evening on Nov 11, 1997.

A lot of celestial events are missed for one reason or another and I've lost out on a lot of good ones. Probably the main reasons for not seeing something special are forgetting to look ahead and not writing it in a calendar. There are a lot of resources such as magazines to find information on future events. However if you don't put this information where you will see it every day you might notice it too late. That's why I write astronomical events on an everyday calendar. Don't forget to highlight it also. Another resource for future events is an astronomical calendar. I don't use one for everyday use because they can have too much information on them and I tend to miss things in the jumble.

Below is a list of mutual events of Jupiter's moons. Occ means that one moon passes in front of another.
Oct 17, 199712:09 AM1 occ 3
Oct 30, 19976:54 PM2 occ 3
Oct 30, 19978:23 PM1 occ 2
Nov 6, 199710:08 PM2 occ 3
Nov 8, 19978:06 pm4 occ 3
Nov 8, 19978:26 pm1 occ 2
Nov 18, 19979:41 pm1 occ 4
Nov 25, 19975:42 pm3 occ 2
Dec 2, 19975:15 pm3 occ 1
Dec 5, 19976:41 pm1 occ 3
Dec 9, 19978:34 pm3 occ 1
Here are a few things to look for in the upcoming weeks:
Oct 18, 1997the moon passes in front of the bright star Aldebaran. Disappearance will be just before 5:00 AM. Reappearance will be about an hour later.
Oct 20-26, 1997The Orionid meteor shower
Nov 10, 1997Three moon shadows will appear on Jupiter, starting at 9:10 PM
Nov 12, 1997Jupiter passes in front of a star. Look before 10:20 PM
Nov 17, 1997Leonid Meteor shower

Computer Chatter

by Larry Kalinowski

IBM has announced a breakthrough in microchip design and fabrication. The old method of using aluminum has been superseded with copper. IBM claims the new method, using copper, will reduce manufacturing and retailing costs substantially. Startup production involving the new method is supposed to begin in a month. Chip speed, however, won't increase all that much. A 40% gain is speed is possible. Look for lower prices in microchips, in the future.

A celestial mammoth, discovered at The University of California, with the help of the Hubble Telescope, turns out to be a star. Born three million years ago and two hundred times more massive than our Sun, it's large enough to engulf all the planets up to Mars, if it were located where our Sun is. It radiates the equivalent of our Sun's output in six seconds. Named the Pistol star because of its location in the Pistol nebula, it exceeds our Sun's output ten million times.

The planet Jupiter will have a special show on November 10, starting at 9:10 pm. Three of the planets Galilean moons (Io, Callisto and Ganymede) will cast their shadows on the face of the planet. Not all the shadows will appear in the beginning but all will finally show themselves eventually, providing a show seldom seen.

The Sun's getting hotter, according to analyzed solar satellite data. Data collected over the last seventeen years indicates a significant rise in energy. It's less than one percent but even that little amount is meaningful when it comes to what the Earth collects from the Sun. It looks as though we can't blame all our corruptive weather on man's environmental contributions.

If you're one of those poets that likes to move those magnetic words around and create short works of art, you may be interested in a screen saver version with the same capability. The screen saver is produced by the same company that makes the magnetic version.

Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, the bull, will disappear behind the Moon on the morning of October 19, at approximately 4:55 AM. Reappearance will occur about 6:10 AM. The star is so bright that you can view this event with just a pair of binoculars.

The Detroit Astronomical Society (DAS) will hold its annual Swap Shop on Friday, October 17, at their Southfield meeting site in the Southfield Civic Center, community room 224, on the north side of the Civic Center complex. Look for telescope accessories, optics, astronomical software, books and other items of astronomical interest. Festivities begin at 8:00 PM. There's no charge and the general public is invited to attend. The Civic Center is located between Ten and Eleven Mile Rd., on the east side of Evergreen Road. I'll see you there behind the WAS software table.

Blaine McCullough has reported that the group that repaired the latch on the observatory dome left the premises without closing up properly. The dome must be moved so that the sliding door is facing east. This prevents westerly winds from driving rain into the observatory. The telescope was left with the tube pointing up toward the dome and also left uncovered. The tarp found over the telescope has to be replaced when the observatory is closed. Any one of the deficiencies mentioned could have caused a lot of damage to the telescope if there had been a storm. Anyone using the observatory, for any reason, has to follow those closing-up rules. If not, you'll lose your privilege to use the building and possibly be liable for telescope damage and repair. Blaine wants those parties to know their work is appreciated, but improper closure could have caused more problems than the broken lock.

Cassini, the space probe designed to analyze Saturn's moon, Titan, will be well on its way from Earth by the time you read this at the Macomb meeting. If all goes well, the probe will rely on the gravity assist it gets by passing Venus, Earth and Jupiter, with final approach to Titan in 2004. The space craft will launch the Huygen's probe which will do the final analysis of Titan's atmosphere and surface. Cassini is the controversial space probe that contains a quantity of plutonium, a highly radioactive material that is used to power the craft during its long trek to Saturn. Some facets of the general public have demonstrated against the launch of this probe for fear of a possible radioactive accident.

Sunday morning, October 26, marks the end of Daylight Savings Time, the last Sunday in October. That means more observing time for evening star watchers and your chance to recover an hour of sleep that you lost in the Spring. In case you don't remember, the clock goes BACK one hour.

Local computer shows for the end of October are in Taylor, on the 18th, at The Democratic Club Hall, 23400 Wick Road, four blocks east of Telegraph Rd., and one mile south of I-94. Madison Heights has one on the 26th, at the U.F. & C.W. Hall, 876 Horace Brown Drive, one block east of I-75 and one block south of Thirteen Mile Road.

Here are a few things to look for in the upcoming weeks: The October computer meeting will be at Gary Gathen's home, on Thursday the 23rd. All new visitors will receive a free Windows planetarium program. Gary lives in Pleasant Ridge, at 21 Elm Park, three blocks south of I-696 and a half block west of Woodward Ave. His number is 810-543-3366.

Here are a few things to look for in the upcoming weeks: The November computer meeting will be one day earlier, on Wednesday, the 26th, due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday. It will resume at my home. Call me at 810-776-9720, for further information.


Minutes of Meetings

by Glenn Wilkins

Macomb - Sept 18, 1997 Cranbrook Meeting - Oct 2, 1997
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