The Warren Astronomical Society Paper
Volume 30, Number 1, January, 1998
Table of Contents
by Larry Kalinowski
You'll probably get your first chance to read this column at the Annual Awards Banquet. Let me be
the first to wish you happy holidays with many more to come. Last year about sixty percent of the
membership showed up at the banquet, making it the most popular activity the society shares with
its members. This year should be the same, if not more. There's enough activity around here to
please everyone. Food, entertainment, awards, door prizes, spirits (both kinds), old friends
and a common tie that binds us all, astronomy. Don't forget to buy some raffle tickets. All
proceeds go to the society and you may win a valuable astronomical prize. Enjoy!
Keep your eyes open for the Intel's next revolution in graphics cards. It's called AGP, for
Accelerated Graphics Port. It incorporates a new bus design that will run at 66 Mhz instead
of PCI's 33 Mhz. There is actually four design stages for this graphics bus and card. Each
stage will outperform the last, ending with AGP 4x, the fastest. It will operate by sending
four 32 bit chunks of data with each 66 Mhz clock cycle, effectively producing a 266 Mhz graphics
data bus. Other tricks will be used to send data, so this design offers an explosion in graphics
capability. Windows 95 will be required. The new motherboard designs for this graphics ability
will have either a special slot for the graphics board or a new port built right into the motherboard.
What's the ultimate sky chart for the serious amateur astronomer? The answer is The RealSky CD.
It's the Palomar sky survey, stored on eight CD-ROMS, it covers the northern sky down to -15
degrees declination and down to twentieth magnitude. It isn't a computerized set of star charts
but the actual sky survey placed on disk, with real images of all the deep sky objects just as
they appeared on the actual survey. Priced at two-hundred and fifty dollars, it seems a minor
price to pay for the ultimate starchart. The southern sky survey is also available for the same price.
IBM is making news again with the announcement of its development of a higher density series
of disk drives. The drives range from 3.1 gigabytes to 16.8. They're the result of a new head
technology based on Giant Magneto Resistive (GMR) material. Prices will range from 275 to 895
dollars for the series of drives. Shipping begins in December and the technology will be licensed
to other manufacturers.
It seems that the answer has been found to explain the huge difference in temperature between the
solar corona and the photosphere. The coronal temperatures can go up to a million degrees while
the Sun's surface is only about 6,000 degrees. The huge magnetic fields that well up from the
Sun's surface, causing spots, prominences and flares, seem to be the transferring medium for
Intel found another flaw in its Pentium and Pentium with MMX chips. The flaw could help
'malicious programmers' crash your computer or network server if your equipment used those
chips. However, everyday users wouldn't encounter the problem with ordinary home use. Intel
expects to come up with a 'fix' for the flaw, very soon.
anet Stevens, the Executive Secretary of The Astronomical League, reports in the November
'97 REFLECTOR, that there are 13,808 members in the League, comprised of 216 societies.
This year, the computer group has been able to fatten the club treasury with another donation
provided by shareware sales. So far it amounts to $156.00. I'd like to thank Bob Watt and Kim
Dyer for their help along those lines.
The club's comet watchers will find this new comet a challenge. It's not expected to get brighter
than tenth magnitude. However, if you want to sharpen your observing skills, dim comets are the
best targets to practice on. You'll use everything you've learned about using your telescope to
find those dim needles in a haystack. This comet will be in Aquila during the months of December
and January. Plug the elements on the front cover of this WASP into your favorite star chart
program. They're from David and Billie Chandler in Springsville, CA. You can get their web page
The December computer meeting will be two days earlier, on Tuesday, the 23rd, due to Christmas
Day on the third Thursday. Call me at the number 810-776-9720, for further information. This
will be the last scheduled computer group meeting until a further announcement is made. The next
one will probably be in April or May, at the home of Jack Szymanski, so keep your eye peeled on
this column every month.
- COMET UTSUNOMIA (C/1997 T1)
- T: 1997 Dec 10.077
- e: 1.000000
- q: 1.359625
- Peri: 95.921
- Node: 53.7126
- i: 127.9944
- Absolute Mag: 8.0
- Magnitude Coeff: 10.00
- Epoch of elements: J2000.0
Minutes of Meetings
by Glenn Wilkins
Cranbrook - Nov 21, 1997
Officer's Meeting - Dec 4, 1997
- Blaine McCullough opened the meeting at 7:48. There were 32 members in attendance on a cold,
damp evening. We were reminded that there will be no Cranbrook meeting in January since the first
Thursday is New Year's day.
- Ben Tolbert reported a gain of $430.16 for our treasury bringing the balance to $5,757.77 as of
11-20. Future issues of Astronomy magazine will now cost society members $24, a $4 increase.
- Jack Kennedy brought in copies of Michigan House Bill #4254 which proposes creation of a
cross-interest lighting board to make recommendations for state lighting. Hopefully these
recommendations will eventually expand into regulations which will control all outdoor lighting
systems to provide light where necessary in an efficient manner with minimum pollution. Since
the WAS has a keen interest in eliminating light pollution, all members are strongly encouraged
to contact representatives requesting active support of this bill. Our web site will be modified
to include directions on how to contact Lansing via E-mail which has proven to be a very effective
method of motivating our representatives. Studies indicate that lighting systems can be designed
which produce comparable illumination while using less electricity and with minimum pollution.
The secretary will also prepare a letter for officer's signatures which will formally establish
the position of the WAS. A vote date has not yet been established but could happen any time.
- Jeff Bondono remarked that he is always looking for articles for the WASP. Mike O'Dowd showed
us a beautiful picture of the Butterfly Galaxy core which he had enlarged and printed for $32.
The picture was recently taken by Hubbell and was downloaded from the web. Mike has the negative
which was created and is willing to share.
- Five members were at Stargate last Saturday. The skies were good enough to locate 9 Messier
objects with 8x50 binoculars. The last Deep Sky meeting was clouded out according to Doug, but
progress was made on the observatory.
- The feature presentation was made on the moons of Jupiter by Dale Partin. Overheads were used
to show how the positions of the moons over several weeks could be accurately measured using a
reticule (graduated) eyepiece. The resultant plots were then used to estimate the mass of the
Galilean moons to an average accuracy of less then 1% variation from accepted values. The effort
proved very interesting and showed that new members can indeed make very nice contributions to our
amateur astronomy society. Dale brought his first telescope (3 now!) after meeting us at the
Hale-Bopp Comet Party. After allowing a reasonable time to get re-acquainted with his family,
he hopes to do a similar study of the moons of Saturn.
- The meeting ended at 10:05
- Dave opened the meeting at 7:53 to 30 members and guests. He announced that there will be an
officer's meeting on 12-9 to formally transfer responsibility and files to the 1998 officers. The
Awards Banquet will feature a trip down memory lane with slides covering much of the history of the
Warren Astronomical Society. Approximately 40 advance tickets have been sold coming into this
meeting. Most of the planets are currently visible in the early evening sky resulting in an
exceptional parade. Finally, Dave noted that the silicone content of the actual Mars rocks at the
current site is significantly different than that found in the Antarctica rocks which are assumed
to have come from Mars. As you would expect, this has resulted in some lively debate in scientific
- Doug Bock noted that early mapping photos from Mars are exceptional and heighten the excitement
over the prospects for high resolution maps of the entire surface in the months ahead. The Deep Sky
group was again clouded out on 11-29; however, progress was made on the observatory and the 20"
re-figured, re-coated mirror has been returned and looks good.
- Light pollution was again a key topic. The Detroit City Council reviewed a Detroit Edison
plan to replace/upgrade much of the city's lighting. Since details have not been announced, it
was agreed that the WAS should investigate to determine if minimum-pollution lighting is planned.
Mort Sterling recently retired from Edison and knows the players involved. Therefore, he volunteered
to contact them to learn about the plan and report back to us.
- Jeff Bondono has upgraded our web site to include the information needed by members to contact
our state representatives and voice our individual opinions regarding the bill currently under
consideration in Lansing for state exterior lighting systems. It is very important to all of us
that we mobilize a grass-roots effort to support this bill. Finally, our secretary has drafted a
letter for consideration by our officers as a formal position by the WAS on the state bill. It is
expected to be signed and mailed to Lansing, and other Michigan astronomical societies, this month.
- The feature presenter could not make it so Marty Kunz saved the evening with an impromptu
planetarium show which is always a treat. Following the show, a 'stump the astronomers' panel was
appointed and questions were fielded from the members. The experts included Marty Kunz,
Mike O'Dowd, Lou Faix, Larry Kalinowski and was chaired by Doug Bock. The Fab 5 handled all but
trick questions and a rousing time was had by all!
- The meeting was closed at 10:00.
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