The Warren Astronomical Society Paper

Volume 30, Number 3, March, 1998

Table of Contents

He's Back

by John Herrgott

Yes, its true, another year has come and I'm happy to help out again. There is a problem, though. I can't perform my function without you. That's right, I need you. You are the people who make our club happen. You are needed to come forth and tell us what you're doing with your Astronomy hobby. Just read books? Tell us what you're reading. Got a slide collection? Show it. Went to a star party? Give a report. Got the idea? Just be yourself and relax. Naturally, we will be keeping our eyes open for professional speakers. Also, any tips you can give us in this regard will be much appreciated. What else can we do for programs? I'll leave the answer to that query up to you. Bring your ideas and suggestions to this writer anytime. Also, if possible, I will publish a program schedule in the WASP so you know what's coming. Lastly, happy new observing year!

Treasurer's Proposal

Our club's treasurer, Steve Greene, has proposed that we change our club membership policy to make everyone's renewal on the same date. This would make it easier for the Treasurer to handle membership renewals, which is probably the most time consuming portion of the Treasurer's job under the current system. Steve has listed below several pros and cons regarding his proposed changes. He welcomes your comments about this proposal. Note that this proposal would not change membership dues.

JANUARY 15, 1998

PROPOSAL: Use common due date for all membership dues renewals.


Computer Chatter

by Larry Kalinowski

Bill Gates, Microsoft's head man, got a cream pie in the face before a business meeting with government officials in Belgium. Noel Godin, a notorious prankster, who has attacked others with the same weapon in the past, let the pie fly while Bill was distracted by an accomplice. Godin was apparently saying something about Microsoft's business position concerning Windows 95 and its browser.

Jim Kendrick has come up with a novel idea for observers. He now sells the "OBSERVER", a tent designed to aid amateur astronomers. The design incorporates a double room feature with one room having a removable roof for telescopic observing. The second attached room serves as a warm-up area or a chart reading room, or both. You can even use it as a standard double room tent when the sky gets cloudy or you decide to call it a night.

COMPAQ is buying out DEC (Digital Equipment Corp.) according to the latest business news. It wants to join in on the mainframe world and also take advantage of DEC's large distribution system. Compaq has also beat out IBM in the RADIO SHACK area. The Shack decided to handle the Compaq line of computers, giving Compaq an even bigger edge in distribution.

The universe will expand forever, according to the latest supernovae measurements. "We only have about one fifth the required amount of mass that we need to cause a change in expansion" says Ruth Daly of Princeton University. As a result, expansion will continue endlessly and all the stars will eventually die out, creating a cold, dark universe. Those conclusions were based on measurements made by hers and other teams using other types of data for expansion measurement. Fifteen billion years is still the estimated age of the universe, not the eleven billion previously suspected. Some astronomers cheered because it was empirical evidence that led to the conclusions, not philosophical opinion.

According to our president (WAS), Eastern Michigan University won't be having their annual Freeze Out Convention this year. No reason was given.

A new type of star has been proposed. A group led by Norman K. Glendenning of the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory has proposed the existence of Q-stars. These are stars that have moved beyond the neutron star stage and have collapsed even further into a Quark ball, causing an even denser form of star to develop. He even proposes that Q-stars might be construed as black holes because of their high gravitational field. A high spin rate could be used to detect such stars and he even proposes that one out of ten neutron stars could be Q-stars.

The March '98 issue of ASTRONOMY magazine devotes a lot of pages to the fascinating world of stereo 3-D. The issue comes with two pair of red-blue glasses that are similar to the 3-D ilk of the nineteen fifties. However, the photos that come with the magazine produce some fabulous results. Mars is well represented by deep valleys, and mountains, as well as other photos that will leave you spellbound. SKY AND TELESCOPE subscribers should part with a little extra money this month and join in on the 3-D show.

Detroiters will have difficulty seeing the reappearance of Jupiter from behind the Moon, in the morning, on March 26 because of the low angle the pair makes with the horizon. However, even in bright twilight, the pair should make a spectacular view for the casual observer, even after twilight begins. With Venus farther to the west, it could be quite a show.

IN MY OPINION, the reason professional astronomers seem to be detecting so many of those close, massive, "Jupiter" type planets next to their suns is because those close, massive planet systems are the easiest to detect.

Even though the computer group meetings are being discontinued at my place, there will be additional meetings in the future. Gary Gathen will continue to hold meetings in the months of May through October. Other meetings will be scheduled at other places throughout the year. Keep your eyes on this column for announcements. You can reach me at 810-776-9720 if you have any other questions related to astronomy and computers.

Minutes of Meetings

by Bob Watt

Macomb, January 15, 1998

Cranbrook, Feb 5, 1998

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