The Warren Astronomical Society Paper
Volume 30, Number 6, June, 1998
Table of Contents
Focus On: Riyad Matti
by Ceil Brooks
A beginning physics class and a set of binoculars got Riyad interested in astronomy when he
was still a boy of 13 in Baghdad, Iraq. Riyad tells that back then it was not possible to
buy telescopes; you had to make them. His physics class provided basic directions on building
a telescope. Being a very industrious kind of guy, Riyad went to an optometrist and ordered
the lenses he needed. Working with these lenses and a cardboard tube used to store fabric
bolts, he fashioned his first telescope. Sky-gazing in his back yard was made easier because
of a telephone pole located nearby. Riyad frequently could be found resting his scope against
the pole while searching for interesting objects. One of the first things Riyad remembers seeing
was a lunar eclipse in (about) 1974.
Telescopes may have been hard to find in Baghdad but astronomy clubs were not! Riyad was a member
of a club in Baghdad when his family decided to move to the US via Greece in the fall of 1976.
After leaving Baghdad and moving to Greece, Riyad met a person who ran a planetarium there.
Several visits to the planetarium furthered his interests in astronomy. From Greece, Riyad
moved to Madison Heights, Michigan in 1977 where he began his quest for an astronomy club to
join. His search took him to a science store, (now out of business), called 'Science and Things'.
There, he met and formed a friendship with Steve Franks, the manager of the store's astronomy
department and the then 2nd vice-president of the club. Riyad learned about the WAS from Steve.
He soon attended his first meeting which was held at Cranbrook and joined the club that very evening.
Things moved quickly from there and when Steve left his post in mid-year, Riyad was asked to take his
place. He was then elected to the post of 2nd vice-president (Observatory Chairman). He eventually
moved on to hold the post of club president for a year. Riyad has contributed a great deal to the
club over the years including helping out at the observatory, clean-up days, and also helping to
rebuild the 12-1/2-inch at Stargate.
Riyad just married on June 1, 1997. Riyad's wife Reem is learning to appreciate the night sky by
observing alongside him. Riyad is working on his degree in mechanical engineering from Wayne State
University and hopes to graduate by the year 2000. When asked whether he hoped his ME degree would
help him build a better telescope he answered "hopefully!"
Riyad is especially interested in planets, double stars, the moon, the sun, and 'some deep sky objects'.
He'd be happy to answer any questions you have about telescope design and observing techniques.
This is the first in a series of interviews of club members by Ceil Brooks. I look forward to reading
her enthusiastic writing and hope you cooperate with her when she approaches you for your moment in
by Larry Kalinowski
If you stayed home and missed the Kensington Metropark Star Party, then you missed quite a show. Not
in the sky but in David Levy, the co-discoverer of that famous, Jupiter collision, comet. His talk
was inspiring, to say the least. You can see and hear his love for the sky in everything he presented,
including his admiration of the late Gene Shoemaker. Best of all, he showed us that being able to
contribute to the world of professional astronomy isn't always what you see or measure in the sky,
but what you measure in the eyes of a youngster, sharing the wonder of the sky with you. I only had
a chance to see his Saturday night presentation, but if Friday night was half as good, I'm sorry I
missed it. David Levy, you did a marvelous job on those two cold and dreary nights. My observers hat
is off to you.
WINDOWS 98 ARRIVES? If all goes as planned, Microsoft will put WIN 98 on sale in stores across the
country on June 25, the day we meet at the Gathen residence for the June computer meeting. Some of
us may have already tried WIN 98, the Beta (public testing) version. You can expect improvements in
hardware detection (plug and play) and more reliance on the Internet for applications. Previous
owners of WIN 95 will get a price break for upgrading. The bill will be around one-hundred dollars.
New owners should expect to pay more.
More evidence of other planetary systems made news again. The Scripps-Howard News Service reported
that an astronomy team using the Keck II telescope in Hawaii has discovered a star that shows a
cleanly swept belt of dust and gas surrounding the star. The cleaned portion of the ring may have
been caused by one or more developing planets in orbit around the star. David Koerner, a member of
the Keck team, was quoted as saying "perhaps there are lots of places for life to exist."
WINDOWS 98 FLUBS. With Bill Gates standing beside one of his co-workers, on national TV no less,
WIN 98 burped while trying to get a scanner program installed or running. The embarrassed Gates
quickly blurted "I guess that's why we haven't started shipping yet", in a sheepish voice. The
pair quickly moved over to another computer on the table. Bill and colleague were appearing
before a government body to try to demonstrate the need for his Internet program that was being
sold with the 98 operating system. The government recently ruled that his Internet program was
being forced upon computer manufacturers and that it wasn't needed to run WIN 98.
More water has been found in deep space. The Orion nebula seems to contain an enormous amount
of water vapor. So much, that astronomers are changing their views about how water comes into
existence in the universe. The unlimited amount of hydrogen and oxygen in developing stars
could be a great source of water at warmer temperatures. If water is the result of stellar
evolution, there could be a tremendous amount existing in space. Such large quantities of
water vapor could easily develop into comets when temperatures drop lower, supporting the
hypothesis that comets are the source of planetary oceans. Until space probes were used,
it was difficult to measure water vapor because the Earth's atmosphere absorbed much of
the infra-red radiation used to detect it.
Last year (June 97 WASP) I brought up the idea that Gateway 2000 should change their name
because some people would hesitate to purchase a computer from a company with 2000 in their
name, in the year 2001. Basically, the company name would be outdated and so would the public's
impression of their products. Well, it's come to pass. The number 2000 is being dropped from
their name, according to a small item mentioned in the Detroit News.
The Leonids, the meteor shower that's famous for a thirty-three year cycle of fantastic shower
displays, could supposedly damage some of our circling satellites. The next huge meteor shower
is due this November, or possibly next November, astronomers aren't really sure. The last
display of Leonid significance had amateurs reporting thousands of meteors per minute. The
display didn't last very long but the brief interlude was spectacular, to say the least.
With such a shower possibility, satellites are vulnerable to the fast moving particles,
some of which could act like a twenty-two caliber rifle bullet at the speeds those small
particles move. Most meteors are tiny things about the size of a dust particle. The larger
ones, about the size of a sand grain could be the ones to cause irreparable damage.
Another operating system that will make news is Microsoft's WIN CE system. It's primarily
designed to be used in an automobile. Basically, it's a computer that will integrate all
your automotive functions like your radio, CD player, cellular phone, engine operating
parameters and give you additional luxuries like an address book, global positioning
system and driving directions. All these features will be controlled via your voice,
so that you can keep your eyes on the road while you're driving. Your Auto PC will also
be capable of accepting third party programs via the built in CD player, as well as
software upgrades for the CE system. You can even subscribe to a satellite radio program
for special information and music. How would you like to be able to hear your favorite
radio station while traveling clear across the U.S.A.? No problem. Bill Gates is planning
to engulf you with twenty-first century wonders.
The second largest explosion in the history of the universe has been witnessed by
astronomers. Something at a distance of twelve billion miles has exploded in a large
gamma ray burst. Noone has any idea what's caused it. The Big Bang theory offers no
explanation. Actually, it's really the largest explosion ever witnessed. The Big Bang
is still an unwitnessed theory.
IN MEMORIUM. Richard Lloyd (1913-1998) passed away on Thursday, May 7th. Those of you
who knew him, knew of his devotion to the amateur astronomical community here in the
Detroit area and nationally. Richard was one of the movers and shakers of astronomy,
especially in the Detroit Astronomical Society. He and many members of the Detroit
society helped to start a telescope making group in the Warren society back in the
early '60's. In the mid '50's, he played an important role in keeping the League
going strong, with his efforts to sponsor a national convention in Detroit. He was
a leading character in my introduction to astronomy and I'm sure many others found
his enthusiasm for the universe rubbed off on them too.
IN MY OPINION, Brian Marsden did exactly what was expected of him when he reported
the possible collision of 1997XF11 with the Earth in 2028. His prediction was based
on then known parameters. He even qualified his prediction by saying "the chance of
an actual collision is small but one is not entirely out of the question." You and
I would take such news just as it was meant to be taken, with guarded reserve. The
press, however, blew it all out of proportion. One good thing did come out of the
announcement. It woke up the astronomical community to getting off of its duff and
doing an update on the orbit of the asteroid ...and pretty darn quick, I might add.
The May computer meeting will be at Gary Gathen's home, on Thursday the 28th. The
June meeting on the 25th, as well as the rest of the fourth Thursday meetings through,
and including, October. 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.
I'm still looking for someone to take my place as Computer Group chairman. If you're
interested, give me a phone call at 810-776-9720.
Minutes of Meetings
by Bob Watt
Macomb, April 16, 1998
- PRESIDENT DAVE D'ONOFRIO- opened the meeting at 7:42 PM with 24 members and one guest.
- Dave went over the details for getting ready for the GLACK star party at Kensington
Metro Park on May 1 & 2,11 clubs will participate, each club will put on a 1/2 hour program
covering many aspects of astronomy. During the day light hours some scopes will be designated
"SOLAR", they will be marked with balloons, after dark some scopes will be lined up on a
variety of items & will be marked red leds, there will be a sky observing contest, The high
point of each evening will be a talk by David Levy on comet hunting. In case of bad weather
everything will be inside & under the roof.
- Other points on Dave's list covered were Astronomy Day at Cranbrook on Saturday, May 2
from 1:00 - 4:30PM, six members have signed up to bring equipment to set up and answer questions from the public.
- There is a need for a replacement for John Herrgott, 1st VP.
- Dave related that Mort Sterling has a list of senators names for anyone interested in
contacting them concerning the light pollution bill presently going through the Senate.
- On Thursday, April 23 sometime before sunrise VENUS, MARS & the MOON will be in very close proximity.
- Dave went over the proposals that we will be voting on at the Macomb meeting in May.
- LARRY KALINOWSKI, COMPUTER GROUP, The April meeting of the COMPUTER GROUP will be held
at the home of Jack Szmanski, at 8:00PM, maps are available on the front table.
- The break was at 8:43 PM.
- Tonight's program was by Paul Strong covering his trip to attend the solar eclipse off
the coast of South America. He showed a video of his trip, very well done, very interesting.
- The meeting ended at 10:15 PM
Cranbrook, May 7, 1998
- Dave started the meeting at 7:44 PM with 24 members and 4 visitors.
- The following items were discussed, Kensington, both nights were clouded out for viewing but
Dave Levy's talks on both nights were very interesting & well done. Dave Levy was gracious to put
a message on the clubs 22-inch telescope, he said he would be honored to do it. Dave Levy also
signed many other items, books, fliers, Riyad's binoculars which luckily were gray so Daves message
showed up well. Attendance for the two nights was estimated at 500 people, not bad for cloudy skies.
Dave D'Onfrio said that next year the date for this event will be on a meteor shower night.
- Cranbrook, 5 members set up a good range of astronomical equipment in the lobby to show the
public and answered many questions. No solar viewing was done due to cloudy skies. Doug Goudie
from Cranbrook relates there were games, prizes and a good time was had by all. The attendance
for Cranbrook's ASTRONOMY DAY was estimated at 400 for the day.
- CLUB BUSINESS, We have two members who are offering to fill the vacancy of 1st VP. The board
meeting on May 12 will decide who it will be.
- STAR PARTIES- Doug Bock's up north at his Boon property on May 22-26. Doug Bock's summer
solstice party at his Fenton site on June 26 and 27. SMURFS at the Hillman area site on July 23-26.
- OFFICER REPORTS:
- Blaine McCoullough 2nd VP- There were three scopes set up at Star Of The Sea school in Grosse
Point for a star party with 40 6,7, and 8th graders in attendance, good skies.
- Steve Green Treasurer- Will have a report at Macomb, was busy celebrating his over the hill
40th birthday with us at the meeting, best of wishes from the club!!!!
- Clay Kessler gave details of his trip to the Texas Star Party, the trip down was tough but
the dark skies were worth the effort. Five WAS members joined 600 other astronomers for dusty
days and clear skies every night of the event. Many interesting scopes were there and many sale
items to be looked over. Next years Texas Star Party will take place on May 9-16.
- Kim Dyer tells of open house at Michigan State University on the 24-inch scope during 1st quarter moons.
- The program for to night will take place in Cranbrook's observatory after the break. Marty
Kunz will handle the program.
- Meeting ended at 10:10PM.
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This page was created by Jeff Bondono, and last changed on
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