The Warren Astronomical Society Paper
Volume 30, Number 7, July, 1998
Table of Contents
Focus On: Bob Watt
by Ceil Brooks
Bob Watt ("like a lightbulb but not as bright") first became interested in astronomy back in 1957.
He visited a friend with an extensive home library, and after some conversation, walked away from that visit with a great book on telescope
making. Bob then made his way to the Detroit Astronomical Society where he was a member from 1957 to 1958. That group had an elaborate
telescope-making set-up and it was there that Bob made his first telescope. Bob says that everything that could have went wrong did, but
that after working one evening each week for 13 months he had a perfect 6" mirror.
Bob has made his share of telescopes since then. In 1964 Bob helped some 4th and 5th graders at Trinity Lutheran School in Warren build an
8" scope. He also helped assemble the WAS 22" telescope and describes that as an experience to remember. Bob now focuses his attention on
his 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain. His love of astronomy, which began with a special interest in the sun and the planets has now expanded to deep
sky objects. He has computerized his telescope and hopes to bring some high-tech toys to this year's SMURFS star party in July. Bob is
also looking forward to pursuing his interest in astrophotography.
Bob has been a member of Warren Astronomical Society for about five years. He has been the club secretary since January of this year and
stated that he never dreamed the role was such a learn-as-you-go job!
Bob retired about 5 and a half years ago. It is hard to believe that he ever has time to sleep given all his interests! He has a 30' x
30' organic garden where he grows kohl rabbi (what's that?) and a variety of other vegetables. His favorite vegetable to grow is the
Thailand Hot Pepper plant. He has more than 35 of them in his garden and ends up giving them all away. Hard as it is to believe, Bob says
that the folks that like his hot peppers the best are the workers of the nursing home where his mother-in-law resides. They also enjoy Bob's
Bob is a real 'joiner' and belongs to many clubs and associations, including the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, the Kite Flyer's Association,
International Watch and Clock Collectors and the Audubon Society.
Bob is married to Pat and they like to call themselves 'flower people'. They have been growing all kinds of flowers (more varieties than could
be mentioned here) for years! Pat collects postcards and also teaches cake decorating. Bob has one daughter named Robin and two granddaughters,
Sana who is 13 and Sarah who is 15. Bob is the proud father-in-law of Mazher who is from Pakistan and is a mechanical engineer.
Bob has a heart-of-gold and even volunteers his time to mentor second grade kids, helping them with their reading and writing. Bob says "kids and
dogs like me so I can't be all bad!"
Bock's Boon Bash
by Clay Kessler
The Memorial Day Weekend was the time frame for the Northern Cross Observatory Wilderness Star Party in Boon Michigan. Host, and noted local
astronomer, Doug Bock worked hard to assure a successful weekend. Many astronomers from the Warren Astronomical Society and the Ford Amateur
Astronomy Club were in attendance as well as several northern Michigan observers! To say that "a great time was had by all" would be a terrible
understatement. The weather was beautiful and the observing conditions were excellent. Doug's Boon Hill observing site provided plenty of room
for camping and telescope setup.
It was a wonderful family weekend with many children running around having fun during the day and lots of serious astronomy going on at night.
Blaine McCullough brought up the WAS 22" Dob and this was used by Marty Kunz and Pat "Comet Ace" Stonehouse to provide a look at the new comet
and other "faint fuzzies" to all who cared to peek. Doug Bock had his 20" Dob and provided his "tour of the universe" to anyone who wandered by.
I kept hearing people saying "Six! I count six galaxies in this field of view!" from Doug's direction. Jack Kennedy took some astrophotos this
weekend using his LX200. Judging from the raw prints he got some excellent shots! Larry Vassallo brought up his new 5th wheel for camping and
had an LX200 and a 10" Dob, he was also taking astrophotos. Glenn Wilkins had his new camper set up on the field near the road along with his
large Dob. Tim Gillen, from Traverse City, joined us and brought his large Dob. Rich Brenz from Cadillac was out with his 10" LX200 for two
nights and he kept us supplied with tools for on-site repairs! Thanks Rich! I won't forget the time I spent looking through Dave Ciali's 14"
Dob observing the veil nebula with an O-III filter. This allowed us to very clearly see the smoke like wisps of the nebula structure and almost
gave a 3-D effect - VERY NICE!! I also saw Pluto for the first time thanks to Dave.
Also on site was the entire extended Bock clan, Vic and Pat Singh and their extended clan, Rich and Christine Becker, new members of the FAAC and
several new observers from the Cadillac area out to scope out the scopes.
KA-CHING!! Mother nature paid off against the odds, for us here in Michigan, giving us 3 clear nights out of 4. Made you kind of want to run up
to a casino while our luck was holding so well! Friday night was kind of scary with the sky clouding up in the afternoon. The clouds teased us
until around 11:00 and then we noticed that the stars were getting brighter. By 11:30 the sky was clear. Saturday was great all day and all
night. Sunday was a different story. The clouds rolled in at mid-morning and a soft rain started to fall. This kept up, on and off, all day
and through the night. Monday morning dawned still raining. This was crunch time - do you pack and go home or have faith? The clouds lingered
through the morning and into the afternoon. Finally the sun broke through some holes. Two hours later the sky was clear and stayed that way
all night! The "Faithful Five" that stuck it out had a wonderful night of observing.
Looking at the equipment that showed up it seems that large Dobsonian telescopes were the scope of choice for the veteran serious observers.
There were 4 SCT's ( two 8" and two 10") and one equatorial Newtonian on the field with the rest big Dobs. We needed Greg Burnett, with his
big refractor, and Bob Fitzgerald, with his binocular setup to round things out!
The skies were very nice getting dark at around 10:30 and staying that way until around 4:30 AM. The humidity kept the skies a little "bright"
but afforded some great nebula views. I am no judge of stellar magnitude but some discussions on Saturday night put the sky at somewhere around
6th magnitude. It was plenty dark enough to see a lot of structure in the milky way. The Lagoon, the Eagle, the Swan, the double cluster and M31
were all naked eye objects, that's dark enough for me.
As usual for a star party, things got quiet in the wee morning hours. This is the time when quiet murmurs can be heard across the field and the
occasional group gasp as a particularly bright meteor flashes by. This quiet intensity is what unknots the psyche and relaxes the soul. Is this
a great hobby or what!!!!
Don't forget the Northern Cross Observatory Summer Solstice Star Party at the observatory site in Fenton Michigan. This will take place on June
26th to the 28th. Check Doug's Northern Cross Observatory web site for maps and additional information at
http//bsd1.kode.net/~dougbock/index.html. See you there!!
by Larry Kalinowski
(Ed. note: The column name has been changed. It's because I seem to be having more astronomy news than computer news nowadays. I haven't forgotten my
keyboard users. Computer news will be included whenever possible.)
The big news, from the Hubble telescope, is the possible visual detection of an extrasolar planet.... a planet in another solar system. You'd think that
such a picture would be conclusive.... that there wouldn't be any doubt about whether it was a planet or not, but the photo shown, with the "planet"
supposedly being ejected from a multiple star system, leaves some doubt. Mass estimates of the "planet" seem to indicate that it's about two or three
times the mass of Jupiter. Since it's being ejected from the double star system, it's not in a stable orbit. Stability would help refine the calculations
considerably. Could it possibly be a small star or the remnant of a star? We'll know more about it as other calculations are concluded. Spectroscopic
analysis should help put the puzzle together.
Neutrinos have mass? Recent findings by a Japanese physics team have indicated that they've discovered a possible wobble in moving neutrinos. Any wobble
at all indicates mass. This has implications far greater than the discovery of a possible extrasolar planet mentioned above. It could finally explain
the problem of missing mass in the structure of the universe. Present theories indicate the universe should have ten times more mass than is actually
measured. More mass means our universe would eventually collapse again, leading to another big bang and the development of another universe.
You can put your order in for Windows 98 at any of the chain computer stores around town. June 25 is supposed to be the sale date. Whether or not that
date becomes the first day of sale is yet to be seen. Microsoft's legal problems could move that date back further.
If you thought the Palomar sky survey was something to behold, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. In 1999, astronomers will begin the Sloan sky survey. It's
expected to gather images of fifty million celestial objects on CCD equipment, designed especially for astronomy and be ready for distribution to
astronomers, both professional and amateur, by the year 2005. A lot depends on weather conditions and how many clear nights will be available. The
CCD chip actually contains fifty-four chips, each one two inches on a side. Each CCD contains four megabytes, bringing the total to two-hundred and
sixteen megabytes of data, per picture.
It appears that Neutron stars are now being classified into groups. The latest type being called a Magnetar. The surface magnetic field is one hundred
times as strong as a typical neutron star. Its strong enough to cause quakes within the star which, in turn, cause large bursts of Gamma rays.
The Mars Global Surveyor may have discovered water on Mars. What appears to be an ice filled crater has been found near the equator by a Tennessee
researcher. This water source would be very valuable for a Mars landing team.
Don't forget the WAS club picnic to be held starting Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21. Overnight accommodations will be available for those who
just have to catch a couple of winks during the twilight hours. There will be food and drinks for all. If you have a dish to bring, please do. We had
a swap table last year and plan to have another. So if you have any items to swap or sell, bring them along. Please don't forget to bring a repellant
for those pesky mosquitoes, and kids, bring a glass jar to catch fireflies.
The June computer meeting will be at Gary Gathen's home, on Thursday the 25th. The July meeting on the 23rd, 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 248-543-3366.
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.
Confessions of an Amateur Astronomer
by Steve Greene
We had recently moved into our new home in Macomb Township and were relaxing on the patio at the back of the house. It was a beautiful Summer evening.
The warm breeze felt like silk flowing over my face. My wife, Nancy, and I listened to the sounds of the day drift off as the clock in the house struck
eleven o'clock. The heavens abounded with stars and one in particular stood out. In my inquisitive way I wondered about that particular star, one that
I had seen for some time in the summer night sky. Nancy asked me if it was possible to know what star that very one was. I remembered that a friend of
ours had loaded an astronomy software program on our computer, I told her that I will be right back as I stepped into the house. It took me some time to
understand how to use the program but within a few short minutes the answer was at hand. To my amazement the star that shone so brightly outside was not a
star at all but was Jupiter. I discovered Jupiter!
Discovered! Well... I was excited! I did not realize that Jupiter would be so prominent. My lack of understanding that a planet in our solar system would
show itself so clearly was only the first of my 'Discoveries.' It would only take a week to be able to point out the other planets that shine brightly in
the night sky and by the next weekend, the neighbors thought that I was an astronomer. You've heard of being 'King for a day'; I was 'astronomer for the
week.' I was embarrassed. How could I be considered an astronomer if with all my might, I could only point out the 'Big Dipper' the 'North Star' the
'Moon' and a handful of planets?
I latched onto a term that allowed me to sleep at night. That term was one that as insignificant as it may seem, is so significant that millions of people
in hundreds of countries are defined by it. People with one day's worth of astronomy to the learned folks with decades of experience. That one term is
'Amateur.' It doesn't mean that you are less of an astronomer than the next person, it means something different, much more than that. Being an amateur
astronomer means that you belong to this big, no, enormous club where others share your interests, share your quest for knowledge, know how amazed you are
when you find something in the sea of shining points of light because they too were excited to find those same objects.
You are in good company when you are an amateur astronomer. I started out by using the computer program that I had. I went to the library and over the
course of six months, had checked out every book on telescopes at least once and some two and three times. I now have quite a collection of books and
equipment, most of which I asked for at Christmas time or my birthday. I also have had many experiences, listening to the presentations at the Cranbrook
and Macomb meetings and observing at Stargate. I am glad I joined the club.
Most astronomy in Michigan is done at home. There are books to read, video tapes from the library to check out, programs on 'Nova' and 'The Learning Channel
(TLC)' provide countless hours of opportunity to learn about astronomy. The internet is full of sites that provide up to the minute news in the field of
astronomy. Don't forget the WAS club meetings where presentations are given on everything from the sun to making a telescope.
The bottom line is to be involved! Each of our members has some knowledge about some aspect of astronomy that others would love to hear about. Share an
experience, or the latest book you read or video you saw. Join the group at Stargate, you may see nighttime objects you have never seen before.
It has been two years since I was sitting on the patio with Nancy. I have enjoyed many weekend evenings that quickly moved on into the wee hours of the
morning at Stargate Observatory. I have 'Discovered' many of the constellations and to date, twenty five Messier Objects. Several of our members have
been regulars at Stargate, enduring the bitter cold of January and February and now fighting off the summertime bugs but... they come prepared and say
to me "I'll be back." Last week a few of our new members joined in the viewing of the nighttime splendors. It is always enjoyable to help others find
the amazing objects that can be viewed with the telescope. I hope that other new members, other 'Amateur Astronomers', will decide to make the time to
go and see the wonders of the sky.
by Jeff Bondono
Jeff Bondono and Ceil Brooks (now Bondono) are happy to announce that they tied the
knot on May 26th in the elopement capital of the midwest, Toledo, Ohio. Jeff and Ceil will be living in Shelby Township. Look for Ceil at upcoming club meetings
and events. You'll recognize her by her sparkling smile and the guy with the ponytail by her side.
Minutes of Meetings
by Bob Watt
Macomb, May 21, 1998
- PRESIDENT DAVE D'ONOFRIO OPENED THE MEETING AT 7:47 PM WITH 33 MEMBERS AND 2 GUESTS IN ATTENDANCE.
- OFFICERS REPORTS:
- PRESIDENT- DAVE D'ONOFRIO
- DAVE GAVE THE RESULTS OF THE RUN-OFF ELECTION FOR A REPLACEMENT FOR JOHN HERRGOTT, 1ST VP. THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAS CHOSEN CHRISTOPHER MEHLING.
DAVE ASKED THAT EVERONE SUPPORT CHRIS IN HIS EFFORTS AS 1ST VP.
- THE KENSINGTON STAR PARTY ON MAY 1 AND 2 WAS ATTENDED BY ABOUT 500 PEOPLE, BOTH NIGHTS THE SKY WAS CLOUDY. THE INDIVIDUAL CLUB TALKS WENT VERY WELL,
ENJOYED BY ALL. THE HIGHLIGHT OF BOTH EVENINGS WAS THE MAIN SPEAKER, DAVID LEVY. HIS TALK ON COMET HUNTING AND HIS ASTRONOMICAL VIEWS WERE INSPIRING.
THANKS GO TO THE NATURE STORE WHO SPONSORED MR LEVY'S APPEARANCE. THE CLUB'S 22" SCOPE WAS SIGNED AND DATED BY DAVID LEVY WITH A NICE INSCRIPTION TO
- IT IS OUR PRESIDENTS HOPE TO RENEW EFFORTS TO GET LINES OF COMUNICATIONS OPENED WITH THE HURON METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY ON WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.
JOHN HERRGOTT HAS DONE MUCH WORK ALONG THESE LINES.
- THERE IS TALK OF KENSINGTON STARTING AN ASTRONOMY CLUB AT THE PARK.
- THE RESULTS OF THE VOTING ON THE FOUR PROPOSALS IS IN, ALL PASSED.
- 2ND VP-BLAINE McCULLOUGH
- ALL SCOPES WERE AVAILABLE AT STARGATE FOR AN OUTING FOR 30 SCOUTS AND 11 CLUB MEMBERS, GOOD SKIES TILL 4:00AM. BLAINE SAID HE WILL GO TO DOUG BOCK'S
STAR PARTY ON MAY 23 IN BOON, MI.
- THERE IS AREQUEST FROM A LARGE GROUP OF CIVIL AIR PATROL MEMBERS TO COME TO STARGATE ON JUNE 26 AND 27, BLAINE WILL NEED HELP WITH THIS EVENT.
- TREASURER- STEVE GREENE, THE BALANCE IN OUR TREASURERY STANDS AT $6120.11. NEW MEMBER ADDRESS, TELEPHONE AND E-MAIL ADDRESS LIST IS ON THE FRONT TABLE.
- SECRETARY- BOB WATT, THE LETTER TO CRANBROOK ASKING FOR CONTINUED USE OF MEETING ROOM, AUDITORIUM, PLANETARIUM AND AUDIO/VISUAL EQUIPMENT, HAS BEEN SENT.
- SOLAR GROUP- MARTY KUNZ, THERE HAS BEEN A SUPER NOVA OF 11 MAGNATUDE, 1 MINUTE N AND EAST OF THE CORE OF COMET STONEHOUSE.
- NOTES: KIM DYER, ON THE 29TH AND 30th OF THIS MONTH MICHIGAN STATE WILL HOST AN OPEN HOUSE ON THE 24", F8 SCOPE.
- THE BREAK WAS AT 8:55PM.
- THE PROGRAM THIS EVENING WAS BY JEFF BONDONO ON FOCAULT TESTING MIRROR SURFACES. JEFF SET UP HIS 14 3/8" MIRROR ON THE STAND AND LET MANY MEMBERS READ THE
FOCOULT TEST. MANY EXAMPLES WERE EXPLAINED WITH THE USE OF BLACKBOARDS. WELL DONE JEFF!!
- MEETING ENDED AT 10:20PM
Cranbrook, June 4, 1998
- PRESIDENT DAVE D'ONOFRIO OPENED THE MEETING AT 7:47 PM WITH 30 MEMBERS AND 3 VISITORS.
- OFFICERS REPORTS:
- PRESIDENT- DAVE D'ONOFRIO
- DAVE INTRODUCED OUR NEW 1st VP, CHRISTOPHER MEHLING.
- ASTRONOMY DAY AT CRANBROOK WAS DISCUSSED, A LETTER FROM MIKE NARLOCK THANKING THE 5 WAS MEMBERS FOR SETTING UP IN THE LOBBY AND ANSWERING QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC
WAS READ ALOUD. CLOUD CONDITIONS MADE OUTSIDE SOLAR VIEWING IMPOSSIBLE.
- ANYONE WORKING TOWARD THE MESSIER CERTIFICATE CAN GET HELP FROM DOUG BOCK ON JUNE 26 AND 27 AT HIS FENTON STAR PARTY.
- SMURF'S IS COMING UP ON JULY 23-26, VERY DARK SKIES, AN ALL AROUND GOOD TIME. DO NOT MISS THIS EVENT !!!
- ASTRO-FEST IS DUE IN SEPT, OUTSIDE CHICAGO, IN A STATE PARK,ABOUT 1000 PEOPLE ATTENDING, SPEAKERS, SWAP TABLES, TELESCOPES GALORE. MORE INFORMATION
- 2ndVP- BLAINE McCULLOUGH, BLAINE RELATES THAT JUNE IS GOING TO BE A BUSY MONTH, JUNE 20 IS THE ANNUAL CLUB PICNIC, (YOUR HELP WILL BE
APPRECIATED), ALL SCOPES WILL BE CALLED IN FOR THE PICNIC, 27 CIVIL AIR PATROL MEMBERS AND 50 SCOUTS ARE COMING TO STARGATE. THE FRANK McCULLOUGH
DEDICATION PLATE HAS BEEN REPAIRED AND PUT BACK ON THE 22" SCOPE. THE DAVID LEVY INSCRIPTION ON THE 22" SCOPE IS NOW COVERED WITH A LUCITE PROTECTIVE
- TREASURER- STEVE GREENE, THE ASTRONOMICAL ALMANAC IS BEING REVISED. STEVE WENT OVER QUESTIONS COVERING ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE CERTIFICATES
AND HANDBOOKS FOR EACH, MESSIER CERTIFICATES, AND THE HERSCHELL CERTIFICATES.
- A FRAMED CERTIFICATE WAS PRESENTED TO FRED JUDD IN REMEMERANCE OF THE MANY EFFORTS HIS MOTHER MADE FOR THE CLUB.
- MORT STERLING REPORTS HE RECEIVED A RESPONSE TO A LETTER HE SENT TO THE SCIENCE COMMITTEE CONCERNING THE LIGHT POLLUTION BILL. MORT WILL BE INFORMED OF ANY MOVEMENT
OF THIS BILL. THE MAY 15 HEARING DID NOT INCLUDE THE BILL
- SHOW AND TELL, FRANK SPISAK SHOWED HIS NEW BINOCULAR/TRI-POD SET UP.
- KIM DYER HAS MADE A BIBLIOGROPHY OF ALL ASTRONOMY AND PHYSICS BOOKS IN THE MACOMB COM. LIBRARY, SEE KIM FOR DETAILS.
- AFTER THE BREAK WE MOVED INTO THE AUDITORIUM FOR A VIDEO ON "THE POWERS OF TEN", BROUGHT IN BY MIKE O`DOWD AND A VIDEO ON ASTRO SUBJECTS BROUGHT IN BY DOUG GOUDIE
- THE MEETING ENDED AT 10:05PM
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