The Warren Astronomical Society Paper

Volume 30, Number 8, August, 1998

Table of Contents

Focus On: Jeff Bondono

by Ceil Bondono

Jeff Bondono's long-standing interest in astronomy was inspired by the United States' race to the moon in the early sixties. Watching the televised space shots took Jeff's imagination where it had never been. Astronomy books given him by his parents further spurred his interest. He found himself reading the books over and over again.

Reading about the objects in the sky led to observing when Jeff was 10. It was at that time that his parents bought him a 60mm Tasco telescope. The Tasco did have its limits, but with it, he was able to see the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Albireo, and Mizar and Alcor. Jeff recalls feeling much pride in being able to show his family and friends the objects he'd found in the sky.

After purchasing a 4-inch cardboard tube reflector telescope at Toys R Us and being disappointed by its performance, Jeff decided to get serious about his equipment. He bought an 8" Meade (Newtonian) telescope with some of the money he earned moonlighting as a contract programmer. He remembers taking delivery of it right after the Tigers won the World Series in 1984. He used it each and every clear night for several years. It was during this period that Jeff was finally able to see some of the objects he'd always read about but was never able to locate.

Jeff realized his desire to share his observing experiences with others after several years of independent work. Jeff joined the Warren Astronomical Society in 1987. That was also the year he began traveling to better (darker) skies which made it easier for him to find the last few Messier Objects he needed to receive his Messier Certificate at the club's awards banquet in 1988.

Afterwards, Jeff was ready to begin work on the Herschel list. His home in Shelby Township did not provide the dark skies he needed, so he took a drive out M-53 past Imlay City and located the spot which then became his favorite observing spot for the past 10 years. He earned his Herschel Certificate (#70) after about 4 years of observation.

Over the past twelve years he held the posts of Treasurer, 2nd Vice-President, 1st Vice-President, and President. He assisted in refurbishing the 12" telescope at Stargate and pitched in 'a little' to build the club's 22". Jeff has been editing the club's newsletter, the WASP, for about two years now. He is newly married and has two daughters, Brandi who is headed to MSU, and Wendi who will be in fifth grade in the fall. He is employed as a computer programmer.

Jeff is happy to offer assistance to members wanting help with observing, cosmology, galaxies, and telescope making. When it comes to telescope making, he knows what he is talking about. He finished a 14.5" Dobsonian named Felicity in 1994. Interestingly enough, he used his original 60mm Tasco as the finder scope for it. I bet Jeff's parents never would have imagined the mileage he's gotten from that gift!

Computer Chatter

by Larry Kalinowski

Those of you who would like to follow the antics of the Iridium satellites can buy a copy of IRIDFLAR from the clubs shareware library. You'll need an updated .TLE file to keep up with the latest orbit changes. You can download a .TLE file from a NASA satellite webb page or get one from me or Randall Rubis at one of the club's monthly meetings. Those Iridium satellites are noted for extreme brightness under certain conditions. The program IRIDFLAR calculates when those extra bright periods occur and prints out a list of dates, times and directions. There's more than one satellite and they're noted for getting brighter than the planet Venus. The program is a DOS program capable of running under WIN95 or 98 if loaded manually.

The '98 club picnic was quite a success. A fifth magnitude, cloudless sky at camp Rotary had about thirty people, members and new visitors, in attendance. It was warm, but the warmth was nothing near the sweltering heat we had last year. We even saw what we think was one of those Iridium satellites. Traveling from north to south, it grew from dimmest to greatest brilliance in about ten seconds, then was abruptly extinguished by the Earths shadow. It peaked at something even more brilliant than Venus appears when its at greatest brilliancy.

Microsoft is off the hook, temporarily anyway. An appeals court decided in favor of removing the ruling that says Microsoft couldn't sell their browser along with Windows 98. However, it isn't for the reason you might think. The appeals court decided Microsoft wasn't given enough time to develop a defense.

More evidence for life existing elsewhere in the solar system was found when colonies of bacteria were found in polar ice that seldom rises above thirty-two degrees. Such ice is termed "perpetual ice". Perpetual ice on other bodies of the solar system like Mars and Europa could possibly be harboring some kind of life forms, according to Brian D. Lanoli, of Oregon State University.

The July computer meeting will be at Gary Gathen's home, on Thursday the 23rd. The August meeting on the 27th, 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.

Minutes of Meetings

by Bob Watt

Macomb, June 18, 1998

Cranbrook, July 2, 1998

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This page was created by Jeff Bondono, and last changed on July 15, 1998.