The Warren Astronomical Society Paper
Volume 31, Number 5May, 1999

icon At the Observatory
by Marty Kunz

Now that the temperature has warmed up a bit, it's time for all of us fair weather observers to get out and do some observing. The number one excuse, THE BIG CHILL, is no longer valid. Likewise, if you don't have a telescope or if you have a new one but don't know how to use it, not a problem; come on out to the club's observatory, Stargate, which holds a 12.5 inch cassigrain telescope on equatorial mount.

Each month Observatory Chairman Rick Gossett will hold an open house for members and non-members (this includes kids too). For the past two months [continued]

astro chatter Astro Chatter
by Larry Kalinowski

The night of April 18 will give observers a chance to record the occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon. With a slender crescent showing, video cameras shouldn't have any trouble catching the star's disappearance behind the darkened limb about 11:15 PM EDT (3:15 UT). The Moon will be very low, about 10 degrees above the horizon with Venus near. The picture should be quite interesting if Aldebaran shows up in your video camera.

Due to a fortunate set of circumstances, I've been able to purchase seven copies of SIRIUS, a planetarium program that will run in Windows 3.1, 95 or 98. The program comes complete on a floppy disk and includes an instruction manual for installation and operation. It's designed to be [continued]

icon Minutes of Meetings
by LoriAnn Skonieczny

icon New Members
by Joe Van Poucker

The thing that makes the Warren Astronomical Society a great are its members. We are very happy to announce the following new members who joined during March of 1999. Please extend them a warm welcome.
  • Umar H. Brown; Mt. Clemens, MI
  • Danny Cross; Roseville, MI
  • Sanders Park; Westland, MI
WAS Anniversaries for May [continued]

icon New Info
by Joe Van Poucker

To All Sky & Telescope Magazine Subscribers:

I received notice this month that the Club Discount Subscription Rates have gone up from $27.00 to $29.95. The new rate is in effect for all new and renewing subscriptions, however, any recently submitted subscriptions at the $27 rate will be accepted.

I was also informed that if a member receives a renewal notice at the $27 rate it will be accepted as long as the renewal notice and payment is sent to Sky Publishing via the club's treasurer.

In other News:

I am still submitting a member's anniversaries column to the WASP. I am aware the club's membership info may be incorrect. If you see your name mentioned in the column and know that the info is incorrect please contact me so we can get the membership database updated.

Clear Skies.

icon At the Observatory, continued

about 65 guests have visited Stargate. There is a special theme every open house that will enhance the nights observing.

On April 10, 1999, a setting circle clinic is planned. Setting circles are numbered dials on the telescope that relate to the coordinate system used on star charts. You can easily learn how to find objects in the sky that are too faint to see with the naked eye. Coordinate lines that circle around the celestial pole are called declination; lines that radiate out from the pole are called right ascension (R.A. for short). Does your telescope have setting circles? An evening at the observatory would be a good opportunity to learn how to use them.

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astro chatter Astro Chatter, continued

used by the beginner in astronomy and computers because it doesn't show the Messier objects or any deep sky objects. However, the Sun, Moon and planets are shown quite well. There are some special demos that show an eclipse of the Sun and phases of the Moon for the date you choose. The program will be available at the MCCC meeting in April. The price is $5.00 per copy. All profits go to the WAS.

An attempt to understand the universe at the level of the infinitesimal is now being attempted by astronomers, or more precisely, astrophysicists. Particle detectors buried deep in the ice near the south pole are going to be used to measure neutrinos, those unseen particles that can only be detected by how they affect larger particles as they rifle throughout the universe. Neutrinos have been postulated for years but were seldom detected because of the ease with which they move through matter, leaving very little evidence. They have the ability to travel completely through the Earth without incidence. Today's detectors can see traces of moving photons (light particles) caused by the collision of a neutrino with neutrons. Modern astronomers can predict the number of neutrinos generated by supernovae and other cataclysmic events that occur throughout the universe, then calculate how many particles should be detected by those special detectors. Accurate counts then confirm computer models of how the universe functions when these events occur.

Speaking of photons, I can't help but mention the news that the speed of light has been slowed down to 38 MPH by a Danish physicist named Lene Vestergaard Hau and her working team at the Rowland Institute for Science and Harvard University. She managed to accomplish this amazing feat by passing a beam of light through a gas medium with a very high index of refraction. The gas was frozen to -459.67 degrees, a temperature that pretty much makes all atoms stand practically motionless. It was just fifty-billionths of a degree above absolute zero. Even more amazing, Hau claims refinements in her lab apparatus could even slow light down to a possible 120 feet per hour.

The mirror grinding group has assembled the grinding bench that Bob Watt has graciously loaned to the WAS. Right now it's located in Blaine McCullough's basement and so far five meetings have pushed the mirror grinders to purchase some dental cement and tiles for making grinding and polishing tools. The first tool will be a 12.5 inch casting for Bob's 12.5 inch mirror. One inch square, ceramic tiles, will then be epoxied to the surface of the tool for grinding the mirror's curve. The bench is now being modified for the new mirrors that will be made on it. I brought over my Focault tester on the evening of March 8 and went over some preliminary instructions for setting up the tester and looking at some mirror defects on one of Bob's six inch mirrors. Eventually, we'll be discussing methods to correct zone problems on mirrors and how to correct them using various polishing strokes. A Focault mirror testing program, written by Jeff Bondono, will be used to determine the wave rating of the mirrors. Steve Greene, our president, has suggested adding a video pickup and monitor to measure Focault zones. The advantages being easier shadow interpretation and being able to utilize only one mask for all mirror sizes. The video image size of the mirror can be varied on the screen to fit the mask that is also taped to the monitor.

The April computer meeting will be held at Gary Gathen's home on Thursday, the 22nd. His address is 21 Elm Park. Three blocks south of the I-696 expressway and about half a block west of Woodward in Pleasant Ridge. You can reach him at 248-543-3366 for further information.

Gary has informed the computer group that he has the latest version of The Sky and is willing to part with it at or near the going rate. He also mentioned that he would be willing to trade the program for telescope or astronomical hardware of equivalent value.

I'm also looking for some reflector telescope parts. I need a 3.1 in. elliptical diagonal (minor axis) and a holder/spider to fit my 12 3/8 inch inside diameter tube. Call me at 810-776-9720 if you have something to sell.

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icon Minutes of Meetings

Macomb, March 18, 1999

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icon New Members, continued

WAS Anniversaries for May
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This page was created by Jeff Bondono, and last changed on April 7, 1999.