The Warren Astronomical Society Paper
Volume 31, Number 10October, 1999

New Observatory Opens in Lansing!
by Rich Michaels

The all new Fox Park Public Observatory opens to the public on the evening of Saturday September 11th in Potterville, just southwest of Lansing, Mi.

I am asking you to pass this along to others in the Michigan astronomical community. We would love to have you join us in our facility in this wonderful county park featuring dark skies, a wide open horizon and large field for star parties.

We have a 30 X 30 roll off roof observatory featuring a Celestron C-14 and two LX200 12" telescopes mounted on massive concrete piers. We [continued]

astro chatter Astro Chatter
by Larry Kalinowski

The Keck telescope, on Mauna Kea, in Hawaii, along with researcher Seran Gibbard, may have detected liquid seas on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Gibbard, a planetary scientist with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, [continued]

The WASP 25 Years Later
by LoriAnn Skonieczny

Here is another installment to The WASP 25 Years Ago. It is excerpted from the November 1974 issue of the WASP. The column was called Letters to the WASP.

I am certain that many readers of the WASP have wondered why we have not [continued]

icon New Members
by Joe Van Poucker

icon Minutes of Meetings
by LoriAnn Skonieczny

The Swap Shop
This is a new column for those who are interested in buying, trading or selling items. Call 810-776-9720 if you want to put an item for sale or trade in this section of the WASP. The ad will run for six months. [continued]

New Observatory Opens in Lansing!, continued

are currently looking to raise the remaining funds to mount a very large 20 to 24 inch Cassegrain (most likely) on our 3rd massive concrete pier. These scopes are remotely controlled from the adjoining dark lab which has numerous computers and astronomical software. We also own a Starlight MX-5 one-shot color CCD and various other accessories.

As a lover of the stars, we invite you to join us on our first big day for a Chicken StarBQ (we borrowed this concept from the nice folks at GRAA ) as well. The Chicken StarBQ in the park runs from 4:30 to 7:30pm that day. The observatory opens at 8PM and is free to the public.


If you would, please rsvp to:
Rich Michaels
Fox Observatory




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astro chatter Astro Chatter, continued

has detected liquid hydrocarbons on the moon's surface but isn't able to say, just yet, what kind they are. It could be Methane, Ethane or some other hydrocarbons. The surface of Titan dips to -290 degrees F.

So far, about one million people have registered with the SETI@HOME project. Whether they're all running that signal locating software judiciously, is yet to be determined. However, ten times as many have signed up than was actually hoped for.

Deep Space One, the space probe with the ion propelled engine has met its first encounter. Braille, the asteroid, failed to be photographed close up as was intended, however, other sensors within the probe gathered data during the approach and the far approach portion of the photographic program did work. Only one third of the fuel required to operate the ion engine has been used. Now the probe is on its way for two more possible encounters.

The south pole of Mars is slowly entering spring on that planet. As a result, the ever increasing illumination is giving NASA's Mars Global Surveyor probe a much better look at the surface, which has been in complete darkness during the long Mars winter. Closer scrutiny by the probe shows a frost that is probably water, not carbon dioxide. The temperature of Mars' south pole is -184 degrees F, not cold enough to support frozen carbon dioxide.

The third annual "Astronomy At The Beach" star party, at Kensington Metropark, turned out to be quite a success. At this point, I don't have the park's estimate of how many turned out but it was clear skies for both Friday and Saturday. The 22 inch "McCullough Memorial Telescope" had plenty of observers lined up on both nights. Joe Van Poucker and Steve Greene had their hands full of anxious, astronomer, wannabies. I don't think the crowd was as big as the first Hale-Bopp party but it was close. Bob Watt had his TV hook-up going Friday along with Barry Craig and his closed circuit TV. The best show was on Saturday because Fred Judd brought along all his equipment for a hands on demo of CCD photography. His demo of photo acquisition and enhancement amazed quite a few onlookers. Dave D'Onofrio was busy giving more than his share of lectures on both days of the event. All attendees had a chance to enter and win one of two computer controlled telescopes, to be given away at a future drawing. Hats off to all those I did and didn't mention that gave their time to contribute to the success of the show. That goes double for all the other clubs that contributed too.

The stock in IRIDIUM, the company, has fallen to under $3 per share and they have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. What will happen to all those orbiting satellites? Do you think that they're going to let them all decay until they burn up in the Earth's atmosphere? Chapter 11 doesn't mean total dispersion of the company's assets. It just means all business functions of the company will be closely controlled by a board of trustees until the company becomes solvent again. That means, if you're a gambler, investment in that low cost stock could be quite profitable if IRIDIUM pulls out of its depth-ridden doldrums. How about you? Are you willing to take a chance? A buyout by another company could help considerably.

Your next TV set might have a built in hard drive. Some equipment manufacturers are thinking about phasing out the VCR, simply because a great many people can't figure out how to record their own programs. A recent pole revealed most people use their VCR's for playing prerecorded movies, never taking advantage of the recording feature. Hard drives can record programs using simpler commands and they can have pre-programmed features like instant record if you're interrupted by a phone call.

According to TIME magazine, George Djorgovski, the discoverer of that mysterious stellar object with the strange spectroscopic peaks that have had some astronomers scratching their heads, says it's just what he had suspected all along, a sub-sub-subspecies of quasar. A little help from the Keck telescope's infrared detectors, put the lid on identifying the object.

The September computer meeting will be held at Gary Gathen's home on Thursday, the 23rd. 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.

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The WASP 25 Years Later, continued

published any letters from our vast readership. Well, I can assure you, it was not because we hadn't received any. The postman regularly strains his finger-nails bringing in the tons of correspondence. But after you examine the following sample, you will understand why this correspondence has gone unpublished.


One of the most noble enterprises of any amateur astronomical organization is the spreading of astronomical information to the public. One of the most effective methods of doing so is via the audio-visual media. It just so happens that I have an excellent slide/tape program on the solar system prepared. The photography is fantastic, as are the script and soundtrack. Now I can let the WAS have the entire package for a very reasonable, dirt cheap price...

R. Civic

Civco Enterprises, Unltd.

Earth, Mars, and other major planets

(Ed. Note: Don't call us,...)


Since all other channels have failed, I demand that the WASP publish my observatory report...

P. Kwentus

(Ed. Note: We'll give you a whole column. After all Dear Abby had to start somewhere.)


I have just completed installing a newly designed dual exhaust, multichannel, chromium dioxide, tunnel diode filter to the input source of my sixty-eighth generation chilled emulsion camera. I'm certain that I am now on the right track. Frankly, I'm surprised that more amateurs have not attempted to make such simple instruments as this. I don't know what I would've ever done without mine.

L. Faix

(Ed. Note: If at first you don't succeed, quit!)


I have a few jokes and puns to share with your readers. What do you call


F. McCullough


I wish to announce plans for the acquisition of a new telescope. It will be a 24" Newtonian-Cassegrain. This instrument will not be a toy like my former telescope; but, instead, it will be a moderate size instrument whose added light gathering power will finally allow me to probe the libration of the moon.

Dr. Harrington

P.S. This new instrument will, of course, be a portable one like my 14."

(Ed. Note: More power (mirror?) to you.)


Excuse me, but I'd like to ask a question. I'm just a beginner at this so this may be a dumb question. Now stop me and tell me if I'm wrong. But, what do you think this theory... I came up with it on my own, but I like it better than any of he other theories that I've ever heard... What's the theory?... Oh, just a minute... Oh yeah, what do you think of a theory that the universe is just a giant Easter egg?


B. Bock

(Ed. Note: No comment)

Well folks that's all there is for now. Keep those cards and letters coming in.

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icon New Members

The thing that makes the Warren Astronomical Society great are its members. We are very happy to announce the following new member who joined during August of 1999. Please extend him a warm welcome. WAS Anniversaries for October (Corrections should be submitted to Joe Van Poucker)
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icon Minutes of Meetings

Cranbrook, August 2, 1999

Macomb, August 19, 1999

(submitted by Bob Watt)
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The Swap Shop, continued

The month and year the ad will be removed, is also shown.
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