PeGASus Newsletter Issue #39 – Aug. 1993

  • Editorial Comments
  • Meetings
  • PeGASus Activities
  • Observing at the PGAO
  • Image Gallery

Prince George Astronomical Society Executive 1993

Bob Nelson 562-2131 President: 563-6928
Alan Pretty Vice President: 562-3562
Brian Potts 565-3625 Secretary: 562-8113
David Sundberg Treasurer : 562-5774/6655
Jim Livingstone Mem. at Large 964-0155
Rod Marynovich Mem. at Large 562-0952

PeGASus Project Directors

Ted Biech 562-2131 Director: 564-2838
Orla Aaquist 562-2131 Programs 964-9626 Coordinator
Bob Nelson 562-2131 Observatory 563-6928 Director

Editorial Comments:

The mailing list to members and friends of the PGAS is growing larger. We now have 49 people to whom we send our newsletter. I have taken the liberty of reproducing this list below. If you are on this list you are either a paid up member, a past member who may still be interested in our society, a prospective member who has approached us at our various functions for information about our activity, or a helpful friend who wants to be kept informed about our activities.

At the October meeting, the paid up members (you know who you are, and it is not too late for the rest of you) will be asked to elect a new executive. During the past year, interest in the PGAS has grown by leaps and bounds, and with the construction of the observatory and the success of our public awareness program, it seems that we have set the tone for the next few years. If you are not happy with the direction we have taken, then it is time to let your thoughts be known. Think about who you want to be on the executive for the next term.

The Editor

Meetings: by Orla Aaquist

The August 25th meeting will start at 7:30 P.M. at

The observatory on Tedford Road.

If you are unsure where the observatory is located, the map on the left should help. If you need aMap2 ride to the observatory or if you are willing to give someone a ride, leave your name with Orla Aaquist (964-9626).

Next Meeting: Some of us are gaining experience using our new observatory and equipment. We feel that some guidelines should be developed in order to help protect our investment from carelessness by inexperienced users. At the next meeting of the PGAS, the current procedures for the operation of the observatory and the use of the various equipment will be demonstrated to the members. This, of course, is best done at the observatory itself. After the demonstration, there will be a general discussion concerning the operation of the observatory equipment and possible guidelines that can be set down.

If you are interested in using our new observatory and equipment, please attend this most important meeting.

Remember that much of the equipment was purchased with public funds and our first obligation must be to providing the public with access to our facility. The PeGASus project does not end until March 15, 1994 and all equipment purchased through this project must be available to the individuals committed to PeGASus. But what happens then? Bring your ideas and suggestions to the next meeting.

Last Meeting: At the last meeting on July 28, Ted Biech gave a brief description of progress at the observatory.

6606Orla Aaquist demonstrated how to take pictures with our new ST-6 CCD camera. Orla went through the procedure of hooking up the camera to the our GPC-8 telescope and our 486 computer. The image below shows the frame taken at the meeting of the star chart at the back of the Physics Laboratory. The image is a 0.01 second exposure under normal lighting conditions. The camera temperature was -0.76 degrees C.

At the last meeting, there was also a brief demonstration of The Sky software and Pluto software on our 486 computer.

PeGASus Activities:

The PeGASus Project is now making full use of the observatory. The functionality of the observatory was proven by the success of the Perseid Shower Party. The PGAO is open to the public on Friday through Sunday until the end of September. We open Friday and Saturday evenings at 9 P.M. until 1 A.M. and Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1 P.M. to 5 P.M.. During August, the observatory will also be open to the public Sunday night. In addition, the PeGASus Project will open the observatory to special interest groups (such as cubs) upon request at other times of the week. After September, we hope to host a public viewing night at least once per month and/or at times of particular astronomical events.

During the first part of October, we are participating in Science and Technology Week. On October 2nd and 3rd, we will be staffing a booth at the Pine Centre mall. In the booth we will have our GPC-8 telescope, computer and CCD camera and attempt to hold an astronomy scavenger hunt for kids. During the following weekend, we will host an open house at the observatory as part of Science and Technology Week.

Starting in the fall, we will again be taking some of our equipment into the classroom. Our classroom presentations were a great success last spring, and we anticipate that we will be invited back.

If you want to get involved with any of these projects, call Ted Biech (564-2838) or Orla Aaquist (964-9626).

The Perseid Meteor Shower party drew about 100 Prince George residents to our new observatory on the evening of August 11 despite the cloudy skies. Thanks to Ted Biech, Shannon Austman, Matthew Burke, Mike Lancelot, Robert Frith, Peter and Steve Bowen, and Orla Aaquist for making the event a success.

Observing at the PGAO:

The first image with our new ST6 CCD camera was captured at 11:14 P.M. on July 31, 1993. Members present to witness the event were Orla Aaquist, Ted Biech, Matthew Burke, Mike Lancelot, Shannon Austman, Peter Bowen, and Steve Bowen. The first image, shown below, was of the globular cluster in Hercules (M13). The image shows that we are having some tracking problems. The image periodically lurches forward in right ascension every five to 10 seconds, then quickly drifts back on track. The problem does not hamper very short exposures or visual observations since the amount of movement does not remove the image from the field of view.

Since this image was taken, we have captured other images. An image of Saturn and M13 are presented in the Image Gallery on the last page of this issue. Notice that the image of M13 there does not show the star trails. We were able to anticipate the telescope’s movements for this image and take the picture between the lurches.

Below Right: First image taken at the PGAO with our ST6 CCD camera. The 10 second exposure shows clear star trails, indicating that we are having some tracking problems. A magnified view of the star in the white box is shown to the left. Note that the trailing is not uniform.

Is there anyone out there who would be willing to look into starting an electronic astronomy bulletin board? Call Ted Biech at 564-2838.

Image Gallery


The Globular cluster in Hercules, M13, (above) and Saturn (image unavailable) were taken with an ST-6 CCD camera at the PGAO by Orla Aaquist, Ted Biech, Matthew Burke, Steve Bowen, and Jon Bowen. More images to come in future issues.

PeGASus is published monthly by the Prince George Astronomical Society. Contributions to the newsletter are welcome. Deadline for the September issue is Friday, September 10

Prince George Astronomical Society inquiries and PeGASus correspondence may be mailed to:

The PGAS College of New Caledonia 3330 – 22nd Avenue Prince George, B.C. V2N 1P8

The Prince George Astronomical Observatory (PGAO) is located on 7365 Tedford Road phone 964-3600