Well! This is getting to be a habit — I look forward to communicating with you about a subject dear to us all. I’m not sure this will get to you before Christmas but here goes….
LAST MEETING (86 Nov 20)
For those of you unable to attend, we had a fine gathering with about 12 in attendance. Many topics were discussed, Eric gave a good talk on telescopes and I feel thatmuch was accomplished. A summary …
- New Executive … Pres- Bob Nelson
- V. Pres- Kim Jenner
- Sec- Francis O’Shea
- Treas- John Crow
- Mem.at.Large- Eric Hoogstraten
- Jim Livingstone
Some ideas for fundraising:
- Hosting a casino/bingo night — Bob Fulton will investigate. If we could manage to get on the schedule, this could prove to be a good source of income — I’ve heard of groups raising $900 – $1000 in one night. (I’ll take it, I’ll take it!!) With that kind of money, we could think about getting all kinds of goodies, like an image intensifier (latest models amplify — make brighter — images by a factor of 60,000; this would turn our telescopeinto the equivalent of a 150 m (??) telescope), a CCD camera (we could do the guiding from the warm room) or hydro power (no more batteries) …
- Putting on an Astronomy course in conjunction with CNC — we’ll work on this. It is definitely going to happen, probably starting in mid February. The probable text is Nightwatch – An Equinox Guide to Viewing the Universe (available from Coles). Current thinking is to keep this at a very introductory level — no experience necessary — and to concentrate on observing, how to find things in the sky, how telescopes work, planetary motion, projects, etc. Several people will be involved — it’ll be a joint effort. Stay tuned.
We have fixed the focusser of the 24″ telescope. Jim Livingstone ordered the gears and yours truly made the shaft and assemled it all. The focusser now works smoothly.
There have unfortunately been no tours to the observatory in November. Partly to blame are the general lack of clear nights (there have been only a few). However, the weather has not been that cold — come on you guys!
With the new observer’s list (enclosed) we should soon get some club observing going soon. Next clear night …
The film sensitizing tank is half made. The 4″ x 5″ camera is coming along — I hope to do some more work on it as soon as I get exams, marking, ordering, course planning, etc out of the way. Maybe in the new year ..(?)..
Actually, there is no reason why guided exposures in the 35 mm format format could not be made anytime of Jupiter or the Orion Nebula — both of which are quite bright and require relatively short exposure times. Phone one of our active observers — myself, Kim, Eric, or Jim if you’re interested.
WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE SKY
- Jupiter is still visible, st reasonable elevations; it hasn’t reached “heroic hour angles yet. Mars, which was sinking to the west, is coming back — it’s moving to the east in retrograde. [Retrograde is the apparent backward motion of an outer planet — the normal direction is west to east relative to the stars — as the Earth moves past in its orbit.] As of December 18th, Mars will pass 1/2 degree north of Jupiter. If you can’t make it to the observatory, look for the pair in the south within a day or two of that date — it should be quite a striking sight.
- The Orion Nebula must be seen in the 24″ telescope to be believed. If you haven’t seen it in the big ‘scope yet, what are you waiting for?
- Venus rises about 3 hours before the Sun. If you’re up then, look for it in the east. (Mercury is very low in the southeast then.)
- Winter solstice is Dec 21 at :02 PM local time — it’s at its most southern part of the sky then. (It’s just as well — at noon, it’s only 13 degrees above the horizon here.)
We’ve planned an informal Christmas gathering for Friday, Dec 19 at Francis O’Shea’s, 2703 Petersen Road, Pr. Geo. To get there, just drive west on Westwood and Petersen is the very last road on your left. (Phone 563-6928 in case you get lost.) It’s for 8 PM, BYOB. We’ll bring munchies, etc. If there’s interest, we’ll look at slides of Hawaii or whatever. Bring your spouse/loved one, etc.
Hope to see you there!
Bob Nelson, President