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The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC
|Vol. 13, No. 7 September, 1974|
Editor....... Rolf Meier.....77 Meadowlands Dr. W
Addresses.... Earl Dudgeon...545 Bathurst Ave....
Circulation...Ted Bean .399 McLeod Street...
• • • • • . . . . K2G 2R9
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Where Did You Learn That?
When was the last time you learned anything from the Observers Group Meeting? This was a question that was recently asked. Being a loyal member of the group, I started out all full of vim and vigor only to find that it was almost a year ago that I learned a thing from the Observers Group. This fact really shocked me. I realized that when enthusiastic observers and telescope makers like Ken Hewitt-White, Allen Miller and Tom Tothill looked to the West we would be faced with a great black hole, however, the period of mourning should now be over.
In fear of aging myself, I can remember sitting in any Observers Group meeting and being amazed at the knowledge and just plain know-how that I was picking up listening to the talk and reports by the various co-ordinators. Now the only time you begin to pick up anything of value is during coffee after the meeting and this was only available to a very select few (those few who were "in" on the joles emitted during the meeting).
With the increasing number of new members showing up and looking for guidance from the more experienced observers, we are very rapidly coming to the point that the few who understand the jokes are outnumbered by those who don't. If we go down this path much further, we will reach the point that other groups are now at. The devoted few will doze through the meetings waking only long enough to applaud for something they know nothing about.
Do you as members of the group (that was the guideline for all other observing groups) want this to happen? I for one don't.
I would like to make a number of proposals for your consideration and comment:
- We reinstate some of the coordinators since this would provide us with the expertise to carry out any program we wished.
- We get involved in national and international observing programs to bring up the caliber and respectfor the Ottawa Center's Observing Group.
- We pre-plan all our observing group meetings, thus eliminating those awkward pauses "I think that is all".
- We bring the "bull" sessions from the coffee clique into the meeting. In this way everyone can benefit from this wealth of information.
- We bring the Observers Group back to the "advance of astronomy and related sciences".
- We have a prepared exhibition in lieu of the "show and tell” much the same as the BAA.
- Bring back the "observer" to the Observer Group. This alone will be a full-time job. I have said and insinuated a lot but don’t get me wrong. I think the Observers Group is wonderful and they can offer a great deal to the public and the Astronomical Society. Let’s pull up our socks and get rid of our mourning suits and bring back the Observer.
Those who have gone to Stellafane can recall the words over the clubhouse on Breezy Hill, "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God" and immediately below this the wrought iron symbol of Stellafane - a keen observer peering avidly through a telescope. Let’s hear from you all.
An anonimous member
Looking through a small stack of old Astronotes obtained from a past member of the Observers Group, I found several articles which, I hope, will prove instructive and of some interest to other members. One (Oct. '70, p.8) was a reprint of a letter to Tom Tothill from Malcom M. Thomson. In it he refers to a "basic friendship and comraderie" amongst our members. He also mentions that the younger members will soon take the helm.
Being, at least, a candidate for future helmsman, I think a little less serious observing and more comraderie, help, and transportation from our better members would be of great help in adding interest and excitement (and most importantly, participation).
Apparently, Barry Matthews had similar feelings when he said (Crowded Out?, Dec. ’71), ”Come on fellows - let’s put the ’Group' back in 'Observers Group.’” I am slowly becoming discouraged with the Group as, not having completed my own telescope, I have little chance for even poor observing.
If, perhaps, a Star Night were organized beginning earlier in the evening, newcomers would be permitted a daylight examination and course in the use of the 16-inch. This would surely instill great ideas in the mind (we do have such things) of us new, uninstructed members.
A few more easily-reached, automobile-equiped members would aid the Group by supplying it with a fund of accredited observers capable and worthy of taking the helm.
A series of star parties was organized starting back in March of this year, and due to the success encountered, I feel that they should continue. They help introduce more people into the society, bring more telescopes into use, and give members a chance to swap observations between meetings. For the record, the estimated (estimated as some forgot to sign the logbook) tallies follow:
We had up to 13 telescopes out at North Mountain, and up to 15 cars. The weather was excellent, with cool temperatures and very few mosquitos. I would like to thank the following people for helping me with the phoning required to organize the various nights: Isabella Darin-Zanco, Paul Irwin, Chris Martin, Holly Allan, Doug Welch, and especially Robert McCallum, Rolf Meier, and Glen Slover, who were able to spare time when everyone else said they were busy.
The food was looked after by Ted Bean, courtesy of your coffee fund contributions, and cooked by yours truly. No casualties were reported.Lastly, thanks go out to all the persons who contributed their time and gasoline towards driving others out and back, irregardless of the number of miles out of their way. It’s people like that who make star parties a success.
RASC/AAVSO JOINT MEETING
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the American Association of Variable Star Observers held a joint meeting at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg from June 28 to July 1. Ottawa sent about a dozen of the 200 or so delegates attending. Stan Mott greeted us with his flash as we registered upon arriving at noon of Friday.
The action got underway for most of us with the Lieutenant Governor Reception at Government House with ’’food" and drinks like, as John Conville said, "rum... and coke". Thanks to the Government of Manitoba, who
hoped to have some of us stay as tourists. A "more" substantial meal was served that evening back at the University by way of the Copernicus Festival, to celebrate the Polish astronomer's 501st anniversary. Polish food, soup, and dancing was available.
As usual, there were parties on Friday night. Saturday morning and early afternoon saw the presentation of 18 papers by members of both societies. Of interest were Michael Mattei's (AAVSO) computer-animated movies, such as Animated Algol. Despite the criticism concerning faint images and poor music, the movies were well thought-out and informative, and show promising success for this technique.
Robert Pike of Toronto told all about his direct observation solar telescope, which gives very good images for a low, low price (he does not even have to pay for aluminizing). And Ernst H. Mayer told us he could see 15.8 mag. stars in a 6-inch telescope. During Jack Newton's slide presentation, someone took a flash photo of one of his deep-sky slides. Jack remarked that it would take at least a 5-minute exposure to get that shot*.
An excellent color video-tape of the 1973 solar eclipse was shown, complete with diamond ring. Later in the afternoon, the RASC business meeting was held. Things went very smoothly and quickly for the first part of the meeting. Under the "other Business", the matter of the 15-inch telescope of the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa was brought up. We were informed, if we didn't already know, that the telescope was to be moved to the Museum of Science and Technology, but from there no plans seemed to exist. We were all urged, and all but one person agreed, to take the stand that we were not in favor of the telescope being moved, in view of its place in Canadian history. All this to no avail, for the very week we returned to Ottawa, the telescope had already been moved, still with no apparent plan for a dome or mounting. A typical non-sensical beaurocratic maneuver.
The Banquet of the meeting was held in an amazing place called "Monty's Warehouse" in downtown Winnipeg. The food was quite good and all left the place quite filled. The Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature was a short walk away, and here the RASC Address was given, in the Planetarium Auditorium. Following the talk, we were given a planetarium show which dealt with flying saucers. The show was technically very well-done, and provided the spark for an interesting discussion later in the evening.
After the Planetarium show, the Museum's heliostat was pointed at the moon for the first time ever, via television, no less. By now it was getting late, and we were returned to the University residences. That night we had a fascinating discussion on UFO's, at the usual evening party. With Terence Dickinson starting things and then keeping everything cool, some new and definitely thought-provoking ideas were brought forward. Be sure to ask Martin Connors of London how the flying saucers bothered him.
Compared to Saturday, the pace of events on Sunday was rather slow. The judging of the telescopes took place, and a telescope made by Mr. Kalbfleisch of Toronto won first prize. The 12½-inch Newtonian had good slewing on both axes. The evening Lecture was given by Carolyn Hurless (AAVSO), "Music of the Spheres". She showed the remarkable corelation between musicians and astronomers and music and astronomy.
From there we proceeded by bus to La Barriere Park for the Weiner Roast and telescope viewing. It never did get quite dark, but at least we were surprised by the mosquitos and the return buses. When we finally got back to the University residence it was decided to have a party to celebrate, and so to end our participation in the 1974 GA.
Next year's GA will be held in Halifax, possibly on the Dominion Day weekend.
40TH ANNUAL STELLAFANE CONVENTION
About a dozen members of the Observer's Group and friends attended this year's Stellafane amateur telescope maker's convention, held near Springfield, Vermont. Even the lower US speed limit did not deter us from making the 340-mile journey in about 6½ hours. Upon arrival on Friday night, August 9, we were immediately deprived of the $4 registration fee and $3 camping fee. Although this was the first year of the latter charge, it was by far the largest croud of campers ever, possibly 1000 in number.
A recent record number of 43 telescopes was entered in the competition, including 2 from Ottawa. Dave Penchuk's 6-inch Cassegrain won first prize for compound telescopes, much to his delight and amazement. Rob Dick’s 8-inch f/5 Newtonian unfortunately did not win the much hoped-for prize for optics. The Maksutov competition was just a little too much. Mr. Kalbfleisch of Toronto won first prize for Newtonians with his 12½ , repeating his Winnipeg performance.
Other noteworthy entries included a giant 14½-inch reflector, a spectrohelioscope which took all day to assemble and was ready at sunset, and a unique catadioptric design which won first prize in its class. This well-machined little telescope had the back of its mirror aluminized, the front surface acting as a correcting surface.
The Friday evening provided an oportunity for delegates to display their slides or relate informal talks under the big tent. On Saturday the telescope judging took place, and the more technical tent talks, later in the afternoon. By Saturday evening most faces were sunburned, and the hill was occupied by those interested in the twilight talks. After the awards presentations, there were the usual addresses by Governor Johnson and Walter Scott Houston. Then the Sheephill amateur group gave an interesting presentation on observing. After an almost sleepless Saturday observing night, we returned to Ottawa. We were not idle that weekend, and we frappe to return next year.
RECENT IAU CIRCULARS
As we start into September and watch the winter constellations sneak over our eastern horizon, we find that those with amateur-sized telescopes are temporarily out of comets. Comet Bradfield, 1974 b, is in Corona Borealis at magnitude 16.0 and will head into Hercules at the end of the month at magnitude 17.0 (c.2667). Comet Arend was in Microscopium in mid-August, is headed up through Capricornus in November, and then on towards our good old Pisces-Pegasus region in spring 1975. It won't get any brighter than 19th magnitude in this period though (c.2662).
Then it’s the southern hemisphere’s turn for a pole-grazer comet. Gibson will be at almost 89° S on October 10, at magnitude 17.9 (c.2664). Back to the Schwassmann-Wachmann comets: No. 2 will be in Cancer for September, then will head down into Leo at magnitude 18.4. It will be at its brightest, magnitude 17.1, in Virgo in March 1975 (c.2685). No. 1, the one to watch for activity, is still in the head of Pisces.
Coordinates follow (c.2652):
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann I
Date RA Dec
Sept. 10 23h 18.65m 2° 13.7' N
20 23 13.95 1 52.4
30 23 09.53 1 30.0
Oct. 10 23 05.65 1 08.3
We may have a new comet to look forward to though - Comet Cesco, 1974 e (c.2690). It was magnitude 14 at the end of July. Unfortunately, the IAU circulars haven’t gotten around to saying whether it’s getting brighter or fading. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.
The IAU circulars do not Just contain information on comets however. For those asteroid fanatics (listening, Doug?), there is an observational campaign being organized for 433 Eros, which will be photographic magnitude 12 or brighter from October to April 1975. It will reach magnitude 8.7 at its brightest, January, when it passes 0.15 AU from the Earth (c.2685). If interested in participating in such a program, contact Dr. T. Gehrels, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona 85721.
Lastly, for planet watchers, there is a 10-day period - November 6 to 16 - set aside for coordinated international observations Io, Jupiter satellite I, in optical, infrared and radio wavelengths (c.2682). There is a great deal of interest for several reasons: "Io occasionally appears brighter just after emergence from eclipse; it modulates Jovian decametric activity; it has an unusually high near-infrared albedo and unidentified features in its far-infrared spectrum." Quote, unquote. If interested in helping observe this satellite, please contact Dr. R. A. Brown, Center for Earth and Planetary Physics, Pierce Hall G2E, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Arthur C. Clarke may be interested in the latter program. -Ed.
There are now 4 known 12½-inch telescopes being constructed by Ottawa members...3 of these people are
under 16 years old!
A London, Ontario newspaper seems to have had some article on our own illustrious Dave Penchuk... something about a telescope he built to use in his Astrology...
A CONSTELLATION REVIEW - LACERTA
Douglas L. Welch, Douglas Somers
This month the finder is set on Lacerta. This is a small constellation tucked in between Andromeda and Cygnus. To me this constellation is one of my favorites for sweeping. It is an extremely rich area for stars. I have found what seem to be several clusters not marked in any atlas. I hope to chart them someday. Lacerta is supposed to be a lizard. With a great deal of imagination one might imagine it as such. Here is the info on objects therein:
NGC RA Dec Mag size No. stars Type
7209 22h01.8m 46°16' 7.6 20' 50 Cl
IC1434 08.6 52 35 10.0 8' 40 Cl
7243 13.2 49 38 7.4 20’ 40 Cl
7245 13.6 54 05 11.5 3’ 40 Cl
7296 26.2 52 02 9.4 4' 15 Cl
IC5217 21.9 50 43 12.6 8"x6" - Pn
7209 - This typifies a faint Behive cluster. It is quite easily found in any amateur instrument. I would recommend a rich field instrument for doing it justice. It will be quite washed out at high power. You should have not any trouble finding this cluster.
IC 1434 - This is not a very spectacular cluster. It is small and needs a 10-inch or so to be appreciated at all. Most of the listed stars of at least 12 mv.
7243 - Again a large cluster. This is practically a twin of the first cluster except for the addition of a few bright stars. Again this cluster should pose no problem to the average amateur.
7245 - Forget it. This cluster is so small that it will probably not be worth your while looking for it. As the above data shows you will most likely need an 8-inch to see it and/or recognise it.
7296 - Compact is the word. This cluster could easily be confused with the background sky by the novice. However, the average amateur deep-skier will really like this one if he finds it. It is a real sparkler.
IC 5217 - This is one of the several dozen planetaries that only experienced Pn observers should go after. I recommend at least an 8-inch.
JUPITER'S VITAL STATISTICS FOR 1974
opposition date September 5
opposition magnitude -2.5
opposition equatorial diameter 49.5"
opposition polar diameter 46.2"
altitude on meridian (Ottawa) 37°
distance at opposition 3.7 x 108 miles
Use this handy blank for drawing Jupiter by tracing it and drawing on the features at the telescope:
Contributors to this issue of Astronotes include Cathy Hall, Barry Matthews, Douglas Somers, and Douglas Welch.
Articles for the October issue of Astronotes are due by September 20.
Ms. Rosemary Freeman RASC
The Royal Astronomical Soc. of Can.,
252 College St.
TORONTO, Ont. M5T 1R7
INDEX TO ASTRONOTES VOLUME 10 (1971)
Issues: 10 Pages: 108
COMET TOBA 1971A; Ken Hewitt-White; May; 10
WHY IS THE SKY DARK AT NIGHT?; Peter MacKinnon; Feb; 5
DEEP SKY; Allen Miller; Jan; 3
DEEP SKY; Allen Miller; Feb; 8
DEEP SKY-LEO; Allen Miller; Apr; 3
on Astronotes; Jan; 1
on the Grazing Occultation; Mar; 1
on progress on the 16-inch; Apr; 1
on Apollo 15; Sept; 1
on addresses; Oct; 1
ALIGNING A FORK MOUNT, AND OTHERS; Tom Tothill; Sept;7
EYEPIECE MOUNT; Robert Dick; May; 1
MAKING A BARLOW LENS; Robert Dick; Dec; 7
REFLECTORS - INTRODUCTION; Allen Miller; June; 5
REFLECTORS - PART 2; Allen Miller; Oct; 7
REFLECTORS - PART 3; Allen Miller; Nov; 7
REFLECTORS - PART 4; Allen Miller; Dec; 13
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A ROTTEN IMAGE?; Robert Dick; Sept; 6
LUNAR; John Conville; Oct; 9
LUNAR BABBLINGS; John Conville; Mar; 4
LUNAR BANDS; John Conville; Oct; 9
LUNAR ECLIPSE, FEB 9-10; John Conville; Feb; 1
THE GRAZE - DETAILED DATA - FEB 19; John Conville; Apr; 5
THE GRAZE OF NOV 3; John Conville; Dec; 11
ANNUAL DINNER; Tom Tothill; Jan; 10
A TRIP TO THE LONDON CENTRE; Ken Hewitt-White; Nov; 5
CENTRE MEETING - APRIL 2; Sylvia Wake; May; 2
COUNCIL MEETING - DEC 17; Jan; 8
DR. HALLIDAY’S SEPTEMBER TALK; Dec; 4
GENERAL ASSEMBLY; Robert Dick, Ken Hewitt-White; May; 6
1971 GENERAL ASSEMBLY; Jon Buchanan; June; 2
HEWITT DECLARES THE GLORY OF STELLAFANE; Ken Hewitt-White; Sept; 4
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - DEC 6; Sylvia Wake; Jan; 2
OBSERVER GROUP - JAN 8; Sylvia Wake; Mar; 8
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - FEB 5; Sylvia Wake; Mar; 2
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - MAR 5; Sylvia Wake; Apr; 2
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - MAY 7; Sylvia Wake; June; 4
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - JUNE; Sylvia Wake; Sept; 2
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - SEPTEMBER 3; Sylvia Wake; Oct; 2
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - OCT 1; Chris Martin; Nov; 3
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - NOV 5; Chris Martin; Dec; 3
JANUARY METEORS; Ken Hewitt-White; Mar; 9
METEOR NOTES FOR MARCH; Ken Hewitt-White; Apr; 4
METEOR OBSERVING - RECENT PROBLEMS; Ken Hewitt-White; Oct; 3
METEOR REPORT; Ken Hewitt-White; Dec; 10
METEORS 1970 - THE FINAL REPORT; Ken Hewitt-White; Feb; 3
TOP FIVE METEOR OBSERVERS; Ken Hewitt-White; Oct; 8
WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE, METEOR OBSERVERS; Ken Hewitt-White; May; 11
WITH PEN IN HAND, INK IN PEN...; Chris Martin; Mar; 3
NEW! - EVACUATED EMULSIONS; Rick Salmon; Jan; 9
PHOTOGRAPHY WITH THE SIXTEEN; Fred Lossing; Dec; 1
DON’T MISS SATURN!; Ken Hewitt-White; Dec; 5
PLANETARY; Doug Beaton; Jan; 8
SATURN - MARS - HEX?; Doug Beaton; May; 9
A SOLAR FIRST; Jon Buchanan; May; 10
VARIABLE STARS; Rick Lavery; Jan; 4
VARIABLE STAR PROGRAMS FOR THE 16-INCH; Rick Lavery; Feb; 2
VARIABLE STAR SECTION; Rick Lavery; Feb; 4
VARIABLE STAR SECTION; Rick Lavery; Mar; 10
VARIABLE STARS; Rick Lavery; May; 4
VARIABLE STARS, ETC.; Rick Lavery; Nov; 4
1970 REVIEW; Ken Hewitt-White; Jan; 5
ADVICE WANTED; Rolf Meier; Jan; 7
AWARDS PRESENTATIONS - 1970; Ken Hewitt-White; Feb; 9
CLOUDED OUT; Barry Matthews; May; 13
CROUDED OUT?; Barry Matthews; Dec; 4
HOW NOT TO BE STUPID; "Swake"; May; 8
INFO. FROM N.M.; Robert Dick; Oct; 6
LAMENT FROM THE QUIET SITE; Chris Martin; Feb; 10
NORTH MOUNTAIN BLUFS; Doug Beaton; Oct; 5
NORTH MOUNTAIN GETS ROLLING; Tom Tothill; June; 1
NORTH MOUNTAIN WELL AND TRULY OPENED, OCT 22/3; Nov; 1
PROGRESS AT NORTH MOUNTAIN; John Conville; Nov; 8
SCOUTING THE ’72 ECLIPSE; Tom Tothill; Sept; 8
SPECTRAL TYPES; John Conville; June; 8
SUMMER PROGRESS AT NORTH MOUNTAIN; John Conville; Sept; 2
TELESCOPE FUND; Rick Lavery; Mar; 3
THE SCHLOSSING SAGA
(1) Apr; 8
(2) May; 14
(3) June; 9
(4) Sept; 10
(5) Oct; 10
(6) Nov; 9
(7) Dec; 14
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
WHY IS THE SKY DARK AT NIGHT?; Feb; 6
Tau Scorpi Graze - Preliminary Profile; Mar; 5-6
EYEPIECE MOUNT; May; 2
Rough Grinding and Smoothing a Mirror; Oct; 7-8
reflection check; Nov; 8
Saturn's Moons; Dec; 6
Barlow Lens; Dec; 7,9