AstroNotes October 1971



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The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC

Vol. 10, No. 8 - October, 1971.

22 Delong Drive, K1J 7E6
Dom. Observatory, 994-5474
399 McLeod Street, K2P 1A5
Tom Tothill
Mary Grey
Ted Bean
Howard Harris has given up keeping the address list -
not from unwillingness but because we have lost the address-
ograph machine he did it on. Deep thanks to him for long,
selfless, and extremely meritorious service.
At the same time we welcome Mrs. Mary Grey, our
popular Secretary, fulfilling that role. Call her at the
Observatory if you change your address. The Post Office
has supplied us with members' new postal codes but some of
them may be wrong. Please check your next communication
from the Centre and let her know about any errors so she
can get plates made.
There is talk of an informal association between our
Centre and the Kingston Centre. We are trying to find out
how to get together more often and what we can exchange.
For example, maybe we could send them Astronotes in excha­
nge for articles about their activities, and maybe North
Mountain is not too far for them to visit from time to
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Treasurer (Mary Henderson) reports happily that
the Special Appeal from the Observatory Committee has gone
over the top. The Observatory Committee desires to express
its appreciation to all donors for their prompt and most
generous response.
Gordy Grummett has finished the re-designed arm and
tangent screw for the 16-inch, and installed it.OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - SEPTEMBER 3
Sylvia Wake
The September meeting was chaired by Barry Matthews
in the absence of Rick Lavery (nos chairee) in the high
Arctic. Thirty-two people observed the goings-on.
John Conville, Lunar Coordinator, explained his non-
lunar ideas for a clock drive and for an observing light.
Jon Buchanan announced somewhat joyfully that his
predictions for a large sunspot had come true (but he
forgot to bring his great yellow sunspot machine).
Next some slides of Mars and deep-sky objects were
shown, plus some of Doug Beaton's Apollo slides.
Ken Hewitt-White plugged his book once more and then
gave a running commentary on the slides taken at Stella-
Sylvia Wake told about the Montreal Centre's Deep
Sky Wonder Night at Sidney Sundell's place in Vermont.
Your roving secretary signs off from Londontario.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
We'll miss Sylvia's humorous touches while she
studies astronomy at Western, Best wishes!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rick Lavery
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of
myself and the members of the Observers Group to thank
Barry Matthews for taking over the reins, on very short
notice, in my absence.
The only other important piece of business to take
care of is to announce that nominations for ALL offices
of the Observers Group will be held in November, There
will be the usual elections for Chairman and Vice-Chair­
man, and since the Coordinators' two-year term is up,
those positions will also be up for nominations, Voting
will take place at the December meeting, with the new
executive taking office in January.METEOR OBSERVING - RECENT PROBLEMS
Ken Hewitt-White
About a year ago some members of the meteor team
began to question the usefulness of our observations and
what was being planned for the future (Astronotes, Sept 70 )
I became concerned with the meteor programme and along
with others, undertook to revise its 'constitution'.
There were no sudden changes involved in this; it was all
done very slowly a pace at a time with trial and error.
We encouraged new observers to participate and we encoura­
ged everybody willing to cooperate with any new ideas that
were being tried out. The result of all this was partial­
ly seen in my December '70 article.
We still kept up our pace (1970 doubled 1969 in
results) and we got more information to boot. Plotting
began slowly but surely and observers took greater care
in their watches. We got new observers who were on the
whole of a higher quality than we already had. Most impor­
tant, enthusiasm ran rampant. It was great to see.
Now this year. Anything more? Yes. Four or five
people plot constantly now, instead of just one. We have
A-1 plots on many new radiants as a result, Les MacDonald
worked like crazy to get a baseline photo network going.
It's not working well but I'll get to that in a moment.
Also he tried to get the computer programme working and he
very nearly succeeded. We are just shy of getting it off
the ground. We are sending stuff to the A.M.S. fairly
regularly and they seem tickled to get it. And on top of
that we have mounds of observations - more than Steve
Craig (solar) ever had. But it's all on my desk largely
Okay, now the problem. It is obvious that the group
is getting bigger and better and more productive every
minute. I cannot overemphasize the enthusiasm of some
of our guys and gals. But we still have not been able to
put everything together. Les and Doug built a camera and
a pier. The girls repainted the Quiet Site. I observed
solo when nobody else would fill in the gaps between
sessions. But we still don't have a complete group that
is working cohesively. We lost the Perseid max this year
directly because of a breakdown in communications, money,
and drive. As a group we seem able to get so far and then
collapse. Of course, one cause of all this is that we areattempting so much. All the things we are falling short
on now we weren't even attempting a few years ago. How­
ever, that doesn't mean that we can't do it. These are
how things stand:
1. We have an awful lot of stuff to get reduced into
a usable form - i.e. to send to the A.M.S. etc. I have
about 30 nights from last year that need work on, and
about 63 from this year, and about 46 from the years 1967-
1969. The work is very simple but time-consuming and I
need volunteers to help. Call me at 733-4949.
2. We have a computer programme that will do all of
the above and more but it needs work on it before it will
function, Computer geniuses, please help. Les and Sylvia
are away at school and can do no more for us.
3. We have two automatic meteor cameras. Will the
Ottawa Centre help pay for film? And will North Mountain­
eers become familiar with the one we have stationed at
that noble site so that we can run a baseline to the Quiet
4. Will all the meteor observers be willing to try new
methods of plotting on new maps so that we can get greater
accuracy there?
We must first complete No. 1. Then if we can get the
computer programme running we can start fresh with 1972
material and do 1967-71 stuff at our leisure. Eventually
we will have all results on computer cards, 3. and 4.
are important if we are to get meaningful results from
our work.
We have most of this problem licked right now. We
need just a bit more push to make this the best meteor
group in the country, I am voicing all this because it is
my job as coordinator to make my section run as success­
fully as it can. Any ideas or advice concerning meteor
observing can be directed to me. And, new members, we
always need new observers.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Have computer, plotter, line-printer, moderate
storage, mag tape. Can program, process, plot some,
'Twas the night before Sat'dy
And. all through the Dome,
The observers were sleepy
A m ready for Home,
Not a Galaxy, Cluster -
All lost in grey shrouds,
"0 please, please, Mr. Murphy,
Could you chuck your b, clouds?"
Sitting there in the Clubhouse,
Chips and Ritz were consumed.
"0 please tell us, Great Swami,
Is another night doomed?"
By the
We sat
hour and the minute,
battleship grey,
and we twiddled
"Why should we stay?"
To answer our question,
We decided to go,
So we stumbled on out
Where the North wind did blow.
Up the stairs we done clamber
To the Sixteen Inch 'scope.
Why can't it be clearer?
Is what we done hope,
With a burn in our heartache
The Sixteen was covered,
When what with amazement
Was shortly discovered?
You guessed it - it's true, Sir,
De sky she unfog.
Behold Murphy's mercy
A M us all agog.
If a handful of shiners
Weren't enough for our eyes,
Then what should appear
From out the dark skies?Stupendous,
More impact
We gazed up
A Pulsating
amazing -
than Dora,
and saw
Holy Christmas! we
And danced in pure
"What a Nice thing
What a Great thing
to think of?
to see?"
As time passed on swiftly
D'Aurora she die.
But never that night
Did Strong Men again cry.
For the skies became sparkled
And Murphy was down.
So we snickered and smiled
As we drove back to Town,
-Doug Beaton.
(c. 1954-1971 )
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
#Lynched, following a poetry reading.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Robert Dick
North Mountain is beginning to become civilized,
There is a good supply of food, an electric fry-pan, hot­
plate, towels, cooking utensils, and eating instruments.
I send out a plea for anyone using these, to clean them
with soap and water ( a rare combination). When leaving,
attempt to leave the hut organized (neat).
Also added (via Barry Matthews from Bell Tel) is a
large drafting table (3' x 4') complete with drawers,
parallel rule, stool, and illuminated table.
On the walls are numerous photos and pamphlets. Any
additions are welcome (especially better ones). One
poster you should take special note of is by the corner
of the drafting desk. It points down to a can. Be
generous - the loose change which appears in it will help
re-supply the pantry and aid the interior decorations.REFLECTORS - PART 2
Allen Miller
Rough Grinding and Smoothing a Mirror
After the decision to tackle a mirror has been made
and you have chosen your focal length the rough grinding
must be started if you are to finish the mirror within
ten years.
Two blanks are necessary and a coarse grit such as
No, 60 or No. 80 silicon carbide which has a tendency to
help the grinding considerably. The blanks need not be
the same size though an eight inch can be ground and
polished with a six inch or even a four inch tool but this
can be tricky. For best results the six is the better.
Procedure with a Full Size Tool
1. Mount the tool
on a sturdy base.
2. Apply 1⁄2 teaspoon of
coarse grit to tool.
3. Squirt some water on the grit.
4. Place blank to be mirror on the tool carefully.
5. The stroke can be
(a) Centre over centre
(b) Offset with W stroke
of mirror’s
diameter in length
and width.
Apply pressure of about 20 lbs on back of mirror, and
in both cases rotate mirror gradually one way and walk
around tool the other as you work.
Procedure with Undersize Tool
If the tool is between 0.6 and 0.75 the diameter of
the mirror, start grinding with the mirror on top, (Forget
this if you have a 12 1⁄2 " or larger. Use a small tool on top).
When the centre area seems to be deep enough and preferably
has a focal length about 4" less than you need, flip theblanks. Now a large zig-zag stroke becomes the major glass
remover. The tool's edge should just overhang the mirror's
Check: Use either the sun@ or full moon# with your wet
blank to check the focal length of the surface.
Remember: The mirror and tool must have a chamfer (beveled
edge) of at least 1/16" to prevent chipping. A carborun­
dum stone and water will do it.
If you have a full size tool a stroke of about
diameter of the mirror is used in the centre-over-centre
fashion. If you want to decrease the focal length, still
keep the mirror on top. To increase the focal length ...
well, what do you think!
All smoothing with undersize tools is done with the
tool on top, A zig-zag stroke similar to the rough grind­
ing stroke is used but do not go over the mirror's edge
more than 1⁄2 ".
If you have any questions call me at 825-4380.
Usually covered by cloud.
Guaranteed clear.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ken Hewitt-White
The following list illustrates where the real strength
in the meteor team now rests.
10-min periods
Hall, Cathy
Davis, Lindsey
Wake, Sylvia
MacDonald, Les
277Help Wanted;
Several positions are open as grazing occul-
tation observers. No experience necessary.
Starting date: Nov 4, 1971
Hours of work: 2130 to 2315, EST
Wages: IUAA standard (Nothing)
Place of employment: Just south of Ottawa (5
For further information contact the placement officer
at 733-8299.
It is getting time to observe another graze and it
may amuse some people to find out what the pre-graze acti­
vity is all about.
Graze selection: I receive the United States Naval
Observatory (USNO) occultation predictions which makes
special note of grazes "nearby" (Nearby is a strange terra,
it lists some grazes 30 miles away and doesn't list some
closer phenomena). The list also supplies the altitude of
the moon (usually small) and sun (usually negative) percen­
t a g e of moon sunlit (on Nov 4, 99% ) and the star's magni­
tude. The rough graze line is not decided by sticking
pins in voodoo dolls or distilling the essence of newt,
but by the miracle of modern math: "The Equation".
Approx S limit Lat = 45.27 - 0.46*(W Long - 75.64)
This is not the equation for the Nov 4 graze of 23 Tau.
It is not listed on my predictions. The North Mountain
predictions has it listed and NM is farther from the graze
than I am. Using suitable values for Long and lots of
slide rule grease several points (expressed in minutes, i.e.
nautical miles, instead of decimal degrees) are discovered.
These points are plotted on maps of the region and if the
line is accessible more accurate predictions are written
for. They arrive two days after the graze.
Fortunately Tom Tothill's name got built into their
computer system somewhere along the line and he gets them
to me in ample time,
No, stupid, that's computerese for 'times').Tan z; no, this is not a new orange drink but a needed
piece of data for correction of the line. The line which
the better predictions give is on the geoid and as a result
it must be corrected for elevation. z is the angle from
the zenith to the moon, A small sketch will quickly reveal
the fact that Tan z times Elevation equals the distance
towards the moon the line must be moved.
The road selected as the observing site should run
perpendicular to the graze line; it never does. As a
result the spacing of the observers, which depends on the
number of observers and the ruggedness of the lunar profile
must be adjusted to the direction of the road.
In the week before the graze, administration begins.
Cars, telescopes, tape recorders, CHU receivers, and people
all must be grouped into usable lots. Pickup times and
rendezvous points are arranged. As all of the above is
done on the phone, it produces a rather unusual affliction
in Lunar Coordinators; earpiece-itis. The entire left ear
is shaped to the form of the telephone earpiece. Fortunate­
ly, or unfortunately, the condition disappears as the lunar
coord returns to his usual state - doing nothing.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Hey Tom - be sure to put in another segment of the
Schlossing Saga !!!!"
-Original on file (framed) in Editorial Suite.
Tom Tothill
"Oops!", said Schlossing.
"Everything all right, Red?", said Grady anxiously,
"This is your Captain speaking", said Parris mechani­
cally, "We are expecting some turbulence. Should you need
to use your bag, he sure to fold the top away from you.
Thank you."
"What bag?"
"Oh sorry, Red, I was forgetting.
You don’t have one."ASTRO NOTES
Mrs. Marie Fidler
252 College St.
TORONTO 130, Ontario