AstroNotes 1983 October Vol: 22 issue 09

Pages: 

16

Download PDF version: 

A S T R O N O T E S     ISSN 0048-8682

The Newsletter Magazine of the Ottawa Centre of the RASC
Vol. 22, No. 9 $5.00 a year October 1983

Editor.......Rolf Meier......4-A Arnold Dr.......820-5784
Addresses....Art Fraser...........................737-4110
Circulation...Robin Molson....2029 Garfield Ave...225-3082

OBSERVER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Yes, it is time once again to recap all your year's observations and submit them in the hopes of winning the Observer of the Year Award. Just ask last year's winner, Frank Roy, how great it felt to have all your hard-earned observations pay off finally in that most coveted of the Ottawa Centre Observer's Group awards.

But it is not for the shy. You must submit a written account of what you have accomplished observationally over the last year to the awards committee. A few pages would be fine. Even better, let the committee look at your observing logbook. That's all. Not too hard, is it?

Remember, you must make a submission of some kind in order to be considered for the award.

This year's committee:
Brian Burke (Variable Star Coordinator)
Rolf Meier (Observer's Group Chairman)
Frank Roy (last year's winner)
* * *

VARIABLE STAR AWARD REMINDER Brian Burke

Once again it is that time of year to begin thinking about the Variable Star Award. This award is presented to the person who has made the greatest number of quality estimates on the varying brightness levels of selected variable stars. I selected, as you may recall, the following six variables: U Cephei, RZ Cassiopeiae, Beta Lyrae, Delta Cephei, Z Ursae Majoris, and R Scuti. Only observations of these six stars will be considered for the award.

A summary of your observations must be submitted to me by the deadline selected by the Observers Group Award Committee. The winner will be announced next month at the Annual Dinner Meeting. So now is the time to put together your observations and write about them. I am looking forward to receiving your summary.
* * *

OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - SEPTEMBER 2 David Lauzon

Chairman Rolf Meier opened the meeting at 8:27 with 35 people in attendance, of which 74% were members. He noted that the membership year ends on September 30, and that annual elections for coordinators are coming soon. The annual Deep Sky Weekend will be held on October 7-9, with the Ottawa Centre picnic on the 8th. Rolf also recapped
this year's Stellafane, in which 2 Ottawa members won awards. Special congratulations to Max Stewart for his 6-inch telescope.

OG Vice-Chairman Gary Susick presented a talk on deep sky piggyback photography with a 35mm SLR. Since most deep sky objects are faint, long exposures must be made. This means guiding your camera. Stopping down your camera should eliminate most of the aberrations. Gary then discussed the 6 anti-Murphy laws and showed many beautiful slides.

Next up was astrophotography coordinator Frank Roy, who presented many fine pictures of the summer Milky Way. Gary Susick and Frank then proceeded to show comparison shots with varying aperture openings.

Occultation coordinator Brian Burke briefly talked about previous "successful" grazes and upcoming grazes. Brian then reminded members of the TAG project, to occur on November 28. He then talked about two asteroidal occultations, urging members to observe.

Linda Warren was up next to present members with a slide show on her trip to Stellafane. She stunned members with pictures of the "Sky and Telescope" building where it all comes together, along with slides of Stellafane and the telescopes on Breezy Hill, and AAVSO headquarters. She then impressed the audience with some tremendous aurora slides taken on the day after Stellafane, but from Nepean.

Meteor coordinator David Lauzon shed some light on the Perseid meteor shower of 1983. He said that this year, we had better than average meteor counts, possibly due to the return of Comet Swift-Tuttle 1862 III.

Next up was Rolf Meier with a slide presentation on Stellafane, and an attempt to photograph the elusive Green Flash of the setting sun at Andrew Haydon Park. This occurs at the last instant of sunset.

President Peter MacKinnon gave several notices. The RASC now has a new headquarters in Toronto and the annual dinner meeting is coming up in November.

Finally, Rolf reminded members of the Observer of the Year Award and the Variable Star Award. He closed the meeting at 10:30.

COUNCIL MEETING - SEPTEMBER 7 Robin Molson and Ken Tapping

During the two meetings held earlier this year (see report in the June Astronotes ), there was considerable discussion of how we can improve the Ottawa Centre's services to members, and hopefully reverse the declining trend in the Centre's membership (this year we have 167 members, compared with 179 in 1982). This subject was a major topic at this meeting.

The Observer's Group is one of the Centre's most important public interfaces. It is therefore important that it be viable and active. At the April meeting Gary Susick tabled a set of guidelines which he felt would help the group operate. After further discussion at this meeting, these were adopted.

A great effort has been made to set up a good program of Centre meetings for the 1983-84 season. So far 6 speakers have been found; the dates and other pertinent information will be circulated in Astronotes.

Astronotes was also discussed. The falling number of articles being submitted for publication conveys an impression of the Centre being inactive and is therefore a matter of concern. In an attempt to attract more articles, a prize will be awarded each year for the best article. The Editorial Board tabled a scheme for grading articles for this purpose.

Since many members had expressed satisfaction with the format and style of the 1982 Annual Dinner, it has been decided to conduct this year's event in the same style. As usual, it will be held in late November; the exact time and place to be announced.

The treasurer reported that the Centre's financial position remains satisfactory. Even though this year's membership revenues were down, expenses (such as Astronotes publication costs) were also down. In addition, higher observatory key fees and a number of donations have more than offset the membership shortfall.

It was reported that the Observatory clubhouse at IRO is in need of some major repairs. The cost of having Masonite siding installed by a building contractor would be more than $2000. Council felt that this was expensive and the possibility of doing the work ourselves should be considered. Recent repairs to the roof have stopped the leak which developed early in the spring, and the screen door has been completely rebuilt.

Due to lightning damage, the radio telescope has been out of action since June; repairs are being carried out.

Council expressed its gratitude to Rolf Meier for building and installing a new 10-inch Newtonian telescope at IRO. A concrete foundation for its enclosure has to be laid before the instrument can be used by members.

Stan Mott, who has over many years built up our library to its present 400-plus volumes, has indicated that he would like to stand down as librarian. Council expressed its sincere thanks for Stan's contributions and decided to seek an assistant who will work with him and gradually take over as Librarian.

Council noted with regret the passing of two Centre members of long standing, the Right Rev. C.J. de Cantanzaro of Ottawa and Mr. C.M. Brant of Daytona Beach, Florida. Astronomy has suffered a substantia] loss in the recent death of Dr. Bart Bok. Ottawa Centre members will remember the excellent talk he gave on June 13, 1979 on the Milky Way.

The next Council Meeting will be held in late October.
* * *

ASTRONOMICAL TRIVIA

With the recent appeal of "Trivial Pursuit", I thought it might be challenging to extend the topics to include "astronomy". So try your skill at the following questions. The answers will appear next month (if I can figure them out by then!).
1) What is our galaxy sometimes called?
2) What is the point directly overhead called?
3) How many total lunar eclipses occurred in 1982?
4) Which is the largest observatory in the world?
5) What does "Antares" mean?
6) How far south can an aurora be seen?
7) What does the letter "L" in "L5" stand for?
8) If the annual parallax of a star is 0.5", how far away is it?
9) Where is the largest meteorite on public display?
10) How many individual stars ave visible to the naked eye (ie brighter than magnitude 6.2)?

* * *

Membership application on reverse side

THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA OTTAWA CENTRE
MEMBERSHIP: ( )APPLICATION ( )RENEWAL ( )LIFE
NAME:.................................................
ADDRESS:...............................................

................................. POSTAL CODE:......
PHONE: WORK.....................HOME.................
( )NEW ADDRESS ( )NEW PHONE NUMBER
MEMBERSHIP FEE:
( ) $12.50 JUNIOR (UNDER 18 YRS. SIGN ...........
( )$20.00 REGULAR ( )$300.00 LIFE
PLUS ( )$20.00 SUSTAINING (VOLUNTARY)
= $............... DATE:....................
RETURN TO - R.A.S.C. OTTAWA CENTRE,
C/O H. I. A. , N. R.C.,100 SUSSEX DR., OTTAWA,ONT. K1A 0R6

 

THE PERSEIDS OF 83 David Lauzon

Favourable sky conditions and the fact that the Perseids landed (literally? -Ed) on a weekend made this year's display not only very well observed, but spectacular.

One night began with looking through the 16-inch at IRO, but later that night we were endowed with meteors.

On the night of August 12/13, we began observing. The five people observing were Dave Fedosiewich, Frank Roy, Derek MacLeod, Sandy Thuesen, and myself. We began at 01:50 and the last observer went until 04:00. In total, there were 275 meteors seen in 2 hours, 219 of them being Perseids. The average brightness of this year's Perseid
was about magnitude 2.2. The average group rate for the first hour was 110 meteors and for the second hour 165 meteors.

The method of recording was that I would record the meteors on sheets of paper for individual meteors and overlaps. This method I found too tedious for major showers. Hopefully you can learn from my mistake and use a tape recorder with CHU time signals for major showers. I must say that I found it hard to record 5 peoples' observations when we all saw 4 different meteors within a 5-second span (but not impossible).

A list of individual observations is below.
Name    total    total    total
and Position    meteors    Perseids    non-shower
David Lauzon SE    85    75    10
David Fedosiewich SW    110    82    28
Derek MacLeod W    48    41    7
Frank Roy NE    96    82    14
Sandy Thuesen E    57    42    12

After 4am, a few of us just "looked up" until sunrise and then drove home after a good night of observing. I would like to extend special thanks to those who observed the Perseids this year and would like to invite any member wishing to join the meteor team to our next watch.

Any observations of unusual meteors, fireballs, or possible meteorites would be greatly appreciated. My number is 745-7962.

* * *  

THE DEEP SKY WEEKEND AND ANNUAL PICNIC
The picnic will be held on October 8th at IRO, and the whole weekend will be dedicated to deep-sky observing under the clear (hopefully) and crisp (maybe) fall skies. The observing begins right after the October 7 Observer's Group Meeting, and stops when the observers get tired on Monday night. You can even camp overnight if you wish, and save the long drive home. This is a Star-Night-Weekend!

How do you get to IRO? The self-explanatory maps below and opposite should reveal the Hope-and-Crosby "Road to IRO".

* * *

FAREWELL TO A SCIENTIST David Levy

When Bart Bok died at his home in Tucson on Friday, August 5, science lost one its most colourful representatives, astronomy lost its main propagandist for the Milky Way, and I lost someone who had become a dear friend and teacher. Four days earlier, Bart and I had finished a series of interviews that now stretch for some 50 hours, discussing his life, his ideas, his career, his opinions of other scientists, and of the course of astronomy during the 77 years of his life, the observatories he built and managed, the students who learned the stars under his capable wing, the music he loved, and the family he cared for.

Science was not a set of calculations to Bart. He would always tell his students to make sure that, in the middle of a long observing night, they would at least once put the controls down, leave the telescope, walk outside and look at the stars "just to make sure you\92re making bloody sense.\94

Two years ago, I wrote an article for Astronomy magazine to honour Bart on his 75th birthday. Bart liked the piece and shortly after he authorized me to write his biography - "not a scholarly work that no one will read, just a story of some 250 pages about what the hell I've
done." And what he had done was quite a bit: a professorship at Harvard during the 30's and 40's, teaching navigation during the war, managing the Boyden observing station in South Africa in the late 40's and 50's, working for the Association of Scientific Workers and being investigated by the FBI, publishing 5 editions of his classic The Milky Way, directing the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia during the early 60's, and returning to the United States to turn the Steward
Observatory and the University of Arizona Astronomy Department into one of the top 5 astronomical research institutions in the world.

In retirement, Bart had continued to work, lecturing, writing, and summarizing the research achievements of his lifetime. For Bart, the biography was another aspect of this work, and a chance to sit down at his dining room table with his biographer and friend to reflect on a joyful life.

Four days after our interview, Bart died while sitting on the same chair from which he told me his life. Bioqraphical materials, articles that had been written about him and that he had written, letters from friends and critics, all these were spread before him. Earlier, he had told his friend Elizabeth Maggio, "When I pop off, I want to be remembered a a damned good propagandist for the Milky Way." His death was sudden as he had wanted it. The papers on his table must have assured him that he would indeed be remembered that way. But in the richness of his life, his writings and his lectures, he surely will be remembered for more than that, as an example of science at its best, a deeply thinking and feeling human representative of science, of whom science will be proud.

Four days earlier, Bart and I finished our interviews. "Don't forget to watch me wave at you as you drive away," he reminded me, adding, "it's what I always do."

* *

EIGHTEEN DEGREES BELOW Brian Burke

Incredible! How many of you realize that evening twilight ends only a few minutes after 8 pm these days? Therefore, since twilight will be ending earlier each day over the next few months, there should be no excuses for not getting out and doing some observing. These days you can go out to IRO, put in at least four hours of observing, and get home at a decent time. The weather is often very pleasant and you do not have to worry about bad road conditions. Thus I expect to see overcrowded conditions in the next few weeks at the observatory. If you need a ride, call around to some of the keyholders and see if they can give you a ride. So get out the reference books, get out the star charts, and get out and observe.

* * *

FIREBALL REPORTED! David Lauzon

In the twilight of Sunday, September 4, 1983, Sandy Thuesen reported seeing a fireball of at least magnitude \976 while driving in the west end. It first appeared at the zenith and went straight to the horizon. Anyone seeing this fireball should report it to your present meteor coordinator. If a meteorite is the result of this fireball, scientists have to rely on the public to track it down.

DIGITAL DISPLAYS CALIBRATED

Frank Roy

With the addition of the digital readout system for the 16-inch at IRO, it now becomes a trivial task to find faint objects.

Since its inception in November of 1981, the readout has undergone one overhaul, and at least 3 calibrations. In September I once again recalibrated the system using the mechanical circle.

The divisions on the RA circle are 4 minutes wide and by interpolation, one may read the circle to about 1 minute, but because the indicator bar is slightly removed from the circle, an additional parallax error of 1 minute may occur. The Dec circle is graduated in degrees, and again by interpolation a resolution of 10 minutes may be attained.

The RA digital readout has a resolution of 1 minute of time, and the Dec has a resolution of 10 minutes of arc.

By using the circles, I calibrated both RA and Dec readouts to accuracies of 2 minutes and 10 minutes respectively. I also tested for backlash to determine how much slack there is in the gears.

The results are rather interesting. As it turns out, it seems that the backlash error in both RA and Dec is about equal to the total error.

In order to test backlash both the circle and the digital readout are set to the same position. Then by moving the telescope first in one direction and then the other the digital will readout the backlash error.

Following    is a list of my    results.
Circle RA    Digital    Circle Dec    Digital
05:00    05:00    90.0    90.0
06:00    05:59    80.0    80.0
07:00    06:59    70.0    70.0
08:00    07:58    60.0    60.0
09:00    08:59    50.0    50.0
10:00    10:00    40.0    40.0
11:00    11:00    30.0    30.0
12:00    12:00    20.0    19.5
13:00    13:00    10.0    10.0
14:00    13:58    00.0    +00.1
15:00    14:58    -10.0    -10.0
16:00    15:59    -20.0    -20.1
17:00    17:00    -30.0    -30.1
18:00    18:01    -40.0    -40.1
19:00    19:00    -50.0    -50.0
20:00    20:00

ANNUAL DINNER MEETING

This will be held at the same location as last year, that is the Skyline Hotel's "Top of the Hill". The date is Friday, November 25, and the time is 6 pm. The price will be the same as last year, $20 per person. Tickets will be available at the October 7 Observer's Group Meeting. Information will be sent to members soon.

Guests are welcome, and memberships will be available at the Dinner Meeting.

* * *

 

COMPUTERIZING YOUR TELESCOPE

Merle Angas

Abstract

It is shown how to get more bits of data from your telescope by means of readily-available computer technology. A simple system using parts costing less than $12.50 is described.

Text

If you don't own a computer, don't worry. You can easily make one using and old typewriter and a TV set. Black-and-white is fine for this application, since even a dark-adapted eye can't see colour in deep sky objects. The typewriter should be electric so that it can interface directly to the CPU (Control Part of Unit). This device, which has been greatly mystified by CN's and CP's (Computer Nuts and Computer People) is nothing more than a box employing a chip such as a Z80, 8080, or 88808808. These are simply chip numbers, which you could easily make up yourself and use as buzz words to impress your high-tech friends at parties. (Example: "Heard about that new TI 9062 chip?" Chances are they haven't. Then proceed to make up something about it.)

The CPU, together with programs typed in on the typewriter, will enable the telescope to operate automatically.

You might also consider a cassette tape recorder to record your observations and to play back what you've typed in.

Let's look at a typical system (see fig 1.)

If you type in a command, such as "OBSERVE JUPITER", the telescope should move to the appropriate spot in the sky and begin recording data. If not, there is probably a bug in the program, or else noise somewhere in the system. If this is the case, you can always use another TV set which has been converted into an oscilloscope, or one which has been converted into a logic analyser. If you don't know how to do the conversion, you could probably find a book written about it somewhere, or an article in "Bark and Bite".

Soon you will accumulate lots of observations, and in the end, save observing time.

For added comfort, you might consider putting the TV and typewriter indoors and letting only the telescope sit out in the cold.
Have fun observing!

Parts List
CPU chip    $8.50
connecting wire    $1.19
plugs, etc.    $0.49
TTL chip
Total    $0.85
$12.05
TV camera (optional)    $499.45
CPU case (optional)    $42.49

 

 

 

 

A S T R O N O T E S     ISSN 0048-8682

The Newsletter Magazine of the Ottawa Centre of the RASC
Vol. 22, No. 9 $5.00 a year October 1983

Editor.......Rolf Meier......4-A Arnold Dr.......820-5784
Addresses....Art Fraser...........................737-4110
Circulation...Robin Molson....2029 Garfield Ave...225-3082

OBSERVER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Yes, it is time once again to recap all your year's observations and submit them in the hopes of winning the Observer of the Year Award. Just ask last year's winner, Frank Roy, how great it felt to have all your hard-earned observations pay off finally in that most coveted of the Ottawa Centre Observer's Group awards.

But it is not for the shy. You must submit a written account of what you have accomplished observationally over the last year to the awards committee. A few pages would be fine. Even better, let the committee look at your observing logbook. That's all. Not too hard, is it?

Remember, you must make a submission of some kind in order to be considered for the award.

This year's committee:
Brian Burke (Variable Star Coordinator)
Rolf Meier (Observer's Group Chairman)
Frank Roy (last year's winner)
* * *

VARIABLE STAR AWARD REMINDER Brian Burke

Once again it is that time of year to begin thinking about the Variable Star Award. This award is presented to the person who has made the greatest number of quality estimates on the varying brightness levels of selected variable stars. I selected, as you may recall, the following six variables: U Cephei, RZ Cassiopeiae, Beta Lyrae, Delta Cephei, Z Ursae Majoris, and R Scuti. Only observations of these six stars will be considered for the award.

A summary of your observations must be submitted to me by the deadline selected by the Observers Group Award Committee. The winner will be announced next month at the Annual Dinner Meeting. So now is the time to put together your observations and write about them. I am looking forward to receiving your summary.
* * *

OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - SEPTEMBER 2 David Lauzon

Chairman Rolf Meier opened the meeting at 8:27 with 35 people in attendance, of which 74% were members. He noted that the membership year ends on September 30, and that annual elections for coordinators are coming soon. The annual Deep Sky Weekend will be held on October 7-9, with the Ottawa Centre picnic on the 8th. Rolf also recapped
this year's Stellafane, in which 2 Ottawa members won awards. Special congratulations to Max Stewart for his 6-inch telescope.

OG Vice-Chairman Gary Susick presented a talk on deep sky piggyback photography with a 35mm SLR. Since most deep sky objects are faint, long exposures must be made. This means guiding your camera. Stopping down your camera should eliminate most of the aberrations. Gary then discussed the 6 anti-Murphy laws and showed many beautiful slides.

Next up was astrophotography coordinator Frank Roy, who presented many fine pictures of the summer Milky Way. Gary Susick and Frank then proceeded to show comparison shots with varying aperture openings.

Occultation coordinator Brian Burke briefly talked about previous "successful" grazes and upcoming grazes. Brian then reminded members of the TAG project, to occur on November 28. He then talked about two asteroidal occultations, urging members to observe.

Linda Warren was up next to present members with a slide show on her trip to Stellafane. She stunned members with pictures of the "Sky and Telescope" building where it all comes together, along with slides of Stellafane and the telescopes on Breezy Hill, and AAVSO headquarters. She then impressed the audience with some tremendous aurora slides taken on the day after Stellafane, but from Nepean.

Meteor coordinator David Lauzon shed some light on the Perseid meteor shower of 1983. He said that this year, we had better than average meteor counts, possibly due to the return of Comet Swift-Tuttle 1862 III.

Next up was Rolf Meier with a slide presentation on Stellafane, and an attempt to photograph the elusive Green Flash of the setting sun at Andrew Haydon Park. This occurs at the last instant of sunset.

President Peter MacKinnon gave several notices. The RASC now has a new headquarters in Toronto and the annual dinner meeting is coming up in November.

Finally, Rolf reminded members of the Observer of the Year Award and the Variable Star Award. He closed the meeting at 10:30.

COUNCIL MEETING - SEPTEMBER 7 Robin Molson and Ken Tapping

During the two meetings held earlier this year (see report in the June Astronotes ), there was considerable discussion of how we can improve the Ottawa Centre's services to members, and hopefully reverse the declining trend in the Centre's membership (this year we have 167 members, compared with 179 in 1982). This subject was a major topic at this meeting.

The Observer's Group is one of the Centre's most important public interfaces. It is therefore important that it be viable and active. At the April meeting Gary Susick tabled a set of guidelines which he felt would help the group operate. After further discussion at this meeting, these were adopted.

A great effort has been made to set up a good program of Centre meetings for the 1983-84 season. So far 6 speakers have been found; the dates and other pertinent information will be circulated in Astronotes.

Astronotes was also discussed. The falling number of articles being submitted for publication conveys an impression of the Centre being inactive and is therefore a matter of concern. In an attempt to attract more articles, a prize will be awarded each year for the best article. The Editorial Board tabled a scheme for grading articles for this purpose.

Since many members had expressed satisfaction with the format and style of the 1982 Annual Dinner, it has been decided to conduct this year's event in the same style. As usual, it will be held in late November; the exact time and place to be announced.

The treasurer reported that the Centre's financial position remains satisfactory. Even though this year's membership revenues were down, expenses (such as Astronotes publication costs) were also down. In addition, higher observatory key fees and a number of donations have more than offset the membership shortfall.

It was reported that the Observatory clubhouse at IRO is in need of some major repairs. The cost of having Masonite siding installed by a building contractor would be more than $2000. Council felt that this was expensive and the possibility of doing the work ourselves should be considered. Recent repairs to the roof have stopped the leak which developed early in the spring, and the screen door has been completely rebuilt.

Due to lightning damage, the radio telescope has been out of action since June; repairs are being carried out.

Council expressed its gratitude to Rolf Meier for building and installing a new 10-inch Newtonian telescope at IRO. A concrete foundation for its enclosure has to be laid before the instrument can be used by members.

Stan Mott, who has over many years built up our library to its present 400-plus volumes, has indicated that he would like to stand down as librarian. Council expressed its sincere thanks for Stan's contributions and decided to seek an assistant who will work with him and gradually take over as Librarian.

Council noted with regret the passing of two Centre members of long standing, the Right Rev. C.J. de Cantanzaro of Ottawa and Mr. C.M. Brant of Daytona Beach, Florida. Astronomy has suffered a substantia] loss in the recent death of Dr. Bart Bok. Ottawa Centre members will remember the excellent talk he gave on June 13, 1979 on the Milky Way.

The next Council Meeting will be held in late October.
* * *

ASTRONOMICAL TRIVIA

With the recent appeal of "Trivial Pursuit", I thought it might be challenging to extend the topics to include "astronomy". So try your skill at the following questions. The answers will appear next month (if I can figure them out by then!).
1) What is our galaxy sometimes called?
2) What is the point directly overhead called?
3) How many total lunar eclipses occurred in 1982?
4) Which is the largest observatory in the world?
5) What does "Antares" mean?
6) How far south can an aurora be seen?
7) What does the letter "L" in "L5" stand for?
8) If the annual parallax of a star is 0.5", how far away is it?
9) Where is the largest meteorite on public display?
10) How many individual stars ave visible to the naked eye (ie brighter than magnitude 6.2)?

* * *

Membership application on reverse side

THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA OTTAWA CENTRE
MEMBERSHIP: ( )APPLICATION ( )RENEWAL ( )LIFE
NAME:.................................................
ADDRESS:...............................................

................................. POSTAL CODE:......
PHONE: WORK.....................HOME.................
( )NEW ADDRESS ( )NEW PHONE NUMBER
MEMBERSHIP FEE:
( ) $12.50 JUNIOR (UNDER 18 YRS. SIGN ...........
( )$20.00 REGULAR ( )$300.00 LIFE
PLUS ( )$20.00 SUSTAINING (VOLUNTARY)
= $............... DATE:....................
RETURN TO - R.A.S.C. OTTAWA CENTRE,
C/O H. I. A. , N. R.C.,100 SUSSEX DR., OTTAWA,ONT. K1A 0R6

 

THE PERSEIDS OF 83 David Lauzon

Favourable sky conditions and the fact that the Perseids landed (literally? -Ed) on a weekend made this year's display not only very well observed, but spectacular.

One night began with looking through the 16-inch at IRO, but later that night we were endowed with meteors.

On the night of August 12/13, we began observing. The five people observing were Dave Fedosiewich, Frank Roy, Derek MacLeod, Sandy Thuesen, and myself. We began at 01:50 and the last observer went until 04:00. In total, there were 275 meteors seen in 2 hours, 219 of them being Perseids. The average brightness of this year's Perseid
was about magnitude 2.2. The average group rate for the first hour was 110 meteors and for the second hour 165 meteors.

The method of recording was that I would record the meteors on sheets of paper for individual meteors and overlaps. This method I found too tedious for major showers. Hopefully you can learn from my mistake and use a tape recorder with CHU time signals for major showers. I must say that I found it hard to record 5 peoples' observations when we all saw 4 different meteors within a 5-second span (but not impossible).

A list of individual observations is below.
Name    total    total    total
and Position    meteors    Perseids    non-shower
David Lauzon SE    85    75    10
David Fedosiewich SW    110    82    28
Derek MacLeod W    48    41    7
Frank Roy NE    96    82    14
Sandy Thuesen E    57    42    12

After 4am, a few of us just "looked up" until sunrise and then drove home after a good night of observing. I would like to extend special thanks to those who observed the Perseids this year and would like to invite any member wishing to join the meteor team to our next watch.

Any observations of unusual meteors, fireballs, or possible meteorites would be greatly appreciated. My number is 745-7962.

* * *  

THE DEEP SKY WEEKEND AND ANNUAL PICNIC
The picnic will be held on October 8th at IRO, and the whole weekend will be dedicated to deep-sky observing under the clear (hopefully) and crisp (maybe) fall skies. The observing begins right after the October 7 Observer's Group Meeting, and stops when the observers get tired on Monday night. You can even camp overnight if you wish, and save the long drive home. This is a Star-Night-Weekend!

How do you get to IRO? The self-explanatory maps below and opposite should reveal the Hope-and-Crosby "Road to IRO".

* * *

FAREWELL TO A SCIENTIST David Levy

When Bart Bok died at his home in Tucson on Friday, August 5, science lost one its most colourful representatives, astronomy lost its main propagandist for the Milky Way, and I lost someone who had become a dear friend and teacher. Four days earlier, Bart and I had finished a series of interviews that now stretch for some 50 hours, discussing his life, his ideas, his career, his opinions of other scientists, and of the course of astronomy during the 77 years of his life, the observatories he built and managed, the students who learned the stars under his capable wing, the music he loved, and the family he cared for.

Science was not a set of calculations to Bart. He would always tell his students to make sure that, in the middle of a long observing night, they would at least once put the controls down, leave the telescope, walk outside and look at the stars "just to make sure you\92re making bloody sense.\94

Two years ago, I wrote an article for Astronomy magazine to honour Bart on his 75th birthday. Bart liked the piece and shortly after he authorized me to write his biography - "not a scholarly work that no one will read, just a story of some 250 pages about what the hell I've
done." And what he had done was quite a bit: a professorship at Harvard during the 30's and 40's, teaching navigation during the war, managing the Boyden observing station in South Africa in the late 40's and 50's, working for the Association of Scientific Workers and being investigated by the FBI, publishing 5 editions of his classic The Milky Way, directing the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia during the early 60's, and returning to the United States to turn the Steward
Observatory and the University of Arizona Astronomy Department into one of the top 5 astronomical research institutions in the world.

In retirement, Bart had continued to work, lecturing, writing, and summarizing the research achievements of his lifetime. For Bart, the biography was another aspect of this work, and a chance to sit down at his dining room table with his biographer and friend to reflect on a joyful life.

Four days after our interview, Bart died while sitting on the same chair from which he told me his life. Bioqraphical materials, articles that had been written about him and that he had written, letters from friends and critics, all these were spread before him. Earlier, he had told his friend Elizabeth Maggio, "When I pop off, I want to be remembered a a damned good propagandist for the Milky Way." His death was sudden as he had wanted it. The papers on his table must have assured him that he would indeed be remembered that way. But in the richness of his life, his writings and his lectures, he surely will be remembered for more than that, as an example of science at its best, a deeply thinking and feeling human representative of science, of whom science will be proud.

Four days earlier, Bart and I finished our interviews. "Don't forget to watch me wave at you as you drive away," he reminded me, adding, "it's what I always do."

* *

EIGHTEEN DEGREES BELOW Brian Burke

Incredible! How many of you realize that evening twilight ends only a few minutes after 8 pm these days? Therefore, since twilight will be ending earlier each day over the next few months, there should be no excuses for not getting out and doing some observing. These days you can go out to IRO, put in at least four hours of observing, and get home at a decent time. The weather is often very pleasant and you do not have to worry about bad road conditions. Thus I expect to see overcrowded conditions in the next few weeks at the observatory. If you need a ride, call around to some of the keyholders and see if they can give you a ride. So get out the reference books, get out the star charts, and get out and observe.

* * *

FIREBALL REPORTED! David Lauzon

In the twilight of Sunday, September 4, 1983, Sandy Thuesen reported seeing a fireball of at least magnitude \976 while driving in the west end. It first appeared at the zenith and went straight to the horizon. Anyone seeing this fireball should report it to your present meteor coordinator. If a meteorite is the result of this fireball, scientists have to rely on the public to track it down.

DIGITAL DISPLAYS CALIBRATED

Frank Roy

With the addition of the digital readout system for the 16-inch at IRO, it now becomes a trivial task to find faint objects.

Since its inception in November of 1981, the readout has undergone one overhaul, and at least 3 calibrations. In September I once again recalibrated the system using the mechanical circle.

The divisions on the RA circle are 4 minutes wide and by interpolation, one may read the circle to about 1 minute, but because the indicator bar is slightly removed from the circle, an additional parallax error of 1 minute may occur. The Dec circle is graduated in degrees, and again by interpolation a resolution of 10 minutes may be attained.

The RA digital readout has a resolution of 1 minute of time, and the Dec has a resolution of 10 minutes of arc.

By using the circles, I calibrated both RA and Dec readouts to accuracies of 2 minutes and 10 minutes respectively. I also tested for backlash to determine how much slack there is in the gears.

The results are rather interesting. As it turns out, it seems that the backlash error in both RA and Dec is about equal to the total error.

In order to test backlash both the circle and the digital readout are set to the same position. Then by moving the telescope first in one direction and then the other the digital will readout the backlash error.

Following    is a list of my    results.
Circle RA    Digital    Circle Dec    Digital
05:00    05:00    90.0    90.0
06:00    05:59    80.0    80.0
07:00    06:59    70.0    70.0
08:00    07:58    60.0    60.0
09:00    08:59    50.0    50.0
10:00    10:00    40.0    40.0
11:00    11:00    30.0    30.0
12:00    12:00    20.0    19.5
13:00    13:00    10.0    10.0
14:00    13:58    00.0    +00.1
15:00    14:58    -10.0    -10.0
16:00    15:59    -20.0    -20.1
17:00    17:00    -30.0    -30.1
18:00    18:01    -40.0    -40.1
19:00    19:00    -50.0    -50.0
20:00    20:00

ANNUAL DINNER MEETING

This will be held at the same location as last year, that is the Skyline Hotel's "Top of the Hill". The date is Friday, November 25, and the time is 6 pm. The price will be the same as last year, $20 per person. Tickets will be available at the October 7 Observer's Group Meeting. Information will be sent to members soon.

Guests are welcome, and memberships will be available at the Dinner Meeting.

* * *

 

COMPUTERIZING YOUR TELESCOPE

Merle Angas

Abstract

It is shown how to get more bits of data from your telescope by means of readily-available computer technology. A simple system using parts costing less than $12.50 is described.

Text

If you don't own a computer, don't worry. You can easily make one using and old typewriter and a TV set. Black-and-white is fine for this application, since even a dark-adapted eye can't see colour in deep sky objects. The typewriter should be electric so that it can interface directly to the CPU (Control Part of Unit). This device, which has been greatly mystified by CN's and CP's (Computer Nuts and Computer People) is nothing more than a box employing a chip such as a Z80, 8080, or 88808808. These are simply chip numbers, which you could easily make up yourself and use as buzz words to impress your high-tech friends at parties. (Example: "Heard about that new TI 9062 chip?" Chances are they haven't. Then proceed to make up something about it.)

The CPU, together with programs typed in on the typewriter, will enable the telescope to operate automatically.

You might also consider a cassette tape recorder to record your observations and to play back what you've typed in.

Let's look at a typical system (see fig 1.)

If you type in a command, such as "OBSERVE JUPITER", the telescope should move to the appropriate spot in the sky and begin recording data. If not, there is probably a bug in the program, or else noise somewhere in the system. If this is the case, you can always use another TV set which has been converted into an oscilloscope, or one which has been converted into a logic analyser. If you don't know how to do the conversion, you could probably find a book written about it somewhere, or an article in "Bark and Bite".

Soon you will accumulate lots of observations, and in the end, save observing time.

For added comfort, you might consider putting the TV and typewriter indoors and letting only the telescope sit out in the cold.
Have fun observing!

Parts List
CPU chip    $8.50
connecting wire    $1.19
plugs, etc.    $0.49
TTL chip
Total    $0.85
$12.05
TV camera (optional)    $499.45
CPU case (optional)    $42.49