AstroNotes 1971 March Vol: 10 issue 03




Download PDF version: 


The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC

Vol. 10, No. 3 March, 1971


Editor: Tom Tothill  22 Delong Drive, Ottawa 9
Addresses: Howard Harris  667 Highland Ave, Ottawa 13
Circulation: Ted Bean  399 McLeod Street, Ottawa U



The big news this month is that John Conville, Earl of Chaucer and Count of Florence, organised the Ottawa Centre's first successful graze expedition, on his very first try.

As we all know, the Swami of Morrison (Rick Lavery) had predicted at the last meeting that the lunar eclipse would be clouded out, and it was. However, the Swami also said that the Graze would be favoured by good weather and, by Krishna, it was!! On both counts the Swami was wrong up to the last minute, but then he suddenly became right. Naturally the Swami will be claiming the entire credit and will be reminding us gently of his prowess from time to time. However, an important additional factor must be borne in mind - namely that the Marquis of Delong, by refraining from going on the Graze, removed his Jinx from the entire proceedings and thereby ensured its success.

It is an unusual pleasure to report professional participation in these mad goings-on, but Hans Klinkenberg (Sir Hans of Stinson) showed up with his sons and turned in an excellent tape. So far as we know this is the second successful graze expedition in Canada. About three months ago the Calgary Centre joined Edmonton for a graze and two observers got timings. We did better, with four observers getting good sets of timings - each with several "outs" and "ons", eighteen in all.

What else this month? Oh yes, the third lunar manned landing took place, and the first lunar golf shot went into the rough.


Sylvia Wake

The February meeting, with Rick Lavery in the chair had a good turnout of 49 people. After a small discussion about the dinner meeting and the moon walk, Doug Beaton asked if we could start the meetings earlier. He mentioned the planetary configuration of January and numerous slides were shown. He also displayed Rolf Meier's beautiful painting of Jupiter.

Al Miller showed slides and introduced his new Coma-Virgo deep-sky program.

Jon Buchanan brought his sun in and discussed sunspot activity during the last month, which turned out to be pretty good, and showed a slide of the sun (plus spot).

Ken Hewitt-White (?) had sent a letter to Carl Simmons, the editor of 'Meteor News', describing Ottawa meteor activities. He announced that a copy of the 30-page, 1970 meteor report will be sent to the American Meteor Society and one will be put in the Library. New observers will be welcomed - after all we have only 17,

J . Flo. Conville discussed the total lunar eclipse coming up on Feb 9/10, and asked for observers for the lunar graze of Feb 19.

Rick Lavery talked about observing radio variables optically - a possible program for the 16 -inch - and mentioned the upcoming February meeting of the Centre, a talk by Dr. Bryan Andrew of NRC on "Variable Radio Sources; the Ups and Downs of Astronomy", where we might find out what was possible and useful. He showed colour slides of the 16 -inch mount.

Christopher J. (Purple) Martin sang.

Tentative plans for the 1972 solar eclipse were discussed, particularly the north Gaspe coast and the highlands of Gaspe. (The Editer has a friend in Les Mechins, North Gaspe , who is now interested and could provide valuable information).


Chris Martin

With pen in hand, ink in pen, and ray quarter in BIC's pocket, here are some jottings from the land of the Meteor Observer.

Not too long ago, Ken H-W and I started receiving Meteor News, a publication put out by the Astro-Gator Astronomy Club in Jacksonville, Florida. Bewildered at first why we were singled out to receive this newsletter of the American Meteor Society, Ken finally spotted a paragraph in their Oct '70 issue: "According to the latest edition of the Journal of the R.A.S.C (Newsletter Aug ’70) ..."

Meteor News lists still-existing minor shower radiants found only in archaic journals. The majority are of relatively new variety and new ones are constantly being discovered. Meteor News even lists fireball radiants. For only $2.00 a year it is indeed an informative newsletter with subscriptions all over the world. The Meteor Group intends to make good use of their information by observing and plotting these radiants as much as weather permits.


Rick Lavery

I am sorry to report that contributions to the Fund have been very few. It is rather ironic that now that the telescope mirror and mount are completed, and we need only build the Observatory, that funds stop coming in. I also find it difficult to understand why some of our professional members in the Centre refuse to give even token monetary support to the telescope fund. Unless we get the necessary funds, construction will not start on the Observatory. Send or bring your donation - please.


John Conville

Eclipse: The predictions of the Wizard of the Fleur-de-Lis (Rick Lavery) stated that it would be cloudy for the eclipse. He was almost wrong but, so as not to let this error occur, with a wave of his wand he had it cloud over just before totality. The eclipse was rather dark until just before the Shadow of Lavery struck, then various observers reported red and orange-red colouration.

The clouds regurgitated the moon that they had swallowed during the last few minutes of penumbral activity.

Graze. Feb 19: The Wizard and his liege Count Florence (yours truly) went forth on a scouting mission to test the strength of the Dark Lord (Murphy) on the Wednesday before the graze. We found no trace of the Enemy anywhere except in the sky, for it was cloudy. This put me on my guard and I again went over the data which the Wizard of Al-Gee-Bra (the Editor) had given me.

I found that the road that I had selected for the battle was not long enough. The morning of the graze, myself with the noble knights Paterson, Lord of Livingstone, and the Hewitt of Hermanroot sallied forth to spy on the Enemy's fortifications. Woe was with us, for we found the road guarded by trees, quick-snow, and above all by His most deadly warrior - Clouds.

We mustered our troops at the vast stables of Dilwari (just beyond the fringe) and it was with heavy heart that we set out to battle, for already the Enemy had struck by keeping Beaton - Steward of the Planets - asleep, and once more the sky was obscured with darkness, the Clouds of Murphy.
But the mere presence of the Wizard of Lavery and his goodly Host was too much for the Dark Lord and he withdrew his cloak of cloud and the Host rode into a clearing moon. Once again the predictions of the Wizard had been correct.

We arrived and set up our Engines of Siege (telescopes), Eight groups we were, spread regularly betweenthe trees, such that if there were eleven groups we would be spread over a League.* While I was seeing that the Groups got to their posts the Steed I rode was attacked by some quick-snow (soft shoulders). Hans Klinkenberg, First Steward of Vice in our Realm (there being so much Vice - Second and Third Stewards are also required) and his noble sons helped to save the floundering Steed.

When the setup was complete everyone returned to their Chariots to keep the Batteries and fingers warm until the time was ripe for the graze. The Graze came and went and every station saw some of it. But not all were able to withstand the Force of Murphy. Two teams were struck with a Sense of Timelessness and were unready for the onslaught of the Graze. On two other teams the tape recorder was struck dumb with the wonder of it all, but at one of these groups a manual record was kept. Among the eight, four have the secret of the graze on tape or paper.

And so the Fifteen Stalwarts who made up the Eight left the battlefield following the noble Steed of Livingstone. The data gleaned from the graze has shown (see centre spread) that the profile for the graze was truly extrapolated, for where the Wizard was, no graze should have been seen, but eight timings were obtained. And where I was, as companion to the noble Rankin of David, no disappearance should have been seen and yet the star was
gone for 7.5 seconds. However, this is only after hasty plotting and a fuller analysis will be in next month's Astronotes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
0.3-mile intervals.
-The Wiz of A-G-B.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks are cordially extended to David Dunham, for sending the computer predictions; to Wayne Warren for running them on the computer at Indiana University; and to George East for sending a predicted profile.


Sylvia Wake

This first meeting of 1971 was chaired by Rick Lavery and attended by 51 people. We were again reminded to start making plans for the July, 1972 solar eclipse, and while you're thinking ahead, think about the General Assembly in Hamilton this Spring,

Ken Hewitt-White, Vice-Chairman for the past two years, gave us a farewell speech and introduced this year's Vice-, Doug Beaton.

Rick Lavery led a discussion on "Worlds in Collision" by Velikovsky. Mr. Tom Tothill kindly gave an interesting ad lib summary of other works by Velikovsky.

Al Miller in desperation resorted to bribery for deep-sky observations: hand in a good drawing or photo and you may turn up in Al and Ken's book. Following this Al introduced a new deep-sky program, Doug Beaton mentioned the planetary configuration currently visible in the dawn sky,
Jon Buchanan brought in his sun again and used it to demonstrate December's sunspot activity. Again he asked for more solar observations.

Next, Ken Hewitt-White presented a major report on 1970 meteors. The group had come forth with 60 nights observing, 8740 sightings and 6608 meteors. He showed slides of graphs of various showers throughout the year.

Finally, the winners of the Observer of the Year and Merit awards were announced. They went, with congratulations, to Allan Miller and Dr. Fred Lossing, respectively.


* This article didn't quite make it in time for the February issue.



Ken Hewitt-White

We hoped to fill some gaps in January but the clouds saved us the bother. I doubt that there were more than three good nights for the whole month and we observed five so we didn't do too badly. Eleven people observed a total of 10 hours to capture 234 sightings of 196 meteors.

The Quadrantids flunked the snowflake test this year and so most of the 196 represent 'nons'. Plotting on the night of January 24/25 was revealing a radiant in southern Gemini but clouds prevented a positive fix.

New radiants do appear occasionally without warning, coming one night and then disappearing the next without a trace. About one in a billion do stick around and those are the ones we would like to catch. The last significant radiant discovered was the Ursid one revealed in 1945. Maybe we are due in 1971.

JAN '71
Conville, J.
Dafoe, J.
Davis, L .
Dick, R.
Hall, C.
Hewitt-White, K.
Houlihan, B,
MacDonald, I.
MacKinnon, P.
Martin, C.
Wake, S.
Periods Meteors Plots
13 38
4 -
26 -
20 51
With the Dafoes and the Houlihans in there, it has been like old times. They are Queensway Terrace originals and haven’t observed since ' 67 . Good to see you again, guys! But we need new blood too and if you would like to participate you can give me a call at 733-4949. Who knows? You could discover your own shower radiant.


Rick Lavery

There have been a few things happening in the variable star field recently. First, the minor administrative details. Would all the variable star observers in our Centre please bring their report forms to the April meeting, or send them to me at the end of March? I will have report forms available at the March and April meetings.

Secondly, the National variable star program is now ready for distribution and there should be an article in the National Newsletter about it, A Bulletin is already out. If there are any other members in the Ottawa Centre who are interested in starting to observe variable stars, please see me at any Observers Group meeting.

Finally, the meeting of the Centre in February, For. those variable star observers who attended the meeting, Dr. Andrews presented a challenging proposals to try optical observation of a few 'radio' variables with the 16 -inch telescope. Our variable star observers have discussed the proposal and feel that we would be very interested in giving the project a try. So, if NRC can provide a finder chart with some sort of magnitude sequence, we will guarantee a try, but we cannot guarantee any results.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Astronotes has the honour to convey a further message from the Wizard himself. And we quote:

"Those who spend much money to see the Solar Eclipse of 1972, will be disappointed".

So there it is, folks, in black and white. If you were planning to charter a plane to Inuvik - forget it. If you were going up to Baker Lake at your own expense, cancel it. If you were railing it to Moosonee and bush-flying on to Great Whale, think again. But if you're hitch-hiking to Gaspe, the Wizard will fix it for you.

Mrs Marie F idler,
252 College St.,
TORONTO 2 B , Ont.