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The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC
|Vol. 10, No. 4 April, 1971|
Editor: Tom Tothill 22 Delong Drive, Ottawa 9
Addresses: Howard Harris 667 Highland Ave, Ottawa 13
Circulations: Ted Bean 399 McLeod Street, Ottawa 4
Those of you who get this ahead of the meeting of the Centre on Friday, April 2 nd - at which the Observers Group will put on their annual show - are requested to mention to as many members and guests who might be interested in going that the 16-inch telescope will (God willing) be on display
there for the first time. Not quite complete, to be sure, but sufficiently so to give a good idea of its workings.
It was a mid-March weekend when for the first time the mirror was assembled to the cell, the cell to the tube, and the tube to the fork. The balance came acceptably close to confirming the original centre of gravity calculations made more than a year ago, before many details were settled.
Meanwhile the design of the roll-off roof for the Observatory has received some attention. We are grateful to Gordon Plewes, a building researcher, for checking out some of the details for us. Drawings have been made and quotations obtained.
At last report the telescope fund, now to be called the Observatory Fund, was in a position healthy enough to cover the concrete slab and breeze-block walls of the observatory building, but not the roof. Mr. Lavery, no doubt, will be pushing us again in his inimitable manner, and no doubt will get the usual cordial response. One such came in from George Browne in Dusseldorf.
According to the grapevine there has been non-cordial non-response from a minority so small as to be negligible. But you can't beat the West. In Calgary, no less than three 16 -inch mirrors are being ground. We tip our hats to Messrs. Howell, Langstaff, and Lingford for this great enterprise.
OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - MAR 5
The meeting was chaired by Rick Lavery and was attended by 48 people, Swakely's Believe It or Not Quiz. (Answer wrong and/or no.)
1 . Doug Beaton said there were 13 clear nights up to Mar 5 , from the beginning of the year. Fact.
2. Jon Buchanan discussed his progress on his 4-month sunspot cycle project. Fact.
3. Murphy uses New Arrid Extra Dry. Fiction.
4. Murphy stinks. Fact.
5. Ted Bean’s and Jon Buchanan’s films of Apollo 14 were shown. Fact.
6 . Doug Beaton says that Mars is coming closer and therefore will (contrary to popular belief) get bigger. Fact.
7 . Mr. Tothill tested his new coat-hanger for the benefit of the Observers Group, Fiction.
8 . Mr. Tothill tested a small model of the proposed design for the roof structure for the 16". Fact.
9. John Conville discussed the various aspects of the failure to observe the total lunar eclipse of Feb 9/10, (mainly Murphy), Fact.
10. John also gave a rundown of individual successes and failure of the graze teams. Fact.
11 . Doug said he was sorry to have slept through the graze. Fact.
12. Rick Lavery gave suggestions and comments on the talks for the General Assembly. Fact.
13. The note in the R.A.S.C. Journal about variable stars is bringing good response. Fact.14. There are four more grazes coming up. New batteries and good tape are recommended. Fact.
15. Al Miller gave a talk in 29 1⁄2 seconds that was five minutes long. Fact.
16.Al and Ken's book is covered but needs a cover. Fact.
17. Al would like Coma-Virgo observers. Fact.
18. Walter Turner explained an idea of his for a blink-coraparator. Discussion followed. Fact.
19. Murphy rubs us the wrong way. Friction.
DEEP SKY - LEO
Now that the Swami has blessed us with Spring I am able to stay outside for prolonged periods of time - at least five minutes - without freezing. Not only has the warm weather come, but also the Coma-Virgo group hits the scene at about 2200 EST. To get on with it then, if you have a telescope and would like to try your luck at these elusive objects, by all means go ahead. Don't forget though, any good drawings and descriptions might appear in the next little book that Ken and I have planned.
At the meetings I will have finder charts available to aid you.
P.S. (Advt.) The "Midsummer-Nights’ Dream" books are being bound and covered. For all those people who ordered, they will be ready at the April meeting. There are also an extra 20 copies for sale, Buenas Noches.
CENTRE MEETING - MAR 15
Dr. Gaizauskas gave an interesting illustrated talk on the new Ottawa River Solar Observatory at Shirley's Bay.
METEOR NOTES FOR MARCH
Severe winter conditions have prevented much observing in March, The coffins have been closed down since mid-February due to the presence of some apparently unmeltable ice caked in the bottom.* This has resulted in only single efforts at observing, in a lonely lawn chair with a heater shoved up the end. The fellow who has deemed it necessary to perform this kind of perverted martyrdom is me, I have logged 21 hours of observing in
March, mostly on school nights. I hope that in April, when my exams roll around, others will be able to take up where I must leave off; by that time the ice in the coffins should be well on its way to becoming soft.
As I write this, work on the A .M.S. special project - that of defining the Gamma Virginid meteor radiant, is progressing nicely. I have plotted a very excellent radiant point and will discuss it at the May meeting.
We need new observers BUT not before May. The lousy weather has prevented introductions for new people so far and now I must delay any introductory lessons until after my exams. More about that in May Astronotes.
I will be delivering a paper on our meteor setup at the General Assembly. I urgently need some decent slides of recent Quiet Site fixtures. A good shot of the coffins, in colour, would be especially nice.
Observers are reminded that April is FIREBALL MONTH. Many of the brightest fireballs on record have been discovered during this month. Keep your eyes up and let me know the instant you see anything very bright; even in exams.
Sylvia Wake continues her fine work on the meteor computer programme. Results are forthcoming very soon. We still need punch cards, if anyone knows where we can get some cheap.
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What you need in there is some Hot Pants.
THE GRAZE - DETAILED DATA - FEB 19
On this Tau Scorpii graze expedition there were eight groups, with a total of eleven observers. Each group had a CHU receiver, a tape recorder and a telescope. The scopes used ranged from an 8 " reflector to a 50 mm theodolite. Three groups suffered from malfunctioning tape recorders and two others were not fully prepared when the graze occurred. All but the last two stations observed grazing phenomena, but those two both reported one brief disappearance.
The observing site was a concession road which ran six miles due south of Stittsville which is to the southwest of Ottawa. This road was almost perpendicular to the graze line and was fairly well suited for observing. The teams were located every three tenths of a mile along the
road. The sky was moon 5. 5 , the temperature about 5° and there was no wind.
Positions: The observers' positions, set off by auto odometer, were determined from the Canada 1:50,000 scale map 31 G/4 Kemptville. Their positions on the map were determined by the distance from station to station and the distance to nearby landmarks. The tolerance for the positions should be taken as one second in latitude and one point five in longitude. The elevation stated is the highest possible value, from 25-ft contours. The actual
elevation could be up to 25 ft less than the given value.
Times: All times are given in UT. Tc is the corrected time, derived by subtracting 0.2 sec from the raw time to allow for verbal reaction time, Gt is the predicted central graze time. It is given for the point on the graze line nearest each station (perpendicular distance). Gc is the corrected value for Gt; a correction must be made for the elevation since the predictions were for sea level, and this correction is particularly great when the moon is low as it was in this case (eleven degrees).
1 - Stopwatch and CHU
2 - Times reduced from a recording of voice CHU with a stopwatch.
3 - Times reduced from a recording by ear. and
4 - Ear and eye.
1 - Rick Lavery
2 - Hans Klinkenberg
4 - Pete Rankin, John Convil le timer.
° ' " °
h m s
09:36:50.3 . 1
09:36:51.8* . 1
09:36:53.6# . 1
09:37:00.3 . 1
09:38:22.4 . 1
09:38:23.7 . 1
09:38:31.6 . 1
h m s
Gc = 09:36:47.7
Gt = 09:36:47.9
Gc = 09:36:47.7
.1 2 09:37:38.9
* The second disappearance faded over a period of 0.1 sec
# The second reappearance faded over a period of 0.5 to
NEXT GRAZE - MAY 3
Better start getting ready for the next one. The star is 6 . 8 mag, the graze occurs at 01:14 EST, the moon will be only 59 % sunlit, and the location will be farther south.
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HEWITT THE HITCH-HIKER SAYS:
Take a meteor observer into your car. It's the only damn way he can get to the Quiet Site. As a matter of fact take anybody into your car and try to convince him to be a meteor observer.
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"Free advice is often worth exactly what you pay for it".
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THE SWAMI SAYS:
Better start your campaigning for a ride to the General Assembly in Hamilton in May,
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
That otherwise admirable publication, the "London RASC News", talking about variable star observing, congratulates their three observers for the fine job done in "helping to show up the other Centres in the summer of 1970. The grand total was 239 and I don't think that any of the others did as well."
Which week were you talking about, Mr. Connors?
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Yes, friends, you have been tried and found Guilty of Failing to Fill Astronotes. The sentence: Three pages of the Editor. (A-a-a-a-a-r-gh!!!, a pitiful wail.)
THE SCHLOSSING SAGA (1)
"There she is - Planet X!"
Lick Ravery had deftly swung the Super Sixteen to the coordinates and fined it in. "Wanna take a look, Blue?" Blewitt Tite, ever eager, bent his eagle eye to the task, then suddenly exclaimed: "Amazing! How about that? NGC 4656 in the same field!!" You've gotta see this, everybody!!!" But only Darren Diller (who lived somewhat in the shadow of his Aunt Phyllis) took him up on it.
"How about you, Bed?" Bedlington Tean bent his spare frame to the tube, flipped in the high power, and after some fine adjustments and a good long look exclaimed: "Gad, what seeing! The details stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. Mostly cloud cover, but in the big clear patch here I can see....Golly! It looks for all the world like land and water! But presumably I'm presuming,"
Conn Johnville slid in the Nasmyth focus, "Otnorot," he said, "There's a town there called Otnorot. I can see it written on a big roof, I can
see horses, buggies too," Leichtenstein Ravery looked around. (His parents had been avid stamp collectors at the time of his birth, and wanted to honour the principal industry of that Principality).
"Take a look, Bomb." Bombardier Hotpill kicked a box under the tube, climbed it, racked the focus in an inch and a half, tookoff his glasses, groped for the tube, and peered into the eyepiece. sign. "Must be the main street" he said, "I can see a shop It reads:
"C O N F U C I U S
"Hey! I've got a saw that needs sharpeni...". His voice trailed off, as the others just looked at him, pityingly.
For two weeks they spent every clear night studying Planet X, That amounted to two nights, actually, and the seeing never came anywhere near that first night. They had determined that the rotation was retrograde but the estimates of period varied in standard astronomical fashion from 4 .35928 hours to 183.61802 days. A neat classification system was soon devised for the types of cloud formation, clear patches, and the type of terrain seen therein. For example Epsilon Mu Sigma II Double-Plus denoted a more or less circular cloud area, but if it became elongated it moved into the Ksi Omega Alpha III Sub-two-i group. This rapidly removed the noncognoscenti from any meaningful discussions of the features.
Meanwhile the amateurs continued their clumsy way with horrible words like "large, round cloud, mottled in centre, trailing streamers from edges" in total ignorance of the fact that this was merely a Kappa Sub-xviii Delta Nu Omicron (Pec.) Type 7B Minus. Finally, Ravery called a council of war.
"We're never going to be able to find out enough about that planet from here" he said, "Why don't we send Red up to take a look?" "Red Schlossing?", said Gary Snafews. "Yep." Red wasn't present, of course, so his election was unanimous."Any chance of getting one of the Tean rockets. Bed?", said Ravery. Bedlington's brows beetled as he bresented the broblem (he had a cold). True, he had built rockets in his basement for $3750 each, and true, the Ministry of Technology had bought three for evaluation. The first orbited a moose and brought it back safely, but there was such an outcry from the conservationists that he had to take the second one up himself. He spent a week in orbit proving out the unique space refuelling system, and came back with Mike Collins' Hasselblad, but was fined $20 for orbiting without a licence, thereby wiping out his profit.
The third was still in storage waiting for the Ministry's astronauts to complete their 17-year college course in Houston, and would not be available. There was a chance that Red could re-use the first one, after a certain amount of cleanup. The Minister had decided that the Tean rockets were not sufficiently sophisticated for Canada's image abroad and had put his design team to work on the Canadian Rocket, estimated to cost 9.9 billion. A consortium of Lieutenant Electric and Restinghouse finally built it (it grew to 14 stages after the Ministry of Ecology and the Ministry of Pollution had had their say) for 99.8 billion. However, because of an unforseen loop in the circuits between "Fire", "Abort", and "Restart" the first unmanned flight had sat on the pad for three weeks belching little puffs of flame until its fuel was exhausted. The Minister described the test as "useful" but the Royal Commission had only got to Volume 73 of its report and the Government was waiting till all the facts were in before taking further action. So the Canada Rocket was not likely to be available for Red. (Meanwhile, it was being rented by Shrubnell TV for cablevision).
So preparations went ahead. The most serious problem was finally licked after Wilya Bake was sent to flutter her eyelashes at the Chairman of the Ontario Beers Commission, who finally accepted Red's written promise that he wouldn't drink beer on Sundays or make glugging noises on the air at any time.
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To be continued.
-Ed.ASTR O NOTES
Mrs Marie Fidler,
252 College St.,
TORONTO 2B, Ont.