AstroNotes 1971 September Vol: 10 issue 07



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The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC

Vol. 10 , No. 7 - September 1971

Tom Tothill
Howard Harris
Circulation: Ted Bean
22 Delong Drive, K1J 7E6
667 Highland Ave, K2A 2K5
399 McLeod Street, K2P 1A5
Apollo 15 was, without doubt, one of the most spectac­ular odyssies of all time, daring in concept and rich in
accomplishment. Landing, pin-point, in one of the really
varied and interesting areas of the moon, exploring in
several directions with ease in the lunar rover, leaving
instruments to complete the first triangle of stations
for studying the moon in depth, and returning safely with
a much larger collection of well-documented, expertly
chosen rock samples than ever before must rank as an
achievement of the highest order in scientific as well as
human terms. An unmanned lander might indeed have
provided as good television coverage and more rocks, but
how many would it take to find the one rock of pristine
type that the astronauts were trained to look for and did
in fact find on the Appenine front? And if one robot
lander did succeed in scooping up such a birthstone, how
could it convey the excitement of its discovery like
Dave Scott's voice?

It is a pleasure to congratulate Scott, Irwin, Worden,
and the entire organization behind them for this huge

Time is rapidly running out for mere amateurs to
express opinions on lunar structure and origins. So here
goes! The Mare Imbrium was created at a fairly recent
epoch of the moon's existence by the impact of a body
some 200 miles in diameter, perhaps another satellite of
the earth. This cataclysmic event threw up the Alpine,
Appenine, and other walls over which the molten rock of
the body and the impacted part of the moon rode in a great
wave for hundreds of miles, leaving Mare Imbrium as a pool
of glowing lava, boiling to a moderate depth. The surface
cooled rapidly in the lunar night into a bubbly solid
floating on the liquid rock below, but in cooling it
contracted and. broke circumferential rilles like Hadley.
Blocks from the wall, like Pico, floated out to sea (Mare).OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING -
Let's see - where were were we? Oh, yes, the June meeting
was chaired by Barry Matthews in the absence of Rick Lavery.
Summer business matters were taken up and slides were
shown of the 16" telescope.
The main event of this "Instrument Night" meeting was
the showing off and bragging about instruments created by
the observers. Such things were shown as an electronic
mosquito repelling device which works on the principle
that female mosquitos can't tell the difference between a
male mosquito's love call and an obscene buzzing.
The meteor computer program, although not an instru­
ment, was shown along with Allen Miller's newly finished
10" telescope and several more.
Slides of the General Assembly in Hamilton were shown
and we finally got a look at the "winged Pegasus", or
whatever it is.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
John Conville
As of Canada Day, the first of July, the building
which occupies the top of 'North Mountain' could truly be
called an observatory. On that day a stream of people,
cars and parts flowed between Gordy Grummett's house and
N.M. Upon arrival the parts reassembled themselves into
a sixteen inch telescope which has 'suffered' through
several changes. Better living through chemistry had
given way to physics with the mirror, cell and all taking
a trip to the aluminizer. The magnetic clutch which Fred
Lossing had demonstrated at the June meeting had been
installed, as had the R.A. drive which is functioning
very well after some initial 'teething problems' amounting
to insufficient rigidity.
A dwarf version of the R.A. clutch and wheel has been
attached to the Dec axis but is not working satisfactorily
for much the same reasons and is now being re-designed.
The observatory building itself has had severalalterations. A windlass has been installed so that
observers will not ‘winch' at the thought of pushing the
roof off manually. The holes on the top of the cinder
block walls which had already swallowed a pencil, screw­
driver, seventeen screws and innumerable cigarette butts
were boarded off by Fred Lossing and Lloyd Higgs, so that
they would not claim a similar number of eyepieces. The
same two individuals were also responsible for the
observing table which appeared at the north end of the
On the spacious grounds, grass has finally decided
to put in an appearance - good news for the observers who
are tired of looking (and feeling) like Lawrence of Arabia
after every trip to North Mountain, The 'observer trap'
at the top of the stairs has been eliminated and the stairs
can even be illuminated thanks to the wiring of the
observatory which Fred Lossing and Tom Tothill are jointly
responsible for.
The Clubhouse (Hut?) is also new and improved, the
importance of the changes depending on whether you are
hungry, bug-ridden, or tired. For the undernourished a
fridge has been installed (and cleaned), but at the present
time has less food in it than the average person's stomach.
The wall next to the fridge has sprouted bunks (which are
still under construction but usable). The bunks also
double as a chesterfield. A no-pest strip has subdued the
ever-present N.M. flies. Ted Bean has made a North Moun­
tain Navy possible with his contribution of a large water-
storage bladder. He also donated the excellent garbage-
bag holder.
Speaking of donations, one of these is needed in the
direction of a hot plate. The present one has sufficient
surface area for oxidizing the food at the bottom of a
very meagre pot (another hint) and the plug of the hot
plate generously shares its power with whoever tries to
unplug it. Jon Buchanan should be thanked for his donated
fry pan.
Observing with the telescope is truly a joy. The
views which it produces even in very mediocre seeing are
well worth the risk of life (via the ladder) to see.
After the usual sort of total disagreement between FredLossing, Tom Tothill, and me the threesome aligned the
mount on the pole, only to be removed from the pier a
month later for it’s journey to Stellafane. When the
telescope returned from the States the realignment was
carried out by the first two members of the threesome.
I think that all those who use the observatory owe
a great deal to Tom Tothill and Fred Lossing, who for two
months spent one, usually two and sometimes three days a
weekend at the site, painting, scraping, hammering and
above all planning and directing. There were of course
many others who contributed, but they are too many to
mention here, with due credit.
STOP PRESS; The moonless night of superb transpar­
ency and seeing that had eluded us for so long finally
came. We saw filaments in the Crab, structure in M-3 1 ,
the central star in the Ring, nebulosity in the Pleiades,
two or three spiral arms in M-33, lots of detail on Mars,
and Encke's Division and the Crepe ring on Saturn,
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ken Hewitt-White
If the people at Stellafane haven't been able to spell
’Ottawa’ in the past, they can now. Ask someone's name at
the 1971 edition of the amateur telescope makers' conven­
tion and there was about an even chance that it was an
Ottawan. 14 of us tromped down to Springfield, Vermont
on the August 14 weekend to take in the proceedings of this
special Russell Porter Centenary meeting.
To celebrate the 100th year from the birth of the
famous polar explorer, architect, and 'father' of amateur
telescope making, there were special slide presentations
on the Friday and Saturday nights, and a collection of his
art work in Springfield on the Saturday morning, and
a photo display in the clubhouse relating to his numerous
ideas on telecope mounts including the Palomar 200-inch.
The Porter Turret Telescope (a jolly green giant version
of the Hartness telescope) had been restored for this
special occasion and took in an endless line of viewers
both nights,
26 telescopes were entered in the competition but theone that stole the show was our own 16-inch. Stellafane
has seen monster 'portables' before (remember Roger Tuthill
and his 20" in ' 68?) but never one with such professional
qualities. And Gordy Grummett was there along with the
rest of the gang to tell how he made it. Pride rang through
us as we unloaded the scope on the Friday night. Maybe the
16" has an odour or something but it seemed that within
minutes there was a huge crowd all around where there was
none before. Everybody could smell M-13 in 16" optics!
Soon a queue formed that went on into the wee hours, so
everyone woke late on the Saturday morning because of the
unexpected Friday night activities.
The hill was soon bustling with activity, however, as
the scopes were set up and the judging began, Allen Miller
had his new 10" Newtonian-Cassegrain and Rolf Meier came
along with his 8" auto-axle mounted job - outstandingly
smooth and rigid. Fred Lossing was said to be looking for
a category in which to enter his tent - observatories?
Both Allen and Rolf missed the prize list for reasons
that were in part unfortunate, but the Sixteen Inch won
the third prize for optical excellence (thank you, Mr. Dey)
and two prizes went to members of Le Centre d'Astronomie
de Montreal.
Once again on the Saturday night long lineups trailed
from the 16-inch until dawn. There were ecstatic 'oohs'
and 'ahs' from just about everybody and. many said the view
was the best they had ever seen, in spite of braving the
rickety ladder on the uneven ground and having to be held
up there by whoever was duty man at the time. While the
rest of Stellafane went off to bed at 0100, yours truly
stayed on to treat a dozen lingering enthusiasts (including
Denis Milon of Sky & Telescope) to a 16 " deep-sky hunt that
they (or I) will not soon forget.
On the Sunday morning we all awoke with headaches and
(for Fred and Tom) a bad case of 'politicians hand' from
their ladder work. Satisfied that we Ottawans had made
another (good?) impression, and that Stellafane weather
had been good to us (would you believe no rain - not even
one cloud?) and that a hurricane was on the way, we decided
to high tail it outta there before our good fortune gave
out. The telescopes were taken apart once again and
stuffed back into three cars. And so home safe, tired
Robert Dick
I believe that many observers, like me, will remember
with anguish observing with a good 'scope but with only
second, third, or unrated oculars. I suffered this agony
for too long.
My 6" telescope was finished by a master, Al Miller,
but all I had were a 6mm and a 12mm from my first 'scope,
a Tasco, no less. I think those familiar with the out­
standing quality of these Huygenian oculars may bow their
heads in pity for this poor ignorant lad.
With the birth of my 8" from the Dick optical works,
my ocular collection doubled to a 40mm surplus projection
lens and a Criterion Barlow. The 40mm I am quite sure is
(or was) a good lens, but your eye had to be held stead­
fast, in perfect optical alignment with the scope, 4-6"
from the exit pupil to get even a reasonable image. Dumb,
Finally, all my trials and tribulations came to a head
this summer - June to be exact. With the income of a
challenging job as a city surveyor and long hard hours of
diligent labour, I took the plunge. After searching
through catalogues several years old I made my choice and
wrote to University Optics for 4 eyepieces.
Night after clear night passed wastingly by. Then
after three weeks they arrived at Customs ($20 duty).
That afternoon I coerced Allen Miller into giving my scope
perfect alignment. That night, it was cloudy...and the
next...and the next...and so for a week and a half.
It wasn't till the night of the 20th of July that
Jupiter dared to show his face. Before that I had to be
contented with an apartment building in our area, but now
there was a true heavenly body drawing me out. I kicked
the mount into rough alignment and turned it onto the
Through the rippling haze and cloud, the air slowly
settled. I could make out four moons and even the planet's
disk. Adding more and more power, detail began to leap
forth from the distant world as the sky cooled off. This
was the first time I had seen Jupiter in my 8" (Simon byname). There were knots of detail on the surface along
with the shadow of a moon.
Smothered in glee and glory I tried to phone other
observers only to find them at work, sleeping, or they
didn't share my enthusiasm. By the time I returned to
Simon he was being dappled by raindrops, a typical end
to an amateur astronomer's night and the worst indignity
a telescope can suffer.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Those who use the cooking and eating utensils at
North Mountain Observatory are requested to wash their
dishes, not just rinse them.
By older - Zeus.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tom Tothill
Polaris is pretty hard to find in many types of
telescope because the motions become very awkward near
the pole. With a fork mount there is little possibility
of installing a special peep sight or small telescope
for lining up the polar axis on Polaris because the
main scope gets in the way. However, it's easy with the
main scope if you know how.
First you have to know that the real pole is not
Polaris but 52' or nearly a degree away from it in the
direction of the tail of the Dipper (Alkaid). In winter
the same line goes even more accurately through Gamma
Andromedae, the beautiful triple called Almach, and close
to the left star of the W of Cassiopeia, Epsilon,
Set the mount as near as you can by eye (the Dick
'swift kick' method is generally used) then rotate the
fork so it is at right angles to that line in the sky.
This brings the declination axis at right angles to the
line, so if you now sweep through the pole in Dec, Polaris
should come through the field of your low-power eyepiece.
If it doesn't, tilt the mount towards or away from Polaris
until it does, and fine-tune it so Polaris comes exactly
through a high-power field.You now have the right tilt for the polar axis of
the telescope but it probably isn't yet pointing in the
right direction. Set the declination to 89° 08',if you
have a circle and it is properly set with respect to the
tube, making sure that it is on the correct side to catch
Polaris. (If no circle, just angle the tube off a degree
or so by eye or by calculation).
Now rotate the mount left or right until Polaris
comes central in the field, and that's all there is to it.
However if that line in the sky is nearer vertical than
horizontal, do the rotation first and the tilt last.
For German and English mounts the principle is the
same. The declination axis must point at right angles
to the line in the sky before you start. And when you've
aligned it - just think! - you'll know how to show Polaris
to your friends without all that long, sweaty, embarrassing,
fiddling delay,
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
OCT 2 2 1971
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tom Tothill
My vacation travels took me along part of the eclipse
path for July 10, 1972. I do not think it too early to
report on my findings since many people are already making
plans and wanting all the on-the-spot details they can get.
There have been two good writeups already in Sky & Tel
(January and May, '71). Ken Chilton has dons a more
thorough 'casing of the joint' than mine, too, and will
be writing up his findings in various publications.
Undoubtedly the most accessible part of the eclipse
path for us is the Gaspe Peninsula. There is a good road
on the north shore of the St, Lawrence, too, but it
suffers from two disadvantages: there is a ferry at
Tadoussac which might prove a bottleneck on the day, and
there are no roads into the hinterland in case of fog on
the coast. P.E.I, also suffers from the disadvantage offerry bottlenecks, and once on the Island there will be
no possibility of getting off it in a hurry if better
weather prospects appear elsewhere, Antigonish, N.S. is
much more favourably placed for a quick move in either
direction, and there is an excellent camp and trailer park
right in the middle of town with electrical outlets and
all amenities; however, Antigonish is a two-day drive from
Ottawa and the sun will be a bit low in the sky there.
Caraquet on the N.B. side of Chaleur Bay includes the
possibility of a quick move inland along the centreline
of the path as far as Inkerman on the south side of the
peninsula, and there is a very pleasant new provincial
campsite at Val Comeau only 10 miles off the centreline;
but once again, there is nowhere else to go if the
Caraquet Peninsula as a whole is clouded out.
So let us look at the Gaspe Peninsula in more detail.
The eclipse path enters just west of Cap Chat and leaves
at New Carlisle on Chaleur Bay. It crosses the road from
Ste.-Anne-des-Monts through Chic-Chocs Park and Petite
Cascapedia Park to New Richmond on the south shore about
•halfway across the peninsula, but the whole of that road
is well within the zone of totality. The middle third of
the road is gravel but more of it may be paved by next
year. There is a beautiful campsite in Chic-Chocs Park,
handy for a getaway north or south in search of the best
weather. The surrounding mountains are spectacular and
mostly on the west side of the road so only limited
stretches of it will have the sun in view (at least in the
northern sector - I didn’t cover the southern half).
My personal choice is Les Mechins on the north shore,
about 10 miles west of the centreline. I have a friend
there who will lend us a field for camping and observing.
You can get about 10 miles inland there, in the event of
coastal fog, and if the total forecast favours the south
shore of Gaspe one could drive across to New Carlisle in
the morning without difficulty, or stop in the mountains
if that's where the elusive blue sky happens to be. In
other words, it seems to me to be the place with the most
options, as well as having the sun fairly high in the sky.
Be sure to take in Chic-Chocs Park while you are there -
the mountains are gorgeous and the streams sparkling,
Les Mechins is a 500-mile drive from Ottawa, all on
excellent roads except for 35 miles before Riviere du Loup,THE SCHLOSSING SAGA (4)
Tom Tothill
Launching day came with a rush when Percy Pepperman
announced a favourable jet stream at 24 hours' notice.
Almost everyone was there, Bug Eaton sat at a card table
frantically signing the last 49 forms. Hotpill was milling
around, a long flat parcel ill-concealed under his coat,
though the day was warm, Ravery and Blewitt were deep in
conversation with Snafews, with interjections from John-
ville. The Prime Minister had been invited, but he sent
his deputy, who sent his, who sent his,.,.,.and it was a
Parliamentary page who finally showed up.
Red Schlossing and Pow Parris finally drove up amid
cheers and were shortly ensconced and strapped in their
respective machines. The checkout routine was short,
"Okay, Red?"
Pow gave the DC Freight every inch of runway and took
her off nice and easy so as not to bump the tail of the
rocket, half buried inside the open belly doors. They
began the long climb to the west and were soon lost to
As they loaded up the cars for North Mountain, Ravery
noticed that Hotpill no longer had his parcel,
"What happened to your parcel, Bomb?", he asked.
"I, uh, posted it."
Ravery began to suspect the worst. He found a phone
booth and called Grady Grunt at the communications network.
"Tell Red he may be a couple of pounds overweight."
"No. Red."
Schlossing's view was restricted by the belly doors
so he looked around the inside of his capsule, tastefully
finished in knotty pine panelling (part of the 5 1 % Canadian
content) marred here and there by large hoofprints and
multipoint indentations. Realising that he ought to check
out the communications, he flipped the switch and soon had
Grady, loud and clear, with Kerrins listening in on the
other set, and Tean on the line at Super-Global,ASTRO NOTES
Mrs. Marie Fidler
252 College St.
TORONTO 130, Ontario