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The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC
Vol. 10, No. 9 - November, 1971
22 Delong Drive, K1J 7E6
Dom. Observatory, 994-5474
399 McLeod Street, K2P 1A5
NORTH MOUNTAIN OBSERVATORY WELL AND TRULY OPENED. OCT 22/3
The Department of Environmental Atmospherics was
planning a fine night, as usual, for the indoor ceremonies
on Friday. And rain, of course, for Saturday's outdoor
events. But our Swami got on the 'vertical hot line' with
his customary persuasive effect. The inscrutable smile
slid to the other side of Krishna's face and the wind went
round - to the Far East (where else?). And Saturday
became beautiful, day and night.
Moreover, there was a spinoff erroneously attributed
by the Press to coach Gotta's half-time harangue in
Hamilton. But we know better.
The Friday ceremonies in Camsell Hall were presided
over by Dr. Lloyd Higgs. Dr. Lossing gave a review of
the project, from the rumour planted by Rick Lavery three
years ago that we had the talent and enthusiasm to build
a sixteen inch telescope, to its completion with site and
clubhouse, far from city lights. As Chairman of the
Observatory Committee, Dr. Lossing then presented Gordy
Grummett with an eyepiece and a Barlow lens in recognition
of his outstanding work on the telescope mount.
Guest of honour Walter Scott Houston was then
invited to unveil a plaque to be installed at the
Observatory, recognising some of the major contributions.
Mr. Houston's address was on "Amateur Methods of
Solar Observing" and illustrated with slides and th
amusing anecdotes deriving from a lifetime of intelligent
participation in amateur astronomy of all kinds. His
radio receivers, for example, operate on the edge of
breakdown "like most marriages" and his solar observatory
is cunningly left unfinished at the back because Connec
ticut taxes can only be levied, by law, on "finishedbuildings".
As the clouds rolled back on Saturday, Mr. Houston
was shown over the new Solar Observatory at the Quiet
Site by Dr, Gaizauskas and got a fine view of the current
large spot groups and the granulation. He also toured
our amateur complex at the Site and "logged in" in the
Meanwhile, down at North Mountain, Rick Lavery and
several others were busy stringing lights and otherwise
getting ready for the 8 p.m. ribbon-cutting. Specially
notable was Mrs. Jean Knapp's contribution of a new table
for the clubhouse made by her husband and painted by
herself. She also brought a beautiful cake for the
occasion, with the Observatory depicted in the icing.
By the time the official party arrived it was dark and
the site was festive with coloured lights and people
under a starry sky. About half a dozen members had
brought their telescopes and set them up to shorten the
queue at the Sixteen Inch, and it was a pleasure to see
many old friends and some new ones - particularly the
Allens who have the adjacent farm.
True to amateur form there was a last-minute panic
over the disappearing scissors and the defective light
socket, but all was resolved before too long. Walter
Scott Houston presaged his 'snip' with some well chosen
remarks contrasting our "highway to a billion light years"
with some of the less desirable of modern public road
Then began a wonderful night of observing, with
pauses now and then for coffee, cake, doughnuts, talk
and laughter. All systems on the telescope were 'go'
though some were only hours old like John Conville's
light-emitting diodes on the peep sights. To the purists
the whole idea of dialing the coordinates and finding
your object without search was utterly revolting, so we
let them do it the hard way now and again. But if you
don't know where to look in the first place it sure saves
time, and teaches you where to look too.
Now, who is going to be the first to discover
something new and significant with this fine instrument?
The winter is likely to provide more opportunities for
uncrowded observation than any other time.OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - OCT 1
Rick Lavery returned to the chair for this meeting,
after a great job by Barry Matthews, There were 60 people
As before, Rick reminded us to remind ourselves and
everybody else of the following reminders (remember?):
The July 1.0 solar eclipse next year, the November nomina
tions for the Group executive, and the dates for the open
ing of the 16". Tom Tothill told briefly of the plans for
Then came "Doug Beaton’s Show Time". His own memos
were about a penniless Coke can, an electric kettle (thank
you, Mrs. Knapp!) and a grill, which were somehow all
related to North Mountain and food,
K.H.-W, did not make the usual plug for meteors as he
was in London talking to that Centre! J. Conville did the
honours. He spoke about the '72 Giacobinids with their
possibility of 30 to 40 thousand an hour rate as in 1933
and 1946, and recommended observation of any shower
Activity this year around Oct 9 or 10. John also gave
details of the lunar grazes on Nov 3 and 4 which we plan
to observe. Finally, his vivid, scientific (?) imagination
got on to the subject of globular clusters within galaxies.
The Show Time pictures tonight were Rob Dick's galaxies
through the 16 -inch and Rolf Meier's of Mars, Saturn, and
the Aurora. Finger paintings of the highest quality were
supplied by Al Miller.
Winning Comment of the Night, from Dr. F .P.(Full of
Puns) Lossing, re ribbon-cutting ceremony: "Where are we
going to get the 20 miles of ribbon, Tom?"
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Generation Gap is rearing its ugly head again in
the Observers Group. The boppers are looking for a fossil
for Chairman, and the fossils are desperately combing the
bopper ranks. There are thoughts, too, that the format of
meetings is due for a change - perhaps in the direction of
having a main theme for each meeting rather than trying to
cover everything at each.
VARIABLE STARS, ETC.
I would like to remind all the Ottawa Centre V.S.
observers that unless they send in their observations the
Ottawa Centre will likely make a poor showing on the year-
end report. The frustrating thing is that I know a lot of
members have made a few observations but don't feel like
reporting them. Those 1 or 2 estimates mean a lot to me
and so if you don't want a sit-in on your front doorstep -
REPORT - please? Your October estimates should be on a
new sheet, because September 30 was the end of a 3-month
period, so I expect to receive those summer observations
I was able, finally, to make it out to North Mountain
on a clear night and with help from Messrs. Conville and
Dick determined that the limiting magnitude (LM) was 14 .7
(20° below the zenith) on
of seeing 4 on a scale
of 1 - 10, and transparency 5 . I feel confident that when
we achieve better seeing the LM will easily reach 15.5
In the next few months I will put together some
variable star programs for the 16-inch. Also, I am hoping
that we might study the relationship between LM and seeing
and/or transparency and whether it varies with the season.
These programs will all be ready at the January meeting.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
For the benefit of new members of our Centre, all
Ottawa Centre members can vote and run for office in the
Observers Group. Any Ottawa Centre member can be a member
of the Observers Group by simply attending their meetings
on the first Friday of each month, at the Geophysical
Library, behind the Dominion Observatory.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Astronotes is being sued by twenty seven members
who have not yet recognised themselves in the Saga.
And by twenty seven who have.
-Ed.A TRIP TO THE LONDON CENTRE
Instead of attending the October 1 Observers Group
meeting, I found myself instead in London along with Steve
Craig heading for the site of the London RASC Observers
Meeting. We achieved rendezvous at the appropriate place
with the aid of transferred Secretary Sylvia Wake, now
attending Western University down there. The meeting took
the form of a combination star-night and slide show with
yours truly providing the slides.
Before all this we were directed to the top of a
giant glacial moraine, a hill of heterogeneous debris left
behind by the last Wisconsin glacial that had plunked
itself right behind the country home of telescope-maker
Peter Andreae where the meeting was being held. Here,
remarked the London people, was to be the site for their
proposed new observatory which they hoped to fill up with
a 16-inch Cassegrain. Their horizon from this vantage
point was nearly uninterrupted all around - their southern
sky being particularly dark and clear of trees. I mention
ed that if they called this site a 'hill' we should more
properly call North Mountain a ditch, for the difference
in relief between the two sites is astonishing!
We wish the Londoners good luck with their project
with all the sincerity that comes from a group that has
already gone through the trials and tribulations of a
The slide show I then presented (seen at a meeting
of ours last Spring) achieved special significance as I
pointed out the development of the Quiet Site and North
Mountain as country observatories.
The talk was followed by a short observing session.
We looked through Peter Andreae's open-tube reflector
which produced a remarkably steady disk of Saturn. Peter
also displayed his exquisitely constructed MacDonald
Tester (just like a Foucault Tester only different) with
which he had corrected the optics we looked through that
Before leaving we were all given a complimentary
copy of the LONDON RASC NEWS, a voluminous bi-monthly
containing many good articles of astronomical interest.If you can get hold of a copy you will find it well worth
On the Sunday morning I met with Martin G. Connors,
Secretary of the London Centre. Martin is a part-time
human and an utterly full-time astronomer. We had an
interesting talk that encompassed meteor observing (the
Londoners would like to start a team), grazes, national
newsletters (or rather facsimilies thereof) and variable
stars, Martin seems to be the spark that starts the
observing fire down there. If you are looking for a pen
pal in astronomy, he's the guy to write to. He is very
interested in inter-Centre communication so if you have
an article that might be of interest other than in Ottawa,
send it to him and he will see that it gets to the Editor
of the London newsletter,
Steve, Sylvia and
Centre hospitality; we
In the meantime, let's
Ottawa some time so we
I were treated to full-out London
hope to go back and visit them soon.
hope they find their way up to
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
# My copy gets passed on, but I never know how far,
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
OPTICS OF CANADA GOING OUT OF BUSINESS
According to a letter from Mrs, A Seville, Optics of
Canada will be going out of business very shortly and all
items listed in their catalogue are selling for 30% off
up to Dec 31, 1971. Also in stock are some 5x finderscopes,
2x Barlow lenses, telescope barrels, tripods, and high and
low powered microscopes, plus microscope kits (not listed
in the catalogue). All items are brand new.
They can't be reached by phone, so you have to write
Optics of Canada
P.O. Box 3004 , Postal Station C
Hamilton, Ont.REFLECTORS - PART 3
Before this slow and boring task is began you should
check your mirror and tool to see how smooth and spherical
they are. This is best done by placing the mirror on the
tool (or vice versa) with only water between the two.
Now slide the mirror half way off the tool and then back
and halfway across the opposite side of the tool. If the
mirror hangs or sticks continue smoothing with No. 80
until the two seem to slide freely. When the mirror and.
tool are cleaned and dried the surfaces should be evenly
scattered with pits. Any shiny areas mean high zones
caused by glass rubbing on glass.
Do anywhere from 10 to 15 wets (5 min/wet)
stroke (total back and forth
travel = 1⁄4 mirror diameter) for a full-size
tool. An undersized tool should travel to
just over the edge of the mirror. Use about
1⁄2 teaspoon of grit.
In all cases of fine grinding the tool is
on top. Only full-sized systems may be
inverted to shorten the focal length (this
amounts to 1 to 3 inches) or make the
grinding more smooth.
All pits should be the same size. Any much
larger ones indicate more grinding. Do not
skimp on #1.20 grit.
#220 Same stroke as #120, but with a little less
pressure. Check for pits as before. 10 to
#320 This grit is not in some kits, so do a few
more wets of #400. About a 1⁄4 teaspoon, 10
to 15 wets.
#400 10 to 15 wets with the strokes before in
all grits. At this stage the wets may last
10 minutes.# 6 00 1/8 teaspoon of grit.
CHECK At this point a reflection test can be used
for evenness of grinding,
Do 8 to 10 wets,
Look at the bulb with a low grazing angle
reflection and move the image from side to
side or the mirror. If it dims towards
the edge more grinding is needed. Use this
technique plus the previous one in all the
1/8 to 1/16 teaspoon for 8 to 10 ten-minute
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
PROGRESS AT NORTH MOUNTAIN
Our Observatory of late has suffered hardening of
the arteries. Fortunately only the transport arteries
have been affected; concrete now connects the Observatory
with the silo stone walkway. This was accomplished with
the aid of Tom Tothill's level-headed eyeball, the strong
backs of Art Eraser and his father, Fred Lossing, Cathy
Hall, and the weak mind of the author. Seeing as a shovel
was no longer required to remove sand from the inside of
the Clubhouse, Cathy decided to wash and wax the floor.
Unfortunately this was no easy task as a buildup of wax
made the floor seem a shade yellower than it is in reality,
Ted Bean's donation of a doormat made sure that the
waxing was not all in vain. Courtesy of the Frasers, food
may now be cooked on a real hotplate, in a pot which is
courtesy Laurie Carruthers. The walls of the Clubhouse
have blossomed with shelving partially through the efforts
of Wake Wonder Wood-Working, Ken Hewitt-White provided
some brush power in the painting of the aforementioned
woodwork (or will when he gets around to it).Jean Knapp has generously supplied enough food to
stock the shelves and. observers stomachs as well. She
also contributed a brand new electric kettle, thus ending
a very acute problem.
The telescope's one-power zoom finder has been
superseded by sighting rings which were totally invisible
until illuminated with light-emitting diodes. Now we get
two red stars even when it is cloudy. The rings in turn
are already obsolete owing to the addition of the RA and
Dec circles and their pointers, a Lossing-Tothill project
which permitted a still more accurate alignment of the
polar axis. The optics have had their umpteenth bath
and a solution of the dewing problem seems mandatory,
Rick, the Gardener, Lavery added his labours to the
endeavour by mowing the summit of North Mountain,
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our space thriller (friller, filler) continues:
THE SCHLOSSING SAGA (6)
"Underside of the jet stream," said Parris.
get smoother as we get up into the core,"
"That earlier stuff wasn't too funny either," said
"Hot air from the Quiet Site, We get it every time.
I'm going south now, looking for the core."
"Don't cross the border!"
"I will if that's where the core is."
"But the Department of Eternal Affaires!! We signed
an agreement!!! Our Canadian content will be shot!!!!"
"Okayokay. Keep your hair on. We're not there yet
and the Stream's fading. Turning north again. Looks as
if the core is right over North Mountain."
"That figures,""By-the-bye," broke in Grady Grunt, "Ravery says you
might be a couple of pounds overweight."
"The way of all flesh," sighed Schlossing, thinking
that this was hardly the time to criticise his midriff,
"On final now, Zero-Nine-Zero." Powerd Parris slid
the throttles of the DC Freight up to full power, still
climbing, then began to level her off very gradually to
gain speed, trimming his tabs as he went. It wouldn't do
to be nose heavy after ejection. Mentally he practiced
the final manoeuvre - the roll to the right, the peel off,
and the release of the rocket - all one smooth continuous
motion. This would save Red having to wait till he got
clear before lighting up. He watched the Mach meter
carefully, Mach 0.9 would probably be the safe limit in
this configuration and a jingle came into his head.
On the climb
At Mach Point Nine.
Maybe he'd give it to Eaton to build into one of his
epics. Fuel was low, but he wasn't worried. It was an
easy glide home from here. He checked ground speed and
was agreeably surprised. The Stream was sure high and
"What you got, Pow?" said Tean from Sup
"Eight-forty at 45 thousand, Bed, and
knots. I'm going to release at 48 thousand
"Looks good," said Tean.
"Who'll make what?" said Schlossing.
"You're go for ejection."
"Okay, Red," said Parris, "You've got eight-fifty
at 48 thousand on zero-nine-zero. Ready to cut the string?"
Schlossing struck a match and held it by the touch-
Tean didn't believe in expensive circuitry.
"Okay!!" he yelled, "CUT!!!"Mrs. Marie Fidler
252 College St.
TORONTO 130, Onta r i o