AstroNotes 1972 November Vol: 11 issue 09

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AstroNotes

The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC

Vol. 11, No. 9 - November, 1972

Editor:
Addressees
Circulations
Tom Tothlll
Mary Grey
Ted Bean

22 Belong Drive, K1J 7E6
Dom. Observatory, 994-5474
399 McLeod Street, K2P 1 A 5
Editorial
TENTH YEAR!
This issue completes ten years of Astronotes, for it
was on Dec 1, 1962 that George Brunton got out the first
issue, having persuaded the Observers Group and Council
that it was a good idea. We still use his format, and we
still use the beautiful map of the spring sky and cover
that he designed and drew himself.
George's son Dan followed him as Editor, and later was
the first student Chairman of the Observers Group after
showing exceptional organizing ability concerning putting
the Small Dome into use. He was also a founding member of
the meteor group that is still going so strong at the Q.S.
Other Editors in between have been Howard Harris,
Frank Evraire, Peter MacKinnon and Gordy Grant.
In the early days there were vicissitudes, such as
missing issues for lack of contributions and other reasons.
But Astronotes has steadily grown in quality as well as
size, although almost no contributions are ever rejected
or p ut off a month.
Last month the present Editor began his fifth year of
continuous occupation of the job, and possibly may not run
for re-election in December - not because he isn't still
finding it fun and a challenge rather than a dull chore,
but because a bigger challenge seems to be around the
corner.
Astronotes reflects the personality of its Editor to
a large degree. Candidates should form an orderly lineup.
We don't want anyone hurt in the rush.
It costs one weekend a month, unless you have a private
secretary, and that means a particular weskend. A good
electric typewriter and the ability to spell are assets.OBSERVERS GROUP MEETING - OCT
6
Cathy Hall
Our October meeting provided those present with a
variety of new faces - both in those attending and those
presenting observations.
Solar eclipse slides from Tuktoyaktuk and New Brunswick
were shown by John Crook and Kathy Biefer respectively.
Clear skies were the luck of both!
Martin Connors, President of the London Centre, hitch­
hiked down to show his slides of Churchill, Manitoba
(complete with rocket sites) and give a talk on his escapade:
there as part of a physics team . He also extended a warm
invitation to Ottawa observers to drop in to any of their
meetings.
Our planetary shutterbug, Rolf Meier, had pictures of
Jupiter, Saturn, and several auroral displays. He explained
the ring system of Saturn, urging members to try their
scopes on observations, and asked all to keep a lookout for
Mars which will presently be up again for the season.
In the field of meteors, Ken Hewitt-White announced
that the possibility of Giacobinid meteors was upon us -
the maximum predicted for the following day. (No word is
known yet on the radar results, but our own visual results
were nothing startling, due both to presence of clouds and
lack of meteors).
Deep sky welcomes four new up-and-coming observers -
Doug Somers, Doug Welch, Philip Friend, and Mark Leenders.
These members showed some excellent, long exposure (hand-
guided!) colour slides of numerous objects. Other observers
could well take note of how well these guys know their sky!
Lastly, the Star Truk gang of Allen Miller and company
continued last month's slide narrative of their trip out
west with shots of the scopes of Mt. Palomar, Mt. Wilson
and Kitt Peak, the Arizona meteor crater, the Rochester
Planetarium, and all the wondrous scenery on this, our
planet earth, in between. Thank you to Al, Rob Dick, Jon
Buchanan, and Ken Hewitt-White!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Schlossing to Ed..... Schlossing to Ed.
From up here it looks more like that scar on Mars was
caused by the Chariot of the Gods trying to take off on
cut-rate gas.NOTICES, BLURBS, AND ETCETERAS
Ken Hewitt-White
The next (in fact, the second) meeting of the 'Begin­
ners Group' will be held in the Geophysical Library on Nov
17 at 8: 00 pm. Remember to bring your problems, queries,
and ideas. Everyone welcome.
We have a 4” Unitron at the QS whose lens is in dire
need of an intensive cleaning. It probably means the use
of a dust-free lab or something. Can anybody help? Call
733 - 4949 .
Would those who wish to show slides or give talks at
an Observers Group meeting notify the Vice-Chairman at least
5 days in advance - i.e. the Monday before the meeting in
question? Then we can almost guarantee a spot up front
instead of delaying a month.
Events in the Ottawa group sake up parleys for centres
far and wide. In Vancouver, Dave Dodge and Joanie Hoskin-
son delivered talks on their activities with the Ottawa
group this summer and were well received. In Edmonton,
Franklin Loehde made use of some of our slides from the
July eclipse.
Believe it or not kooks from Montreal,
Vancouver sent in deposits for a berth on a
tania and the 1973 Eclipsis Africanus. But
already. Of other kooks we suppose. Maybe
another tub?
Ottawa, and
boat to Mauri­
it was full,
they'll lay on
Observers in Japan waiting anxiously for a glimpse of
the spectacular Draconid shower last month were thwarted
with rain, even on Mt. Fuji where hundreds had gathered to
get a better view. In staid old Ottawa, Murphy made us pack
up and head for Killaloe but cleared the sky just as we
headed out on Hwy 17 . So we stayed put at QS but saw nary
a dragon in perfect skies. Neither did Joan in B.C. at
11: 00 UT but by reports received by me, a radar in Japan
did pick up a 'spectacular' shower that same night.
What with Apollos and Tean rockets and the like (the
big stuff) few people pay much attention to Canadian efforts
in the space business, but Canada celebrated her 10 th year
in space this past month and it was appropriate that at our
last meeting, Marty Connors of the London Centre showed us
some fine shots of the rocketry programs being carried outat Churchill on eclipse day this summer. Thanks, Martin,
you'll he happy to know Bedlington was taking notes.
1972.
Don't forget to send us a blurb on your activities in
The Observer of the Year will be chosen soon.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
SOLAR OBSERVATORY TOUR
Cathy Hall
Saturday, October 14 yielded a vary enlightening tour
of the NRC solar complex at Shirley's Bay, Ontario, thanks
to Dr. Vic Gaizauskas, who very kindly explained the work­
ings and experiments of this recently completed refractor
setup. The control of the equipment is via a computer, the
power via a generator stationed at the site. Projects
undertaken include the study of sunspots, granulation, and
disturbances in the various solar atmospheric layers, in
order to better comprehend the physics of the causes of
these phenomena and the inner functioning of our star in
the laboratory of space.
Although those present had no opportunity to actually
see the recipient of all this attention (Murphy caused the
cloud button on the control panel to light up!), all immen­
sely enjoyed the tour. Thanks again, Dr. Gaizauskas!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
SPECTRUM AND SPECTROGRAPHS (1)
Barry Matthews
As most of you are aware, ever since Rick Salmon's
prize-winning spectroheliograph was brought to light with
its superb grating (loaned to the Observers Group by Dr.
Herzberg our own Nobel Laureate), I have been intrigued
with the spectrum and spectrographic equipment, This has
greatly interfered with my observational activities. To
date I have manufactured three spectrohelioscopes for use
on small or medium size scapes using materials at hand and
ordinary hand tools. If I am able to make a working
spectrohelioscope with my four thumbs anyone can.
The Spectrum
The youngest amateur at one time or another has seen
the visible spectrum, either in school text books, rainbows,
or oast by a hobby-store prism. This I am sure all readers
will agree is a most beautiful sight. It is with this smallportion of the electromagnetic spectrum that I will confine
my thoughts leaving the other portions to the professional
researcher. Light reaches the observer in the form of waves,
much the same as though you were on a beach watching the
steady hypnotic advance of ripple after ripple.
The accepted method of measuring wavelengths uses the
metric system from 0.4 to 0.8 microns (ultraviolet to infra­
red). Radio waves are measured in metres. Microwaves are
shorter than a metre and are measured in centimetres.
Infrared wavelengths are shorter still and are measured in
millimetres, and one millimetre is 1000 microns. As the
wavelength gets shorter and shorter and the observer gets
closer to the infra-red and the visible wavelengths it
becomes convenient to use angstom units rather than microns,
10,000 to a micron, bringing the visible spectrum into the
range of 4000 to 8000 angstroms.
The visible spectrum consists of prime colours from
violet to red and is easily seen by passing a beam of light
through a glass prism or a ruled grating, A spectrum formed
by a glass prism is called a "dispersion spectrum". One
from a grating is identified as a "diffraction spectrum".
There are many possible types of spectra and the most com­
mon types are:
(A) Emission - produced by a glowing object, e.g. a
light bulb.
(B) Absorption - light from a glowing object having an
emission spectrum passes through a gas and certain
wavelengths a re absorbed.
The visible solar spectrum appears continuous at first.
However on closer examination it shows a number of dark
absorption lines which represent wavelengths of the emission
spectrum which are absorbed in the solar atmosphere. During
the years 1787 to 1826 a German physicist, Joseph von
Fraunhofer assigned letters to many prominent absorption
lines, e.g. the D line near the middle of the spectrum at
5893 angstroms.
Useful Reading: "Experimental Spectroscopy" by Ralph
Sawyer. Book No. 535.84 in the RASC National Library.SOLAR OBSERVING
Jean Knapp
Anyone, on a clear day, with any telescope, can observe
the Sun, with a sun diagonal or by projection. If projec­
ting out of doors some shade must be provided so that the
direct rays of the sun, while striking the object glass or
mirror, do not fall on the projection card.
In the case of a refractor shade may be provided by
putting a square of cardboard (with central hole) over the
object glass end or over the draw-tube at the eye end. With
a reflector some other form of shade will have to be arran­
ged to suit the particular setup, A projection box is
preferable. Be sure to keep your telescope steady,
I look for naked eye spots using a double thickness of
exposed film, long enough to cover both eyes well. NEVER
LOOK AT THE SUN WITH EYES UNPROTECTED.
Without a drive on your telescope it is necessary to
keep bringing back, by hand, the Sun's image before each
spot position is recorded. Also, it is a must to keep the
Sun's movement in an E to W line, so check periodically by
letting a spot trail. A correction should be made every 5
minutes if it takes longer than that for your observation.
Any faculae are recorded too, especially bright patches near
the poles. Use a dotted line to draw these. Spotless days
should also be recorded.
The most settled time of day seems to be in the morning
with the sun about 30° above the horizon. If it's too low,
air currents rise from the ground and buildings interfere.
When high, at least in the summer, the air gets very hot and
there is excessive atmospheric turbulence.
Projecting the Sun
with a small tele­
scope.Projection box made of
balsa wood.
Recording
1 . Look for, and note position of, any naked eye sun spots.
Make daily disk drawings, showing all visible features.
3. Draw individual interesting and active spots.
4. Count number of active areas.
5 . Note and draw any spots showing the Wilson Effect.
6 . Note any veiled (undefined) spots,
7 . Note any pronounced faculae.
2.
Auroras
There seems to be a close relationship between sunspots
and auroras, since the latter are most frequent and most
brilliant during sunspot maxima. Auroras are one of the
most dramatic of terrestrial phenomena, resembling a gigan­
tic curtain of multicoloured light, most often green, but
also rose, lavender and violet. On rare occasions the
aurora covers the whole visible sky from horizon to zenith.
It is believed that the shape of the aurora is greatly in­
fluenced by the earth's magnetic field.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I've made this observing box and feel that it would
tie in with the request for observations by Robert Pike of
Toronto in J.R.A.S.C. Vol. 66, No. 4 , mentioned last month.
-Barry Matthews.THE PLANET OF THE SPIES WHO CAME IN FROM THE COAST
Joan Hoskinson
Prologue:
Vancouver is Canada's third largest city.
Yay, team.
If you think that's pride, consider this:
Vancouver offers the resident observer Canada's
third largest glow.
Yes, Martha, it's bigger than a bread box.
As we left our daring duo, Joan E and D. Dodge, they
were organizing the results of their super summer sleuthing
at their headquarters in Vancouver.
by
In
to
of
Their initial observing plans were thwarted, however,
a confession from "Blewitt", Ottawa's informer incognito.
a final, brain-white-washing session, "Blewitt" revealed
the terrible twosome that they had misjudged the figuring
their planned telescope.
"A 10-inch, f/1.3, WILL NOT DO."
Casting away those minor details of size and type,
Joan E and D. Dodge attacked the problem of a site suitable
for all types of observing. It is believed that many sleep­
less nights were spent with compass and ruler, as each area
surrounding the city was analysed.
Here is a brief summary of their findings:
NORTH...the Coast Range Mountains. No cities, also no
roads. Helicopter access only. Harsh winters.
Skiing from Oct to May. Rain from May to Oct.
WEST..,.er, the Strait of Georgia.
EAST....continual industrial and urban sprawl to infin.
SOUTH...airport. Continual urban sprawl to USA border.
It is said that at the sight of this report, D. Dodge
began to cry, but Joan E, offering a kleenex, pointed to the
map again.
Thus did Joan E disclose her secret: Thirty miles from
Vancouver's limits lies an average town that was left behind
somewhere in the early 1960 ’s, Ten miles north of that town,
up a winding mountain road, are several thousand acres offorest belonging to the University of B.C.
Eyes wide with excitement, Joan E went on to even big­
ger and better things - she would give the skies above that
mountain the supreme test; meteor observing!
GIACOBINIDS TRULY A RARE SIGHT
Ditto
On the night of October 7, Joan E and the other sober
member of the Vancouver RASC positioned themselves in an
open field in the UBC forest. Their missions to observe
the Giacobinld meteor shower, which scientists predicted
would occur only one hour after sunrise and could result
in a meteor storm. At Vancouver's latitude, the radiant
was about 15 ° off the horizon at its lowest point, or about
10 ° above the fir trees.
Lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and extra socks added to
comfort, while hot tea was waiting in a thermos for that
extra touch.
The observing began! Joan E shone the flashlight on
D . Dodge's watch, which was strangely silent. As she stared
disbelievingly at the misshapen dial, the flashlight died.
Well prepared for replacing four dead batteries, Joan E
started to make the switch and discovered in horror that
the flashlight, delivered into her hands by the trusting
D. Dodge, contained a single cell.
Undaunted, Joan E produced D. Dodge's tape recorder,
their last chance of recording the spectacular display.
But alas, Murphy had not left one battery untouched; the
tape recorder had met with foul playing and a dead end.
Our pioneers resigned themselves to a few hours of
hopelessly keeping a mental count of the meteors as they
flashed by.
They watched, and scanned ... and waited.
Soon the sky began to fill with a mysterious light
and the stars dimmed.
"Mmm m . said
"
.
Joan E, "That glow in the east seems
to be from a -27 object. What's your estimate?”BACKYARD REVELATION
Rolf Meier
With mercury-vapour street lighting moving into virtu­
ally every area with enough electric power, the night sky
has brightened considerably in recent years, much to the
annoyance of the amateur astronomer. The usual thing to do
is to go out into the country where the sky is much darker.
This requires a device called an automobile, which costs
money and is almost impossible to borrow on a clear night,
and it requires an element called time, which is money, in
order to pack the trunk and to complete the 50 -mile round
trip, which leaves about 40 minutes to observe.
Not only that, but there was one night I had too many
assignments to spend a whole evening observing. I thought
fast, and realized that once upon a time I actually did
observe from my own backyard.
I decided to see what I could see. The first thing
(things?) to come into my hands were binoculars. Here are
two compact telescopes, one for each eye, easy and convenient
to use. They are 10 x 50, not of exceptional quality, but
with good light grasp and power. What I came up with is
the list overleaf, which is what I was able to see well by
just scanning the sky for familiar objects.
This should be encouraging to those who are just start­
ing out, and may perhaps think that nothing can be done
without great telescopes. It m y suggest something to do
for those who just want to spend an hour or less on busy
nights.
The list is by no means complete. About half the
Messier objects can be seen in binoculars. All that is lis­
ted are a few objects seen before midnight on any clear
night last month (October). The grade given to each object
is based partly on relative brightness, but mainly on the
suitability or visual impact of the object in binoculars,
(1 = very good, 2 = average, 3 = poor). The site used was
on the southern edge of Ottawa, so the south sky was good.
In sites closer to the centre of the city, the grades should
be increased by one.
If you can add to this list, you should tell about your
observations in Astronotes.
(That was written "Astronots".
Deliberately, I assume.
-Ed.)Object
Moon
Moons of Jupiter
Andromeda Galaxy (M 3 1 )
Grade
Comments
1
1
2
Seen best when crescent.
Very easy to split.
Needs large aperture for
detail.
Low, but easy with dark
NGC 253
3
south.
Orion Nebula (M42)
1
Grows better with increa­
sing aperture.
Pleiades (M4 5 )
1
Seen best in binos.
Perseus Double Cluster
1
Good in rich field scope.
M 36
Easy,
2
Easy.
2
M37
M 38
Easy.
2
M 33
Large, easy, but faint.
3
Minor planet Vesta
Good object to follow
1
nightly; one of several
each year.
Seen whole only in binos.
Hyades
1
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
THE COARSE COURSE FOR BEGINNERS
Barry Hewitt-Dick
On Friday, October 20, the first of the winter series
of lectures, 25 people were crammed into the Observatory
Library for the beginners' course.
Ken Hewitt-White introduced the course emphasizing the
informal atmosphere that was to prevail, opening with a
description of the history of man's notion of the celestial
sphere and the motion of the planets around the sky.
To those who came we apologize for the cramped quarters
but the classes will continue in the regular Geophysical
Library the third Friday of every month. We hope to see
you there. No tests or exams, and casual atmosphere.
The equipment library is still in need of telescopes,
telescope accessories and mounts. Members who have gone to
new or different scopes and have equipment they are not
using might think about loaning it out to members just
starting who don't have scopes and need to try out various
types and sizes before buying or making their own. We can
fix, if need be. Kindly call Barry at 829-7237.CLOUDED OUT
Barry Matthews
Here we go again, after a brief reprieve by Rob Dick
in last month's Astronotes. I must admit I don't know how
Stan Mott our Librarian does it - he appears to have astro­
nomical foresight. He has picked what I am sure will turn
out to be another astronomical best-seller.
Book #193, one of the new additions to our Library, is
"The Amateur Astronomer and his Telescope" by Gunter D. Roth.
I feel that enough has been said about the author in these
pages (Astronotes, May '71, Feb '72), so get on with it,
Barry.
"The Amateur Astronomer and his Telescope" delves right
into the heart of the amateur, in advising on the 'choosing
of a telescope' as the opening chapter. From this impress­
ive opening Mr. Roth goes quickly but thoroughly into such
subjects as 'optional extras', 'learning to see', 'how to
observe the sun, moon, occultations and planets', photography
photometry, and building sundials. All subjects are treated
in an easy-to-read manner not encumbered by lengthy mathema­
tical formulae. Mr. Roth concludes his book with a well-
rounded set of appendices.
To quote Gunter Roth: "Personal experience teaches us
something which cannot be learned in any other way, and the
encouragement to see for oneself is worth while passing on
from one generation to the next."
The next time you are 'clouded out' take time to read
and absorb Gunter Roth's "The Amateur Astronomer and his
Telescope".
*** * * * * ** * * * * * *
LET'S GET THAT OJ 287 - BUT GOOD
Rick Salmon
(Las Campanas, Chile)
I'm trying to get time for an extended run to observe
OJ 287. If you can let me know the best general dates for
the North Mountain observers, maybe we can check those rapid
optical variations.
We have a photon counting system here - very sensitive -
I'd need about 104 counts to get 1% accuracy, 1/100 mag or
so, so will need in the order of 30 sec integration. Could
sit on the star virtually all night it's up and get counts
twice a minute. Can't go much shorter than 20 sec.THE COMET SEARCH AT NORTH MOUNTAIN
Rolf Meier
Although no new comets have been found yet by the team
at North Mountain, several periodic ones have been found.
The recovery program began with a rumour spread by Dave
Dodge, visiting from Vancouver, who said that one periodic
comet in the morning sky was several magnitudes brighter
than anticipated. With only this information to go on, the
BAA Handbook was consulted for likely prospects.
It was narrowed down to Comet Giacobini-Zinner, which
could at times reach 10th magnitude. After several even­
ings of coming up empty-handed, we began to doubt if this
was the one we were after, especially since the predicted
magnitude of the central condensation was no brighter than
17.3. However, on the night of September 4/5, which was
enhanced by exceptionally clear skies, a definite sighting
was made of this comet. Motion was detected in minutes,
and the position was recorded in drawings and photographic­
ally at the prime focus of the 16-inch.
The next night was even darker, and more detailed
observations were made. We knew just what we were looking
for, so the comet was soon found with the 16 -inch, right on
its predicted course. The next task, more difficult, was
finding it in a 6 -inch f/5, without circles. If its exact
position in relation to field stars hadn't been known, it
could easily have been passed over, but there it was, near
the limit of detectability.
We were very surprised when we tried for it in a 4 1⁄2"
f/4 and were still able to see it, this time as an extremely
faint, fuzzy star, seen only with averted vision when the
seeing was good. From these results, and comparison with
several known NGC objects, the magnitude was estimated at
13 , although we have little experience of comparison avail­
able.
A tail was also observed that night, extending a maxi­
mum of 10' as seen with the 16-inch. The comet is now
being observed at every opportunity. At this point it is
right on course, though perhaps a few hours ahead of its
predicted position.
Having all this experience now, we decided to continue
to search for other periodic comets. At the September
Observers Group meeting our Librarian, Stan Mott, gave usinformation about recent comets, and among them was news
concerning one just found at Mt. Palomar. Comet Sandage
was found on plates taken with the 48-inch Schmidt. With a
predicted magnitude of about 13.5 , we figured it was worth
a try. The next opportunity came on September 14/15, which
unfortunately was the night of the first quarter moon, and
it would be up while the comet was in the best position.
The path was plotted out using the Vehrenberg Star
Atlas and the given coordinates, and the appropriate star
field was searched. The first sighting was made by Ken
Hewitt-White and he was able to point it out to us. Under
the prevailing conditions, careful inspection was needed to
discern a difference between it and nearby faint stars.
The motion was much slower than that of Giacobini-Zinner,
and it was very much fainter, although the view improved
when the noon set.
We had now seen two different comets within ten days.
Before this, we had not seen a comet since Comet Bennett in
1970. The search for a new comet and the recovery of perio­
dic com ets has been given more spirit with this display of
our capabilities.
Giacobini-Zinner is shown below and Sandage overleaf.
The drawing of Comet Sandage was made more accurate by
correlating the positions with those on a photograph made
at the same time. The photo was reproduced by tracing
prints of two negatives. The time interval was about 1⁄2 hour
in each set of
1/2° field
positions.
RA 6h 39m
Dec+6° 5 3 '
Sept 5/6
photo by
R. Meier
16" 2min.
COMET GIACOBINI-ZINNER1/2° field
RA. 15h 27m
Dec +24° 0'
Sept 14/15
drawing by
J . B ucha nan
16"
12 5 X
COMET SANDAGE
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
CENTRE MEETING - OCT 18.
INTER-GALACTIC X-RAY SOURCES
Dr. Alan Bridle of Queen's University spoke to the
Centre on "Inter-Galactic X-Ray Sources". The lecture was
magnificently organized, tying in the soft X-ray sources
in the Galactic cluster to 'big-bang' cosmology.
Attendance was about 30 members and there was a
discussion period following the lecture.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The question is asked: "When will the Schlossing Saga
end?" Well, it's taken 15 episodes and 19 months to get
him up to synchronous earth orbit, and there's a hell of a
long way to go to Planet X, his objective. So there ought
to be quite a lot of science friction to come.
Afficionados of the Saga are appearing all across
Canada as well as in Ottawa. Its humour is frequently
compared to Stephen Leacock.
Unfavourably.THE SCHLOSSING SAGA (1 6 )
Tom Tothill
"Holy Cow!" said Schlossing, "What's next?"
The System had duly given him an almighty shove on the
backside, somewhat improving his confidence that Tean's
refuelling system really worked, and after the long drift-up
had fired again to stabilise him in synchronous orbit at
longitude 90°. Now he found himself staring at a ragged
line of satellites extending as far as the eye could see in
both directions. Between clouds he could make out big
pieces of North and South America and some of the Pacific
islands, Hawaii for sure and perhaps Tahiti.
"Next you look for the Northern Network transponder"
said Ravery. "We have a contract for you to touch up the
colour balance."
Schlossing nudged himself west along the line, noting
that he fell as he went, peering at the incredible variety
of strange-looking vehicles. Not seeing what he was looking
for, he case east again slowly and finally found it, and
worked himself alongside.
Ravery had an expert standing by and on his instruc­
tions Schlossing re-tuned the transponder until it was
judged optimum, thereby interrupting the Eskimo movie
sizzler "Tropic Nights", shot entirely above Forty Below
except for the inevitable dubbing, and that led to complaints
For this service a grateful Government was paying the
munificent sum of Twenty-Five dollars, but Bug Eaton found
that after federal, provincial, municipal, and local
improvement taxes, Customs and Excise decided that the
service was provided outside Canada. He considered himself
lucky to lose only five dollars on the deal,
"O.K." said Schlossing, "Now for Planet X!"
"Not so fast!
We have another job for you first."
"What is it this time?” said Schlossing wearily.
"Your fuel should be just a hair short of full.
"Right."
"So you could digest one more satellite.
Right?"
Right?""I'm not going down there and eat Moon Two, if that's
what you have in mind."
"No, no. Nothing like that,” said Ravery. "The Ameri­
cans have a dead Comsat up there near you, and they want
you to eat it to make room for a new one. They tell us it's
a bit crowded up there."
"You can say that again! Yeah, I suppose I've got
room for a Comsat, Where is it?"
"A bit west, they say.
The number on it is 441."
Schlossing cruised west once more, and in a few hours
found the Comsat and removed it from the scene. When he
had finished the fuel gauge was solidly against the F mark
and he just hoped he hadn't given the System indigestion.
The Americans, of course, knew the value of this work
and their generous payment, without strings, was paying the
whole cost of the trip. Of course, they didn't know Tean's
prices and assumed that their offering was only a small drop
in a much larger bucket that the Canadian government was
filling.
"That's it," said Schlossing, "Can I go now?"
"Yessiree! Your time slot for Escape is coming up in
a few minutes. Just press the PLANET X button, and Tean
recommends one g all the way."
"The only way to travel."
"Don't forget to turn her around at the half way points,
going and coming."
"You can bet on it."
"Grady Grunt doesn't think he can reach you after the
first night. Talk to Floyd at Algonquin, if he doesn't
answer."
"Coffee breaks only.
Yes, I remember."
"When you get to Planet X, just loop around the back
side and shoot off a whole roll on the Instamatic. Two if
you've got time. And come right on back.""Will do."
"Have a nice trip."
The System fired, coughing a bit at first until the
nozzle cleared. Imperceptibly the earth began to recede
and rotate under him. He turned in and slept the sleep of
the just in a good solid bed, the first in the three days
since Ejection.
He must have slept late, for he was awakened with a
start by the cheerful nearby voice of Pen Kerrins.
"How about a coffee?"
"Dandy, Pen."
"How about a coffee?"
"I said, fine idea,"
"How about a coffee?"
The voice was not coming from the radio, but from the
coffee machine. This wag a fine time for the thing to
break down! He began to wish he had let Kerrins explain it
to his a bit more. The clocks were reading 10 a.m. This
must be Kerrins' way of reminding him to talk to Algonquin,
but he sure would like a coffee to go with it. He tried
everything by way of response: Yes, dammit; O.K.; he even
tried No. Finally, quite by accident, he murmured "Yes,
please" and to his amazement the coffee machine went into
a purr. It took four coffee beans, roasted them, let out
a tiny sniff of the delicious aroma, condensed the rest into
the hot water, then ground the beans and perked them to
perfection, poured the cup, added cream and sugar, and
presented the steaming cup. It was magnificent coffee.
Schlossing was careful to say "Thank you" as he took
the cup, and the coffee machine seemed to get the message,
for it clicked off with "You're welcome."
Now, he must make contact with Floyd Biggs. Let's see,
what was it they called him? Ah yes, Mister Big.
He tuned the radio and got him right away, finding him
a little nervous because of the delay.A STR O NOTES
TO
Ms. Rosemar y Freeman
National Secretary
The Royal Astronomical
Society of Canada
252 College St.,
Toronto 130, Ontario.