AstroNotes 1980 January Vol: 19 issue 01



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Astronotes ISSN 0048-8682
The Newsletter Magazine of the Ottawa Centre of the RASC
Vol . 19, No. 1 $2.00 a year January, 1980
Editor.......Rolf Meier.......77 Meadowlands Dr.W...224-1200
Addresses.....Jacqui Tapping...61 Oval Dr., Aylmer...684- 1186
Circulation...Barry Matthews...2237 Irie St..........225-6600
Here are the coordinators and how to reach them.
Please use them whenever you can.
Chairman: Rob Dick; 1855 Wembley Avenue; Ottawa, Ont.
K2A 1A6; 722-5809
Vice-Chairman: Pierre Lemay; 57 Frechette Street; Hull,
Que. J8Y 5R2; 777-4965
Instrumentation: Pierre Lemay
Deep Sky and Astrophotography: Rolf Meier; 77 Meadowlands Drive West; Nepean,
Ont. K2G 2R9; 224-1200
Radio: Ken Tapping; 61 Oval Drive; Aylmer, Que. J9H 1V4;
Asteroids, Comets, and Novae: Dave Fedosiewich; 2145
Beaumont Road; Ottawa, Ont.
K1H 5V2; 731-7583
Variables: Rob McCallum; 1958 Lauder Avenue; Ottawa, Ont.
Meteors: Frank Roy; 13 Georges Vanier; Pte. Gatineau,
Que. J8T 3K1; 568-6489
Planets, Lunar, and Occultations: Brian Burke; 2201 Riverside Drive; Ottawa, Ont.
K1H 8K9; 521-8356
Solar: Bill Donaldson; 1139 Edgeland Place; Ottawa, Ont.
Recorders: Mary Geekie; 2389 Ryan Drive; Ottawa, Ont.
K2C 1K9; 829-3186
Renee Meyer; 1285 Southwood Drive; Ottawa, Ont.
K2C 3C4; 820-1488
Renee Meyer and Mary Geekie
Robt Dick opened the last meeting of the decade at
8:18 pm with 51 people in attendance. While Art Fraser
related to the group that the Observer's Handbooks were
now available, a voice from the door informed us that there
might be a fire on our floor of the NRC, and ordered
immediate evacuation of the building. But don't panic!
Everyone was informed to go back to the room; everything
was under control.
Robt then continued the meeting by briefly summarizing
the annual success of the Annual Dinner Meeting. The talk,
dealing with the historical location of the north magnetic
pole, was given by guest speaker Dr. Paul Serson. The
Observer of the Year Award was given to Frank Roy, and the
Variable Star Award was given to Rob McCallum. Key fees
for IRO are now due. In the new year, a task for key
eligibility will be required.
An article dealing with the unusual celestial object
SS 433 appears in the December issue of Sky and Telescope.
A search led by Paul Feldman and Ken Tapping has been
organized in order to detect a pulsar, rumoured from the
radio dish at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to exist in the middle
of this strange object. Robt then gave the group pointers
on how to use pointers.
Ken Tapping proceeded with the theme talk, a very
detailed analysis of various aspects of solar activity, in
particular, the activity of 1979. Highlights included
sunspots, plages, and prominences. These features are
regions of magnetic stress, causing radio and x-ray
emissions. Various means of analyzing the level of
activity on the sun are sunspot and other active region
observations, radio telescope observations, auroral
observations, and shortwave propagations.
Ken compared the fluctuations of Jim Zillinsky's
1.3-m radio telescope to Ken's 69-cm radio telescope, on
which bursts are rare.
By using the upper atmosphere as a reflecting surface
for x-ray emission from the sun, and by observing the
varying reflected signal strength, we can calculate what
the sun is doing.
In February, solar activity was very high. It fell
steadily through April and May. At the end of July, a
quiet period had just ended, and activity started to rise
around July 27. By October, activity was very high. It unknown as to whether sunspot maximum has occurred, is
occurring, or is yet to occur.
The physics of sunspots, flares, and aurorae is not
totally understood. Ken urged the group to gather data in
order to make conclusions.
Instrumentation coordinator Pierre Lemay told the
group of his latest projects, the construction of a Crayford eyepiece holder, and a mirror cell. With the aid of
a Highland Park High School machine shop class lathe,
Pierre was able to construct the holder with about 8 hours
work. A purchased item of the same calibre goes for
$30 to $50. His wooden mirror cell for his 8-inch telescope, has several advantages over a conventional springtension cell. Gaps to allow air circulation and cooling,
and maintenance of position are but two examples.
Brian Burke proceeded with the planet review. Mars,
Jupiter, and Saturn are all rising before midnight. Venus
is setting two hours after the sun by mid-month. Around
the 15th, a configuration of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn
will occur, and it will be possible to photograph the three
planets plus the moon and Regulus in the same field. On
Tuesday, December 11, there will be two occultations, one
of SAO 80950 by Metis, and of SAO 115946 by Juno.
As the clearinghouse for occultation observations will
not be in operation after 1980, the IAI3 is looking for an
organization to handle occultations, graze maps, predictions,
observations, etc.
Brian tried to arouse interest in a graze expedition
to ARO on December 30, 1979. He hopes that by arranging
observers perpendicular (to the graze line, that is), he
will be able to calculate the profile of the moon's limb.
Doug George related to the group his experience in
trying out his new photometric equipment. He displayed
comparison slides of M 42 and M 31, on Ektachrome 200,
between his 8-inch Celestron and the IRO 16-inch. Both
telescopes have the same focal length, but the latter has
4 times the light-gathering power.
Rob McCallum introduced himself to the group as the
1980 variable star coordinator. He told the group of his
observations of the bright variable Delta Cephei, of which
Rob estimates its magnitude to range from 3.7 to 4.3. He
stated that Delta Cephei was a particularly good star to
observe in the city because of 2 nearby fairly bright
comparison stars, Rob will superimpose his various light
curves to make one finished light curve.
Bill Donaldson gave an update on his multi-mirror
telescope. Bill has now started polishing. Bill also had
-3-a suggestion for those of us with a Skalnate Pleso Atlas
of the Heavens, to arrange it on the wall in the shape of
a UFO , where it becomes easier to figure out what in
heaven's name is going on!
Rolf Meier, astrophotography coordinator, wishes to
set up a monthly project for astrophotography. This
month, the idea is to photograph the planetary configuration. According to Rolf, it's fast and simple; just set
up your camera on a tripod and take an exposure of 10
seconds, and voila! Rolf displayed pictures of various
configurations he had taken in 1971 and 1974.
Rob Dick told the group that a magazine requests
articles from anybody who does photometric work, for a
summer, 1980 issue of their publication. Please contact
Rob Dick for more information.
Stan Mott displayed very interesting slides he had
taken of the Annual Dinner Meeting.
Sharon Godkin presented very nice slides she had
taken of IRORI in the very early morning sunlight.
Other excellent slides included M 57, sunspots, and
sunset in Ottawa.
Rob Dick told the group that an article by Doug
Stewart appeared in the December issue of Astronomy.
Rob adjourned the meeting at 10:51 pm.
This is a great month for lunar occultations. The
main event is when the moon passes through the Hyades on
the night o f January 26/27. On that night many occultations will occur and most of the stars to be occulted
are bright. The brightest one of course is Aldebaran.
On the 27th it will disappear at 01:20.5 and reappear at
01:58.5. These times are for Ottawa and are in EST.
Since this is a dark-limb disappearance with the moon
77% lit there will be an attempt to observe it photoelectrically.
On the 26th there will also be a grazing occultation
of a 5.3-magnitude star. The star is ZC 667, or 75 Tau,
and the time of the graze is approximately 21:40. Although at the time of this writing I have not yet received the predictions, the graze line passes about 80 km
south of Ottawa. This estimate is based on the map in
the Observer's Handbook so the graze could be somewhat
closer. If you are interested in this graze expedition,give me a call at 521-8856. An interesting note is that
as we wait for the graze to occur, there will be 3 total
occultations within the hour before the 21: 40 EST graze.
Since all these occultations occur on a weekend, it
will be a terrific opportunity to observe the sudden disappearance of a star behind the dark lunar limb. Give your
observations to me at the next meeting.
# # # # # # # # #
The 16-inch (10-cm) telescope at the Indian River
Observatory is a wonderful instrument. Not only because of
its large primary parabolic mirror but also because of its
stability. Using the 16-inch is a dream. Its smooth
handling and ease of pointing using the pointing LED's make
it one of the most pleasant telescopes to use in the
Ottawa region.
Its short focal length, f/5, gives it a 1¼° field
using the giant Erfle eyepiece at 56-x, together with the
tremendous light grasp has allowed comet hunter Rolf Meier
to find two comets within 18 months of each other.
Strange and fascinating celestial objects have been
glimpsed with the 10-cm, Rolf Meier has observed objects
such as Stephan’s Quintet, a faint group of galaxies with
the brightest member mag 11, Cass A, the powerful radio
source and supernova remnant first detected with the
200-inch at Palomar.
Doug Welch has seen open and globular star clusters
in M 31, 2,200,000 light-years away! Rick Wagner has
observed hundreds of galaxies and clusters using the
Skalnate atlas, some of the galaxies reaching magnitude 15.
Photographically, the 16-inch has given us very
beautiful and high-quality photographs. Rolf Meier demonstrated this with amazingly detailed pictures at the prime
focus of the 16-inch. Galaxies such as M31, M 51, and M33
were photographed. He always gets an "ah" at the Observer's
Group meetings when he shows his photographs.
Dave Fedosiewich followed Pluto at magnitude 13.7
for 3 months until it disappeared into the sun’s glare.
With direct visual observations you may see 16th
magnitude objects on crystal clear, moonless nights, but
photographically we may reach its sky fog limit with 2-hour
exposures to magnitude 20. With this limiting magnitude
we may be able to study Cepheids in the Andromeda Galaxy,
the brightest one being magnitude 18.ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL
Assistants to Treasurer R. Dick 722 - 5809
B. Stokoe 731 - 3174
R. Wlochowicz 822 - 1799
Astronotes Editor: R. Meier 224 - 1200
Circulation: B. Matthews 225 - 6600
Subscriptions: F. Brisson 722 - 5790
Auditor M. Henderson 728 - 24ll
Awards M. Henderson 728 - 24ll
J . Tapping 684 - 1186
Handbook & Pin Sales R. Wlochowicz 822 - 1799
Hospitality T. Bean 224 - 7318
Librarian S. Mott 722 - 0957
Memberships A. Fraser 234 - 0827
J. Tapping 681* - 1186
F. Brisson 722 - 5790
Requests for Membership Application Cards to A. Fraser or J. Tapping
Nominating M . Grey 733 - 8163
F. Lossing 733 - 2715
Observatory: Chairman & Telescope Optics P . Lemay 777 - 4965
Site Maintenance R. Molson 225 - 3082
Radio Telescope Project K. Tapping 681* - 1186
Biannual Mirror Cleaning F. Lossing 733 - 2715
Observers' Group Chairman R. Dick. 722 - 5809
Programme K. Tapping 681* - 1186
R. Wlochowicz 822 - 1799
Public Relations: (a) Centre
M. Grey 733 - 8163
K. Tapping 684 - 1186
(b) Observers’ Group
General P.R.: R. Dick 722 - 5809
B. Matthews 225 - 6600
Star Nights : B. Burke 521 - 8856
P. Lemay 777 - 1*965
Media : B. Stokoe 731 - 3174
Displays : A. Fraser 23k - 0827
S. Godkin 993 - 9900
R. Molson 225 - 3082ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL
P.O. BOX 6222, OTTAW A
K2A 1T3
DATE: Thursday, January 24, 1980
TIME: 8:15 p.m.
PLACE: Main Auditorium, National Research Council,
100 Sussex Drive, Ottawa.
Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
National Research Council of Canada.
TOPIC: "The Herschel Dynasty" ——
Sir William Herschel, discoverer of Uranus in 1781,
is very well known to all astronomers; almost as
well known is Sir John Herschel, his son. But nearly
forgotten today is the work of Professor Alexander
Stewart Herschel, the second son of Sir John Herschel
and the father of meteor spectroscopy. With the
approach of the "bicentennial in 1981 of the discovery
of Uranus, and later the possible visit to the planet
of a Voyager spacecraft, the Herschel name will
achieve new significance.
This lecture will deal with some of the lesser known
aspects of Herschel family life and will note the
current situation of some of the Herschel memorabilia.
President Secretary
R. Wlochowicz
J . Tapping
684-1186lens of thousands of galaxies are accessible with,
the 16-inch - quasars, Seyfert galaxies, N-galaxies,
supernavae in other galaxies, and so on.
We have a very sensitive instrument at IRQ. It is up
to us to use it to its fullest, with the new illuminated
crosshairs obtained through the efforts of Dave Fedosiewich
and paid for by donations from the Observer's Group. It
will be interesting to see how far we can push the limit
of the 16-inch.
## # # # # # # #
THE COMET REPORT Dave Fedosiewich
Yearly Roundup
The year 1979 must surely mark a low point in the
history of monetary activity in our solar system. To
compare with 18 comet discoveries in 1978, this year has
brought forth only 10 discoveries, 8 of which might as
well have passed un-noticed.
Charles Kowal of Hale Observatories has his share of
discoveries with two of 19th magnitude. The comet discovered in January was relocated only twice, and the one
in August was found to be of short period.
February marked the discovery of periodic Comet
Daniel 1979b. With a magnitude of 18, this one was also
too faint to be observed except in large telescopes. And
to make matters worse, March, April, and May showed no
activity whatsoever.
The comet drought was finally ended by Australian
amateur Bill Bradfield, who discovered his 9th comet in
only 7 years on June 24 from Derhancourt, near Adelaide.
This comet was extremely well placed for night-long
observing in September, except that the moon interfered
when the comet was at its peak brightness at Mv 10.2.
But the lull soon returned and stayed throughout the
next two months, except for a few discoveries of faint
comets of no interest to the amateur.
Well, by this time, Rolf Meier had heard enough and
began telling anxious amateurs to expect a discovery by
himself around September 20. And so it was. Rolf discovered his second comet on the night of September 19/20
and it was confirmed as Comet Meier 1979i. The object, at
magnitude 11.7, is presently at its peak in brightness
and is in the range of medium-sized scopes. For more
information on 1979i, see the past few issues ofAstronotes.
Only one other discovery has appeared this year: Comet
Reinmuth 1979j at Mv 21!
The year 1979 will surely go down in the books as an
uneventful year for visual comet observers. And at the time
of this writing the sky is devoid of bright comets. With
hope, the ’80’s will be exciting and send us some more
Wests, or Kohlers, or...Meiers!
# # # # # # # # #
After my first year as minor planets and comets coordinator, I have come to notice the lack of enthusiasm in
the former field. In order to try and popularize this
secion I will be featuring a monthly article entitled
"MONTHLY ASTEROID". In each article, attention will be
given to one particular minor planet, and a chart to help
locate the object will accompany each article. In this way
I hope to see more people develop an interest in asteroids,
a truly enjoyable part of planetary astronomy.
This month, Juno is the chosen asteroid. This minor
planet was discovered back in 1804 by Karl Ludwig Harding
(1765-1834). This distinguished German astronomer also
discovered 3 comets, 8 nebulae, and numerous variable
stars. Juno is among the largest asteroids, with a diameter
of 154 miles, and completes one revolution around the sun
in 4 .36 years. Presently, this asteroid is moving through
Canis Minor, and is passing by the bright star Procyon at
magnitude 7.9.
and the object
Opposition will be on January 11, 1980,
should be visible until early April.
I’d like to see any or your results, so let me know if
you are observing. I’d be glad to help you out. You can
reach me at 731-7583.
# # # # # # # # #
A nap for locating the Asteroid Juno appears on pages
9 and 10.
Opposite is a list of the Officers and Council of the
Ottawa Centre of the RASC for 1980. Not indicated are the
representatives to National Council. They are R. Meier
and K. Tapping.
Articles for the February issue of Astronotes are due
by J a n u a r y 1 8 .Honorary President:
First Vice-President:
Second Vice-President
Past Presidents:
Dr. J.L. Locke 523-0182
2150 Braeside Ave.
Ottawa. Ont. KlH 7J5
R. Wlochowicz 322-1799
Farmers Way
Carlsbad Springs. Ont. K0A 1K0
K.F. Tapping 684-1186
61 Oval Drive
Aylmer, Que. J9H 1V4
R. Dick 722-5809
1855 Wembley Avenue
Ottawa. Ont. K2A 1A6
J. Tapping 684-1186
61 Oval Drive
Aylmer. Que. J9H 1V4
F.P. Brisson 722-5790
896 Riddell Avenue
Ottawa, Ont. K2A 2W2
S. A. Mott 722-0957
2049 Honeywell Avenue
Ottawa. Ont, K2A 0P7
B .L. Matthews 225-6600
2237 Iris Street
Ottawa, Ont K2P 1B9
A. Fraser 234-0827
330 Queen Elizabeth Drive #104
Ottawa, Ont, K1S 3M9
P . Lemay 777-4965
57 Frechette Street
Hull, Que. J8Y 5R2
R. Meier 224-1200
77 Meadowlands Drive West
Nepean. Ont. K2G 2R9
C.R. Molson 225-3082
2029 Garfield Avenue
Ottawa, Ont. K2C 0W7
E. Stokoe 731-3174
772 Dickens Avenue
Ottawa. Ont. K1G 2X8
F. P. Lossing 733-2715
95 Dorothea Drive
Ottawa. Ont. K1V 7CG
M.W. Grey 733-8163
Museum of Science and Technology
Ottawa, Ont. K1G CX7
M. Henderson 728-2411
661 Golden Avenue
Ottawa, Ont. K2A 2G33 JUNO. Tracking Chart No. 506 by J. U. Gunter. Star Field by permission
from Hans Vehrenberg's Photographic STAR ATLAS, Plates 170, 171, 206, and 207.TO