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Dec.Astrone ISSN 0048-8682
The Newsletter Magazine of the Ottawa Centre of the RASC
Vol. 19, No. 12 $5.00 a year December, 1980
Editor........Rolf Meier..... 4-A Arnold Dr........ 820-5784
Addresses.....Jacqui Tapping... 61 Oval Dr., Aylmer.. .684-1136
Circulation...Berry Matthews...2237 Iris St......... 225-6600
WITNESS TO DISCOVERY Frank Roy
On Wednesday night, November 5, 1980, Rolf Meier discovered his third comet. Like the previous ones, it was
found using the 40-cm reflector at the Indian River
Observatory. The 10.5-magnitude comet was discovered in
the constellation of Hercules, just a few degrees northwest of Vega, and now bears the name Comet Meier 1980q.
Being the second one to have seen the comet, it is hard to
express the feeling that went through me when Rolf said to
me "I think I have one here”. After checking the Skalnate
atlas for any nebulous objects in the area and finding
nothing, he went to the Atlas Stellarum and still found
nothing. At that he told me he was 99% sure it was a new
comet. My aim now was to photograph it. I got a 2-minute
and a 10-minute exposure on Fujichrome 400, a slide film
that just recently came on the market. Anxious to get the
film developed, I wasted 15 slides. The following day,
when I got the slides back, I was happy to find Fujichrome
400 a high-coatrast film with a black background. On the
2-minute exposure, the comet was not large, but showed up
nicely on the 10-minute exposure, with a faint tail visible.
The two slides were shown at the Observer’s Group meeting
that night. The 2 photos of Comet Meier 1980q along with
3 others were sent to Sky and Telescope, and according to
Norman Sperling, might be published in the January, 1981
It takes a very keen and dedicated observer to find
such a dim fuzzy wandering object. I would like to congratulate Rolf for being the excellent observer that he is.
#########OBSERVER’S GROUP MEETING - NOVEMBER 7 Rob Dick
The meeting began with a brief summary of events in
October. The Friday night of the Deep Sky Weekend was
clear, and quite a few people attended and were shown many
objects with the 16-inch. The tour of the Ottawa River
Solar Observatory was held on October 18. About 12 people
attended and were shown the telescope. During our visit a
sunspot group on the west limb was producing several small
flares. The last event in October was the public star
night at Billings Park, near Billings Avenue and Lynda
Lane. We had 4 telescopes out but less than 10 people
attended. This was attributed to the scattered cloud that
evening. It clouded over at about 10 pm.
The meeting continued with what turned out to be a
silent film that showed various types of activity on the
sun from granulation to enormous flares.
Frank Roy, our radio astronomy and meteor coordinator,
showed the audience several photographs he had taken at
the IRO. He used both a 24-mm lens and the prime focus of
the 16-inch. The wide-angle photos contain many large
constellations and proved to be a good way to be acquainted
with the constellations ant the locations of deep sky
objects. His last slides were of Comet Meier 1980q,
discovered by Rolf on November 5.
Brian Burke, our occultation coordinator, briefed us
on two more events this month. The occultation of Regulus
by the moon was clouded out. These are occultations by
asteroids. The first is on November 10 at 17:36 EST.
Asteroid Belona will occult SAO 161869, and the second is
on November 23 at 23:13 EST, when Sophrosyne will occult
Dave Fedosiewich, our comet coordinator, described the
path of 3 periodic comets. They are Encke, Tuttle, and
Stephan-Oterma. He also showed several slides of an
aurora taken on the Friday night of the Deep Sky Weekend.
Pierre Lemay returned from university and described
his 8-inch reflecting telescope and explained how to make
several of the novel features of its mounting.
Frank finished the observational part of the meeting
by reminding members of the Geminid meteor shower in the
beginning of December.
Nominations for various positions in the Observer's
Group were held at the end of the meeting.
The meeting ended at 10 pm.
# # ### # # # # #"BACK IN THE AAVSO" Rolf Meier
It may well be that the fall meetings of the AAVSO
will be regularly attended by Ottawa Centre members with
the same enthusiasm that they display in going to other
conventions such as the RASC General Assembly or
The AAVSO has two main meetings each year. The fall,
or annual meeting, is always held in Massachusetts (as
required by state law), while the spring meeting is usually
held somewhere else in North America. (The 1981 spring
meeting will be held in Tuscon, Arizona.)
The 1980 fall meeting was held in Waltham, Mass., a
satellite city of Boston, on November 1. Ottawa members
Doug Welch and Jon Buchanan flew down, while I decided
to drive. I found this to be quite pleasant, with sunny
weather prevailing for the entire 8-hour journey. In
fact, the entire weekend was sunny, and considerably
warmer than Ottawa at this time of year.
Other RASC celebrities encountered there were Norman
Sperling (a resident of Cambridge, Mass., and Ottawa
Centre member), Peter Jedicke (London Centre), David
Levy (a resident of Tuscon and Kingston Centre member),
and Dr. John Percy (past president of the RASC).
The entire meeting including accomodation, dining,
and lectures took place at the Espousal Conference Center
of Waltham. This complex features many life-sized
statues, a giant EAT ON in the dining room, and a giant
LET THE SUN SHINE IN in the lecture room.
Arriving in the vicinity of Waltham on Friday afternoon, October 31, I found John Percy hitchhiking to my
destination, so I gave him a ride. The time for dinner
quickly arrived, and this was followed by a lecture by
Walther N. Hawley, who travelled counterclockwise around
the Atlantic Ocean for a year. Coincidentally, he encountered Doug Welch and Rob Dick in Barbados last
winter. His travelogue was most interesting.
Saturday was the main day, filled with meetings,
paper sessions, the banquet, and post-banquet talk. Papers
presented by RASC members included "Intermediate-Type
Supergiant Variables" by John Percy, "CY Aquarii: 1980
Observations" by Doug Welch, and "How Not to Win Friends
and Influence Orion Variables" by David Levy. Other
papers concerned various (variable) aspects of variable
stars, including the sun.
The post-banquet talk was presented by Dr. Joseph
Patterson of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astro-At the Annual General Meeting of the RASC - Ottawa Centre,
held on November 21, 1980 at N.R.C., 100 Sussex Drive, the
Council members for the year 1980 - 81 were elected by
acclamation. The new Council is:-
Honorary President: Dr. J. L. Locke
Councillors: Brian Burke
National Council Representatives:
Past Presidents: Romeo Wlochowicz
C. R. Molson
225 - 3082
Ottawa K1A 0R6, Ontario
DATE: Thursday, December 18, 1980 TIME: 8:15 p.m.
A FILM SHOW TOPIC: The Sun
During this century there have been very great strides made in solar astronomical
techniques and in solar physics. This is well shown by the films made at various
times during the period, showing the state of research then current. Several
films will be shown. The first was made in the early 1900’s and the latest in
DATE: Wednesday, January 14, 1981 TIME: 8:15 p.m.
SPEAKER: Dr. Sun Kwok TOPIC: White Dwarf, Neutron Star
Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics or Black Hole - The effects
Ottawa of Mass Loss on Stellar Evolution
In recent years there has been a revolution in our knowledge of stellar evolution.
It has long been known that the life of a star, particularly its later phases,
depends critically on the mass of the star. It has recently been discovered that
stars may lose enough material to significantly change their evolution, due to
various processes. Small stars such as the Sun end their lives in a relatively
docile fashion; those with large masses - unless they lose enough material to avoid
it - end in a catastrophic collapse and explosion, leaving behind a White Dwarf,
Neutron Star or even a Black Hole. In this talk, the speaker will describe his
theory concerning the effects of Mass loss on stellar evolution and outline his
theory on the origin of planetary Nebulae.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
DATE: February 1981 (date to be announced) TIME: 8:15 p.m.
SPEAKER: Dr. Allan Cooke TOPIC: ’’Voyager Fly-by of Saturn”
The wealth of new information obtained via the Voyager spacecraft has significantly
advanced our knowledge of the Saturn system. It has also produced some of the best
photographs of Saturn, its rings and moons yet obtained. In this talk the new data
will be discussed and some of the pictures shown. Members will remember the similar
talk given by Dr. Cooke on the Voyager fly-by of Jupiter.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
All meetings will be held in the Main Auditorium, N.R.C., 100 Sussex Drive, Ottawa.
Admission is free; Members and visitors are welcome.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Please note that whenever possible, meeting notices and other information sheets
will be distributed inside ’’Astronotes”.
K. F. Tapping
593 - 6060
684 - 1186
100 Sussex Drive, N.R.C.,
ROYAL ASTR O NOMICAL
LECTURE MEETINGSphysics and Anderson campaigner. His talk was extremely
interesting, dealing with cataclysmic variables, novae,
and supernovae. His enthusiastic presentation made one
aware of the sometimes miraculous aspects of the laws of
nature which govern variable stars. Coincidentally, Joseph
Patterson directed Camp Uraniburg when Doug Welch attended
it in 1974, and co-authored an article which appeared in
the November, 1974 issue of Astronotes (a most interesting
Then came the time for what I consider to be the
main purpose of such a meeting, namely conversations and
parties with new and old friends. This continued until
At this meeting, it was revealed that two new atlases
would be available from the AAVSO. The first is the AAVSO
Atlas of Variable Stars, based on the out-of-print SAO
atlas, but oriented toward visual observation. The second
is a photographic atlas similar to the Atlas Stellarum, but
far superior in quality for visual observation. Both
atlases are the result of work by AAVSO members, but most
notably by Charles Scovil. This man is one of the most
knowledgable, articulate, and personable amateur astronomers I have ever met.
I cannot help but recall conversations I had with
people concerning comet hunting. It was only 4 days later
that I discovered 1980q, and this gave an eerie retrospect
to the words exchanged at that time. I can especially
recall speaking with WalterScott Houston about the subject,
and he has subsequently sent his congratulations. (Scott
is a regular reader of Astronotes.)
After the Sunday brunch, I headed (sadly) northward
again, still under sunny skies. I will certainly return
The spring meeting will be held in Tuscon,
April 22-25, 1981.
THE GEMINIDS AND THE QUADRANTIDS Frank Roy
This is a reminder that the Geminids will reach
maximum on Saturday, December 13, at 17:00 EST. Fifteen
meteors per hour may be seen per observer. The moon sets
The Quadrantids reach maximum on January 3, 1981
at 08h EST, and the moon is new. The hourly rate is 40.Spectacular showers such as this should not be missed
when the moon is favourable.
There will be meteor sessions at Springhill Meteor
Observatory. There are heated meteor coffins here, so
there can be no excuses not to come!
The Quadrantids occur on the night of the January
Observer’s Group meeting, so bring your sleeping bags and
warm clothes on Friday, January 2, and don't miss what is
possibly the most spectacular shower in 1981.
If you are interested, as I am sure some of you are,
please get in contact with me at 820-0874. There will
be mention of these showers at the Observer’s Group
meetings in December and January, so see you there.
THE REGULUS GRAZE Brian Burke
The week leading up to the November 1 lunar grazing
occultation of Regulus was overcast. Could this mean that,
by the law of averages, the sky would clear in time for
the graze? No! Instead, Murphy’s Law of Meteorology
prevailed. Although 15 hours before the graze the sky was
mostly clear, clouds began to move in from the north-west
just before sunset and the build-up continued throughout
the evening. Finally, with a forecast of clouds with
possible rain showers, I phoned the members of the graze
team at midnight and told them the expedition was cancelled.
However, there are a few aspects of this graze attempt
that I would like to mention. I was very impressed with
the enthusiasm displayed by all those interested in the
graze. We had a very well-equipped team this time,
especially with somemembers willing to bring along extra
telescopes and CHU receivers. I would like to thank
Harold Battersby for supplying the stakes and Brian Stokoe
for driving to the graze site with me the week before to
put the stakes into the ground. Also, thanks to those
willing to pick up members who needed a ride.
It would appear that there is now a core of at least
a dozen members eager to participate in graze expeditions.
However, the more observers we have the better, so do not
hesitate to get involved in the next one. There are no
favourable grazes for the remainder of this year, but the
next set of predictions for the first half of 1981 should
be arriving this month. I will be letting you know what
lies ahead in grazing occultations in the new year.A NEW FILM FOR ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY Doug Beaton
Ilford is bringing a revolutionary film onto the
market which may be of some interest to amateur astronomers.
It is rated at ASA 400 but it has the grain of an ASA 100
film. The October issue of Canadian Photography notes that
the film, XP1-400, is a monochrome two-layer material on
a normal poly-acetate base. It contains colour couplers
alongside the silver salts and so development must be
achieved through a colour process similar to C-41.
Development takes place at 100°F but temperature control is
not as critical as most colour film processing. The article
also explains, in part, how a black-and-white image is obtained through the use of yellow, magenta, and cyan
couplers. It can be force-processed to ASA 1600. A
peculiarity of this new type of film is that as the image
becomes more saturated, the grain becomes finer! A local
Ottawa camera store owner, after talking to an Ilford
representative, still could not say when this film would
be available, but he felt that it would be here by late
spring or at least by summer. If the film is as good as it
sounds, it may replace Tri-X and HP5 as the standard fast
film for astrophotography.
STAR NIGHT AT IRO THIS MONTH Brian Burke
There will be a star night at the Indian River Observatory this month on Friday the 12th or Saturday the 13th,
whichever is clear first. The observatory will be open
by 20:00. I would like to see many telescopes, so please
bring yours. It is always quite interesting to compart
views of the same object through telescopes of different
sizes and designs. Needless to say, dress very warmly.
If you need transportation to IRO do not hesitate to ask
members if they could give you a ride. W ith the ever-increasing cost of fuel, a contribution for gas is always
appreciated by the driver. If you are not sure who with a
car lives near you, see me after the meeting or give me a
call. I am looking forward to seeing you at IRO next
Articles for the January, 1981 issue of Astronotes
are due by December 19, 1980.
# # # # # # # #ASTRO NOTES
TO MS. ROSEMARY FREEMAN CAST
THE ROYAL ASTRON. SOC. OF CAN.
124 MERTON STREET
TORONTO, ONTARIO M4S 2Z