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A S T R O N O T E S
The Newsletter Magazine of the Ottawa Centre of the RASC
Vol. 20, No. 9
$5.00 a year
Editor.... ...Rolf Meier.......4-A Arnold D r ...... 820-5784
Addresses.....Art Fraser....... 11-860 Cahill D r ...737-4110
Circulation...Barry Matthews ...2237 Iris St...... 225-6600
TENTH ANNIVERSARY PLANNED
Next month will be the 10th anniversary of the opening
of the Centre’s Observatory.
Plans are underway to
celebrate the event with a Grande Star Night on one of the
October 23, 24, 30, or 31.
would like to contribute such items as cakes, cookies, or
other food materials or anyone willing to provide a
barbeque or hot plate or help in cooking and serving food
should call me at 521-8856 or Robin Molson at 225-3082.
Full details will appear in next month’s Astronotes .
* * *
SEPTEMBER PUBLIC STAR NIGHT
This month’s star night for the public will be in the
Once again it will be in Billings Park, which is
located at the corner of Billings Avenue and Lynda Lane in
the east end of the city.
The date will be Friday,
starting at 20:00.
It is important that we try to have
many telescopes set up for this star night, and if you are
bringing yours I suggest you start setting up at 19:30.
hope to see you there.
* * *
Celebrate the Equinox by visiting the Indian River
Observatory on September 22nd .
Captain Equinox will be
waiting for you.
*also double as a chesterfield.
A no-pest strip has subdued
the ever-present N.M. flies.
Ted Bean has made a North
Mountain navy possible with his contribution of a large
He also donated the excellent
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 bottome of a
very meagre pot (another hint) and the plug of the hot
plate generously shares its power with whoever tries to
Jon Buchanan should be thanked for his donated
Observing with the telescope is truly a joy.
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 Fred Lossing,
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-31, 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.
Yes, our first
look through the 16-inch will be
remembered as being very spectacular.
At that time, many
of us had built reflectors in the 6 to 8-inch size, and we
were used to seeing objects from our backyards with those
Now we had a truly large instrument under
very dark skies.
I wish that some of our newer members
could appreciate our observatory as much as we do, since
the first telescope many of them look
-10-10 YEARS AGO IN ASTRONOTES
From the September, 1971 issue, an article by
Conville entitled SUMMER PROGRESS AT NORTH MOUNTAIN :
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
Upon arrival the parts reassembled themselves into a
sixteen inch telescope which has "suffered" through several
Better living through chemistry had given way to
physics with the mirror, cell and all taking a trip to the
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
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
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
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
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
The wall next to the fridge has sprouted bunks
(which are still under construction but usable).
- 9-OBSERVER'S GROUP MEETING - AUGUST 7
Brian Burke opened the meeting at 8:25 pm with 53
people in attendance, 39 of whom were members.
informed us that this month’s star night would take place
only on the 21st as an invitation was to be issued for the
The first speaker of the night was Rob Dick, with
slides of the sun on July 22-24, 27, and 30. Most of these
had been taken around 8:30 am.
The slides showed the
evolution of a large area of activity over a number of
Also, there was a report from Jim Zillinsky of a
large group coming around.
Jamie Black was up with an invitation to members. His
cottage, offering a large lake and plenty of observing, was
open for August 22nd and 23rd .
He also reported on the
Then he presented a project he has been
working on, several star maps outlining the constellations,
NGC objects, and Messier objects.
They will be available
for use at IRO.
Frank Roy was next with a report and slides from
received a total of 5 awards.
The slides were of various
telescopes that were either winners or were of interesting
On each telescope he pointed out some aspect
of its design.
Our guest speaker was an Ottawa Centre member who is
presently living in North Bay, Steve Dodson.
He was a
prize winner at Stellafane with his 22-inch reflector.
Along with slides showing the development of his telescope,
he presented a model which demonstrated the operation of
The telescope was later on display at the
Indian River Observatory.
Doug George presented some slides from the summers of
1980 and 1981, most of which were taken with his 8-inch
They included the Lagoon Nebula, the Double
Cluster, the Dumbell Nebula, and the Omega Nebula.
Frank Roy was up again to show slides taken during the
July 16/17 lunar eclipse.
Before the meeting closed, Barry Matthews reminded
people to pick up their copies of Astronotes from the front
of the room.
Also, he asked that anyone having objects
return them for the upcoming
Brian closed the meeting at 10:10 pm with a reminder
of the star night/cottage weekend.
- 2-46TH ANNUAL STELLAFANE CONVENTION
Ottawa centre members went to Stellafane with four
telescopes and came back with as many prizes.
This 46th meeting began on Friday evening, July 31st
near the town of Springfield, Vermont.
Informal talks in
cluded the one given by Steve Dodson at our own Observer’s
Group meeting, in which he described the development of his
It may well be known in the future as
a "Dodisonian" mounting, with certain confusion to arise
with the more common "Dobsonian” mounting.
The collection of 56 instruments entered in Saturday’s
competition was dominated by Steve’s 22-inch, f/7 monster.
The daytime provided an opportunity to examine the clever
mounting, which consists of a Dobsonian-like alt-azimuth
built on a third equatorial axis, much like the Poncet
The awards going to Ottawa centre members went some
thing like this:
Penchuk - Mechanical Design
- Mechanical Construction
6-inch f/3.6 Newtonian
Steve Dodson - Mechanical Design
22-inch f/7 Newtonian
Neil Hunt - Porter Youth Award
12.5-inch "chimney" again, perhaps due to its rather basic
Saturday night was clear and warm, and optical judging
was performed for the first time in 5 years.
We were not idle that weekend, and we frappe to return
* * *
How about that Voyager encounter with Saturn!
spacecraft is now on its way to the planet Uranus, and
later to Neptune.
Meanwhile, the Space Shuttle is being
prepared for its fall launch date.
* * *
-3-DEEP SKY WEEKEND
Since the full moon occurs near Thanksgiving this
year, which is the usual weekend for the Deep Sky Weekend,
it will be held instead on the weekend of October 2-3-4.
Although not a long weekend, the Friday and Saturday night
should provide plenty of dark night-time viewing in the
crisp, cool October air. Remember that you may camp at the
observatory site, but you must provide all your own gear
This year’s Deep Sky Weekend takes place 10 years
after the official opening of the Centre’s observatory,
originally located near Osgoode, Ontario.
Since that time,
the location of the Observatory has changed, but it remains
the focal point of our Centre’s activities.
The fall sky is full of the splendor of Milky Way
objects, with the summer sky just going out of view and the
winter sky rising later in the morning.
Bring out your
telescope and share its views with others in attendance.
There is a map showing the location of the observatory
on the opposite page.
* * *
- 8-MAP TO THE INDIAN RIVER OBSERVATORY
There are still many interesting groups of sunspots to
During July and August, three groups have
dominated the disc around the heliocentric longitude of
340° (see page 54 of the Observer’s Handbook).
changed from June, when the active area was at about 5°
The three large groups are all on the southern
hemisphere of the sun, close to the equator.
latitude is understandable, since spots form close to the
equator as the solar maximum approaches.
Small spots and very sparse groups have been seen in
the northern and southern hemisphere at higher latitudes.
They seem to be short-lived (less than 3 days) and show
little detail such as faculae, irregular penumbra, or white
White-light flares and light bridges between spots
have been seen on 9 of the 11 days of observations during
July and August.
These observations were made at about
8:30 to 9:30 EDT on July 3, 22, 23, 27, and 30, and August
14, 18, 19, and 20.
No radio data is available for these
Dave Lauzon reports aurora on the night of July 26/27
after 11 pm and after midnight on August 4/5, lasting to
Unfortunately, I have no disc observations for
* * *
A DIGITAL READOUT FOR THE 16-INCH
Presently, Fred Lossing and I are constructing a
digital readout system for the RA and Dec of the 16-inch.
The position will be sensed by a 10-turn potentiometer
on each axis, suitably geared.
The voltage output of the
pot is converted to a digital (binary) number, and this is
decoded to give a reading in degrees and minutes for the
Dec and hours and minutes for RA.
If everything goes
finished by October.
* * *
by September 18.
issue of Astronotes are dueSOLAR DISC FOR SEPTEMBER
Here is this month's solar disc, for beta = +5°.
-A S T R O NOTES