AstroNotes 1982 September-October Vol: 21 issue 09



Download PDF version: 

A S T R O N O T E S ISSN 0048-8682
The Newsletter Magazine of the Ottawa Centre of the RASC
Vol. 21, No. 9 $5.00 a year September-October 1982
Editor....... Rolf Meier....... 4-A Arnold D r..... 820-5784
Addresses.... Art Fraser....... 11-860 Cahill Dr...737-4110
Circulation...Barry Matthews...2237 Iris St....... 225-6600
Articles for the November issue of Astronotes are due
by October 22.
* * *
Chairman Rolf Meier opened the meeting at 8:14 pm with
28 people in attendance, 5 of whom were non-members. Rolf
announced that there would be a meteor observing session at
Quiet Site to observe the annual Perseid meteor shower on
August 11/12. Rolf also reminded the group of the upcoming
Stellafane telescope makers' convention near Springfield,
Vermont. This will be taking place on August 14.
The first speaker of the evening was Peter MacKinnon,
Vice-President of the Ottawa Centre. Peter explained to
all members that there is a need to produce more activities
within the group, as there seems to have been a gradual
decline in group-related projects since the building of
N.M.O. and the "Big Move" to I.R.O. It has been decided by
council that the design of an experiment to be flown aboard
the Space Shuttle would present a great challenge and
produce a thrust of new ideas and suggestions in the Ottawa
Centre. It should be interesting to follow the events that
lead to the development of such an undertaking.
Rob McCallum followed with the announcement of the
second annual Ottawa Centre picnic, which is scheduled for
September 18. More information will follow at the
September meeting.
Yours truly was up next with some info concerning
Comet Austin 1982 g. This rather bright comet was
-1-discoverd on June 18, 1982 by Rodney Austin of New Zealand.
The comet is predicted to reach 4th magnitude by m id-August
and should be visible low in the west after sunset. Also
of interest is P/D'Arrest, which should be within range of
amateur 'scopes during the next few months.
Variable star coordinator Brian Burke presented a
brief discussion on long-period variables. For more
information on these, Brian suggested that anyone
interested consult Burnham's Celestial Handbook as many
finder charts and discussions are to be found. Brian also
informed the group about predictions for occultations
during the July lunar eclipse that arrived a day late.
Doug George presented some slides of summer deep-sky
objects taken on a tripod and using his C-8. Among others
were the Dumbell Nebula (M 27), a summer view of the Milky
Way, and the Ring Nebula (M 57).
Gary Susick gave a talk about galaxy classification,
relating the 1936 Hubble "tuning fork" diagram and the 1960
van den Berg D.D.O. diagram. Some slides depicting the
different shapes and sizes of galaxies as photographed
through various pieces of Celestron equipment offered some
insight as to the reasons for the use of the classification
Meteor coordinator Dave Lauzon announced the approach
of the Perseid meteor shower, which will reach maximum on
the morning of August 12. Dave explained that the return
of the parent comet Swift-Tuttle could produce an increase
in the hourly rates over the coming years. Dave stressed
that the only way of finding out is by observing them,
which is why there is an observing session planned for that
evening. On a different note, Dave explained that the
reason more fireballs are seen in the summer months is the
warmer weather (more observers are outdoors) and the
abundance of clustered showers.
Solar coordinator Rob Dick had little solar activity
to report, apart from a few bursts at radio wavelengths.
There have, however, been many reports of aurora over the
past few months. Rob asked that any reports of aurora or
solar activity be forwarded to him.
Rolf Meier presented a slide show of the July 6 lunar
eclipse, featuring photographs taken by himself and several
other members. One striking feature of this eclipse, Rolf
explained, was the difference in brightness of the upper
and lower hemispheres of the moon, the upper being much
darker. Some aurora slides followed.
Rolf adjourned the meeting at 10:11 pm.
* * *
Chairman Rolf Meier opened the meeting at 8:13 pm with
38 people in attendance, 8 of whom were non-members. Rolf
briefly reported the activities of the Stellafane
convention which took place on August 14 near Springfield,
Vermont. Also of interest is the second annual Ottawa
Centre picnic, which will have been held Saturday,
September 18 at Quiet Site.
The first speaker of the evening, Jamie Black, had
some interesting news to pass on to the group. It seems
the idea of a planetarium in Ottawa may have found some
light. Two sites have already been proposed, but nothing
is definite as of now. Funds for the project may be
difficult to locate, but the idea of a planetarium is not
projected for the near future. On a different note, Jamie
related the experiences of his visit to west coast during
the latter part of the summer. Among the many
observatories visited were the Dominion Astrophysical,
University of San Francisco, Foothill College, Lick,
Griffith Park, Mount Wilson, and Mount Palomar.
Fred Brisson was up next with an informative talk
dealing with celestial guideposts and their use for
navigation. Fred showed the group how to find one's
latitude by projecting the shadow of a screwdriver head
onto a sheet of graph paper and taking measurements at
regular intervals. Also displayed was an inexpensive
sextant which our speaker demonstrated.
Frank Roy followed with some slides of an aurora
display from August. Also shown were a shot of Cygnus and
one of Comet Austin, 1982 g.
Yours truly updated the group on the observations of
Comet Austin. In September, it should remain fairly
bright. Look for the comet just south of the Big Dipper.
Stressed was the importance of reporting all observations
to the comet coordinator.
Dave Lauzon reported the activities surrounding the
Perseid meteor shower maximum of August 11/12. Due to poor
sky conditions in and around Ottawa, many clouds were
observed from Quiet Site. There were, however, some
reports from other locations where the seeing was much more
agreeable. Of special interest is a fireball that was
mistaken for a Martian cylinder from the War of the Worlds,
according to local newspapers.
Last up but not lost was Louis Krushnisky with some
slides of assorted objects taken from his home in the Hunt
Club area.
Rolf-adjourned the meeting at 9:58 pm.
Your Annual Dinner Meeting is coming. Will you be there?
A social gala has been organized for you, the
membership, and your guests.
Plan to attend on Friday, November 26, 1982
This year's Dinner Committee consists of:
Mr. Robert McCallum................. 729-9977
Mr. Robert Dick..................... 224-5583
Mr. Peter MacKinnon................. 827-0934
Information and invitations for this year's banquet
and business meeting will be mailed to all members
in October.
For the past 8 months, Dave Vincent and I have been
experimenting with an Apple computer, using it with the
Indian River Observatory Radio Interferometer.
The radio telescope output is sampled once a second
and a file is created and stored on disc for later
retrieval. Using the computer allows us to look at a
fringe over and over again with practically any amount of
Our first file was created at Ken Tapping's home in
Aylmer. It is a fringe obtained with Ken's 435 MHz
interferometer. The file shows 3 fringes with a sma ll
burst. In the third fringe, the beginning and ending time
are shown at the bottom of the graph. Also shown are the
menu and the name of the file.
The second graph shows a fringe of Cassiopeia A
obtained at I.R.O.R.I. The times shown for the file are
D.S.T., non-standard time meaning that the time between
samples is approximately one second (generated by a loop in
the computer). We now have a sidereal clock in the
computer that allows us to sample at precisely sidereal
-4-time by interupt.
The third set of files are a representation of the
same signal in the time and the frequency domain. The
source Sagittarius A was not picked up but a good record of
the noise was obtained. The frequency domain graph is the
calculation of a 128-point fast Fourier transform (FFT)
with a windo of 1280 seconds. The graph is actually the
output multiplied by 100 times. It shows the amount of
-5-energy at a given frequency. To read the graph, you simply
take 1280 divided by the bar number to find the period in
seconds. The long spike is produced by a high-pass filter
which has a cutoff period of 640 seconds. The ripples are
caused by the response of the HPF.
The tapering off at higher frequencies is caused by
the response of the low-pass filter with a cutoff period at
about 42 seconds.
Despite the favourable moonlight conditions this year,
the Perseids were unfortunately not well observed by the
Ottawa Centre, at least not locally.
The night of the maximum was mostly cloudy, but
several members made the trek out to Quiet Site anyway,
because you can never tell with Ottawa weather. Well, it
never did clear up, and in fact the next night was also
However, the most ambitious observers were also the
ones who happened to be going to Stellafane on August 13
and 14, and by the evening of the 13th it had cleared for
us in Vermont. Thus these two nights were used to
advantage, and several hours of meteor observing were
carried out on the Breezy Hill campsite. The Perseid rates
were reasonable, and at least we could say that the
Perseids were observed this year.
Several more showers will take place before the end of
the year, so stay tuned.
* * *
As some members may know (those who attended!), the
second annual RASC Ottawa Centre picnic was held at Quiet
Site on September 18.
The day began cool and rainy, but by noon the rain had
stopped. By early afternoon, the sun actually made an
occasional appearance.
Maybe the dismal start to the day put a damper on
picnic attendance, but by evening, 7 hardy members had
shown up. The sky was now perfectly clear after the
passage of a cold front, but a brisk wind put a chill in
the air.
The wind caused havoc with our attempts at controlling
Frisbee flight, but baseballs performed much better. By
dusk, telescopes had been set up as well as lawn chairs for
meteor observing. Telescopes consisted of a 4 1/2-inch,
and 8-inch, and a 17 1/2-inch.
To prepare for the cool night ahead, we ate hot dogs,
after carefully sterilizing the pot.
The beautifully clear night provided some excellent
observing, both with telescopes and of meteors. An aurora
was also observed.
See you at the picnic next year.
_7_A few months ago I spotted an article in the
newsletter of the Lackawana Astronomical Society of
Scranton, Pennsylvania, The Ecliptic, entitled "Stargazers
of the World Unite", written by its editor, Jo-Ann
Pluciennik. I have known Jo-Ann for a few years, and I
promptly requested from her permission to reprint the
article in Astronotes, because it was so good. On only one
previous occasion have I reprinted an article from another
newsletter in Astronotes.
Anyway, the article did appear in Astronotes that
month. It was picked up by Walter Scott Houston, who
regularly receives Astronotes and also recognized its
worth. He sent it off to Richard Berry, editor
of Astronomy magazine, and it has since appeared therein.
A few days ago I received the August/September issue
of Stardust, the newsletter of the Edmonton Centre of the
RASC. You guessed it, Alan Dyer, the editor, had reprinted
Jo-Ann's article in the Edmonton newsletter after reading
it in Astronotes !
Jo-Ann, it seems as though your article is reaching a
lot of people, which is good.
* * *
The Stellafane convention was attended by about 26
people from Ottawa, in addition to about 1500 others from
around the world. They came to enter telescopes in
competition, view telescopes on display, participate in
talks, and exchange astronomical experiences.
Where did this take place? Near Springfield, Vermont,
as it has for the past 48 years. This year it was held on
August 14.
Congratulations go to Bob Barclay of Ottawa, who won
an award for his equatorial platform. Many members may
remember it from the display at our instrument night in
A highlight of the weekend was a talk given by
Professor Philip Morrison of M.I.T. entitled "Quasars:
Cosmic Jets and Whirlpools". He presented possibly the
most accurate picture yet of Quasars, based on some recent
Stellafane was enjoyed by all, and we hope to return
next year.
The 10th annual Deep Sky Weekend will be held on
October 15-17 this year.
What is the Deep Sky Weekend? It is the annual event
which commemorates the opening of our observatory with its
16-inch telescope.
Members are encouraged to bring out their telescopes
for this multiple star night. Deep sky objects will look
marvelous with any instruments under the dark skies of the
Indian River Observatory. In the fall, the Milky Way is
directly overhead in the evening, and should provide an
excellent show.
If members wish, they may camp over for the weekend.
There is abundant space available. Campers must, of
course, provide their own food and water. Remember also
that it will be quite chilly at night at this time of year.
We hope to see you all there!
* * *
Tom Tothill, onetime editor of Astronotes, and a great
contributor to the building of the 16-inch telescope and
North Mountain Observatory, moved to Vancouver in 1973.
Since that time he has made an impact on the Vancouver
Centre, having been its president. We n o w welcome Tom back
to the thrill of editorship, for he has taken over the job
of editing the Vancouver Centre's newsletter, Nova.
Under Tom's eye, we know that Nova will be a good
newsletter, and we welcome him back to the national network
of newsletter editors.
* * *
As you may have noticed, this is a combined September
and October issue of Astronotes. For various reasons, such
as the delay of the August issue in going to print, the
lack of articles (zero), lack of time on my part, and an
opportunity to save some money, the September issue itself
was missed. But keep those articles rolling in, people,
and that may never happen again.
The 71st annual meeting of the American Association of
Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) will be held in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, on October 29-31. The convention will take
place mostly at the Center for Space Research at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). One of the
main speakers will be Professor Philip Morrison, with a
talk entitled "Everything Spins". There will also be a
tour of M.I.T., various talks on variable stars, and other
AAVSO-related activities.
For more information, contact Rolf Meier at 820-5784.
* * *
If you did not see Comet Austin in late August or
early September, you missed the best part of it, when it
reached naked-eye brightness. A tail at least 3 degrees
long was seen with optical aid. The comet's head was a
very blue colour.
If you wish to continue following it with a telescope,
below is an ephemeris. It would be nice if we could read
about your observations in Astronotes.
1982 ET R . A.A. (1950) Dec. A r E ° P .A . m1
26 11 39.1 44 45 0.629 0.648 38.4
27 11 46.2 44 49 0.658 0.650 39.1
28 11 52.6 44 49 0.688 0.652 39.7
29 11 58.3 44 46 0.717 0.654 40.2 36.4 6 .1
Sep 3 12 19.1 44 02 0.863 0.677 41.5 36.6 6.6
8 12 31.5 42 53 1.003 0. 715 41.6 34.2 7.1
13 12 39.2 41 36 1.135 0. 764 41.3 30.3 7.6
18 12 44.3 40 18 1.256 0.823 40.8 25.6 8.0
23 12 48.1 39 04 1.366 0 . 887 40.5 19.9 8.4
28 12 51.0 37 55 1.465 0.956 40.4 14.0 8.8
Oct 3 12 53.5 36 53 1.552 1.028 40.7 7.9 9.1
8 12 55.7 35 58 1.630 1.102 41.5 1.7 9.4
13 12 57.7 35 10 1.697 1.177 42.7 355.6 9.7
18 12 59.5 34 29 1.755 1.252 44.3 351.5 9.9
23 13 01.0 33 55 1.804 1.328 46.3 344.3 10.2
28 13 02.4 33 28 1.844 1.403 48.7 339.1 10.4
Nov 3 13 03.4 33 09 1.876 1.478 51.5 334.3 10.6
8 13 04.2 32 56 1.901 1.553 54.6 329.8 10.7
* * *
c/o Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
National Research Council of Canada
100 Sussex Drive
Ottawa Canada
K 1A 0R6