An Oppenheimer, Grazing Asteroids and how about a Cold Leonids Shower?
by Dan Wright
Thankfully, I don’t have to fire up the generator to get out the current Field Of View newsletter. It’s obviously been a very difficult few weeks for some of us and our friends as we contended with yet another Storm of the Century. Fortunately, the Rolnick Observatory, other than some downed branches fared quite well. In fact, I had a friend visiting from the Hinterlands and we went up to the observatory the night after the storm and with all the power outages in Westport it was really dark!
Four of us made it up to the Dome to see asteroid 2005 YU55. Here’s an Updated Radar Movie of Asteroid 2005 YU55 from NASA. If only it looked like this through the 12.5” telescope! As it was, it was extremely dim but we did find it several times and watched it glide through the eyepiece. That’s a rare thing indeed to see something other than a satellite or plane move in your field of view.
The weather has made it difficult to open up for Public Nights recently but of course, the nights around Wednesdays have been pretty good. When we do open with good conditions, we get very good crowds.
Jupiter is still the “star” of the show at night and I’ve had some of the clearest views ever this year. Soon enough the UFO calls will come flooding in again as Venus is making it’s way higher and higher at dusk with tiny Mercury staying about 2° or 3° away.
Comet 2P/Encke left some of itself behind and Earth crosses the debris field on the 12th. Making it worth standing in the cold is that the Taurids can produce bright fireballs. A 1533 pass from comet Temple-Tuttle is responsible for The Leonid Meteor Shower which peaks on the morning of the 18th.
If the weather holds, 30 Girl Scouts will be coming to the observatory on Friday the 18th. If you can chip in from 5:15 – 7:00, I’d be forever grateful. Email me if you can help, please.
Founding member Phil Harrington sent us a bunch of excellent 2012 calendars who’s added his special blend of astronomical commentary. We have those for sale to members for just $10 and non-members as a fund raiser for $20. You can purchase these on public nights, at our meeting and thanks to Adam Yates, you can get them now on our website!
We also have a very limited amount of Astronomy Magazine’s 2012 Deep Space Mysteries calendar for $15. Please buy some!
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Our Next Public Meeting is November 15th at 8pm
Making his first visit to the Rolnick Observatory, we’ll host the American Museum of Natural History’s Dr. Ben Oppenheimer, a comparative exoplanetary scientist. With the explosion of amateur astronomers, orbiting telescopes and big, new land based telescopes coming online all the time, the Milky Way seems to be filling up with more planets every day (2,165 eclipsing binary stars, 1,235 planetary candidates and 25 confirmed planets according to data from the Kepler Telescope at last count). Dr. Oppenheimer’s topic is quite timely: The Universe of Worlds: Comparative Exoplanet Science.
Cal’s corner is on hiatus until January or until Cal takes a hammer to his PC.
December 20th is our huge, galaxy sized Holiday Party and this year we welcome Westport’s own David Gaynes who’ll screen his excellent movie Saving Hubble. This is a great film full of colorful characters that built, repaired and use the Hubble. It really shows the human story and essence of how the entire world feels about history’s greatest telescope!
Big 2012 Events:
Professor Mark Swanson: January 17, 2012
Dr. Jason Koglin: March 20, 2012
International Astronomy Day: April 28, 2012
The Transit of Venus: June 5. 2012
Dr. Michael Inglis: July 17, 2012
The Perseid Meteor Shower: August 11, 2012
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ASTROWEB SITE OF THE MONTH
by Cal Powell
Since November is the month of the Leonid meteor shower, it is worth noting that 2011 is the 100th anniversary of the American Meteor Society which was founded in 1911 by Dr. Charles P. Olivier. Although the AMS still provides information and support for beginning meteor observers, it provides resources for professional and advanced amateur observations and studies. The AMS web site at http://www.amsmeteors.org/ contains weekly meteor activity forecasts as well as descriptions of various observing programs and a form where you can report fireball observations.
Please send e-mail on your own personal web pages, or astronomy links that you find interesting or noteworthy to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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by Bob Meadows
There was a star Party Saturday, Oct. 22, but it clouded up at around 11:30.
On Nov. 8, the observatory opened at 6:00 pm to view the close approach of asteroid 2005 YU55. We found it and lost it several times in the 12.5 inch telescope. At magnitude 11.9, it was difficult to see with the nearly full moon. Four members attended, and we viewed it until about 7:10.
Two WAS members, Adam Yates and Niles Lathrop learned to operate the 12.5 inch telescope, and received observatory keys.
The Observer’s Handbook, published by RASC, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, is available again this year from NY Skies for $20 each, postage paid. It can be ordered at www.nyskies.org. Bob Meadows will be placing an order after the November meeting. See him at the meeting if you want him to order one for you.
16 Bob Blasko K. Moskovitz *Dan Wright
23 Mike Bellacosa Nick LaRocca *Carl Lancaster
30 Bob Tobin David Ives *Bob Meadows
7 Karl Procop Evan Tilley
14 Tom Davis Frank Cirino *Franco Fellah
21 Bob Blasko K. Moskovitz *Dan Wright
28 Mike Bellacosa David Ives *Carl Lancaster
4 Bob Tobin Nick LaRocca Adam Yates
11 Karl Procop Frank Cirino Niles Lathrop
18 Franco Fellah Tom Davis Evan Tilley
25 Dan Wright K. Moskovitz
Please call Bob or make arrangements for someone to cover your shift if you can’t make it. We’re counting on you.