A Holiday Extravaganza, Saving Hubble and yet another BIG upgrade for our ALL of our Telescopes.
by Dan Wright
Happy Holidays to everyone! What a wonderful year it’s been and what an even better year 2012 will be. Thanks to many of you, WAS is becoming more active all of the time and we look to break new ground on our outreach in the years to come.
Here’s just a few things I’m proud that we’ve accomplished this year:
- A great new website
- Go-to and tracking on the 25” Obsession and many new modifications
- Installation of a new concrete pad for the 25
- The Rolnick Seismometer
- A wonderful donation of a 16” Meade LX-200, soon to be in the dome!
We’ve done some great testing on our new 16” Meade thanks to Franco Fellah and had some jaw dropping views of Europa’s shadow transiting Jupiter. With a new pier currently commissioned by Bob Meadows being built, this telescope will offer all of us impressive views as well as a great scope for astrophotography far into our future.
Our 25” Obsession is getting another upgrade; this time on the upper cage. As always, Carl Lancaster is diligently working on making it better than ever. He reports:
The upper cage assembly has been disassembled and cleaned. All screws/bolts will be replaced with stainless steel. The adjustment screws for the collimation of the secondary have been installed. The cross panel holding the focuser has been replaced with a solid thicker piece of plywood. The rings holding the finder-scope have been replaced with a set of rings and a slide bar from ADM. The mount for the finder-scope will be replaced with an aluminum one. It should be complete by the 20th.
The encoders have started working again, but we are going to install a timing belt so we can easily access/adjust the encoder. All work should be complete by Dec 31.
And with the help of Anthony Madia’s behind the scenes tune up work and Martin Hamar’s donation of a reticle on our “new to us” portable 10” Orion Dobsonian for sidewalk astronomy, we are well situated for a busy 2012. This extremely portable telescope will be on location all over Fairfield county and we hope to have it out at a few of the Levitt Pavilion shows this summer.
Thanks to Franco’s wonderful work we’ve had many new and large donations this year and we hope that you will continue to support our all volunteer staff. It’s not too late to donate to the Westport Astronomical Society today! I encourage you to help keep us afloat with your tax deductable donations at the end of the year. Please contact Franco if you can donate a little something to your favorite not-for-profit.
Founding member Phil Harrington sent us a bunch of wonderful 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 today!
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Our Next Public Meeting is our HUGE Holiday Bash – December 20th at 8pm!
It’s 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!
Our holiday party is open to everyone and please feel free to bring some sweet goodies to share with all of your WAS friends!
There will be a dinner beforehand with David Gaynes and guests starting at 5:45pm at Rizzuto’s in Westport, if you’d like to join us. Please RSVP with Dan Wright before noon on Tuesday: firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 424-0001.
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
As we approach sol invictus and the days get shorter our thoughts may turn to the Sun, our local star. Solar observer and photographer Greg Piepol has recently constructed a new observatory and has documented the process on the his Sungazer web site. Point your favorite web browser to http://sungazer.net/
Please send e-mail on your own personal web pages, or astronomy links that you find interesting or noteworthy to me at email@example.com. Have a very happy and safe holiday season!
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by Bob Meadows
Two WAS members, Adam Yates and Niles Lathrop learned to operate the 12.5 inch telescope, and received observatory keys.
The Observer’s Handbooks that were ordered have arrived. If you would like a copy, and didn’t order one, it is available again this year from NY Skies for $20 each, postage paid. It can be ordered at www.nyskies.org.
There was a star party on Fri. Nov. 25. We used the 25 inch telescope to observe comet Hill in Taurus. We set up the16 inch Meade telescope. The hand controller worked and we slewed to several objects using the Go To, with no problems. The images were good, including the shadow of the moon Europa on Jupiter.
Carl Lancaster is working on the upper tube of the 25 inch telescope. He is stiffening the focuser mount, installing collimation knobs on the secondary holder, and refinishing the wood parts.
Bob Meadows calculated the dimensions for the equatorial pier for the 16 inch Meade. He made drawings and supplied them to Mike Miciukiewicz, who will be making the pier.
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
1 Mike Bellacosa David Ives
8 Bob Tobin Adam Yates
15 Frank Cirino Nick LaRocca
22 Karl Procop Niles Lanthrop
29 Carl Lancaster Evan Tilley
Call Bob or make arrangements for someone to cover your shift if you can’t make it. We’re counting on you.