Jan 20

January 2012

Registax for (by?) Dummies, That Strange Corner of the Universe Returns, Fine Tuning the Obsession

Happy 2012! As promised, it’s another year full of great astronomy! There’s some excellent demonstrations of the clockwork of our solar system in the months ahead. A total solar eclipse down under, a penumbral lunar eclipse visible to most of the US (except the Northeast) and the big showstopper, the last transit of Venus until December 11, 2117 and Dec 8, 2125. Given the wait, you’ll probably want to get this year’s under your belt.

We’ll be set up on the tower with solar telescopes available for visual viewing and live video streaming of the transit from the anticipated installation of the dome’s 16” LX-200 Meade.

The weather has as usual, not been very cooperative on our weekly public nights as we’ve only been open 1 Wednesday out of 5. However, on those rare evenings when it is clear, it’s insanely clear.

We’ve added a gallery to the website that’s still a work in progress. If you have some great shots of the people, places and things we’ve done as WAS members, please email them and we’ll get them online.

We have a very limited amount of calendars left and we’d like to sell them this month! Get them while you can for ONLY $15! You can purchase these beauties on public nights, at our meeting and thanks to our webmaster Adam Yates, you can get them now on our website!

* * * * * *

Our Next Meeting is January 17th, 8:00pm

Longtime member Martin Hamar shows us how to easily take low resolution webcam images of the planets, Sun and Moon and make them into gorgeous high resolution images ready to frame! Martin will demonstrate using Registax, a free image processing software app that does amazing things quickly and effortlessly.

If you have a laptop, bring it and learn how to hook up a web cam to our telescopes and process your own images of the Solar System! If you just want to watch you don’t need a laptop and you’ll still get a lot out of Martin’s presentation. This is of course, completely for beginners!

Because of a scheduling conflict Professor Mark Swanson from the University of Connecticut in Stamford will not be able to attend our January meeting. We’ve rescheduled Professor Swanson to join us for our August 21st meeting.

Cal’s Corner returns and keeps it Old School on the night sky.

Big 2012 Events:

Dr. Jason Koglin: March 20
International Astronomy Day: April 28
David L. Rabinowitz – May 15
Annular Eclipse of the Sun: May 20th
The Transit of Venus: June 5
Dr. Michael Inglis: July 17
The Perseid Meteor Shower: August 11
Professor Mark Swanson: August 21
The Geminid Meteor Shower: December 13th – 14th
The World Not Ending: December 21st

* * * * * *


by Cal Powell

If you are looking for a space-related activity or anniversary to celebrate in 2012, look no further than the Space Calendar web site at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/calendar/. Compiled and maintained at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) by Ron Baalke, the site has hundreds of entries for asteroid and spacecraft events, meetings, symposia, lectures, and conjunctions. Each entry contains a link to a page with more information.

Please send e-mail on your own personal web pages, or astronomy links that you find interesting or noteworthy to me at planetarium.guy@gmail.com.

* * * * * *


by Bob Meadows
Carl Lancaster finished the upper tube of the 25 inch telescope.  He stiffened the focuser mount, installed the focuser from the 12.5 inch telescope, installed collimation knobs on the secondary holder, refinished the wood parts, and installed a new dovetail mount and rings for the finder.  He also installed a belt system and custom encoder mount for the azimuth encoder, which eliminates stress on the encoder, making it reliable.  Carl, Bob Meadows and Dan Wright cleaned the mirror and reassembled the telescope on Fri. Dec. 30.  The changes added weight to the front of the telescope, so, Carl made two additional weights to balance the telescope.

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, Bob Meadows and Dan Wright tested the 25 inch telescope.  The encoder worked well, but there was some slippage of the azimuth drive.  Carl Lancaster tightened the springs on the azimuth motor, which should help.

Bob Meadows made ramps for moving the new snow thrower in and out of the Pisces shed.


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

7        Dan Wright            Tom Davis            K. Moskovitz
14        Bob Meadows        Bob Blasko            Adam Yates        *Franco Fellah
21        Mike Bellacosa        Frank Cirino            David Ives        *Dan Wright
28        Bob Tobin            Nick LaRocca        Niles Lithrop    *Carl Lancaster

Call Bob or make arrangements for someone to cover your shift if you can’t make it.  We’re counting on you.