WAS on the road to Cherry Springs PA, Dr. Michael Inglis visits, Levitt Pavilion Fun and the Observatory gets a needed facelift!
by Dan Wright
The Dog Days of Summer are on us but our public nights are busting at the seams with new faces every Wednesday.
Bob Meadows, Carl Lancaster and I took the 25 to Cherry Springs State Park in PA and it was incredible. They schedule this Star Party almost on the solstice so observing was a pretty small window. It didn’t get completely dark until 11 and it started brightening at 3:30! Bob made a valiant effort to go the distance and even Carl made it up past midnight! There was no way I was going to bed earlier than Carl… We did have a great time and the skies were extremely dark. This was a great place to put the 25 to work and let it shine. Carl had his 18, our neighbors had a bunch of smaller Obsessions and our other neighbor was doing imaging on a 10″ Orion. It really couldn’t have been better (other than it took FOREVER to get dark.)
We’re always busy with some project or another and this summer is busier than ever. Bob & Cole have been painting and repairing all sorts of stuff that’s needed some serious TLC since the Carter Administration… More in Bob’s Observatory Report below.
We have some big events coming up. Of course we want everyone to come out to our next meeting Tuesday the 17th at 8:00 pm to meet Dr. Michael Inglis. He’ll be doing a talk called Seeing the Deep Sky… With the Naked Eye! Dr. Mike has written a lot of great books, notably the excellent A Field Guide to the Deep Sky. In 2013 Inglis will take sabbatical from Suffolk County College, part of the State University of New York, on Long Island from teaching astronomy and astrophysics to begin work on the second edition of his successful Astrophysics is Easy.
We team up with the Levitt Pavilion on July 30th for a fundraiser on behalf of the Westport Cinema Initiative. This will be a lot of fun! There will be a panel discussion at 8 followed by a screening of Saving Hubble, directed by Friend of WAS David Gaynes. Then we’ll do some observing with our friends from the Astronomical Society of New Haven. Bob Meadows and a few other volunteers will have our 10″ Dob on site but we could use a few more people to give Bob a hand. Please let me know if you can pitch in!
We have 2 Meetup groups scheduled and we’ll need some help on these. Our first group is scheduled for the Perseid Meteor Shower on Saturday August 11 at 8:30. We’re expecting up to 60 people for this and with a suggested donation of $10 each, it’s a wonderful way to help us pad our accounts. We’ll do another on Friday August 24th at 8:30. Please consider coming up to welcome this great group of people to the Rolnick Observatory. For many, it’s their first time visiting and the first time to see the sky with a telescope.
One last note from the June 5th Transit of Venus. Martin Hamar knew better than to trust that the skies over New England would be clear. He loaded up his portable 3.5″ Questar telescope, cameras and other gear and flew out to Arizona to capture the transit. I think you’ll agree that Martin did an incredible job! You can see our YouTube video of the Transit we took from the deck of the Observatory here: http://youtu.be/KIOO_oI_1ac
Upcoming Events at the Rolnick ObservatoryDr. Michael Inglis: July 17 – Author of A Field Guide to Deep Sky Objects – “Seeing the Deep Sky…with the Naked-Eye!” The Perseid Meteor Shower: August 11 8:30pm Meetup Star Party! Stellafane: August 16 – 19, 2012 Bob Meadows Annual Stellafane Report: August 21 Meetup Private Star Party: August 24 8:30pm Connecticut Star Party (CSP): September 14 – 16, 2012 David L. Rabinowitz: September 18 – Yale research scientist, co-discoverer of Eris and co-killer of Pluto. “Searching the sky for exploding stars, black holes and distant planetesimals “ Mordecai-Mark Mac Low: October 16 – Curator of theAmericanMuseum of Natural History, Department of Physics Phil Harrington: November 16 – Founding member of WAS, contributing editor to Astronomy Magazine and author of many books including the recently published ultimate observing list for amateurs: Cosmic Challenge David Mestre: December 18 – Director of Space Science Education at the Discovery Museum and Planetarium drops in for the annual WAS Holiday Party! Robert Gendler: January 19, 2013– One of the world’s best astrophotographers returns to chat about making images from the Hubble Legacy Archive Kerstin Perez: February 19, 2013 – Columbia University research physicist currently working on the NuSTAR X-Ray Space Telescope.
Astro Web Site Of The Month
by Cal Powell
If you have ever taken or encountered an astronomy image and wondered what part of the sky it was from, pay a visit to Astrometry.net. At this website (http://www.astrometry.net/), you can upload a JPEG or FITS image of any part of the night sky, and it will return your image annotated with sky location and any named objects that it may contain. And, if you are computer literate, you can even download the software source to compile and run it on your own Linux or Apple Macintosh computer.
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.
by Bob Meadows
Bob Meadows and Cole Miller, who is our intern for the summer, have been cutting back overhanging branches along the driveway, clearing brush from the end of the parking lot, and worked on the snow thrower. It turns out that the wheel lock lever is not a “pull to release”, it is “pull to release, then pull again to engage”. We also painted the shed for the 25 inch telescope, and are still in the process of painting the Pisces shed and the base of the tower.
The Right Ascension gear on the 12 inch telescope was loose, causing about a degree of play in the telescope. Bob and Cole disassembled the clutch to get to the set screws and tightened it.
Bob Meadows, Dan Wright, and Carl Lancaster attended the Cherry Springs Star Party in Pennsylvania on June 14 to 17. The weather was great for Thursday and Friday nights. The forecast for Saturday was for clouds, so we left Saturday afternoon. We saw some old friends, Bob Teeter of Teeter Telescopes, and John Voit who always brings his 32 inch telescope to Stellafane. We made new friends with the people camping near us, who came up with new challenge objects like a dim planetary, Abel 39.
We will be taking the 25 inch telescope to Stellafane inSpringfield,VT, on August 16 to 19. We plan to camp in an area just east of the Schupman telescope at the top of the observing field. Get more information at: stellafane.org
The Connecticut Star Party is September 14 to 16 inAshford,CT. We plan to attend with the 25 inch telescope. Get more information at: www.asnh.org
We have been having problems with the GO-TO on the 25 inch telescope. It turns out that you need to press the GO-TO button for from 0.25 to 0.75 seconds. Too short and nothing happens. Too long and it goes into a safe mode with GO-TO disabled. It is now working well, except for an occasional altitude encoder error.
18 Bob Blasko Tom Davis Evan Tilley
25 Karl Procop Quintin Brantley Nick LaRocca *Carl Lancaster
1 Bob Meadows Mike Bellacosa NilesNathrop
8 Bob Tobin K. Moskovitz Adam Yates *Dan Wright
15 Bob Blasko David Ives Evan Tilley — Stellafane —
22 Mike Bellacosa Karl Procop Frank Cirino *Franco Fellah
29 Bob Meadows Tom Davis Quintin Brantley
5 Bob Tobin David Ives Nick LaRocca *Dan Wright
12 Bob Blasko K. Moskovitz Adam Yates *Franco Fellah
19 Mike Bellacosa Frank Cirino Evan Tilley *Carl Lancaster
26 Tom Davis Karl Procop Quintin Brantley
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We are an all volunteer society that is financially responsible for everything at the Rolnick Observatory, and we are always short on money. Please donate and renew your membership today!
Check out the WAS Wear Store! We’ve got great gear custom made for the Star Parties!
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|Board Members at Large:||David Ives
|Web Master:||Adam Yates|