Phil Harrington Returns to WAS – Taurid Fireballs – Sandy Recovery and a Southern Total Solar Eclipse
by Dan Wright
We’re on the last gasps of 2012 but Nature has certainly packed a horrible double whammy of weather that’s put either us or someone near to us in some terrible positions. We were fortunate at the Rolnick Observatory to just lose a few trees, and not ones I wished were gone (see Bob’s report and gallery below) but many of us lost power for over a week or had terrible things happen to their homes or people we care about. We hope the worst is behind us and if you are capable, please consider a donation for the less fortunate to the Red Cross.
Before we get on to the astronomy stuff, I really want to thank member Lou Chavenello who rounded up his neighbor and was at the observatory with Bob within an hour of hearing we couldn’t get in the gate because 2 massive trees were blocking the road. Lou, who also organizes the MeetUp groups that donate significant amounts of capital to the WAS treasury, had chainsaws and all sorts of implements of destruction on hand and had reduced those trees to giant piles of logs in a very short amount of time. Lou and his brother are also working with us to remove some of the other “troublesome” trees on our campus and I just cannot thank him enough for his help.
Wednesday November 13 is a new moon but for a very few fortunate fellows in Australia and New Zealand, it’s also a Total Solar Eclipse! WAS Board Member David Ives is sipping cocktails on the beach in Cairns Australia and if the weather cooperates, we’ll have some photos from David to share with everyone on our front page. David just sent me an email saying that the weather has been pretty cloudy so it remains to be seen if this will be… Seen. The eclipse happens just after sunrise in Cairns and at 3:39 pm here in Connecticut. If all goes well, it should look like this:
I’ll make sure we have something streaming on our front page and send an email/Facebook/Twitter reminder out so everyone here on this side of the planet gets to see this incredible event.
Earth is currently smashing it’s way through the path of Comet Encke. Like bugs splatting across your windshield Earth’s direction around the sun is currently in the direction of Taurus. As Earth passes through the debris from Encke, meteors blast out in all directions from the constellation. Taurids are few and far between, at most it’s around 5-10 an hour but these can be very bright. In fact, many are what are called “fireballs” and some have already been recorded as being brighter than a full moon. With no moon at the moment, the best time to view is around midnight to 1 am. Jupiter is in Taurus now and a small telescope or steady binoculars with Jupiter is always a treat.
Don’t forget founding member Phil Harrington is coming on a very special FRIDAY night, NOT a Tuesday night. Join Phil on Friday November 16 at 8 pm in our classroom. Phil’s a great story teller and has a lot of stories about the early days of WAS and will have some extra copies of his last book Cosmic Challenge. Phil even generously used a couple of my pictures in his book of the Lunar V & X which I shot using the 12.5″ WAS dome telescope. Pick this book up, you’ll love it!
We’ve really getting some great speakers and we need your support to keep bringing great speakers to the Rolnick Observatory.
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There’s a bunch of new calendars in stock and are available for purchase NOW! We have a VERY LIMITED selection of these excellent 2013 calendars, edited by Terence Dickinson. Available now to our members for $15 and non-members only $20. Click HERE to see the rest of the calendar images.
We’ve sold quite a few… Get them while you can!
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NEXT MEETING: Friday November 16, 2012, 8:00 pm
Phil Harrington, a founding member of the Westport Astronomical Society, contributing editor to Astronomy Magazine and author of numerous amateur astronomy books like Cosmic Challenge: The Ultimate Observing List for Amateurs returns to the Rolnick Observatory for a special visit. This meeting will be on a Friday, not our usual Tuesday.
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Astro Web Site Of The Month
by Cal Powell
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum operates an observatory at its National Mall Building in the District of Columbia. Located on the east terrace of the NASM just off Independence Avenue, the observatory houses a 16-inch Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain reflector (manufactured by Boller and Chivens) that is outfitted with an ARE-125™ articulated relay eyepiece that allows wheelchair-bound visitors direct telescope access. The modest webpage of the Public Observatory Project (the official name of the NASM observatory) is located at http://airandspace.si.edu/pop/ where you can find streaming video when the observatory is open; additional images can be found at http://bollerandchivens.com/?p=338.
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
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Upcoming Events at the Rolnick ObservatoryWAS Holiday Party Double Header! December 18 – David Mestre, Director of Space Science Education at the Discovery Museum and Planetarium and A SECOND SPECIAL GUEST cartographer Jeffrey Ambroziak who will stuff your stocking with free, full sized 3D maps of the moon! 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. Or Graur: March 19, 2013 – The Universe is My Lab Jacqueline van Gorkom: April 16, 2013 – Galactic Neighborhoods Matthew Pappas:
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submitted by Carl Nilson
This lunar beauty
Has no history
Is complete and early;
If beauty later
Bear any feature
It had a lover
And is another.
This like a dream
Keeps other time
And daytime is
The loss of this;
For time is inches
And the heart’s changes
Where ghost has haunted
Lost and wanted.
But this was never
A ghost’s endeavor
Nor finished this,
Was ghost at ease;
And till it pass
Love shall not near
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.
W. H. Auden
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by Bob Meadows
Hurricane Sandy hit us on Monday, October 29. The observatory lost power. Bob Meadows went to the observatory on Wednesday. Most traffic lights were out, and he had to try four routes in Westport before finding one not blocked by trees. At the observatory, there was a large tree across the road just outside the gate. It was 12 inches wide at the base. Bob spent several hours clearing the smaller brush. Dan Wright contacted Lou Chavenello, who had offered to do tree work for us. He said he could come immediately or in a week, so, we had him come that day. Lou couldn’t get there until 6:00, so we were working in the dark, using head lamps and car headlights. Lou and his neighbor Steve came with two chainsaws. The log was stuck on another tree that was in poor shape, so we cut that one down too. They finished in about an hour. Bob went back on Thursday and worked on cleaning up the debris and brush. The power came back on Sunday morning.
Telescope classes on how to operate the 12 inch telescope were postponed because no one signed up. Another class will be scheduled after the new computer and The Sky X are installed. If you are interested in taking the class, please contact Bob Meadows.
There was an observing session on Thursday, October 11. Five people attended. We saw comet Hergenrother in Pegasus, which recently flared in brightness from 15th magnitude to 9.2. The conditions were excellent, and we even had a good view of the veil nebula.
Mike Miciukiewicz has been having trouble getting the 10 inch tube cut for our new pier for the 16 inch Meade telescope. He finally found a shop that can cut it, and, on October 18 the tube was delivered to the shop.
14 Bob Meadows Mike Bellacosa K. Moskovitz *Franco Fellah
21 Karl Procop Quintin Brantley Frank Cirino *TBD
28 Tom Davis David Ives
5 Bob Blasko Evan Tilley *Dan Wright
12 Bob Tobin K. Moskovitz *Franco Fellah
19 Mike Bellacosa Frank Cirino *Bob Meadows
26 Karl Procop David Ives
2 Tom Davis Quintin Brantley
9 Dan Wright Evan Tilley
16 Bob Blasko K. Moskovitz
23 Franco Fellah Bob Tobin
30 Mike Bellacosa Frank Cirino
Call Bob or make arrangements for someone to cover your shift if you can’t make it. We’re counting on you.
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Phil Harrington’s Binocular Universe Next Stop: Andromeda
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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! Incredible custom gear made for the Star Parties! Show your WAS pride!
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|Board Members at Large:||David Ives
|Web Master:||Adam Yates|