Don Surles brought the meeting to order at 7:15 with 26 members and
Colosimo, Exton, PA William Ellis, Pemberton,
NJ Michael Lecuyer, Viola, DE
Cecil County Libraries
Jerry Truitt reports: I met with Beth Ann Ryan from the Cecil
County libraries yesterday for the “Astronomy at the Library” program.
We've set up a tentative
schedule for doing the other libraries as outlined below:
Chesapeake City 6 PM Sat. April 2nd
Port Deposit 6 PM Sat. April 30th
Perryville 7 PM Fri. June 3rd
Cecilton 6 PM Sat. Sept 24th
North East 6 PM Fri. Oct. 21st
I will be registering these for the Night Sky Network for presentation.
These dates coincide with the first quarter moon. I told Beth Ann we
would also be
viewing other things besides the moon, particularly in the
Spring when the planets will be out. I think Saturn will
be an object of great interest for the public.
held an informal
session at the library for 5 people that brought their new scopes for
orientation as well as 16 more who wanted to
learn how to observe.
How has the internet(WWW) changed
Below are the source URLs so others can find the info. They are:
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~kolena/sky.html A links page for what's
http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/ S & T week at a
http://www.astro.indiana.edu/startrak.shtml Indiana University monthly
Planetarium skywatchers diary
http://stardate.org/ McDonald observatory Stardate online weekly
Astrophotography with Film
Below is the outline of Don Surles’ Power Point presentation:
35MM or Larger
Requirements are Manual Shutter,Bright Viewer, and Cable Release. 35 mm
is the best camera for thru the scope shots, also more convenient
for projectors. More data can be collected on larger
Color or B&W Film
sky responds best to red film. Nebulae stars and Galaxies are best in
Star fields, planets, moon & sun are ok in black and white. E6 for
color slides C41 for color prints.
Positives or Negatives
Positives are slides, Negatvies are prints.
Slides are transparent & hi definition Slides need a
projector or viewer.
Prints on paper and are viewed by reflected light and not as bright or
sharp as slides. Prints may not be what you saw in the
Tracking or Still Shots
Tracking compensates for earth’s rotation and makes the stars stand
still. As magnification increases, tracking accuracy must improve
Tracking is best done with a German equatorial mount or fork and
wedge mount. Still shots can be done with an altaz mount.
For stills, use ISO400 with large aperture, Wide Angle lens and
limit exposures to 30 seconds.
Thru the Scope or Piggy Back
Thru the scope requires camera connected to focuser, camera at Prime
focus, or use eyepiece as projector.
High magnification requires guiding to compensate for polar alignment
or drive system errors.
Piggy back uses the scope’s drive system and gathers light with Camera
lens, usually much faster than the scope lens (f1.4 vs f5 or
Exposure times are shorter with wider apertures.
Camera with manual shutter release, Lens <150mm at f1.4 to
f3.8, Camera support,Connector (Camera T ring to scope)
Timer, red light ,Fresh film less than ISO 400, Keep good records.
From the President’s Desk....January
2005! Wow, we survived the holidays and are halfway to the next
decade! The awesome power of Mother Nature was
the tsunami…and you know, there is not an official name for that
Then there was Cassini and Huygens and Saturn and Titan in
the news. Hats off to the European Space group for building a
probe that worked after a 7-
year-2-billion mile journey. I would say they had a REAL Diehard
battery. Cassini has been a huge success also – just visit the
WWW and Google “Cassini”.
And don’t forget the Rovers on Mars…that venture has been a real jewel
for the world.
Now closer to home, i.e., Smyrna, things have not progressed that
well. Mother Nature has thrown clouds, rain, fog, bright moon
light, and a host of
other impairments into the stargazing equation leaving us with
telescopes in a state of un-used-ness funk. President
Georgy-boybush should declare
the Peninsula a disaster area for stargazing – maybe declare a
“lights-out” time frame to make up for the recent stargazing
This week has featured some outstanding activity on our Sun.
Sunspot 720 produced coronal mass ejections while aimed squarely
at Earth and caused
some nice auroral activity for the northern latitudes.
Unfortunately for us they did not occur around latitude 40N and we had
only moonlit skies to observe.
Ron Zink, Bill McKibben, and I went out to Blackbird State Forest
Monday night, Jan 17, in search of the auroras but it was too cold for
them – and us.
The wind felt like cold razors on my tender-used-to-the-inside-70F
face. This was probably the coldest night since last winter; and
the wind made the chill
factor something below zeroF. So, we retreated,
strategically of course, and will await a warmer opportunity to view
the Northern Lights.
We have received information that Paul Gray and Dave Lane have
discovered a supernova. I believe this their second
discovery. The supernova’s official
name is SN 2005B located at RA17h54m48s, Dec +71o32’35”.Congratulations
to Dave and Paul. For newcomers to our organization, Dave and
our Nova Scotia contingent of Delmarva Star Gazers. Paul and his
wife, Susan, lived near Annapolis a few years and Paul was a very
active member of our organization. And Dave participated in our
first MidAtlantic Mirror Making weekend. Again, Congrats to these
guys for their continuing efforts
to locate these indicators of the changes our universe
Mirror making…we are hosting the FIFTH MMM this March 4-6. If you
have any curiosity about how fine telescope optics come into existence,
you should contact Lyle Jones and make plans to participate or
visit while this
weekend is in progress. You may just catch the ‘glass pushin
Our next meeting is February 1. The topics will include
current events (surely Huygens, Cassini, and the Mars Rovers will be
included), Comfort @ the
Eyepiece by Tim Milligan, Telescope Making by Keith Lohmeyer, Isaac
Newton and the First Newtonian by Jerry Truitt, Johannes Kepler and the
Tables by Greg Lee, and Tonight’s Night Sky by Keith Lohmeyer.
Please plan to attend and catch the “I want to learn and participate
fever” that makes
our organization so successful.
Have you noticed the days are getting longer and sun higher in the sky
each day? The afternoons are much longer now than a month
ago and the sun is
beginning to rise earlier also. Sunlight is a wonderful
commodity. Earth has 4-5 billion years of evolution bathed in
glorious sunlight and just about every type
of plant and animal life here responds to varying amounts and intensity
levels of Ol Sol’s principal product – white light. As you
more and more and feel the warmth of Ol Sol in the coming weeks I
you will feel better and will even look better.
Sunlight does the
So enjoy what is left of winter, stay warm and bring your new toys to
the next star party I want to play with your new toys. See
at the Church or T-hoe or Blackbird.
Annual Mid-Atlantic Mirror Making Seminar
The Delmarva Star Gazers
host the fifth Mid-Atlantic Mirror Making Seminar March 4 thru March 6,
2005, at St. Jones Reserve, Dover DE. See the link below for more
All attendees, and especially mirror makers, are asked to check into
the Reserve before 11:00 A.M. to get settled in and meet
everyone. The Seminar will begin promptly at Noon on March 4.
: The purpose of
the Seminar is to introduce proven, successful techniques for making
telescope mirrors. Special emphasis will be placed on successfully
completing a well-figured mirror in the time allowed. Mirror grinding,
polishing, figuring, and testing assistance will be provided by Steve
Swayze (Swayze Optical), Dr. Bill Hanagan (head of the Delaware
Astronomical Society ATM SIG), David Groski (Stellafane 1st Place in
Optics), and several other experienced mirror makers from the
Starting mirror makers will begin with a 6" (f/8), 8" (f/6), or 10"
(f/6) Pyrex mirror blank with a diamond generated curve ready for 220
grit and a matching plate glass tool. A work stand will be provided for
each mirror maker along with all of the glass, grit, pitch, and polish
Finishing mirror makers (anyone wishing to complete the figuring of
their mirror at the Seminar) will be provided a work stand and expert
assistance needed to do so.
Successful mirror makers will leave the Seminar with a finely-figured
mirror ready for aluminizing -- and with enhanced skills, greater
knowledge, and the confidence that comes from experience. While each
mirror maker will have the materials, guidance, and the amount of time
required by most people to produce a quality mirror, there is no
guarantee that you will complete your mirror during the Seminar.
Non-mirror makers are encouraged to attend -- to watch the process, to
learn, to get "glass-pushin' fever", and to participate in the other
planned activities listed below:
Demonstrations / Show and Tell -
The making of pitch laps, Ronchi and Foucault testers, mirror test
stands, Couder masks, mirror cells, spiders, secondary mirror mounts,
finder scopes, etc. will be discussed.
- If the weather
allows, we'll be using the Star Gazers' Meade 10" LX200 - and SBIG STV
video camera for observing, in addition to other equipment.
Historic Site Visits
Reserve is very close to two free museums - the John Dickinson Mansion
(Dickinson was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence) and
the Dover Air Museum.
Hobnobbing with other Amateur
Telescope Makers (ATMs)
-- Priceless! Ad-hoc discussions about
telescope making abound during the Seminar.
Friday and Saturday Night Talks
-- We don't know what they are yet, but these talks are always
interesting. Past topics have included Pete Ceravolo's Mak-Newt and
comet video, astrophotography, and other astronomy-related items.
: All mirror makers
and attendees are asked to register by January 6, 2005, to provide
sufficient lead-time for ordering supplies. In past years, the mirror
making positions have been filled fairly quickly, so don't delay! Full
payment must accompany the registration. There will be no refunds but
substitutions are O.K.
Attendance and lodging only $50.00
Attendance, lodging and grind 6” mirror $200.00
Attendance, lodging and grind 8” mirror $250.00
Attendance, lodging and grind 10” mirror $400.00
Attendance, lodging and finishing a mirror $120.00
Visit our web site at Registration for information. To register, or if
you would like to converse with a real human being for additional
information, Contact Lyle Jones, 230 N Bradford St, Dover, DE 19904,
phone 302-736-9842, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Note -
- Mirror making
positions will be limited. 12 mirror making stands are provided and
will be assigned to mirror-making registrants on a first come, first
served basis. If you decide to make an 8" or 10" mirror, consider
asking someone to join you in this effort. There is a lot of manual
labor involved and your chances of completing the mirror by the end of
the seminar are better if you have a helper. Your helper needs to be
registered for attendance and lodging only.
Lodging: Sleeping arrangements are dormitory style. While we can
guarantee a warm place to sleep, floor space for your sleeping bag/air
mattress, and bathrooms with showers, there are a limited number of
beds available. In addition to a sleeping bag and a pillow, you may
want to bring an air mattress and/or a cot. Buffet-style lunch and
dinner are included in the cost of lodging. The volunteer cooks do a
Come Join Us! -- The first four Mirror Making Seminars were very
successful. Every participant and every person involved as a host has
commented favorably on the experience.
Mathematicians - Frank Sheldon
“Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare”… The poem by Edna St.
Vincent Milllay sets the tone for this outline of the immeasurable
contribution of the early Greek Mathematicians to the knowledge of the
solar system, or the Universe as it was understood then. The time
line covered is 600 B.C. to 150 A.D., with repercussions extending to
1543 A.D. This paper will introduce the events,
people and places that shaped this time period. It will also
introduce less familiar names as well as those well known.
Pythagoras, 530 to 479 B.C.
Pythagoras, the mathematician of triangle fame (C2=A2+B2 ),
taught a universe in which the moon, sun, and planets rotated
around a fixed spherical earth. Privately to his disciples,
however, he espoused a heliocentric universe with the sun at the
center. Students of this persuasion were called Pythagoreans and would
later include Philolaus and Aristarchus.
Philolaus, 480 B. C. to 410 B.C.
Philolaus conceived of a spherical counter weighted Earth in motion
around a central cosmic fire along with an off-centered
Sun. The Earth revolved around the central fire once a day,
the Moon once a month, and the Sun once a year. The other planets took
even longer periods to orbit around the fire, while the sphere of the
stars was stationary. One modern idea introduced here was that the
Earth rotated on its axis.
Aristarcus 310 to 230 B.C
Born on the Greek island of Samos, Aristarcus was perhaps the
most important mathematician of this time, not only in what he did, but
in the effects it would have on future cosmology. At a time
when the earth was a massive immovable object, Aristarchus
perceived that, like the sun and moon above, the earth was also a
sphere. In addition, and without benefit of any scientific
instruments, he crudely measured and calculated the sizes and distances
of the sun and moon (with great inaccuracy) to each other. But
his geometry was brilliant in a day when sine functions had not yet
been invented. To make these measurements, Aristarchus developed the
Lunar Dichotomy method and the Eclipse method. The Eclipse method later
became used to determine celestial distances up until the seventeenth
century. His work was published under the title, “On the Sizes and
Distances of the Sun and Moon” and is the only surviving work of
Aristarchus. The accuracy of both methods was later improved when
Eratosthenes (276-197B. C.
first measured the earth’s polar circumference with great precision and
also, when Hipparchus (160 B.C.-100
remeasured Aristarchus’s distances of the sun and
moon by inventing and using spherical trigonometry. In any case, Ptolemy,
the Prince of Astronomers,
(80 – 150 A.D.)
had the final
word, establishing the Ptolemaic Universe which bears his name, replete
with deferents and epicycles.
A serendipitous event occurred when Aristarchus conceived of and
published a paper on his Heliocentric Universe. While no traces
of the original paper remain, it is nevertheless regarded by Sir Thomas
Heath and other scholars as almost certainly the paper from which
Copernicus in 1543 formulated his “De
“ (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies).
Many peers of Aristarchus had studied his book and criticized it
unfavorably. A younger Archimedes
“Aristarchus brought out a book consisting of certain hypotheses. . .
His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the sun remain unmoved, and
that the Earth revolves about the sun in the circumference of a circle,
the sun lying in the middle of the orbit.” Plutarch
felt Aristarchus should be
indicted for impiety! In one of Copernicus’s early drafts
of Orbium Coelestium, are references made by Copernicus himself, to the
heliocentric systems of Philolaus and Aristarchus. These
references were scratched out in later drafts.
But now the genie is out of the bottle and as the Dark Ages descend on
Europe, another 1400 years would pass before a dying Copernicus
resurrects the heliocentric universe that will now bear his name.
In pursuing this history, an awareness arises that the enemy was not
the church, as some believe, but the people themselves who refused to
live on a spinning Yo Yo! Now with Gallileo, Kepler, and
eventually Newton on hand, Orbium
would finally become a Best Seller.
Sun and Moon Data for February 2005 Tuckahoe MD
38.98°N 75.93°W 5hrW Standard Time Astronomical Twilight
Date Twi. Rise Transit Set Twi. Rise Transit Set %
2/1/2005 5:39a 7:10a 12:17p 5:25p 6:57p ***** 5:15a 10:38a 56
2/2/2005 5:38a 7:09a 12:17p 5:26p 6:58p 12:51a 6:03a 11:07a 46
2/3/2005 5:37a 7:08a 12:18p 5:28p 6:59p 2:03a 6:56a 11:43a 35
2/4/2005 5:36a 7:07a 12:18p 5:29p 7:00p 3:17a 7:55a 12:29p 24
2/5/2005 5:35a 7:06a 12:18p 5:30p 7:01p 4:29a 8:59a 1:27p 15
2/6/2005 5:34a 7:05a 12:18p 5:31p 7:02p 5:35a 10:05a 2:38p 8
2/7/2005 5:34a 7:04a 12:18p 5:32p 7:03p 6:30a 11:10a 3:57p 2
2/8/2005 5:33a 7:03a 12:18p 5:33p 7:04p 7:14a 12:12p 5:18p 0
2/9/2005 5:32a 7:02a 12:18p 5:34p 7:05p 7:50a 1:08p 6:36p 1
2/10/2005 5:31a 7:01a 12:18p 5:36p 7:06p 8:20a 2:00p 7:51p 5
2/11/2005 5:30a 7:00a 12:18p 5:37p 7:07p 8:46a 2:49p 9:03p 11
2/12/2005 5:29a 6:58a 12:18p 5:38p 7:08p 9:10a 3:35p 10:12p 18
2/13/2005 5:28a 6:57a 12:18p 5:39p 7:09p 9:34a 4:21p 11:19p 27
2/14/2005 5:27a 6:56a 12:18p 5:40p 7:10p 10:00a 5:07p ***** 37
2/15/2005 5:25a 6:55a 12:18p 5:41p 7:11p 10:29a 5:55p 12:25a 47
2/16/2005 5:24a 6:54a 12:18p 5:42p 7:12p 11:02a 6:44p 1:30a 57
2/17/2005 5:23a 6:52a 12:18p 5:44p 7:13p 11:42a 7:34p 2:33a 66
2/18/2005 5:22a 6:51a 12:18p 5:45p 7:14p 12:27p 8:26p 3:31a 75
2/19/2005 5:21a 6:50a 12:18p 5:46p 7:15p 1:20p 9:17p 4:24a 82
2/20/2005 5:19a 6:48a 12:17p 5:47p 7:16p 2:18p 10:07p 5:09a 89
2/21/2005 5:18a 6:47a 12:17p 5:48p 7:17p 3:19p 10:54p 5:48a 94
2/22/2005 5:17a 6:46a 12:17p 5:49p 7:18p 4:22p 11:40p 6:20a 98
2/23/2005 5:16a 6:44a 12:17p 5:50p 7:19p 5:24p ***** 6:48a 100
2/24/2005 5:14a 6:43a 12:17p 5:51p 7:20p 6:26p 12:24a 7:12a 100
2/25/2005 5:13a 6:42a 12:17p 5:52p 7:21p 7:28p 1:06a 7:35a 98
2/26/2005 5:12a 6:40a 12:17p 5:53p 7:22p 8:31p 1:47a 7:56a 94
2/27/2005 5:10a 6:39a 12:16p 5:54p 7:23p 9:35p 2:30a 8:18a 88
2/28/2005 5:09a 6:37a 12:16p 5:56p 7:24p 10:43p 3:13a 8:42a 81
for February: An Animated Sky
as the sun will rise tomorrow” asserts absolute certainty. The planets
wander the ecliptic, and we need a star wheel to determine what
are visible. It’s no surprise then to even the casual star gazer that
sky is in constant motion. Although these movements are very slow by
time scales, photography can be used to speed things up. While taking a
proper series of photos requires a little planning, displaying it is
The widely used Graphics
Interchange Format supports animation of image sequences, and
programs permit you to assemble an animated
GIF with a minimum of effort.
I used Jasc
Animation Shop 3.10 and Ulead
GIF Animator 5.05. Both allow you to import images in various
and assemble them in to a single animation file with specified
timings and loopings, and text and transition effects. Because multiple
images are incorporated in each animated image, file sizes are
larger than any of the originals although compression can be used to
To explore the
of a newly purchased digital videocam (Canon ZR-65), I mounted it on a
steady tripod and took several trial, still images of a rising
gibbous moon. After struggling to keep the moon in a narrow field
view, I set the moon in the lower left corner, I let the earth's
do the work, snapping an image about every 30 seconds.
The November 7th
another opportunity. Using an Olympus 3020 camera that I'd
used previously for the northern lights, I shot about 20, 16-second
exposures of the northern sky at irregular intervals. So while this
image doesn't represent a true time series, it does capture the varying
greenish glows and reddish pillars I vividly remember from that night.
Looking closely you will see that subtle shades are dithered--a
of the 256 color palette used in this file format.
From that same
already had several frames of the Southern
rising, shot originally to show this magnificent
section of the Milky Way. The fact that these combine into an
is simply fortuitous. The "stars" that don't move between frames are
noise from the relatively long exposures used. And just recently, the
and planets were in conjunction
in the morning
twilight. Rather than showing the Moon, Venus and Jupiter rising
Red Mill Pond, what if I took photos
days and aligned them to show their relative motion. Now that would
be an interesting image!
To capture the
sky in motion,
all that's needed is a steady tripod, a camera and the ability to count
to ten or fifteen. A little forethought helps, but clearly it is not
Little wonder then that animated images are widely used on the web to
motion and change in the sky and across the universe. Some great
can be found on the Astronomy
Picture of the Day web site.
browser to the
online version to see the animations. Jerry Truitt’s lunar eclipse
presented at the November 2004 club meeting provided the inspiration
this edition. Moondark is written by Doug
Miller, published at the Moondark
web site, and printed in the Delmarva
Star Gazers' Star
Gazer News. This document was last revised on 31 December 2004.
Text and images copyright © 2005 by Douglas C. Miller, All Rights
Reserved. This material may not be reproduced in any form without prior
in an afternoon sky
auroral glows and rays
the South Celestial Pole
the Moon rise behind high cirrus clouds