The August meeting date had been left open for a trip or some
other discretionary club event, leaving
us with plenty of newsletter space for our current club roster as well
as the No Frills VII Star Party
registration form. Because our “live” July Picnic presentation
of the constellation Scorpius had been
preempted by clouds, it will now be presented at the September
From the President’s Desk.....
August 17, 2002
Hot enuf for you? How hot was it? And DRY!!! Long
live air conditioning. Last time I saw the T-hoe
Mosquito, he was sporting a tan, wearing an Osama hat, and carrying
a canteen. Whither the T-Hoe camel?
I hope you have enjoyed the summer. As Labor Day approaches,
our daylight hours are decreasing
rapidly – 3 to 5 minutes per day; as latitude increases, the rate of
daylight loss increases. Soon we will
notice an “equilibrium” of the hours the sun is above and below the
horizon, ie, the fall equinox. The sun
will rise due east and set due west at fall equinox.
Stellafane - The original star party. Why do people
go? Maybe it is for the weekend of survival training.
Once upon a time the skies were dark and there was some observing to
be enjoyed. There has always been
and still are an abundant supply of rocks, hills, and dust or mud -
depending on the weather. It is just as harsh
as any other place in Vermont. Dave Groski and I attended this
year’s event and we had a great time – good trip
up and back, a good swap meet, and best of all, Dave won first place
in his class for his solar prominence scope. Congratulations, Dave.
Stellafane has been in existence since 1923. As I watched Dave
demonstrate his scope, in front of the
Russell Porter Turret Telescope, I thought of all the talented amateur
astronomers who have journeyed to
Stellafane to present their creation(s) to the amateur community.
If only there could be a time lapsed movie
of all the offerings since 1923… Stellafane is a lot more than
a Pink Clubhouse on Breezy Hill. There seems
to be a magnetism that encourages and pulls us to return. I contemplated
the “who’s who” list of
“important people” who have passed over the rocks in front of the Pink
Clubhouse and realized there must
be an unknown list of people who came before my generation much longer
than any I could produce.
But my list would include Scotty Houston, Clyde Tombaugh, John Dobson,
Richard Berry, Roger Tuthill,
and this year there was Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy.
vid Levy presented the “Shadowgram” – a series of talks made famous
by Scotty Houston during
the time when the Saturday evening talks attendees waited for the “shadows”
to darken so that
slides of the telescope judging could be shown. Levy’s message
traced his own journey from a
summer youth camp (he was 14 years old), where he had seen a bright
meteor that ignited his
interest in astronomy, to his individual search for and discovery of
comets, to the discovery of
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, and finally the witnessing of SL-9 impacting
Jupiter. David has a gift
for telling stories…
There was a question asked about the demographics of the attendees
that caused my mind to
wander again. The question was “What is the earliest year anyone
had attended Stellafane?” I
was shocked to hear, “1947”. All the events, awards, and memories
for the years from 1923 to
1947 have been lost to us “modern” Stellafaners. I would
guess that most of the people
attending modern Stellafanes began making the journey in the late 80’s
thru the 90’s. So, what
becomes of the history? Who were those early people and what
were their ideas, concerns,
Then I thought about Delmarva Star Gazers…if our organization exists
for several more years
and someone asks about the beginning and early years of our group…will
there be a documented
history of what we have accomplished? Will there be a written
history of all the good times we
have had, the rare events we have experienced, the friendships, the
progress? I hope there will
be an excellent record of Delmarva Star Gazers. But, WE, the
current Delmarva Star Gazers, are
responsible for the documenting activities and the time to begin the
task is NOW. If you have a
desire to be part of the effort to collect, assemble, and document
our first ten years please contact
me. There are ten chapters of history waiting to be written.
I look forward to our September meeting – not having an inside meeting
in July and August has
left a void that needs to be filled. During the September meeting
we will review the lineup of
events and activities our organization’s leadership approved August
18th. See you at the Church
September 3rd. Enjoy the remainder of your summer.
The Editor’s Quadrant....
The Planets in September
Mercury Low in the evening twilight, the view of Mercury
gets ever poorer as the month wears on.
While Venus can be seen as an evening star for most of September,
and while it is getting closer and
brighter, it is still too low in the sky for great viewing.
Mars is in conjunction with the Sun and will not be visible
Jupiter viewing time improves in September, rising 4 1/2
hours before the Sun as the month ends.
Saturn also improves as September progresses, rising almost
8 hours before the Sun as the month ends.
As for the remaining planets in September, Uranus is in Aquarius
and Neptune is in Capricornus and
Pluto remains in the southern part of Ophiuchus.
Clear Skies! Frank Sheldon email@example.com
Club Meetings- We meet in the First Presbyterian Church in Smyrna,
DE (653-8000) on the first Tuesday of each month from 7-9 PM. From
US 13, turn west at Wendy's and go one stoplight on Commerce Street;
the church is on the right directly across from the Fire Hall.
Future Meetings...The remaining meeting dates for 2002
will be: September 03, October 08, November 05, December
03. The regular meeting format includes discussion of club activities,
observing highlights and an advertised presentation.
We solicit suggestions for topics and presenters.
Club Observing... Observing is (usually) scheduled for the Friday
nearest the New Moon to maximize the hours of deepnight
without the moon in the sky. Unless otherwise stated,
the monthly observing site will be at the baseball field in the camping
area at Tuckahoe State Park.
The monthly observing days left for the year 2002 will be: September
9, No-Frills VII October 2-6, November 1, and December 6.
The cloud or rain date for the monthly Friday observing will be the following
Saturday, but don't trust the weather man! Go outside and look for
yourself or check the CNN weather link on our web page. If
you still can't decide, Call Don Surles (302) 653-9445 or Lyle Jones (302)
Delmarva Star Gazers Officers for 2002-2003
President.................Don Surles 302 653 9445
Vice President..........Lyle Jones 302 736 9842
Secretary...........Keith Lohmeyer 410 482 6077
Treasurer............Kathy Sheldon 302 422 4695