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April 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Arvest Bank Meeting Room
4225 SE Adams Road

7:00 p.m.

Native American Star Lore and Sky Stories
by Lynn Moroney

Our guest speaker will be Lynn Moroney, of Oklahoma City, who is  a registered member of the Chickasaw Nation and a Native American storyteller.  Lynn has collected many stories relating to stars and the night sky, has collaborated with several organizations in promoting and preserving these stories, and is nationally known for her work as a SkyTeller.

Lynn's presentation will include Native American creation, planet, and constellation stories and a legend about Polaris.  Weather permitting, there may be outdoor stargazing with Lynn after the meeting.

8:30 p.m.   Current Astronomy News
                  Object of the Month
8:45 p.m.   Club Business

Here's the link to the Moon video that Virgil described during the "Astro News" segment at our last meeting.


Astronomers are always waiting for that perfect dark night so they can enjoy an evening of stargazing.  However we often forget that we have a wonderful bright star nearby, the Sun, that we can observe any clear day. The sunspot activity is increasing heading for a peak in early 2013.   Several large sunspots and groups have been visible lately.  Region AR 1429 is large enough to see without magnification if you have a safe solar filter.  This past week this large active region had several flares and has thrown off four large coronal mass ejections.  One of which produced Aurora seen as far south as Kansas!  See


In addition two great MUST SEE solar events are coming up soon.  A partial Solar Eclipse on Sunday afternoon May 20, 2012  and the much anticipated transit of the planet Venus in front of the Sun on Tuesday

June 5, 2012.  And the BIG ONE – A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE – Aug 21, 2017 across NE  Kansas and the central Nebraska !!!

 Solar Filters for the upcoming eclipse and Venus transit.

Be sure to buy the Visual Density material

The instructions for making one are at

John Land, Astronomy Club of Tulsa,


Current News from Sky and Telescope

The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) isn’t fully operational yet, but, it looks like the observatory’s performance is at least as good as that of the Keck scopes atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The LBT is part of the Mt. Graham International Observatory in Arizona and the light-gathering power of a single 11.8-m instrument and the image sharpness of a 22.8-m one.

March Madness on Mercury — March 21, 2012
NASA's Messenger orbiter has been revealing remarkable finds over the last year. Findings have included; strange surface chemistry (almost no iron, but rich in sulfur), its weird magnetic field, the strange pitting inside many of its craters, and hints about how Mercury might have formed. It has a laser altimeter that has revealed that the planet has a broad, pronounced depression encircling its north pole. Mercury's iron core takes up nearly 85% of the planet's diameter.

How Big is the Sun, Really? — March 21, 2012
Utilizing the transit of mercury scientists have improved the accuracy of the diameter of the sun.  865,374 miles (1,392,684 km), plus or minus about 0.01%

WISE's Grand View of the Infrared Sky — March 19, 2012
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) ran out of the frozen hydrogen that kept its detectors cold. But by then the spacecraft had completed its intended mission: to survey the celestial sphere at four thermal-infrared wavelengths with more detail than ever before.

A Potpourri of Lunar Results — March 13, 2012
Continued unknowns include: Geologists aren't sure which came first — the tidal spin-down or the formation of the maria. Some moon rocks are magnetized, but have little iron. Scientists don't know much of the first half billion years of the moon's history.

Now is your chance to participate in an International effort to survey the effects of light pollution on our night skies.   The project is to observe and count the number of stars you can see in the constellation of Orion then pinpoint your location on the world map and enter your results on the world wide web.

Spring is coming soon and the stars are preparing for a grand show.

Mars comes to opposition on March 3

On March 5th Mars is closest to Earth

( but this is not a great year for Mars Since it was farthest from the Sun Aphelion on Feb 15th )

You can see reddish Mars in Leo about a 1/3 of the way up in the east around 9 PM now

Mercury reaches its greatest evening height on March 5th

Venus and Jupiter will be within 5 degrees of each other from March 8 to March 17

Finally Saturn makes opposition on April15th  - so pay your taxes early so you can go observing !

Great weekly sky shows for of all ages

A great weekly online video of things you can see with the naked eye.  These 5 minute video segments feature events that anyone can enjoy by merely going outside and “Looking Up”!  Keep this one on your favorites list -

Skyweek from Sky and Telescope Magazine also presents a variety of astronomical events for the naked eye as well as telescope viewing.

Let’s Go Stargazing

Lots of activities and information for families and novice astronomers.

Courtesy of John Land, Astronomy Club of Tulsa.


  • March 22 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 14:37 UTC.

  • April 6 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 19:19 UTC.

  • April 15 - Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons.

  • April 21 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 07:18 UTC.

  • April 21, 22 - Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids are an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. These meteors can produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The shower usually peaks on April 21 & 22, although some meteors can be visible from April 16 - 25. With no moon to get in the way this year, this really should be a good show. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation of Lyra after midnight.

  • April 28 - Astronomy Day Part 1. Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is "Bringing Astronomy to the People," and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find out about special local events by contacting your local astronomy club or planetarium. You can also find more about Astronomy Day by checking the Web site for the Astronomical League.

  • May 5, 6 - Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Eta Aquarids are a light shower, usually producing about 10 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower's peak usually occurs on May 5 & 6, however viewing should be good on any morning from May 4 - 7. The full moon will probably ruin the show this year, washing out all but the brightest meteors with its glare. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Aquarius. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight, far from city lights.

  • (Source:

  •                             2012 Programs

     Month Program Presenter
    Oklahoma City Astronomy and
    The Night Sky Network
    Christian Bruggeman
    Astronomy and Weather
    George Flickinger
     MarStellar Life Cycles
    Daryl Doughty
     AprNative American Star/Sky StoriesLynn Moroney





    Next Meeting

    April 2, Monday. Bartlesville Public Library Meeting Room (tentative)

    Newsletter Contributions Needed

    Our club newsletter is reaching more people each month, and member contributions in the form of short articles, interesting news items, alerts of upcoming astronomical events or activities, descriptions of personal observations or useful equipment, and observing tips, are encouraged.  Recurring columns or multipart articles are also welcome.  Please submit your contributions to Mike Woods or to .

    Bartlesville Astronomical Society - Membership


    B.A.S. is an organization of people interested in Astronomy and related fields of science.

    The current officers are:


    John Grismore

    Program Chair & Vice President

    Daryl Doughty

    Information Officer (Newsletter)

    Mike Woods


    Vicky Travaglini / Milt Enderlin


    The current board members are:
     Arden Strycker
     Steve Plank
     James Campbell
     Duane Perkins


    Additional club positions:
     Publicity/Newspaper  Carroll Ritchie
     Public Website  John Grismore
     Member Observing Program  Steve Plank & Arden Strycker
     Meeting Room Arrangements  Steve Plank
     On-Line Media  James Campbell

    Membership is open to everyone interested in any aspects of astronomy. 

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