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May 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bartlesville Public Library Meeting Room

6:45 p.m.   Setup and Discussion
7:00 p.m.   Club Business
7:15 p.m.   Current Astronomy News
                    Object of the Month
7:00 p.m.

Is Your Telescope Achieving its Full Potential?

Remember the excitement you felt when you took that maiden voyage into the heavens with your brand new telescope? Remember the disappointment when you looked through someone else’s telescope only to discover the images were so much sharper than yours and you had no clue why? One of the secrets to better images is making sure your telescope is perfectly collimated and that the optics are perfectly aligned. I will explain how to do this in a straightforward manner for reflector telescopes. I will also explore some of the different misalignment errors, mirror aberrations, and other imperfections evident from a simple star test. 


The Sun in April


Facts about the Sun: It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields. It has a diameter of about 1,392,000 km, about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass (about 2×1030 kilograms, 330,000 times that of Earth) accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. Chemically, about three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen, while the rest is mostly helium. The remainder (1.69%, which nonetheless equals 5,628 times the mass of Earth) consists of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon and iron, among others.

Above is a picture of our Sun taken on April 9, 2012 and downloaded from the website.  As you can see, sunspot activity has slowed down over the last few months.  Check out this video assembled from 290 separate images of the Sun taken every two hours during the month of January, 2012 where sunspot activity was much greater: 


Our current sunspot maximum in the 11-year cycle is supposed to occur next year.  We also have two significant solar events occurring over the next two months.  On May 20, 2012 there will be an annular eclipse of the Sun the path of which crosses into the western US.  Albuquerque, NM is directly in the path of maximum coverage which will occur shortly before sunset there.  In an annular eclipse the Moon is far enough away in its orbit about the Earth that its silhouette

won’t cover the entire face of the Sun.  The second major event is the transit of the planet, Venus, across the face of the Sun.  This will occur on June 5, 2012.  Locally, if you have a clear view of the western horizon, the transit will begin about 3 hours before sunset and the Sun will set with Venus about 50% of the way across the face of the Sun.  For those more adventurous people (and slightly more wealthy), you can see the complete transit from the summit of Haleakala volcano on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

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 !!!

The Transit of Venus is coming up Tuesday June 5, 2012.  Here in Midwest it starts about 5:04 PM and is still in progress at sunset.  Sunset in Tulsa is 8:35 PM but will be later in OKC

It will require solar filters and at least filtered binoculars to observe

Since Venus is only 58” wide  - the very limit of angular visibility without magnification.

Here is a link to several valuable information resources from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Including a 2 page card resource, 8 page historical review,  Universe in the Classroom with teacher activities.

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,


Here's a link to an extraordinary NASA video created from Cassini images.

Current News from Sky and Telescope

Interesting to review the original article in S&T ( ). The influence of the moon on causing the increased number of icebergs, in that it was a rare convergence of spring tide and perigean tide. That is that the moon, earth and sun were aligned at the time that the earth was at perihelion (closest approach to the sun). In addition, there was a new moon that night and a calm sea that made the icebergs very difficult to see.

New ALMA Images Stoke Exoplanet Flame — April 10, 2012
The first new science results are out from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. They show exceptional detail of a debris ring around Fomalhaut. 

Since it's launch in March of 2009 Kepler has identified thousands of exoplanets and now its mission has been extended to 2016.

A decade ago, astronomers used big scopes and deep exposures to find dozens of new moonlets around Jupiter and Saturn. But due to orbital uncertainties, locations of 10 Jovian and seven Saturnian satellites are known so poorly that they are effectively lost.

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.

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.

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.


Our club(Tulsa) got a request to find a buyer for a scope that is only 4 months old and hasn’t been used
 Hardship sale situation -  Anyway it’s a highly desirable scope so thought I would let you know about it
If you want to run it in your newsletter / email or whatever.
John Land

For Sale ASTRO-PHYSICS  130mm f 6.3 Starfire EDF – 5.12" aperture with 2.7" Focuser(130EDFGT)
New Scope - still in shipping crate – This is a  highly desirable EDF high resolution refractor for visual and photographic astronomy.   Manufacturer’s website  has a multiyear waiting list for new orders. 
This one can be yours now.  Must sell situation.   Contact Don
  • 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.

  • May 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 03:35 UTC. The Moon will be at its closest point to the Earth, so this will be the largest full moon of the year.

  • May 20 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 23:47 UTC.

  • May 20 - Annular Solar Eclipse. The path of annularity will begin in southern China and move east through Japan, the northern Pacific Ocean, and into the western United States. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout parts of eastern Asia and most of North America. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

  • June 4 - 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 11:12 UTC.

  • June 4 - Partial Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the Americas. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

  • June 5, 6 - Transit of Venus Across the Sun. This extremely rare event will be entirely visible throughout most of eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and Alaska. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunrise throughout Europe, western Asia, and eastern Africa. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunset throughout most of North America, Central America, and western South America. The next transit will not take place until the year 2117. (NASA Transit Information | NASA Transit Map)

  • (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
     MayIs Your Telescope Achieving its Full Potential?




    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. 

    Adult. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $20.00

    Students (through 12th grade) . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $10.00

    Magazine Subscription (reduced rate for members)

    Sky & Telescope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . .  $32.95

    Astronomy Technology Today Magazine. . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . $14.00

    Astronomy Magazine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . $34.00/yr

    If you want to have your email address removed from the Bartlesville Astronomical Society mailing list, please send an email requesting removal to