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December 2012

Thursday, December 6, 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.

The Star of Bethlehem (DVD)

A possible astronomical explanation for the Star of Bethlehem.
Scholars debate whether the Star of Bethlehem is a legend created by the early christian church or a miracle that marked the advent of Christ.  Is it possible that the star was a real astronomical event?  A DVD produced by Stephen McEveety (The Passion of the Christ) explores the biblical story and historical clues to present a cohesive explanation based on real astronomical signs and events seen in the heavens tied to the biblical story in the Gospel of Matthew.

November is the yearly renewal dues date for all members. 
A prorated dues amount will be asked from those whose renewal anniversary date is a month other than this November.  Ask Treasurer for details and address at or at the meeting.  

Some Observing opportunities this week

Mornings - Mon Nov 26 and Tues Nov 27

Saturn and Venus are less than1 degree apart on the mornings of Nov 26 and 27.   They rise around 4:30 AM and should still be visible until around 6:30 AM   Look for them in the SE sky

  A thin crescent moon passes Saturn on the morning of Dec 10 and  Venus on Dec 11.

 Jupiter rises in the NE about 5:20 PM as the sun sets on the opposite side of the sky.  Jupiter and the Full Moon will rise only 1 degree apart on Weds evening Nov 28th.   As an added bonus look for the tiny dark shadow of its moon Ganymede on the southern limb of Jupiter until about 6:30 PM.   Recent observations report activity in the Northern Cloud belt.  Even a small telescopes will show Jupiter and its four Galilean moons.   Jupiter should be putting on a fine show for observers throughout the winter months.  

Current News from Sky and Telescope
What to Know Before You Buy — November 20, 2012
Christmas is just around the corner and telescopes make the perfect gift. But they come in an overwhelming variety of sizes, shapes, and prices. Find out how to make sense of this embarrassment of riches.

A stunning image from the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals a planetary nebula come back to life.

Making Mini-Oort Clouds — November 19, 2012
A new set of simulations shows that systems with so-called "hot Jupiters" might also have mini-Oort clouds detectable by today's space telescopes, giving astronomers a new potential tool for finding exotic extrasolar systems.

A simulation published in yesterday's Science shows how black holes govern their surroundings. Watch a black hole work its magic in this new video.

A new analysis of crystals in pallasite meteorites suggests that these beautiful objects had a violent birth — but one quite different than scientists had imagined.

Cosmic Web Weeds Dwarf Galaxies — November 13, 2012
Astronomers have discovered an unexpected explanation for why they can only find a small fraction of the satellite galaxies the Milky Way is supposed to have.

Making the Moon Anew — November 9, 2012
One of the solar system's most nagging problems literally stares into the collective faces of planetary scientists on many nights every month. It's the Moon — or, specifically, how it came to exist.

A New Goldilocks Planet — November 9, 2012
Astronomers have found a system of six super-Earths, one of which is at the "Goldilocks" distance for sustaining liquid water. The Sun-like host of the system lies only 40 light-years away.

Explaining Cosmic Butterflies — November 8, 2012
Planetary nebulae, left behind by stars like our Sun, come in chimerical shapes. New observations confirm that many of these shapes may have a common explanation.

Great Red Spot Shrinking — November 7, 2012
Observations by amateur astronomers confirm that Jupiter's gargantuan storm is still tightening its waistline.

Fermi Detects Cosmic Fog — November 6, 2012
An international team has used the disappearance of high-energy photons to narrow in on the origin of the light suffusing the cosmos.

DARPA has announced a new project called SpaceView that is intended to enlist amateur astronomers in providing additional data for tracking space debris.  They will provide hardware in exchange for assistance in gathering the data.  When the scope is not in use for SpaceView, it is available to amateurs.  Some of the information on the SpaceView website at the link below, appeals to individual amateur astronomers, but it seems that this would be an ideal  project for a club like BAS.  In particular, our Skull Creek site might be especially appropriate for such a project.  This might also be something that could make a good collaboration with the Astronomy Club of Tulsa.

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.

  • November 13 - Total Solar Eclipse. The path of totality will only be visible in parts of extreme northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse will be visible in most parts of eastern Australia and New Zealand.
    (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

  • November 17, 18 - Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is one of the better meteor showers to observe, producing an average of 40 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower itself has a cyclic peak year every 33 years where hundreds of meteors can be seen each hour. The last of these occurred in 2001. The shower usually peaks on November 17 & 18, but you may see some meteors from November 13 - 20. The crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent show. Look for the shower radiating from the constellation Leo after midnight, and be sure to find a dark location for viewing.

  • November 27 - Conjunction of Venus and Saturn. These two bright planets will be within 1 degree of each other in the morning sky. Look to the east around sunrise.

  • November 28 - 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 14:46 UTC.

  • November 28 - Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Europe, eastern Africa, Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and North America. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

  • December 3 - Jupiter at Opposition. The giant 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 Jupiter and its moons.

  • December 13 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 08:42 UTC.

  • December 13, 14 - Geminids Meteor Shower. Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, the Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak. The peak of the shower usually occurs around December 13 & 14, although some meteors should be visible from December 6 - 19. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Gemini. This year the new moon will guarantee a dark sky for what should be an awesome show. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight from a dark location.

  • December 21 - December Solstice. The December solstice occurs at 11:12 UTC. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the southern hemisphere.

  • December 28 - 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 10:21 UTC.

  • (Source:
  • 2012 BAS Programs

     Month  Program  Presenter
     Jan OKC Astronomy and The Night Sky Network Christian
     Feb Astronomy and Weather George Flickinger
     Mar Stellar Life Cycles Daryl Doughty
     Apr Native American Star/Sky Stories Lynn Moroney
     May Telescope Collimation Arden Strycker
     Jun Informal Meeting
    Jul Solar Eclipse and Venus Transit Results Rick Bryant
     Aug Building a Telescope Fred Frey
     Sept Digital Image Processing Bob Young
     Oct Nucleosynthesis: The Universe as a Chemical Factory  Virgil Reese
     Nov What You See Is Not Necessarily What You Get Daryl Doughty
     Dec The Star of Bethlehem (DVD) Daryl Doughty

    Next Meeting

    January 4,  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:


    Daryl Doughty

    Vice President

    Program Chair

    Steve Plank

    Arden Strycker

    Information Officer (Newsletter)

    Mike Woods


    Vicky Travaglini

    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

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