December 2000

ACT, Inc. has been meeting continuously since 1937 and was incorporated in 1986. It is a nonprofit; tax deductible organization dedicated to promoting, to the public, the art of viewing and the scientific aspect of astronomy.


Astronomy Club of Tulsa Meeting


Friday, December 15, 2000 at 7:30 PM


Broken Arrow High Cafeteria

1901 E Albany, Broken Arrow, OK. Located on the corner of East 61st and County Line.

Driving Directions: Take the Broken Arrow Expressway East. Exit at Lynn Lane near the Armory.
Turn Left (North) to the 2nd stop light at Albany also known as 61st St.
Turn Right (East) and go 3/4 mile to BA Football Stadium (Last Entrance on East)
Turn into the campus and follow the signs to the cafeteria in the back of the campus by the greenhouse.


Notes from the President

John Land

Space Artist - Robert Daniels

We have invited Robert Daniels, of Silverwings Studio in Oklahoma City to come demonstrate his Art of the Universe collection. At the meeting he will let us observe as he completes an actual painting envisioning an astronomy vista. Mr. Daniels has done several art demonstrations for schools in the Oklahoma City area. We would like to invite artist, young or old, as well as space enthusiast to come enjoy this experience with us. Daniels will also have some of his collection available for sale. You may find some great ideas for those special Christmas gifts for the astronomer. Several people have seen his demonstration of talent and say it is well worth the time. You won't want to miss this one! You can see some of Robert's Paintings at Win an Astronomy painting. Robert has graciously offered to donate the painting he does to the club. We will give out drawing tickets for donations of $1.00 or more. The winning ticket will take home the painting.

Bring some Christmas snacks!!

The Broken Arrow High School Astronomy Club students will be our host during this meeting. Mr. Daniels wants us to be able to watch as he paints and walk around the work in progress. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to bring some Christmas cookies or snacks to enjoy as we watch, mingle and ask questions. We are asking our members to bring a couple of dozen of their favorite Christmas bite sized food to share. The Club will provide the drinks, you just bring the snacks. We have sent out flyers to the school district and community so we need to have enough for 200. If that many don't show up, HEY that's more for us!! Please call John Land at and leave a message that you will bring some snacks.

New Club Officer Elections: At our November meeting we elected new officers for 2001. They are: President - John Land; Vice Pres - Dennis Mishler, Secretary Teresa Kincannon; Treasurer - Nick Pottorf with Richie Shroff serving as associate treasurer. Board Candidates are Gerry Andries, Aaron Coyner and Steve Chapman. We would also like to welcome Tom McDonough as our new club webmaster and thank Dean Salmon for his years of effort setting up such a great web presence.

Our sympathies and prayers go out to Nick Pottorf in the loss of his wife of 65 years Mary Pottorf. Nick has been our faithful treasurer for 30 years and Mary often accompanied him to club functions giving a warm smile and encouragement to many of us. Mary was a Spanish teacher and patron of the arts for many years in the Tulsa area.

Time to pay your Club DUES. Memberships are $25 per year regular or $15 per year student. You must be actively enrolled in High School or College to qualify for student rate. As a member you will continue to receive our club newsletter and opportunities to participate with us in our activities. You will also receive a free subscription to the Astronomical League's Reflector newsletter and discounts on League materials. Discounts are also available for subscriptions to the two leading Astronomy periodicals. Sky and Telescope is $30 /yr and Astronomy magazine is $29. Don't miss out on the great stories for 2001.  Send your checks to our treasure Nick Pottorf at 3832 S Victor, Tulsa OK 74105.

Astronomy Club Shirts: Aaron Coyner has designed some nice looking astronomy club shirts with our club logo and name embroidered on the front. They are short-sleeved Polo Type collared shirts in a 60/40 blend. He is taking orders for them at $17.00 each.  Contact him at 918.259.8757.   


Christmas Eclipse 2000 - Eclipse Shades™

On Christmas Day 2000 there will be a 40% partial solar eclipse visible from Tulsa and almost all of the USA and Canada. We will be selling Collector Edition Eclipse viewing glasses for only $1.00 each. You may pick up some to help us sell at our club meeting. We have ordered 1000 pair. Each pair of glasses comes with information about the eclipse and safety instructions.

The eclipse glasses will make a great stocking stuffer and provide a family activity after all the presents on Christmas morning. Contact schools and youth groups in your area of town and let them know they are available. You'll be amazed how quickly they sell.

You may order them by mail by sending a: STAMPED SELF ADDRESSED LEGAL SIZED envelope and $1.00 for EACH PAIR of glasses you wish to purchase to: Astronomy Club,  25209 E. 62nd St,  Broken Arrow, OK 74014

NOTE: Up to THREE pair of glasses will fit in an envelope.  If you want more than three pair, include an extra stamped and addressed envelope for multiples of three.

For large quantities contact us at our number or email.  Leave details how to contact you via email or phone day or evening.

Our Phone is 688 - MARS or email < John Land e-mail >

9:38 AM Begin

Altitude 19 deg

Azimuth 140 deg

11:00 AM Maximum

Altitude 27 deg

Azimuth 158 deg

12:30 PM End

Altitude 30 deg

Azimuth 182 deg

Altitude is angle above the horizon and Azimuth is its direction.  North = 0 deg, East = 90 deg, South = 180 deg, West = 270 deg)

John Land has Baader Solar Filter material available for you to make your own filters. 4-inch squares are $3, and 5-inch squares are $5 each. Larger sizes available by request.


Club Meeting Dates for 2001

Meetings will be at TU unless otherwise announced.  Next months club meeting will be Friday, January 12.  For the rest of the year we hope to meet in the FIRST FRIDAY of each month unless a conflict develops.  This will make it easier to plan your schedules. Dates are Feb 2 - Mar 2 - April 6 - May 4 - June 1 - - - July and Aug Club Star Parties TBA.  There will be no formal club observing night in December 2000 due to the Christmas Holidays.



We are getting lots of calls for groups to visit the observatory or for us to come to schools with our telescopes. Most of these groups make generous donations toward the expenses of our observatory. Please contact Gerry Andries and confirm your commitment to help with these events.  Contact - Gerry Andries - Phone or < Gerry Andries e-mail >

The following is the current schedule of star parties and public groups.  All events are at the RMCC unless noted otherwise:

7th Thursday 17:00 Jenks HS Science Club
29th Friday 17:00 Gleenpool Cub Scouts
1st Friday 17:00 Bird Middle School
6th Saturday 17:00 (Backup for 5 January)
27th Saturday    Troop 990
5th Monday ? (At Collinsville)
12th Monday ? (At Collinsville)


By David Stine

"Clouds Cover Leonids; Geminids Coming; Observable Comets;
and How to Catch an Iridium Flare."
Clouds Cover Leonids- The 2000 Leonids proved to be another awesome display for anyone that wasn't cloud covered. Unfortunately this didn't include Tulsa. Several of us members including KC Lobrecht, Chris Brown, and Hugh Selman braved the cold on Thursday night but only saw a few meteors. On Friday night I doubt if anyone saw anything as clouds covered us in. Elsewhere people were greeted with an awesome display with as many as 300/hr were seen. Some of these were fireballs leaving trains for several seconds. North Americans not cloud covered saw the greatest activity at local midnight Friday night while Leo was lying low on the horizon. What they saw were beautiful Earth Grazers, meteors that emerge from below the horizon and streak across the sky displaying colorful halos and long lasting trails stretching 90 degrees or more across the sky. Just an awesome sight. Once again Asher and McNaught were close on their predictions for a third year in a row. I just wish we had better connections with mother nature. What about next year and the future. North Americans are in for a treat for at least the next two years according to early predictions. The performance of this years shower appears to confirm research that predicts the strongest Leonid storms are still coming and only a year away. David Asher is very confident that Leonid storms are coming in 2001 and 2002 with peaks at least 10,000 meteors per hour. In mid-November 2001 Earth will pass almost directly through three dust streams. Observers in the America's, east Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Ocean will be favored and the moon will be nearly new. Here are the early predictions for 2001-2002 shower for Tulsa, mark your calendars: 2001 Nov. 18 4:01a.m. CST 2,500+/hr(E. Asia, Australia, W. Pacific are in for 0,000-30,000 at 12:19p.m. CST) So if 2,500/hr is not enough for you plan your trips to Australia now or wait another year. 2002 Nov. 19 4:36a.m. CST 30,000/hr-TULSA 
Geminids Coming - Now that the Leonids have come and gone whats next. One of the most reliable meteor showers comes in December. The Geminid shower seems to never disappoint with anywhere to 1 to 3 meteors per minute. The best time to watch of course will be the early morning hours before dawn on the 14th of December, however the late evening hours of the 13th should produce a decent show. 
Observable Comets - Can you believe it----Remember the awesome Comet Hale Bopp that graced our skies as a naked eye comet for almost a year in 1997, well if you were in the Southern Hemisphere you could still see it as a MG. 14 object. However even those observers will not be able to see it anymore as it fades and is lost visually by the end of the year.  There are presently 15 comets that are within reach of amatuer's, however only one is expected to reach MG. 7. C/1999 T1(McNaught-Hartley) should be visible by the start of 2001 for the Northern Hemisphere. It should remain about 6.5-7th MG. from the first of January to March. It will move through Libra starting Dec. 27 to Serpens Caput by the end of January. Time for viewing will be 3a.m.-dawn. By the start of February it will have moved into Hercules and be viewable by 2a.m. By March it will be between Hercules and Vega. It will fade rapidly afterward. Recent Mg. of this comet have been reported to be around 8th Mg. which is a Mg. fainter than first predicted. I will have more on this comet as it developes in future issues. 
How to Catch an Iridium Flare- Now that it looks like the iridium satellites have been saved and will continue to operate, we can again be assured of seeing their awesome flares off and on. Recently I viewed an enormous -8MG. flare just above Cassiopeia. If you have never witnessed a flare you are in for a treat. First of all you ask what is an Iridium flare? When the Sun's light hits one of these reflective surfaces of the satellite its like taking a mirror and reflecting a light off of it. Depending on the angle of the reflection and location of the satellite over your locality will determine how bright the reflection will be. There is a website called Heavens Above that will calculate when these flares will occur over you if you know your longitude and latitude. Then all you have to do is park it in your favorites and go to it anytime for your flare predictions. This site also will predict when other satellites pass over you including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. I send out alerts to those members who are in my e-mail list when a -8Mg. flare is to occur, which I call Monster Flare Alert . You can be added if you will e-mail me at < David Stine e-mail >. No comuputer, just give me your phone number. My alerts are for my location, so the closer you can calculate your location the more accurate the flare mg. is going to be. It can vary several mg. within 15-30 miles. You can also go to the Astronomy Club of Tulsa website,, then go to ASTRONOMY LINKS which takes you to a list of website topics. Go to ASTRONOMY INFORMATION and find GSOC Satellite Visibility and it takes you to Heavens Above. Now you just follow directions. The site also has a wealth of information concerning Astronomy. Flare predictions are for 24 hrs, 7 days, and even daylight flares. You can also go back to the Astronomy Information and find the website Iridium Flares and it will take you to more information concerning iridium flares in general. This can become a real habit after you see a flare. Its fun telling people that a brighter than any planet or star flare is going to happen at a certain minute in the sky and point to the location. Most responses are Yeah Right! But when it happens they can't believe their eyes. Try it on your neighbors some time. Try and catch one and you will see what I mean. Good Luck. 
That's about it for this months corner. One last thing, don't forget about the 40% Solar Eclipse over Tulsa on Christmas Day at Noon. See you next month.  


Astronomy Club of Tulsa, 918.688.MARS

President: John Land

Vice President: Dennis Mishler

Secretary: Teresa Kincannon

Treasurer: Nick Pottorf

RMCC Observatory Manager: Gerry Andries

Observing Chairman: David Stine

Web Master: Tom McDonough

New Membership: Dennis Mishler

Librarian: Ed Reinhart

Education Coordinator: Scott Parker