By David Stine
New Club Observing List, Review on Astronomy Software programs,
Messier Marathon 2004, and Comet Linear T-7."
I was browsing through the Astronomical Leagues Observing Clubs
Certificate Awardees list and noticed several members from the
club. I think these individuals should be noted and would like
to list their names here. I am sure everyone knows about the
Messier Club but that is just one of the many different clubs a
person can get involved with and earn a certificate. This list
is of March 2002, so there may be some names and clubs that get
omitted if they received their certificates after that date,
mainly Messier awardees. If you have earned a certificate
recently please let me know and I will recognize you in a later
Astro Corner. Who do you think was the first person in the club
to receive their Messier Certificate? Don't cheat and look at
the list, hint-produces our website.
Astronomy Club Members - Past and Present.
Pecular Galaxy Club
# 21V KC Lobrecht
#15 Rod Gallagher
#145 Michael Hann
#528 KC Lobrecht
#543 Rod Gallagher
#16 KC Lobrecht
#39 Gary Buckmaster
Sky Binocular No Club Members yet!
#159 Rod Gallagher
#186 KC Lobrecht
#206 Tom McDonough
Orbiting Satellite No Club Members yet!
Groups & Clusters No Club Members yet!
#143 KC Lobrecht
#10 KC Lobrecht
#145 David Stine
#307 Rod Gallagher
#317 KC Lobrecht
- Ten Observing Clubs Accomplished
#17 KC Lobrecht
# 308 Tom McDonough
# 373 John Land
# 421 Steven Cohenor
# 422 Jere Iwata
# 423 Dale Lightfoot
# 581 Dennis Mishler
# 962 Don Cole
#1223 KC Lobrecht
#1399 Lynda Jones
#1443 Scott Parker
#1800 Phillip Jones
#2088 Brad Young
#2092 Gary Buckmaster
Club - No club members yet!
Skys Binocular Club - No club members yet!
# 69 Gary Buckmaster
# 47 Brad Young
Club - No club members yet!
if I left off someone let me know and I will recognize you at a
later time. Congratulations to all. Members that are either
working on observing clubs or have finished and are awaiting
confirmation of their certificate are:
Gallagher - Arp Galaxy Club and Urban Club
are two new observing clubs that have been recently established
the Sky Puppies Club, mainly for young astronomers and
Constellation Hunter Club. The Constellation Club is one that we
all can start working on. You have to make naked eye
observations of all the constellations in the Northern
Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere and sketch each. Go for it KC,
Brad, Gary, and Rod.
get all the information on any of the clubs and what you have to
do to get a certificate at the Astronomical League website www.astroleague.org.
Observing Chairman of the Astronomy Club of Tulsa, I have
developed two observing clubs for our members, a summer/fall
club and just recently a winter/spring club. When you achieve
the objectives of each club you will also receive a special
designed certificate. Three club members have achieved the
Summer/Fall certificate: Certificate #1 Brad Young #2-Rod
Gallagher #3- KC Lobrecht. I plan to have a nice log and picture
description for the Winter/Spring club soon. For now here is the
list and information for you to get started on:
Trianguli RA-02h 12m DEC +30 18' Mg. 5.3/6.9 Stunning
color-contrasted double star-Primary yellow star and secondary
pale blue. Must see both.
Gamma Andromedae RA 02h 04m DEC +42 20' Mg. 2.3/5.5 Almach-One
of the best double stars for small telescopes. Primary golden
star and secondary greenish blue.
1365 RA 03h 34m DEC -36 08' Mg. 10.3 Best example of a barred
spiral galaxy and is known as the Great Barred Spiral. Easily
found in a 4-inch scope.
den Bergh 23 RA 03h 47m DEC +24 06' The reflection nebula
embedded in the Pleiades star Alcyone. Must see the nebula not
1435 RA 03h 46m DEC +23 47' The reflection nebula embedded in
the Pleiades star Merope and known as Tempels Nebula. Must see
the nebula not just Merope.
1952/M-1 RA 05h 35m DEC +22 01' Mg. 8.4 Famous Crab Nebula -
Supernova remnant of explosion of star witnessed by Chinese
astronomers in 1054.
2099/M-37 RA 05h 32m DEC +32 32' MG. 6.2 The best open star
cluster in Auriga, contains about 170 bright stars.
1499 RA 04h 03m DEC +36 25' California Nebula -Best seen with
nebula filter, low power and wide field eyepiece.
Trapezium in Orion RA 05h 35m DEC -05 23' MG. 7.9 Four young
bright hot stars at Mg. 5.1,6.7,6.7, and 8.0. embedded in Orion
nebula. Must see at least the 4 major stars. It takes at least a
15-inch scope to see the additional 11-16 stars that are
embedded in the nebula. List any above the four you see.
Fish Mouth RA 05h 35m DEC -05 17' Dark patch lying between
Orion Triple Nebula NGC1973, NGC 1975, NGC 1977 Glowing Triangle
of nebulosity consisting of three separate emission/reflection
nebulas that appear to be connected. Must be able to distinguish
between the three.
Epsilon Monocerotis RA 06h 24m DEC +04 36' MG. 4.5 Triple Star
system of yellow white to bluish white components. Must see all
Rosette Nebula NGC 2237/Star Cluster NGC 2244 RA 06h 30m DEC +05
03' Emission nebula very large with a star cluster embedded.
Must see both and describe.
2264 RA 06h 41m DEC +09 54' Christmas Tree Star Cluster - Star
cluster and nebula resembling its name. Cone Nebula, a black
nebula intrudes into the southern end.
2362 RA 07h 19m DEC -24 57' MG 4.1 Tightly packed star cluster,
one of the real gems of the sky for all scopes. The star 30 Tau
Canis Majoris lies at the heart and seems to jump when viewed
for a long time hence its name Mexican Jumping Star.
2440 RA 07h 42m DEC -18 13' Mg. 11.5 Planetary Nebula in Puppis.
Look for its bluish color.
2438 RA 07h 42m DEC -14 44' Mg. 11.5 Planetary Nebula in M46
2360 RA 07h 18m DEC -15 39' Mg 7.2 Spilt Table Salt Star Cluster
- Visible in binoculars, star cluster of 80 dim stars, resembles
crystals of spilt table salt thus its name.
WASAT - 55 Delta Gemini RA 07h 20m DEC +21 59' Mg. 8.2 White
star with red dwarf companion
2392 RA 07h 30m DEC +20 03' Mg. 8.3 Eskimo or Clown Nebula.
Bright planetary nebula resembles clown or Eskimo face.
2682/M67 RA 08h 51m DEC +11 48' Mg. 7.5 One of the oldest star
clusters 4-5 billion years old. Some 500 stars.
Leonis RA 09h 48m DEC +11 26' Mg. 4.4 Red Giant Mira Type
variable star, one of the earliest discovered
M65,M66,NGC3628 - The Leo Triplet Three galaxys within a
telescopes view in Leo, must see all three and describe.
3031/M81 and NGC 3034/M82 Fine double contrasting galaxies in
low power view of scope in Ursa Major.
4647, NGC4621/M59, NGC 4649/M60 All in a low power view. Three
galaxys in Virgo. M60 one of the largest elliptical galaxies
known, amazing 1 trillion suns.
4567 and NGC 4568 RA 12h 37m DEC +11 14' Mg. 11.7 Two
interacting galaxys in Virgo that seem attached thus their name
3C273/Clark 331 RA 12h 29m DEC +02 02' Mg. 12.8 Brightest known
Quasar and most distant object visible in an 8-inch scope, 2 and
a half degrees southeast of M61.
4594/M104 RA 12h 40m DEC -11 37' Mg. 8.8 Sombrero Galaxy easily
visible in a 3-inch scope. In larger scopes the tightly coiled
spiral arms and dark lane resemble its name of the famous
4361 RA 12h 25m DEC -18 46' Mg. 11 Planetary Nebula in Corvus.
4038, NGC 4039 RA 12h 02m Dec -18 52' Mg. 10.9 The Ring-Tail
Galaxy-Two interacting galaxies
Must observe one comet or asteroid
Must observe 3 hours of meteors and log each with mg., shower
member, time and description(color, train, etc.)
Must observe 3 planets and describe or sketch what you see.
Must observe 1 iridium flare, estimate its brightness, location
in the sky and time.
Must observe ISS pass or other satellite, time its passage, mag.
estimate and if not ISS name the satellite.
and log everything and turn in your observations to a club
officer or me. As I said I hope to have available the official
manual soon. Rod Gallagher has designed a nice observing log
that will be available in the manual. Speaking of Rod, he has
some very good points to make concerning purchasing planetarium
programs. I have had several request and enquiries into what the
best software is to buy. Rod has some very good suggestions:
First you need to determine if you only want the brighter stars
and major objects or if you are a serious observer you will want
the fainter stars and unlimited objects. This is one of the
major differences between the less expensive programs and the
more expensive ones.
2. Am I
going to use this program for planning purposes before I observe
or will I use this program as I observe. Printout of charts vs.
on screen display is also a consideration. Many programs have a
great visual display but their chart printing leaves a lot to be
3. Am I
going to use this program to control a computer controlled
telescope or is it only going to be used for manual operation?
Again, some programs are better in this regard than others.
I ever want to observe dynamically changing objects such as
comets, asteroids, or satellites? Some programs are easily
updated with information from the Internet, some programs are
difficult to update or do not have this capability.
are some very good programs that I am aware of for your
in 3 versions: Enthusiast, Pro, and Pro Plus. For a comparison,
look here: http://www.starrynight.com/support/product_comparison/
The main difference is Enthusiast contains fewer stars, deep
space objects and will not control telescopes. I have Starry
Night Pro 3.1 and find that it is a good program for planning
and has a good user interface that is easily learned. It does
not easily support the automatic downloads of many objects
(asteroids) and is not very useful for advanced observations.
However, I recommend this program to a beginning to intermediate
observer. You used to be able to download a 15 day trial version
from their website for evaluation purposes. You might want to
check this out.
in 4 versions, I,II,III and IV. For a comparison look here: http://www.bisque.com/Products/TheSky/TheSkyDetails.asp.
Again the lower version contains fewer stars and objects. I have
TheSky Version 5, Level IV. I really use this program more than
any other because of its advanced features and program
integration with CCD and telescope controls. With the software
suite from Software Bisque you can automate many observing
programs (asteroid searches, supernova searches, etc.). It has a
large database available of celestial objects and is easily
updated with dynamic objects (asteroids, comets, etc.) from the
web. It is not as user friendly as Starry Night, but can do many
more things. I would highly recommend this program for the
I do not have this program, it has been highly recommended by
many people on the web. And the price is right, it's FREE. You
might want to check it out. http://www.Stargazing.net/astropc/
also like to throw in my two cents with Rods review and add
another good program for Comet Observation is MegaStar, a
windows based star chart/comet plotter. This program will allow
you to plot the correct size of the comet based on recent coma
diameter estimates, determine magnitude parameters, plot the
expected direction of the ion tail, update the most recent
orbital elements directly through the internet and determine the
visibility of a comet near the horizon in various instruments.
This is a big plus as most comets are near the horizon as they
become brighter. More information on MegaStar can be obtained at
everyone can go out and buy their program that will work for
them. Thanks Rod for the information.
Astronomy Club has announced the dates of this years Messier
Marathon for Saturday night March 20 and Sunday morning the
21st. This is always a highlight event for the year and is
attended by many Astronomy Club of Tulsa members. Each year
hosts Ron and Maura Wood open up their residence and wide open
spaces to anyone wanting to try their luck at seeing all 110
Messier objects from dusk to dawn. It is a great experience for
all that attends. This year is an added bonus as all nine
planets may be visible during the session, so an added Planet
Marathon will be added. During the first marathon back in the
90's, I found 97 objects and Ron claimed me as the Messier
Marathon winner. Now it has become a tradition for whoever finds
the most objects during the marathon to be declared the winner
and have his or her name engraved on the now David Stine Messier
Marathon Award Plaque. Last years winner was Rod Gallagher who
found 104 objects. There is plenty of room to camp out and
facilities to keep you warm when you take breaks during the
night of observing. Bring warm clothes though as it can get very
cold as it did last year, and plenty of snacks for yourself and
everyone. It's only about a 30-45 minute drive from Tulsa
depending on your location. I always get there early to visit
and set up my equipment, so if you meet me at 91st/Memorial at
the Homeland there you are welcome to follow me. We will be
meeting at 3p.m., so be at the Homeland lot no later than 3p.m.
I will have directions and more detail on the event in next
month's newsletter. So mark your calendars for a great evening
of observing March 20. You can also go to the Messier Marathon
and TUVA Club site http://tuvaclub.org/
and read about last years marathon experience at the TUVA
C/2002 T7 (Linear) is reaching near naked eye brightness,
however we don't have too much time left to view the comet as it
gets lower each evening until late March when it will be too
near the horizon to view. As of January 26th the comet was
reported at 7.2 Mg. which is a little brighter than predicted
for this time. In a dark location it is an easy object in 10x50
binoculars, traveling between Pices and Pegasus. It has shown a
smooth and steady rise in brightness. The coma size has averaged
10 minutes in size from reports in January. The tail has
developed nicely and at times sports several tails when imaged.
The comet is now predicted to reach no worse than 1st mg. and
possibly as bright as 0 mg. or brighter in the spring in May.
However at that time it will be in the southern hemisphere and
won't be visible here. During the period between Feb. 5th and
the 10th, it will be passing very near the corner star, Gamma
Pegasus in the square of Pegasus. It will be visible from dusk
till it sets around 10p.m. By the Messier Marathon the comet
will be setting by 7p.m. so it will be a difficult if not
impossible target at that time. After that time it won't be
viewable in the northern hemisphere until the first part of June
where it may still be naked eye at 5.5 Mg. Now is the time to
observe this interesting comet. The internet site of Heavens
Above now has added the comet to their list of objects and you
can get a location chart daily at this site: http://www.heavens-above.com/main.asp?Loc=Tulsa&Lat=36.154&Lng=95.993&TZ=CST.
have not been receiving my Astro Alerts be sure and send me your
e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
it from my corner this month, don't forget to print out the
winter/fall observing list and start observing and to mark your
calendar for March 20 for the Messier Marathon.