Pegasus Logo


Volume XXV Number III

May/June 1997


Thursday May 8

7:30 at the Reading Public Museum - Tonight Bart Fried, member of the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers and the Antique Telescope Society, will deliver a program on The History of the Telescope According to Bart! This will be a fun talk about some of the unusual aspects of the development of the telescope and it's relationship to astronomical discovery.

Thursday June 12

7:30 at the Reading Public Museum - We read about them, see their glistening domes in the astronomy magazines, and glory in their discoveries. But how many of us have personally been to the Yerkes, Lowell, Lick and Kitt Peak observatories, among others? Tonight, Mike Tucker, member of the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society, and current President of the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers will take us on a tour of Astro Places.

Thursday June 26

Deadline: July/August Pegasus

Pegasus is a bimonthly publication of the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society. Editor/Desktop Publisher: John Dethoff. Regular contributors: Priscilla Andrews, Linda Sensenig & Dave Brown. E-mail submissions may be made to:

Special Events and Star Watches

You might note, that in comparison to the last issue of Pegasus, this observing schedule looks rather light! Well, light does have something to do with it! With daylight savings time, the sky stays bright so late into the evening, that any kind of organized or public event would start too darn late! Anyway, our active members have been so occupied with our myriad comet events, that we could use a lighter schedule for a while!
- Priscilla Saturday, May 10 - dusk - Star Watch at the Heritage Center north of Reading on Rt. 183. This will be our second year of cooperating with the Berks County Department of Parks & Recreation. We had a wonderful turn-out last year for both spring & fall events. According to the inquiries coming in already at the Parks Department, we should have a good crowd! Come with your scope, binoculars, or just with a friend, and be part of one of the most rewarding of our public telescope events. Call the hotline 921-0173 after 5 o'clock if the sky looks uncooperative. Paul will have an updated Go or No Go message. Think Clear! Friday-Sunday, June 6-8 - Mason Dixon Star Party - at the Spring Valley County Park in York. For more information contact Jeri Jones, York County Parks, 400 Mundis Race Rd., York, PA 17402, (717-840-7226), Several of our BCAAS members attend this three day fun observing event each year. If you are flirting with the idea of attending your first full blown, camp-out star party, you might talk with Lloyd Adam, Mike Bashore, Dave Brown, Paul Becker, or Barry Shupp for tips on what to bring and how to get there!

We Bid Comet Hale-Bopp a respectful Good-bye

What do RACC and BCAAS have in common? Besides two double capitals in their title, the Reading Area Community College and Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society have Michel Ramsey! As another Pegasus goes to press, it is too early to report on the RACC/BCAAS observing nite, May 2nd, but if Michel has anything to say about it, it should be the biggest event ever in the history of our club!
Michel's mission for the last few weeks has been to advertise this event in every media known to the civilized world! Radio, TV, newspapers (public and collegiate), hundreds of flyers, dozens of letters, whew! If Nubecula (the Cloud God) ever looks kindly on an event of mortal humanity, may it be this one!
George Babel has kindly agreed to present his Constellations program at 7:00 p.m. We will hope for a clear night to show, maybe for the last time, the spectacle of Comet Hale-Bopp to hundreds of Berks Countians. Georg's program was so well reviewed by our students this winter at Boscov's, that it should be the perfect prelude for a night of observing. Check our next Pegasus for the report!

Planetarium Show

Saturday evening, April 12, at the Planetarium was our last scheduled public event that would give the public a good view of Hale Bopp, so of course it rained. We didn't expect much more than about a dozen people to show up, because it was obvious that we weren't going to be able to show the public anything outside. The only drawing card was the Planetarium show "Comets are Coming". We still had about seven members show up, and it's a good thing that we did, because that place was packed! It was standing room only in the chamber for the show! Mark almost had to run a second show. We sold over $80 worth of raffle tickets! In addition to the raffle, people could look at our comet pictures, even if they wouldn't look at the Comet. There is definitely a great thirst for knowledge of the night sky in this area. Thanks to all the members who decided that even though it was raining, they would come anyway. - Linda Sensenig

From the President's Desk

by Priscilla Andrews

Letter from the Reading Public Museum/Planetarium

I received a letter from Mike Feyers of the Reading Public Planetarium and wanted to share it with you. Our Fairgrounds Mall Museum Day was a smashing success, with dozens of community contacts, and the earning of almost $200 for our treasury!. Thanks to Paul Becker and right hand man, Lloyd Adam, for engineering a fabulous display of Plexiglas "sandwich boards", filled with BCAAS Comet photos, and interesting information about the club. Around 14 club members helped with the telescope raffle and public outreach. Thank you everybody!
Following is an excerpt:


     I am writing to thank the members of the BCAAS for their participation in this year's Museum Day at the Fairgrounds Square Mall.
    It is gratifying to know that the Museum is supported by so many dedicated individuals. I look forward to your continued support. Please express my appreciation to everyone who participated. I could not have done it without them.

          Mike Feyers
          Science Curator
          Reading Public Museum/Planetarium

(P.S. Note from Priscilla…I received this before our April 12th Comet evening at the Planetarium which was a smash success. Standing room only. I can only think of the numbers of people had it been clear that night! I am sure this expression of thanks from Mike extends to our efforts that night too.)

Comet Events: Daytime success!

Five out of five. What are the chances? Five out of five. Cloudy, hazy, drizzly, rainy, and cloudy. How could nature be so cruel as to give us the brightest comet in decades, and yet keep our public events under a shroud of sky cover?
Fortunately, our volunteer people power, dazzling displays, yummy baked goods, and telescope raffle kept us busy and in the public eye. There are so many people to thank for their efforts. Linda for heading the bakesale, Keith Minnich & Dave Brown for media plugs ranging from radio to newspaper coverage! Paul Becker gets a free cruise to the Bahamas for his meritorious management of our "stuff" — display boards, T-shirts, tables, brochures, and our "Big Boy" club scope.
In total, we earned $400 in sales from baked goods, donations, and mostly our telescope raffle. Thank you, again, Pocono Mountain Optics for the 3" Meade refractor! We made one little girl very happy!
Of particular note, was the high quality of club member's Comet Hale-Bopp photographs! Our rank of astrophotographers has grown to a hefty size with the apparition of this latest comet. Karl Kuehn, Bob Capone, Paul Becker, Dave Brown, John Dethoff, Donna Weinsteiger, Barry Shupp, Betty Perry, & Lloyd Adam contributed to a gallery of first-rate images. Many of these are truly worthy of a Sky & Telescope cover. I suggest that you send them in, and maybe one day they will be!
Candi Haas-Simmons once again captured the magnificent details of the spiraling envelopes in the comet's head, and the trailing jets with her chalk-on-black artistry. Another member worthy of note in a national publication!
Thank you everyone for every job, small or large, that you contributed to not only BCAAS, but to the world in general. For everytime we inspire someone, young or old, to look up we have helped one more person to see beyond their everyday lives into the cosmos. Kudos!

Science Fair Fare

Thank you, Mike Bashore, for taking care of all of the details for our contribution to the 45th Reading-Berks Science & Engineering Fair at Albright College. He designed the gorgeous certificates and compiled attractive award packets for our six winners.
In the evening, I attended the Awards Ceremony to congratulate our winners. It was uncanny, because exactly one year ago, I snagged the microphone to tell the wall-to-wall crowd about Comet Hyakutake And there I was again, same time, same place, different Comet! Mr. Frank Herron, Fair Director, was less reluctant this year to share the stage, since I proved to him last year that I could actually educate the crowd and not make a fool of myself! It was a rewarding feeling to catch 600 Berks Countians, all in a science mood, and tell them where & when to find Hale-Bopp. Now…three is the charm. Next year…same time, same place, another comet?? Pretty please? - Priscilla

Spring Board Meeting

Once again, we're going to try a normal potluck dinner for our Thursday, May 22nd Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m. at Paul Becker's BCAAS Clubhouse, I mean, house. We would rather have you than the food, but if you can, bring along a simple easy side or main dish, hot or cold, your choice.
I cannot emphasis enough that all members of the club are welcome at these meetings. Our board is a "loose" association of concerned members, many without actual "titles" (or for that matter wits). Although we are, as a club, growing in number and stature, we have not outgrown our penchant for being informal & entertaining at meetings. So, please, if you are interested, or even curious, about what goes on in the "boardroom", come to our meeting!

Science Fair

Welcome to this year's Reading/Berks County Science and Engineering Fair Astronomy Award Recipients. This year's winners where given a book entitled Peterson's Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, a Certificate of Achievement in the Science of Astronomy and a one year BCAAS membership for the winner and his or her family. We welcome every member of the family to visit our club events and see what we are about.
The student's displays were very interesting and well developed. Their projects were very neatly constructed and showed that they spent a lot of time and effort constructing and researching their subjects. This year's junior division winners (not in any particular order) are:

Mike Stauffer of Muhlenberg Middle School, sixth grade. His project is titled "Can You Grow Plants on Mars". It was constructed with a motorized bicycle wheel and plants attached to the wheel to simulate gravity.
Katy Zelinske of Governor Mifflin, sixth grade. Her project is titled "Bolide Collide". This project studied the size of craters based on the mass and speed of the projectiles.
Kelly Boone of Muhlenberg High School, eighth grade. Kelly's project is title "The Earth's Star" and is a study of how much our home planet depends on nearest star, the Sun.

This year's senior division winners (not in any particular order) are:

Brian Russ of Holy Name High School. His project was titled "The Development of Life Via Coacervate Simulation". This project was very in depth and a slight bit above this author's mental comprehension, but was very well thought out and very neatly presented.
Emily Wolfe of Exeter Township Jr. High presented an exhibit that aimed to prove that the moon has an elliptical orbit. She did this by observing where the moon rose over an extended length of time and charted and recorded the data that she collected.
Rachel Wilson of Schuylkill Valley High School presented a project entitled "An Analysis of Gravity". This project was well developed and neatly presented.

I hope that the students and their families will continue to learn and enhance their knowledge of the science of Astronomy. Our club members will be more then willing to spread their expertise and help anyone who wishes to learn more about astronomy.

Michael Bashore

Pegasus is a bimonthly publication of the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society. Editor/Desktop Publisher: John Dethoff. Regular contributors: Priscilla Andrews, Linda Sensenig & Dave Brown. E-mail submissions may be made to:




Home Page Club Calendar Pegasus Planets
Links Minutes Members Mythology