Volume XXV Number 4

July /August 1999


Upcoming Highlights


July 8, 1999 7:30 P.M.

Reading Public Museum

This evening's program will be about accessorizing your telescope. Dan Davidson and Dave Brown will offer ideas on a host of goodies that can be manufactured at home, such as a cold fusion gener-ator, 5 giga watt laser collimator, and other things that our national security agencies never want known. Seriously, their program may give you an idea on making your scope more user friendly.

August 21, 1999 5:00 P.M.

Dave Brown's

Tis that time of year that we gather at Deer Foot Farm for our annual picnic. Everyone bring a cov-ered dish of your favorite food or dessert for the feast. Remember…no meeting at the museum this month.


In this issue:

1. Renewal notices
Greetings from NEW YORK
Field Trip - George Babel

5. The Prison Crisis at Stellafane
Crisis At Stellafane update
Mythology of the night sky
Astronomy Throughout the Net


Some of you have already told me you are receiving renewal notices for Sky & Telescope or Astronomy. I just received a renewal notice for my subscription to Sky & Telescope and it is stamped "Final Notice." Most of you who subscribe through the club have an expiration date of DECEMBER 1999!

Today, rather than automatically throw it away, I actually opened it up and looked. It appears that the subscription rate has gone up to $29.95. So, I called Sky Publishing to get the scoop. They said not to worry about those renewal notices if your expiration date is the end of the year. They always send renewals out super early. As for the increase, that unfortunately is correct. In fact, if was effective March. So, the new subscription amount for Sky & Telescope is $29.95 (why they couldn’t just make if $30.00 and be kind to treasurers I don’t understand.)

I would like to send the renewal money to Sky Publishing as usual in mid October. However if you have a subscription that expires before the end of the year, you can give me the money at any time and I’ll send it to them. I have not contacted Kalmbach yet for Astronomy since in the past they haven’t even known in September if their cost goes up. I usually end up collecting extra money any-way!

Pegasus is a bimonthly publication of the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society

Editor/Desktop publisher: Bob Capone, Joanne Reigle.

E-Mail submissions may be made to:


I received an e-mail message from Karl and Alicia Kuehn. They have, unfortunately for us, moved to New York. They wish everyone their best wishes. All our on-line people have already been given their new e-mail address. Here is their new snail mail address:

69 Genesee St, Greene NY 13778.

Good luck, Karl and Alicia. We will all miss you.

Field Trip - George Babel

I am beginning to plan another long weekend get away to Spruce Knob, WV. during the dark window of October. If you need photon therapy, let me know so necessary arrangements can be made.

I’d also like to inform the club about a marital status change.

On June 13, 1999, Joanne Reigle and Bob Capone exchanged vows and have been united in holy matrimony.


July 9, 1999 - French Creek State Park

Beginning at dusk we will host a Star Party for campers and friends of Barry Buchard.

Rain date - July 10

August 6 or Rain Date August 7 - Warwick County Park

7:00 P.M.

We have been asked to participate in what could be a very large Star Party hosted by the Chesmont Astronomical Society. The part is located approximately 6 - 7 miles east of Elverson on Rt. 23. The final weather call will be announced on our hot line.

August 13 - Muhlenburg High School

7:00 P.M.

Rain Date August 20 - Muhlenburg High School - 7:00 P.M.

We will be the star attraction at this event . Sorry I couldn't help myself! Six scopes or more are needed to give guided tours of the Cosmos.

August 14 - Hawk Mountain

7:00 P.M.

If Mother Nature gives us clear skies, we will be conducting star tours for the public. The attendance can push above 50 people so a good club turnout is needed to handle the job.

September 4 & 5 - Pulpit Rock

One word is needed to describe this event… "MEGAMEET". Details and times will be posted on our web site. Don't miss this super event that defies the clouds every year.

The Prison Crisis at Stellafane

The following is a letter from the Stellafane club to inform us that the State of Vermont wants to build a prison approximately 3 miles from their main observing field.:

Tuesday night at the Town meeting in Springfield, Vermont several members of the Springfield Telescope Makers spoke on behalf of the endangered Stellafane Observatory, site of the world famous Porter Turret Observatory and the Stellafane Conventions which have been held over the last 75 years.

The townspeople listened with interest and sympathy to the concerns of the Stellafane organizers, who maintain that the proposed prison would still do severe harm to the night sky at a distance of just several miles. Holding streams of e-mail sent by the astronomical community around the world, I read various excerpts from the writings of Stellafane attendees who have patronized the surrounding businesses in Springfield and the rest of Vermont. The distant origins of some of the e-mail gave particular credence to our case, as well as their notability as scientific institutions. In particular, horror stories of other observatories being impaired by distances of 20 or 30 miles pointed up the problem at hand of a prison in the neighborhood of 4 miles from Breezy Hill.

The State Engineer, Jim Richardson, was aghast at the e-mail he received and admitted that he didn't Know what Stellafane was, so he looked it up. He seemed to be quite relieved that it was actually 4 miles instead of 3. He also seemed to think that since Breezy Hill was higher in elevation, that simple geometrical difference would make it all no problem.

We maintain that this makes not enough difference at all. It is TOO CLOSE. I was particularly amazed at how little is understood about the character of diffuse light in the moisture rich air of Vermont. There are still no plans or the facility or how the lights would be arranged. The Town is expected to vote on the prison with that little information.

The petition to Governor Howard Dean of Vermont has been and is still the key feature of this awareness raising exercise. The participation of hundreds of people in the astronomical community in both writing and disseminating the news story has given us a dearly held hope that the people of Town of Springfield will decide to make the prison go away with the power of their vote on Tuesday, June 29th.

We, like the stars, await the verdict.

Maryann Arrien


Springfield Telescope Makers Stellafane

Crisis At Stellafane update

News Update: Tuesday June 29, 1999

The final vote is in. The Town of Springfield has voted to accept the State contract to build the largest State Prison in Vermont in the neighborhood of 4 miles from Stellafane Observatory, a National Historic Landmark.

The final Town vote was:

1633 FOR


It is a sad day for astronomers all over the world. I feel that this is a national tragedy.

Maryann Arrien

President: Springfield Telescope Makers

You can help the cause by going to there web site and filling an online petition.


The Milky Way is a river of stars that winds its way across the night sky. On one side of the river is Aquila, the Korean prince. On the other side of the river is Lyra, his bride. Both are banished to live in different parts of the sky, but with the privilege of meeting once a year if they can cross the river. Each year during the 7th moon, on its 7th night, magpies from all over the celestial kingdom congregate to form a living bridge for the lovers to cross. All this was the unfortunate consequence of Aquila’s investment into a scheme to tap the Milky Way and divert the fluid to nourish distant stars.

This Korean legend is far more interesting than the traditional depiction of Aquila as an eagle. Of course, far more cultures do see this constellation as a bird. Going back a VERY LONG way, there was a stone discovered in the area of the Euphrates that dates back to 1200 B.C. that refers to Aquila as The Eagle--The Living Eye. Romans believed Aquila was the eagle that carried Ganymede to the heavens and stood in attendance of Jove. The Arabians saw it as their Black Eagle, Chilmead. Even the Hebrews, who usually have a totally different perspective of star patterns, see it as an Eagle that may have appeared on the banners of Dan (the Jewish tribe, NOT our friend Davidson).

While I have been concentrating on the legendary history of this constellation, let me finish by mentioning some astronomical trivia. It was in the stars of this constellation, northwest of Altair, that Professor Edward E. Barnard discovered a comet from its trail on a photograph taken at the Lick Observatory on October 12, 1892. This was the first comet ever discovered by the camera.

Linda Sensenig

"Astronomy Throughout the Net" July 1999 Issue is now available.

"Astronomy Throughout the Net" is a Free Monthly Astronomy E-Zine with current Astronomy News,

Product Review, and much more.

July 1999 Issue Includes,

- ET Are You Listening

- Measuring the Night Sky

- Product Review

Solar Filters

- Current Astronomy News

- July Skies

- Quote of the Month

- Web Sites to Visit Before you go to a Dark Sky Site

Stellar Scenes

Inconstant Moon

There’s plenty here to keep you busy.

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