In this issue:
|1. Presidents message
2. Did You Know?
3. Upcoming Events
4. Letter to the Club
|5. Serving God and Serving Science
6. DroughtBusters - That's Us
7. A GIFTed weather satellite
8. I Saw a Rainbow
9. Astronomy of the Anasazi
First, I would like to thank Linda Sensenig and her mother for organizing and running the recent bake sale at Wal-Mart on the 5th St. highway. It was a huge success, and thank you to all who supplied baked goods, and to those who helped sell the items at Wal-Mart.
As we enter July, we can look at our upcoming schedule of events with great enthusiasm. On July 5th we will have our next club star party at the flying field. Lets all come out and enjoy a nice night of observing together. The next weekend BCAAS has been invited to observe with LVAAS at Pulpit Rock. This is always a nice, clear location from which to observe. Ron Kunkel will give a short talk at our Blue Marsh starwatch later in the month. August features our annual club picnic at Dave Browns farm with a special surprise from Dave.
The Hawk Mountain starwatch tops off Augusts events. So, while the weather may be steamy, we can still get out to enjoy natures heavenly wonders as
Ill see you in the field,
Barry L. Shupp, Pres. BCAAS
Did You Know?
Submitted by Rick Carpenter
The star known as LP 327-186, a so-called white dwarf, is smaller than the state of Texas, yet so dense that, if a cubic inch of it were brought to Earth, it would weigh more than 1.5 million tons.
Heavy stuff, man. Literally.
Pegasus is a bimonthly publication of the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society
Editor/Desktop publisher: Melody Gardner
E-Mail submissions may be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming BCAAS Events
Friday, July 5th @ dusk: Club starparty at the Flying Field. (r.d. July 6th)
Thursday, July 11th @ 7:30pm: Monthly club meeting at Reading Public
Museum. Tonight is Members Night featuring:
- Lloyd Adams on the Stellafane telescope making convention
- Tom Boussum on celestial mechanics
- Ron Kunkel on cosmology
- Barry Shupp on astrophotography
Saturday, July 13th @ dusk: Observing with LVAAS at Pulpit Rock
Friday, July 26th @ 7:30pm: Program by Ron Kunkel & observing at Blue Marsh (r.d. July 27th)
Friday, August 9th-Sunday, August 11th: Stellafane in Springfield, VT
Saturday, August 10th @ 5:30pm: BCAAS Picnic at Dave Browns farm (observing to followweather permitting)
Saturday, August 17th @ dusk: Hawk Mountain Starwatch
Friday, September 5th @ dusk: Club starwatch (location to be determined; r.d. September 6th)Happy 4th of July!!!!
Letter to the Club
Even though I'm not an active member of the club, your still very dear friends of mine. Over the past 2 months things have been really bad for me. I lost my job on the 5th of April and my dad the following day. There's more but, I won't bore you with it. What I want to say is THANK YOU for the out pouring of support and prayers in this time of need.
My dad was an arm chair astronomer because of his health. He loved the heavens and watched every show he could. He enjoyed your company and waited each month for the Pegasus to come out. The article that Linda wrote was very touching and she knew my dad well. To him everyone was "Beautiful". We had his remains cremated and the inscription on the urn reads "You are Beautiful". The actual burial will be June 25 at Ft Indiantown Gap. He'll be buried with full military honors. He's a veteran of the Korean war.
This has been the roughest time of my life. But, with wonderful friends, family, and an incredibly loving wife supporting me, I'm surviving. It is said that God works in mysterious ways. I've been told by some great people, including my dad the night before he passed, that God has something in store for me and not to worry. He also supplies wonderful people to help with the tough journey called life. My mom and myself thank you again for your kindness and prayers. May God bless you all with a wo nderful and "Beautiful" life.
Bob and Adelaide Capone
On June 10, 1854, a young researcher stood up to speak. His topic was the theory of geometry. In his audience sat Karl Friedrich Gauss, the best recognized mathematician of the day. When Georg Riemann finished his two part lecture, Gauss was amazed. And well he should be. The scientific world would be 60 years recognizing the implications of Riemanns work. He had done nothing less than question the geometry of real space and write the equations for its curvature. His work was essential to Einsteins relativity theory.
Since boyhood, Riemann had loved math. A school director once loaned him a 900 page tome on number theory. Riemann devoured it in six days. But his father, a Lutheran pastor, wanted his son to follow him in the ministry. Shy young Christian that he was, Riemann knew the pulpit was no place for him. He pleaded to be allowed to change courses. Fortunately, his father granted permission. Riemann died of tuberculosis when he was just 39 years old. A contemporary wrote of him, "he served his God faithfully as his father had, but in a different way."
(From the on-line newsletter of Christian History Institute, June 10, 2002.)
DROUGHTBUSTERS! - THATS US
What do you do when the crops lay dying in the field due to lack of rain and all the rivers and streams have shrunk to half their size and you have the means to irrigate but no water to irrigate with? What do you do when the grass is yellow and brown and you didnt have to mow it in a month? You call Droughtbusters! We are easy to reach, just access our Website or call our Hotline - but you wont find us listed as Droughtbusters, youll find us listed as BCAAS. All we need to do is schedule an event - it doesnt even need to be an observing event - and the clouds automatically gather from the four corners of the world right over where we are set up! We could schedule a star watch in the Sahara Desert where it hasnt rained in 10 YEARS and that night it would rain.
Saturday, June 15, we were set up at Walmart for a bake sale. We should have known that the weather was going to be its usual gray overcast when Ron Kunkel brought a TELESCOPE to the bake sale with a solar filter, hoping to show the general public the sun. The entire afternoon was cool, cloudy, with periods of rain. Thanks to Dave Brown, we had a tent over our heads. It was supposed to shield the chocolate from the sun, but it turned out the chocolate would have done quite well on its own. It ended up shielding US from the rain!
The bake sale itself did amazingly well considering the poor location the store manager gave us. We were, however, right outside the door where the employees exit on their break, so we sold a lot of cookies and brownies to store employees! We had a good variety of baked goods as about 15 members (plus my mom) contributed. My mom helped us set up the sale and had the weather been warmer, she would have stayed. But she is 85 and this particular day her bones felt 95, so she didnt want to sit outside in the damp all afternoon. To bring more business our way, Ron set up his telescope right in front of the store. Barry and Melody bought neon colored posterboard and Melody made a brightly colored sign, pointing to our bake sale, and taped it to Rons telescope!
The amazing thing is that when all our money was counted at the end of the day, we made $127.00! For a bake sale under ANY condition, that is good. Be sure to come to the July meeting and sample some of the leftovers. I want to thank everyone who helped make this bake sale a success.
A GIFTed weather satellite - from NASAs Space Place ProgramWeather forecasts help you decide what clothes to wear, or what activities to plan. Meteorologists you watch on TV arent always correct. But theyre usually accurate enough so you can choose between a light shirt and heavy coat. Some people need more precise information about the weather. Knowing a hurricane is forming could help a ships captain avoid the worst of the storm. Knowledge about weather patterns could help farmers plan when they plant and harvest their crops. Scientists could save lives with early predictions of tornadoes and severe weather.
NASAs Earth Observing 3 (EO3) is the latest mission in its New Millennium Program. The goal of New Millennium is to test new technology that will make space flight cheaper and more efficient. Scientists will use what they learn from the program to develop longer, more complicated missions. You may have read about Deep Space 1 and Earth Observing 1 (EO1) in earlier Space Place columns.
EO3s main instrument is GIFTS, which stands for Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer. GIFTS will improve observations and predictions of the earths weather. From 22,370 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earths surface, GIFTS will collect data about wind, humidity and air temperature. Scientists will also do measurements from the ground and the air, to see if GIFTS is accurate. The instrument will provide lots of information to scientists. With more than 32,600 sensors to collect data, GIFTS will scan 300 square miles every 10 seconds. EO3 will also test new data comp ression technology. Just like downloading web sites when youre online, sending and receiving data from a spacecraft takes time. GIFTS will have to send its information more than 22,000 miles back to earth. With EO3, NASA will find new ways to put as much information into as few bits of data as possible. Making the data smaller will make GIFTS observations get to Earth faster. To learn more about data compression, visit The Space Place web site at spaceplace.nasa.gov/eo3_compression.htm.
Even though TV news meteorologists arent always correct, theyre usually accurate enough so you can choose between a light shirt and heavy coat. More precise information about the weather can be save lives and money. Knowing a hurricane is forming could help a ships captain avoid the worst of the storm. Knowledge about weather patterns could help farmers plan when they plant and harvest their crops. Scientists could save lives with early predictions of tornadoes and severe weather.
NASAs Earth Observing 3 (EO3) is the latest mission in its New Millennium Program. The goal of New Millennium is to test new technology that will make space flight cheaper and more efficient. Scientists will use what they learn from the program to develop longer, more complicated missions. Most major space operations use old equipment and technology, because its reliable. NASA is hoping the New Millennium Program will open up doors for further exploration. Experimental technology on EO3 will include imaging spectrometry, active cooling and fast data processing.
EO3s main instrument is the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer GIFTS. GIFTS will improve observations and predictions of Earths weather. From 22,370 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earths surface, GIFTS will collect data about wind, water vapor and air temperature. It will also measure trace gases in the troposphere and stratosphere. Scientists will take measurements from the ground and the air, in order to assess the instruments accuracy.
With more than 32,600 sensors to collect data, GIFTS will scan 300 square miles every 10 seconds. Earth Observing 3 is expected to launch in 2005. Over the course of its flight, between six and 18 months, it will divide its time between monitoring hurricane activity along the East Coast, and observing the mid-western U.S. during tornado season.To learn more about the Space Place Program, visit their website at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov.
I Saw A Rainbow!
by Barry L. Shupp
On the evening of June 17th I decided to go to Park city mall and window shop at my favorite camera store there. Digital cameras were on my mind. I looked at one or two that I liked and departed to go to the Lancaster gym. As I neared the location, a strong thunderstorm hit with a torrential downpour. Sitting in the car waiting for the heaviest rain to subside, I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to put my sneakers in my gym bag, which meant that I would have to cancel my fitness plans. I left the area and started across the back roads out to the highway as the rain began to slow and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. Thinking that there could be a rainbow, I began to look around.
Looking to my left I saw perhaps the biggest, brightest rainbow I had ever seen! There was a full arc across the sky, and it was a very wide rainbow. The colors were vibrant. The secondary rainbow was also a full semicircle located outside the primary arc with its colors reversed, fainter but colorful and sharp by itself. And there I was without a camera! I had just unloaded my camera equipment from the car after a weekend trip. I enjoyed watching the beautiful sight, but how I wished I could photograph it! It was hard to believe that the rainbow was persisting as long as it did. It had been several minutes and the full apparition was still there off to the side of the road almost seeming to follow me. As I drove, the end of the rainbow appeared to be between me, and the farms passing by on my left. Finally I approached a mini- market, and dashed inside to buy a disposable camera at least I could get some kind of picture! I went inside expecting to get a camera for a few dollars, but there was only one left - a 16 dollar Advantix disposable. I quickly purchased it and dashed outside to find the rainbow still there. The location was not good right at the highway with all the wires and poles, so I drove a short distance to an open field and proceeded to shoot almost half the roll. The rainbow was as bright as it had been at the beginning. It still had not faded! I continued down some back roads that I was unfamiliar with, trying to find some good scenes in which to include the rainbow.
I stopped when I saw some horses grazing in a field with the bright rainbow behind them. A little bit further down the road I was able to photograph the rainbow with its reflection in the still wet roadway, including a shot taken through the windshield of my car. As I drove, many of the local residents were outside their houses enjoying the wonderful sight. With the sun beginning to go down the rainbow began to fade, but I couldnt complain because it had been visible for at least half an hour. About this time, I realized that I wasnt exactly sure where I was. There are many small back roads in the area. I placed the setting sun behind me and headed East eventually intersecting with a more familiar roadway. It was quite an exciting adventure.
(The pictures came out very well too.)
Berks County Astronomy Program
to be presented by Gary Becker
September 12, 2002
Title: Astronomy of the Anasazi
The Ancestral Puebloans of the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado developed a unique trade culture which interconnected as many as 50,000 farmsteads and 150 Great Houses over a region of 50,000 square miles between 750 and 1300 AD. Their capital was located in Chaco Canyon, now Chaco Culture National Historical Park, about 100 miles to the NW of Albuquerque, New Mexico. To a people who lived out-of-doors much of the time, the heavens played a pivotal role in their concepts of their identities. This program will detail how the Chacoan people incorporated astronomy into their culture to create accurate calendars to follow the seasons so they could remain in harmony with their spirit world.
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