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Astronomical Chronicle For August 2012 Is Up, Plans Pending For The Perseids Tonight At Darling Hill

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

1. Perseid Opening – As of 11:00 a.m., conditions look right for opening Darling Hill for the Perseid Meteor Shower. Please keep track of this website around 5:00 p.m. today for the final decision and possible decision about opening tomorrow night instead.

2. The latest edition of the SAS newsletter is available for download below:

DOWNLOAD HERE

This edition features a lengthy article by the SAS’s Rick Kellogg on an Electronic Polar Alignment Scope, available for download at 2012_August_R_Kellogg_Electronic_Polar_Alignment_Scope.pdf. Rick’s summary is below:

A traditional polar scope can be used to align an equatorial mount in a few minutes. However, the alignment achieved is typically not that accurate due to misalignment of the polar scope axis with the mount axis, or the polar scope reticle not being centered. I typically can only get to within 0.1 degree of the celestial pole with my Losmandy polar scope.

Extending the ideal of using a polar scope for aligning to an electronic scope – I use an SBIG STV with a 75 mm lens as an electronic finder. This combination provides a 3.7 by 2.7 degree field of view (FOV).

Setting the DEC to 90 degrees, Polaris and UMI lambda are in the field of view – regardless of the RA setting. By taking 2 pictures with different RA (differing by 4-6 hours or 60-90 degrees),

1) the pixel location of the mount’s RA axis can be determined, and

2) the pixel location of the Celestial pole can be determined (knowing the current epoch
coordinates of Polaris and UMI Lambda).

Then the offset from the mount’s RA axis to the Celestial pole is added to the location of Polaris (or UMI Lambda) to act as a target to move the scope via azimuth or altitude controls.

I have automated the process using the SBIG utility that comes with the STV (STV Remote), and a MATLAB script that I wrote to make the computations.

The typical polar alignment process can be easily completed in 15 minutes.

SAS Astronomical Chronicle For July 2012, Advanced Notice About The Perseid Meteor Shower

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophile,

The July 2012 edition of the Astronomical Chronicle is available for download, featuring highlights of the MOST/SAS Transit-Of-Venus session this past June 5th:

2012 July Astronomical Chronicle

The previously-scheduled Summer Seminar has been turned into a Public Viewing Session to coincide with the Perseid Meteor Shower, for which we will hope to be open both nights for as long as conditions (and meteor count) will allow. Stay tuned to this page and our facebook group for updates!

SAS Astronomical Chronicle For June 2012, Venus Transit Observing At The MOST On June 5th

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The Astronomical Chronicle for June 2012 is available for download below:

June 2012 Astronomical Chronicle

This issue includes information about the Venus Transit (more below) and an article first published in the Syracuse New Times in May of 2001 about Karl Schultz, a long-time member of the SAS who passed this past 21 May 2012. The SAS thanks the New Times for allowing the reprinting of the article to bring new members “up to speed” on some of our society’s history. Also, the Venus Transit is still officially on for June 5th as detailed in the blog post below. The official flyer is as follows for the event. Stay tuned to the SAS page on Tuesday afternoon for final confirmation.

SAS Astronomical Chronicle For May 2012, Public Viewing Session This Friday, May 11 (12 Alt.), And 40 Minute SuperMoon Notice

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophile!

The May 2012 Astronomical Chronicle is up in plenty of time for our next Public Viewing Session this Friday, May 11 (as always, check the website by 5:00 p.m. on Friday to confirm we’ll be opening).

And, if you’re reading this in time, don’t forget to give the Moon your undivided attention at 11:35 p.m. tonight.

SAS Astronomical Chronicle For April 2012 And Public Viewing Session This Friday, April 13 (14 Alt.)

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

The April 2012 Astronomical Chronicle is up! It is also looking like Friday night will be decent (Saturday less so) for our first official Public Viewing Session of the year. Check the website around 5:00 p.m. on Friday to confirm we’re opening. We hope you can join us!