Prime Focus

The newsletter of the Tri-Valley Stargazers July 1998.
Translated (roughly) from postscript into HTML for your browsing and downloading pleasure.

TVS presents


Dee p sky observing tips


Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, 1893 N. Vasco Rd.


July 10, 19 98
Conversation, 7:00 PM Program begins, 7:30 PM

Who: You and your family

Jay Freeman


TVS presents
Club news and notes
What's Up
Comet Comments
Bike the Solar System
Membership/app lication

Jay Freeman, noted Bay Area amateur astronomer, will discuss deep-sky observing at the July general meeting. He will emphasize useful procedures, technique s, and observing programs, and aspects of equipment that do not necessarily require large apertures to be effective. Jay says, " Not that owners of giant Dobsons aren't welcome, but I shall stress that deep-sky observing depends on technique and practice, and that almost any instrument will suffi ce to learn how and to gather experience."

He stresses, moreover, the tremendous number of deep-sky objects within the range of even small apertures, provided that the observer is ski lled. He also promises to reference numerous astronomical objects that beginning observers can find with large-aperture telescopes.

Bo ard positio n available Be sure to read
for the information about planning meetings and the board opening.

M2-9, a butt erfly, or bipolar planetary, nebula is known as the Twin Jet Nebula. Ground -based obse rvations of the nebu la's inc rease over tim e sugg est that its lobes formed about 1,200 years ago. M2-9 is located in Ophi ucus, some 2,100 light years away. This Hubble image was capt ured in Augus t, 1997. (Bruce Balick, University of Was hingt on; Vinc ent Icke, Leide n University, The Net herlands; Garrelt Mellema, Sto ckholm University; and HST, W FPC2, NASA.)

New mou nt for club scope Club members were kept quite busy at the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference held over Memorial Day weekend. During those few days, we sold the incomplete binocular telescope pi eces for $1,500 and turned right around to purchase a $3,000 mount and drive for the club scope. The new equipment is pictured on

Our deep appreciation goes to members Rich Combs, Chuck Grant, Alan Gorski, and Jim Nunes for the effort they put into assuring the success of both transact ions. Since the purchase date, Mike Rushford and Chuck Grant have spent many hours analyzing the best way to attac h the new mount to our exis ting tube assembly, and the optimum fi tting to our existing pier.

Rest assured, those who attended RTMC discussed this in detail and called home before the purchase


Our money moves around
With all the buying and selling that transpired during June, the club has a slightly di fferent financial profi le than you saw in the last newsletter. Here is the update. Checking: $2,481.79
CD# 1 $3,301.20
CD# 2 $2,558.50
CD# 3 $2,023.53

CD #2 has a rollover date of July 6. At that time, the balance will be reduced to $2,0 00 and the difference will be added back into the checking account. This will bring the checking balance back over $3,0 00, preserving the fee-free status of that account.

Please see
for the financial details of the telescope transactions. During June, we also paid Mike Rushford $200 as partial reimburs ement for his webcast expenses during the eclipse.

New members
Joining us in time for the summer skies are six or more new members. Please take time to introduce yourself to the William and Karen Windsor Family, the Peter and Diane Rodriguez Family, and the D. & A. E. Hollings worth Family. Why not try to look them up at the August barbecue?

Board position availabl e
Two challenges face your current board: filling the vacant secretary's slot, and insp iring board members and club members to attend the monthly planning meetings.

Effecti ve immediately, President Dave Anderson is recruiting a new club secretary. The primary duty of this officer is to attend monthly planning meetings and keep the minutes. He or she is also expected to participate in the discussions affecting all club matters.

Alternat ively, if you are interested in assuming the newsletter editing resonsibilities, Alan e Alchorn is willing to move from writing Prime
to scrib ing as the replacement
secretary. The board is considering an investment in desktop publi shing software, and you would be able to recommend your system of choice.

If either of these openings appeals to you, contact Dave Anderson by e-mail as soon as possible:

On a related note, planning meetings were change d to the Thursday following the general meeting in an effort to accomm odate board members

President Dave Anderson 510 /661-4249 Vice President Chuck Grant (925) 449-1500 Secretary Vacant position see Club News Treasurer Gene Nassar (925) 462-7843

Board Alane Alchorn Dennis Beckley Rich Combs Rich Green Kathleen Kelley Russ Kirk Dave Rodrigu es Debbie Scherrer Jim Zum stein

Observatory Director Chuck Grant grant@

Editor Alane Alchorn
925 / 455-9464 fax: 925 / 455-9466 circlewing@

Chris Cody (707) 747-6550

Eyes on the Skies Mike Rushford

http://www. hooked. net/~tvs/

Meeting Location Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore

1893 N. Vasco Rd. 3/4 mil e north of I-580

E-mai l tvs@hook

Tri-Valley Stargazers

P.O. Box 2467 Livermore, CA 94551
Membership: 193

Phil Waide, our school star party coordinator, is scheduling school star parties thoughout this month. Interested members should contact Phil at (925) 455-6039.

Public star parties are arranged by Jim McIntire, who announces the following events:

July 18
, Sycamore Grove Park in
August 15
, Sycamore Grove Park
in Livermore
August 21 -23
, Camp Shelly at
Lake Tahoe
September 4-6
, Glacier Point at
September 26
, Sycamore Grove
Park in Livermore To reach Jim, e-mail him at jim911 @pac or call (209) 836-3836.

White Mountains
The White Mountains club star party is set for
Thursday, July 23
through Sunday, July 26.
Acc limation at Grand View Campgrounds is planned for the first evening. Dave Rodrigues announc es that the cost will be $45 per person per night ($1 35 per person for all three nights).

Club News and Notes Star Parties

1 Wed Europa eclipsed 1:12 AM PDT. First Quarter Moon 11:43 AM Deep Space 1 launch scheduled.
First spacecraft to use solar electric ion propulsi on and an onboard, autonomous navigation system.
Will make a close approach (5-10 km) to asteroid McAuliffe, fly by Mars for a gravity assist, and encounter comet West-Kohoutek- Ikemura. 3 Fri Europa transit ends 1:45 AMVenus 4° north of Aldebaran. Earth at aphelion
(farthest from Sun: 1.01 7 AU = 152,0 96,000 km). 4 Sat Independence Day. Callisto transit 1:07 to 2:08 AM
5 Sun Io eclipsed 3:21 AM
6 Mon Io shadow transit 12:30 to 2:45 AM, transit 1:50 to 4:02 AM
7 Tue Io occultation ends 1:24 AM
9 Thu Ganymede eclipse ends 1:50 AM Full Moon 9:01 AM Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-88) launch
scheduled 10:10 AM (International Space Station construction.) 10 Fri Europa transit 1:37 to 4:15 AM, shadow transit ends 1:42 AM
Tri-Valley Stargazers meeting 7:30 PM Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, 1893 N. Vasco Road, Livermore. (3/4 mile north of I-580). Asteroid 7 Iris (mag. 8.7) at opposition. 13 Mon Io shadow transit begins 2:24 AM, transit begins 3:40 AM
14 Tue Jupiter 1° north of Moon (occulted in New Zealan d).
16 Thu Ganymede eclipsed 2:26 AMLa st Quarter Moon 8:13 AM Saturn 2° north of Moon. Mercury at greatest
eastern elongation (27 ° ) in evening sky. TVS Planning Meeting 7:00 PM Round Table Pizza, 1540 First St., Livermore (in Orchard Supply/Longs/Safeway shopping center). 17 Fri Europa shadow transit begins 1:35 AM
18 Sat Star party at Sycamore Grove Park (Livermore Park District) 8:00 PM
(Wetmore Rd. entrance near Holmes St.). Open House at The Sky Shack. Meet at the corner of Mines and Tesla Roads, Livermore, at 6:00 PM Excellent weekend for observing: no Moon until 2:40 AM 19 Sun Europa ooccultation ends 12:50 AMA ldebaran occulted by Moon in daylight 2:52 to 3:47 PM
20 Mon Asteroid 43 Ariadne (mag. 9.2) at opposition. Ganymede transit ends 12:38 AM
21 Tue Io eclipsed 1:38 AMVenus 4° north of Moon. Mars nearby.Galileo flyby of Europa.Io transit 11:57 PM
to 2:10 AM (22nd), shadow transit ends 1:01 AM (22 nd). 23 Thu New Moon 6:44 AMWh ite Mountain Star Party. (Grandview campground tonight). Neptune at opposition
(mag. 7.8, 2.3" diam.). Yezdezred (Persian Zoroastrian) New Year 128 8. 24 Fri White Mountain Star Party. (Barcroft High-Altitude Research Facility).
25 Sat White Mountain Star Party.Excellent weekend for observing: No Moon after 10 PMMerc ury 2° south of Moon,
Regulus nearby (occulted in Argentina). 26 Sun Europa ooccultation ends 3:15 AMWh ite Mountain Star Party. Ganymede shadow transit ends 11:54 PM,
transit 1:13 to 4:15 AM (27 th). 28 Tue Grazing occultation of Gamma Virgi nis (double star, combined mag. 2.9) by Moon about 9:12 PM,
south of Bay Area. Zoroastrian New Year 2388. 29 Wed Io shadow transit 12:40 to 2:55 AM, transit 1:45 to 3:58 AM
30 Thu Io occultation ends 1:19 AM
31 Fri First Quarter Moon 5:05 AM

What's Up in July Dave Anderson

C/1997 J2 (Meuni er-Dupouy)
07-01 22h23.4m +26° 58' 106 ° M 11.4
07-06 22h20.2m +26° 08' 111 ° M 11.3
07-11 22h16.5m +25° 09' 116 ° M 11.3
07-16 22h12.2m +24° 03' 122 ° M 11.3
07-21 22h07.5m +22° 48' 127 ° M 11.3
07-26 22h02.4m +21° 24' 132 ° M 11.3
07-31 21h56.9m +19° 51' 137 ° M 11.3
08-05 21h51.3m +18° 10' 143 ° M 11.3

C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp)
Date (00UT)R.A. (2000)DecElSkyMag
C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) (cont.)
Date (00UT)R.A. (2000)DecElSkyMag
07-01 06h21.4m -50° 44' 74° M 10.4
07-06 06h26.3m -51° 06' 74° M 10.5
07-11 06h31.2m -51° 30' 74° M 10.5
07-16 06h36.0m -51° 57' 74° M 10.5
C/1998 J1 (SOHO )
Date (00UT)R.A. (2000)DecElSkyMag
07-21 06h40.8m -52° 26' 75° M 10.6
07-26 06h45.5m -52° 58' 75° M 10.7
07-31 06h50.0m -53° 33' 76° M 10.7
08-05 06h54.4m -54° 10' 76° M 10.8
Several faint comets have been discovered recently, they will remain dim. Mean while Comet Stonehou se is fainter than magnitude twelve and Comet SOHO fades in the southern sky. Jean Mueller discovered a new comet while conducting the second Palomar Sky Survey. Comet 1998 K1 (Mueller) was found in the northern evening sky at magnitude sixteen and will not get closer to the sun than 3.7 AUs. Lincoln Laborat ory searches the sky for asteroids and is quite successful in finding them. Within the past month, it found three asteroidal objects that upon close insp ection each revealed a tiny coma. Often these comae are only a few arc-seconds across. One object showed no coma at all, but a tail 19 arc-seconds long. These three comets are

designated C/199 8 K2 (LINEAR), C/199 8 K3 (LINEAR), and C/199 8 K5 (LINEAR). Comet hunting notes: At what declination (number of degrees north or south of the equat or) do amateur astronomers visually discover comets? The finds range from +72 degrees to -62 degrees. From 1975 to the present, of the 43 comets found in the Northern Hemisphere, seven were found north of +45 degrees. Sixteen were between +20 and +45 degrees and the remaining 20 were found between the celestial equator and +20 degrees. As for the 34 southern comets, five were found south of -45 degrees while 16 more were between -20 and -45 degrees. The remaining 13 Southern Hemisphere comets were found between the celestial equator and -20 degrees.

Ephemerides Orbital Elements

Object: Hale-Bopp Meunier-Dupouy SOHO
Peri. Date : 1997 04 01.13 47 1998 03 10.43 65 1998 05 08.61 68
Peri. Dist (AU): 0.91 4008 AU 3.05 1015 AU 0.15 3218 AU
Arg/Peri (2000): 130.5787 deg. 122.6755 deg. 110.5431 deg.
Asc. Node (2000): 282.4653 deg. 148.8429 deg. 351.6653 deg.
Incl (2000): 089.4268 deg. 091.2731 deg.

Date (00UT)R.A. (2000)DecElSkyMag
07-01 08h28.1m -39° 23' 68° E 10.3
07-06 08h44.3m -41° 33' 69° E 10.7
07-11 08h59.8m -43° 27' 70° E 11.1
07-16 09h14.9m -45° 11' 70° E 11.5
07-21 09h29.5m -46° 46' 70° E 11.8
07-26 09h43.7m -48° 13' 70° E 12.2
07-31 09h57.6m -49° 35' 70° E 12.5
08-05 10h11.2m -50° 52' 70° E 12.7
62.9286 deg.
Eccen: 0.99 5085 1.00 0760 1.0
Orbital Period: ~250 0 years Long Period Long Period
Ref: MPC 3073 8 MPC 3073 8 MPEC 1998 -L07
Epoch: 1997 12 18 1998 03 08 1998 05 08
Absol. Mag/"n": -1.0/4.0 4.0/ 4.0 8.0/ 4.0

Comet Comments Don Mac hhol z

New mou nt for club scope
was made. The new mount is engineered for a 180 -pound assembly, and ours weighs in at 140 pounds.

Your club's $3,0 00 purchased the following gear to upgrade the 17.5-inch scope at the dark sky site. * A Parallax HD-200 mount and drive.
* The compatible controller mechanism.
* A portable pier to support the mount.

At the June planning meeting the board approved Mike and Chuck's request for $200 to purchase materials to complete the ins tallation of our new equipment. First light with the combined new rig may even have occurred by the time you read this newsletter. Check the club website (see page 2) for late-breaking news.

Club news and notes

and others who stated difficulties with the original Monday scheduling. Surprisingly, attenda nce at the planning meetings has declined since the shift was made.

Please refer to the box at the bottom of
. If your name appears there we are expecting you at planning

meetings! Dave Anderson will conduct an e-mail preference poll to determine a better planning meeting schedule. Board members, and those interested in attending planning meetings should e-mail him with their preferences at:

Planning meetings are held at the First Street Round Table Pizza in Livermore. If this location is inconvenient or unacc eptable, let Dave know.

Slide sets on order
The board approved an expenditure of approximately $222 to purchase five sets of ASP images for use at public and school star parties. The astrophotos include the solar system and a wide variety of deep sky objects.

This selection was chosen so that club presenters could assemble collections specifically useful at schools, or geared to the general public. At the August barbecue, you will have a chance to see these great images for yourself.

Welcome bac k, Bob!
Reliable rumor has it that Bob Braddy will shortly return to the US, although probably not to the Bay Area. He has dropped a few hints that we can expect to see him at the Glacier Point Yosemite star party.

(Club news and notes continue on
) At the June gene ral me eting, Jim Nunes displayed our new moun t and drive for the 17.5-inch club sco pe house d at the Sky Shack, our dark sky sit e.

Axe l Mellinger captured this image of scopes set up to enjoy the view from the Whi te Mountains in 1997. Our annual club trip is set for July 23-26.

Club news and notes
Address corr ection
Please make the following corrections to the club roster you received last month.

Gene Cross 3999 3 Fremont Blvd., #107 Fremont, CA 945 38-268 6 (510) 490-7686

Loaner scopes awa it summer skies
Even with the wonderful turn in the weather, TVS can sti ll offer you a great deal on your choice of loaner scopes. We currently own Dobsonians and Newtonians you can enjoy for next to nothing.

Monthly scope rental is available to members in good standing for the bargain pri ce of $15 per month ($5 per month for students under age 18). A $50 good-faith deposit check will be requested at the time of rental. Your check is returned uncashed when you bring the scope back to our next general meeting.

Observatory Director and club VP Chuck Grant is our ultimate expert on the capabiliti es of the loaner scopes. Find him at the July general meeting, and you can take one home with you that night.

Future gene ral meetin gs August 14:
The famous and delici ous annual summer
barbecue rolls around again next month. Be sure to read next month's newsletter for ins tructions on your culinary contribution to our feast.

September 11 :
Pending topic.
Octo ber 9:
Pending topic.

November 13 :
Isabel Hawkins of UC Berkeley. Dr. Hawkins
conducts astronomical research involving the EUVE satellite and chemical abundanc es of the interstellar medium. She is also a strong proponent of astronomy education.
December 11
: Our holiday potluck.

Seeking Edwa rd Hillyer and others
Clarence Funk, past president of Central Valley Astronomers, is looking for Edward Hillyer. Clarence writes, "He purchased a 6-inch refractor from me a few years ago and I have some more scopes to sell. I need to get rid of them for the widow of a friend of mine." Clarence reports the following instruments for sale: * 8-inch approx. f/8 reflector on a very sturdy mount, excellent scope, great drive. * 6-inch approx. f/10 reflector, also a great scope. * 10-inch Cassegrain that needs to be fini shed. * 3-inch refractor, excellent scope. * 4-inch refractor, excellent scope.

All the above scopes, plus many more, were made by Glenn Reavis. He ground and polis hed the mirrors, made the mounts from patterns he developed for himself and had them cast at a local foundary, after which he finished them on his 12-inch heavy duty lathe. He was a perfectioni st and if anything wasn't absolutely perfect to his standards, he redid it or destroyed it and began anew.

If Edward, or any other club member, is interested in these instrument s, that individual should contact:

Clarence Funk 5790 E. Tarpey Drive Fresno, CA 937 27-727 1 cfunk@q

Stella 200 0 2.0 availabl e
Stella 2000 is new astronomical PC software that runs in all 32-bi t flavors of Windows. Like a virtual observatory, it simulates the stars in their courses, as seen from Earth. It includes an observing log, live ephemeris, realisti c sky projections in real time, location browser, and search capability that includes planets, comets, 15,500 stars, and deep-sky objects.

Viewers can advanc e, retard, or animate the simulation's clock by years, months, days, or minutes of either sidereal or solar time. Stella builds upon its precursor, Coeli Electric Planisphere, to provide such effects as scintillati on, refraction, extinction, and precession in point-source, spotlight, or the new photoplate display mode.

For more details and pri cing in formation, point your browser to

Stella r Sel ler

What's up in July (Continued from page 3)

Some Deep Sky Objects

M5 One of the best globular clusters, in Serpens (Caput).
M13 The Great Hercules Cluster! Look for the mag. 12 galaxy NGC 6207 in the same field.
M92 Another fine globular cluster in Hercules, often overlooked.
M4 & M80 Two globular clusters near Antares in Scorpius.
M6 & M7 Two fine open clusters near the stinger of Scorpius.
M8, M20 & M17 The Lagoon, Trifid, and Swan Nebulae in Sagittarius!
M11 The Wild Duck Cluster in Scutum! Perhaps the richest of all galactic (open) clusters.
M57 The Ring Nebula, a famous planetary nebula in Lyra.
M27 The Dumbbell Nebula, a superb planetary in Vulpecula!
NGC6960/ 92/9 5 The Veil Nebula in Cygnus. A large supernova remnant. (Best with an OIII filter).
NGC7000 The North America Nebula. Fine in binoculars under dark skies.


Mercury Very low in west-northwest after sunset around mid-month. Venus Lost in morning twilight.
Mars Very low in east-northeast before sunris e.

Jupiter Rises in late evening; south in morning sky.
Satu rn Rises near midnight; east-southea st in morning sky.

Uranus Up nearly all night.
Neptune At opposition; up all night. Pluto South in evening sky; sets in early morning.

Messier and Caldwell objects

Dra C6 (Cat's Eye Neb.)
Her M92 (globular cluster)
Lyr M57 (Ring Neb.)
Oph M9, M14, M19, M62 (globular clusters)
Sct M11 (Wild Duck Cluster), M26 (open cluster)
Ser M16 (Eagle Neb.)
Sgr M8 (Lagoon Neb.), M17 (Swan or Omega Neb.),
M20 (Tri fi d Neb.), M18, M21, M23, M25 (open clusters), M22, M28, M54, M69, M70 (globular clusters), M24 (star cloud) Sco M6 (Butterfly Cluster), M7 (open cluster), C69
(Bug Neb.)

Anno uncing the int erplan etary bicy cle ri de Follow the orbits of planetary explorers through the "World's Largest Model of the Solar System" on July 25-26 in Peoria, IL. This ride is sponsored by Illi nois Valley Wheelm'n, Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences, Peoria Astronomical Society, Peoria Academ y of Sciences, and Fri ends of the Rock Island Trail.

Saturday July 25
: "Century" rid e to Pluto with shorter
routes to selected Jovian planets.
Sunday, July 26
: Tour the inner solar system from Mercury
to Jupiter or Satu rn. Depending on your planetary destination, there are options for riders of all ages and abiliti es. For example: Jupiter - Satu rn - Jupiter (Rock Island Trail) 1.4 billion miles (10 mi) Sun-Merc ury-Venus-Earth-Ma rs-Jupiter-Saturn-S un 3.9 billion miles (27 mi) Jupiter - Neptune - Jupiter (Rock Island Trail) 6.4 billion miles (45 mi)

Sun - Pluto - Sun (city, trail, county roads) 13 billion miles (90 mi) Century option into the Kuiper Comet Belt 14 Billi on miles (10 0mi)

Brag ging rights
Who else can say they've cycled to Pluto? Consider the reversal of the aging process: Since ride speeds will be in excess of the speed of light (186,000 miles /second), there are relativisti c impli cations. Some observers predict that riders may return younger than when they started. The planets span 60 miles of Central Illi nois, with comets spread around the world.

For more information contact: 309 -686-7000

For a cyberspace tour of the World's Largest Model of the Solar System, visit: phy/solar_system.html

Prime Focus Tri-Valley Stargazers Newsletter P.O. Box 2476 Livermore, CA 94551

Tri-Valley Stargazers Membership Application Member agrees to hold Tri-Valley Stargazers, and any cooperating organizations or landowners, harmle ss from all claims
of liability for any injury or loss sustai ned at a TVS function.

Name______ ____________ ____________ ________Phone_ ____________ ____________ ____e-mail________ __________ ______

Address_______________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ______ _______
__________N otif y me by e-mail when Prime Focus is available on the Web.____ _______Do not mail Prime Focus to me.

Do not release my: ____address, ____phone, or ____e-m ail information to other TVS members. Membership category:___ _______$40 Patron Member____ ______$25 Family__________$20 Single___________$5 Student
_________ _$20 Sky Shack refundable key deposit (key property of Tri-Valley Stargazers)

$__________Tax-deductible contribution to Tri-Valley Stargazers $__________TOTAL Return to: Tri-Valley Stargazers. P.O. Box 2476 Livermore, CA 94551. Membership informati on: Term is one calendar year, January through December. Student members must be less than 18
years old. Patron membership ($4 0) is in addition to a family or single membership. %%[ Page: 1 ]%% %%[ LastPage ]%%