Prime Focus June-July-August 2001

In June, TVS Presents

   We hope you agree that it is never too early to begin the summertime celebration season -- even if summer has not officially arrived. With this in mind, the TVS "summer" barbecue is set for the June 8 general meeting. Since food is involved, we will begin a little earlier than our typical monthly meeting. In fact, if you are available, come join us at 6 p.m. to help set up the tables and fire up the grill. TVS will provide meat and vegen entrees, soft drinks, condiments, and tableware. Look for the first letter of your last name on the following list for your contributionA-D Appetizers  K-P Macaroni or potato salad
E-J Green or fruit salad Q-Z Dessert

The Clementine star-tracker camera caught this lineup along the ecliptic plane. From far left, the objects are Mercury, Mars, Saturn, the Sun's corona along the Moon's dark limb, and earthshine brightening the lunar disk. (NASA)

In July, TVS Presents

      You already know where to go for the latest and greatest in amateur astronomy tools and treasures. You may not know, however, the amazing variety of aids, accessories, and gadgets currently available to help you observe longer and better. Join TVS on July 13, when Paul Swanson, president of Lumicon, tells us all about the most current developments for the serious hobbyist. Of course, Lumicon is renowned for its excellence in filter design, but Paul plans to discuss much more as well. For example, the Sky Vector now aligns using only two stars, and is adaptable to virtually any telescope design. Bring your questions about any national brand or Lumicon telescope, eyepiece, filter, or guider. Paul will be there to help us all learn a little bit more.

In July, Mars is a spectacular pre-midnight observing target all month. Low in the southern sky, it will be particularly striking on the solstice (June 21) when atmosphere and angle may make it appear genuinely red. (NASA)

In August, TVS Presents

   Telescope scientist and TVS member Norman Thomas will bring us the latest information on an exceptional process for high-reflectivity mirror coatings. At the August 10 general meeting, Norm will explain his cutting edge work in ultra-thin, no-tarnish specialized silver coatings. Working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with Jesse Wolfe and a team of technical specialists, Norm has devised a hybrid metal vacuum- sputter deposition process in the course of his work on the National Ignition Facility. He explains, "Intense hours, many of them volunteer, have paid off in a revolutionary protection for NIF, the world's top astronomical observation equipment, and components of the International Space Station."

On August 12, 2000, the Perseid Meteor Shower was enhanced by aurorae caused by a large coronal mass ejection from the Sun. This image of the phenomenon was captured at Hahn's Peak in Colorado. (Jimmy Westlake)

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