Newsletter of the Salt Lake Astronomical
Everyone Knows He's A "Good Man" For SLAS
He's like a walking encyclopedia on SLAS history during a conversation and unknown to most, he's also a carpenter. That's because he's Nate Goodman, builder of good friendships with whoever takes the time to get to know him.
There's an old saying that the more quiet ones tend to be the more intelligent ones. This could be no truer than in Nate's case. He will voice his opinion when it concerns club business as he demonstrated during his previous tenure as vice president. Nate will take newcomers to the beginning of the club's newsletter.
"In the early days, about the time I joined the Salt Lake Astronomical Society, the newsletter was called the 'Scope Jocky's Journal'!" he said. "It featured a cartoon drawing of somebody riding on a telescope orbiting the earth and was probably invented by the then president of SLAS, Judy Rider, who held that position for a number of years before being ousted during the famous coup."
"When that occurred, we still had to have a newsletter." He adds, "Brent Watson printed one temporary newsletter issue because then the newsletter was a monthly publication, and he named it 'NOVA'!"
"I was then made editor of the newsletter and I said to Brent, "Is it ok to keep the name 'NOVA'?" Brent of course, gave the ok. "In the days before computerization, the NOVA was typed by me on a typewriter, sometimes at the job were I worked or at home."
"We had a member who had in his basement a small mimeograph printing press and if the club provided the paper, he was willing to print the monthly newsletter," Nate explained. "We actually tried some cover photographs on the early newsletters because one club member, Dave Chamberlin, had some wonderful astro photos he had taken using the Stansbury 16 inch telescope."
"We couldn't really scan the photos in very good, so we ran the photos on a black and white photo copy machine as dark as we could and then used them on the cover on many of the NOVA's." He then followed with, "After I was no longer newsletter editor, I believe Patrick Wiggins took that job over for awhile and ran photographs of the observatory and after that there were no cover photographs for many years."
"I know that there's been a number of different editors, Joan Carman did the newsletter for a number of years." Nate added, "I have saved a few examples of the original newsletter, although the club has a complete historical file that Patrick Wiggins obtained from me that has both the Scope Jocky's Journal and the NOVA bound into one or two bounded volumes."
Now did you get started out in astronomy?
"How I got started in amateur astronomy, my grandfather on my mother's side of the family had a small spotting scope," he said. "Basically, it would be like the modern day ones that you'd use for looking at wildlife."
"His was probably a war surplus item on a little portable tripod and it use to be really dark out here in Salt Lake county and we could see the Milky Way really good," Nate recalls, "and we use to take that out on the lawn in front of his house, which was next to our house, and look at the Milky Way, the Big Dipper, the two major planets Saturn with its rings and Jupiter with its moons and look at the regular Moon in various phases."
"When I was about age 14 or 15, my father had a good friend of his who was a Salt Lake Tribune photographer who lived not too far away in the neighborhood," Nate continued, "and he had built a 14 inch Newtonian reflector that he had in his back yard." Recollecting those days, he adds, "I was invited along with my dad to go over to his house at times and look through the telescope and I was pretty impressed!"
This gentleman, Mr. White, said to my dad, "If your son is really interested in astronomy, I'll give you a catalog from a company called Edmund Scientific and you can look through there and possibly at some time he can get a telescope," so "I looked through there and I believe there was a 3 inch reflector telescope that came in two versions."
"I saved up enough money and bought the lower cost version and later upgraded it with a better tube and a better finder scope," he added.
"One day my father pointed out in the newspaper that there was a public star party being held, sponsored by the planetarium and SLAS in the parking lot of the Utah State Office building behind the State Capital."
"I believe it was on a Friday evening and I contacted Kim Myer who borrowed his brother's 2 inch refractor and we both went to that star party."
"The next year the star parties were switched up to Little Mountain and became a every clear Friday night event starting about mid May through the end of October." There they met club members Patrick Wiggins, Bob Brundige, Siegfried Jachmann and Brent Watson who invited them to become members.
Nate, a native of Utah, attended Saint Mark's School before entering Westminster College. He now works at the Utah State Historical Society part time as an archival technician who photographs and documents the collection's artifacts.
He has two younger sisters, one who lives in Florida and the other in California.
And your interest in trains?
"I do have other interests other than astronomy and one is model railroading which I've had interest in since a little kid." He has gone from Lionel to 'HO' to 'N' scale that fits his room. Nate belongs to the "Utah 'N' Scale Model Railroaders" club as well.
Other interests are Japanese animation and related comic books and model kits of cars and figures. He also enjoys downhill skiing and bicycling.
Any favorite night time objects?
"No, I really enjoy being shown new objects and then trying to find them in my own telescope," he says, "however at public star parties I usually end up showing the more common objects."
Nate is concerned about the lack of the younger generation taking interest in our hobby and science in general and invites anyone to ask him questions.
Mr. Goodman will be giving lectures on astronomical drawing at the ALCON
2002 this July.
SLAS and OAS Members Enjoy Parowan Gap Field
Parowan Gap was the location of an Archeo-Astronomical field trip and star party arranged by Deloy and Karen Pierce. Members of SLAS and OAS attended. (LVAS, Las Vegas, members were invited but none participated.)
Former SLAS member Nal (Nowell) Morris, who has studied the petroglyph panels at Parowan for 15 years was the field trip guide. According to Nal's computer analysis of the panels, complete solar and lunar calendars are represented in the panels.
The panels are probably the work of Fremont Indians and are considered a sacred site by both the Ute and Piutes. At the Gap there are two caves that we learned about. The main cave was where habitation had taken place. The debris had created a floor 6 feet deep. In digging down and then carbon dating they put it between 3,000 and 5,000 years old. WOW!
SLAS member Paul Murphy summed up his experience in verse:.
I was gone to Parowan.
The group also visited other petroglyph sites in the area as well as a Fremont village site in nearby Paragonah. This village site has not been excavated and it was fun to see the pottery and arrowhead flint pieces just laying on top of the mounds.
Just like most star parties the skies were not the best for viewing unless you were up late. Lots of clouds during the day and sucker holes at night.
The 18 people who attended were: Deloy and Karen Pierce ? SLAS/OAS; Dale and Alice Hooper ? OAS; Dave Dunn ? SLAS/OAS; Debbie Whitaker ? SLAS; Doug Robinson ? SLAS; Chris Robinson ? SLAS and his friend Justin Brown; Jeremy Mathews ? OAS his parents and brother Jason Mathews ? OAS; Jim Marsh ? OAS and friend Lee Flynn; Lee and Carol Priest ? SLAS/OAS and Paul Murphy ? SLAS.
Everyone commented how interesting the trip was and in spite of clouds everyone enjoyed the trip. It was a very dark viewing site.
Because of the great response and interest in this, we plan on organizing
a yearly field trip to Parowan Gap, probably each spring. Plan on attending this
in the future to find out for yourself the interesting information found here in
Preparations are moving along magnificently for the AL Convention we are hosting July 31 thru August 3. This is a once in a lifetime event you won't want to miss. Here is a list of the speakers and presenter we are having, and their topics:
Dr. Claudia Alexander, JPL,
"NASA's Host of Comet
Quite a list isn't
it? Be there or be square!
The Sportman's Guide 10x50's arrived today; here are my impressions:
Surprisingly heavier and sturdier than I expected. Solid feel, the hinge is not sloppy in the least, and has a smooth motion. It stays where you put it, yet adjusts fairly easily.
Standard anti-reflection coatings on the exterior objective and eyepiece surfaces (at least; I didn't disassemble them), appears to be Magnesium Flouride judging from the blue tint.
The image is sharp and contrast-y. "WA" is imprinted on them, which I assume to mean "wide angle." Field Of View (FOV) is stated as 367 feet at 1,000 yards, which translates into about 8 degrees; perhaps a little more. Not bad! (My 7x50's have a noticeably smaller AFOV at around 7 degrees or slightly less). Eye relief is just barely adequate for me to use them with my glasses on, but thanks to fold down eye guards, I can just see the entire field of view with glasses. Without my glasses, there is eye relief to spare.
These are a cut above what you'd normally find on the "outdoors" aisle at K-Mart or Shopko. They come with a neck strap, soft carrying case with strap, dust covers for objectives and eyepieces, and a cleaning cloth for the optical surfaces. Collimation was dead on; I could detect no tendency for my eyes to pull one way or the other. After a five minute session, my eyes didn't feel strained, as they would with a bino slightly out of collimation. BK7 prisms.
Textured, soft "leatherette" exterior, easy to grip, not a hard-plastic molded texture. Large center-focus wheel, with right diopter adjustment. Again, the right eyepiece was solid in adjustment and feel, no slop.
The 10X magnification is slightly better than lower powers, in my opinion, for astronomical use, and low enough to hand hold for an extended period without fatigue. Anything higher and you would need a tripod, but shouldn't with these.
Perhaps the only shortcoming I can find is that there is not a tripod mounting hole on the front of the hinge. These are not binoculars for group-viewing. An intrepid "do it yourselfer" could come up with a "cradle" holder for them, using Velcro straps.
Alternatively, if you have access to a small lathe and threading taps, you could make a tripod adapter that threads-on the front hinge stud. If I get a pair for myself, this would probably be the route I'd personally take. This pair is destined for donation to SPOC II.
The price can't be beat. At only $19.97 plus a small shipping charge, they compare well to what you'd find in a retail shop for up to $100.
If you want to outfit the entire family with their own pair of astronomical binoculars, without breaking the bank, this is the unit you've been looking for.
If you want a binocular for a tripod or parallelogram mount, keep looking, or be prepared to kludge-up a homemade holder.
Stock #WX2-59237 $19.97 10x50 binoculars
"Scotty" On Scopes
Late Spring's "Other" Globular Clusters
There are times some of us who bring telescopes to star parties for the sake of fun declare the immediate area around our telescopes to be "M13-free-zones." This is not to detract from the glory of M13, but to point out that there are many other objects in the spring sky that also deserve attention and there will be many telescopes aimed at M13 anyway.
If there was ever an object that had a legal case against another object in the night sky it would be M92. This cluster would be the showcase object in any constellation other than Hercules. Located above the keystone of Hercules this cluster is close enough to M13 that even some amateur astronomers will think you are aimed at M13. M92 is smaller and denser than M13. Both clusters invite higher magnification than is usually used on deep space objects. M92 benefits more from higher powers than M13. Give this neglected cluster a chance to impress you and your friends, I do.
Between the well known Ring Nebula, M57 and the star Alberio in the
constellation Cygnus, is another globular cluster that is not often on observing
lists. M56 is not as impressive as M13 or M92, but has its own appeal especially
in larger telescopes. What I like about this cluster is the background star
field around it. This medium density star field is magnificent especially
through 2 inch wide field eyepieces. Give M56 a try next time you are touring
It's hard to believe that this summer and fall marks the 18th anniversary of the construction of my observatory. I will be the first to admit that it is not necessary to have a personal observatory and most amateur astronomers will not, or can not build one.
I built one and have not regretted it. What were my reasons? My 1981 Celestron 8 used to take me 1/2 hour to set up on a cement patio in my back yard. Take down took another 1/2 hour. I have a lot of light pollution coming from the hillside east of my yard. I chose to use a 6 foot diameter fiberglass dome and to mount it high on a second floor of a small workshop built at the same time. See photo at top right.
While it's true I don't get to see very much sky at one time, this does not stand in the way of learning the sky as other have said concerning domes. In fact, I have gained a greater appreciation of where objects are in the night sky as a result of planning dome movements during observing sessions. The slot in my dome is 17 inches wide and about 4 feet high when the aluminum shutter is fully raised. This does a great job of limiting the amount of unwanted light entering the telescope.
I regularly observe objects fainter than 12th magnitude, a feat that would be impossible from the patio. I can be looking through the telescope in 2 minutes after unlocking the door and during the summer, mosquitoes do not bother my observing sessions.
Even though all my personal experience has been with the use of domed observatories, this is not the only option. Roll-off roof observatories may be even more popular with amateur astronomers as they are both simpler to build and less expensive. A roll-off roof will not keep out as much light pollution as a dome or offer the wind protection a dome does. Domes do not have to be some shaped.
If I were to actually build another "dome" it might be in the form of an 8-sided tall pyramid with 2 opening sides and an opening top cap. A good friend built a geodesic dome with 6 pentagons and 5 half pentagons with rectangular opening in two of the pentagons to view the sky through.
Dome or roll-off roof, there is no wrong choice. Use the design that fits your needs and budget.
Those who have their own observatories can take advantage of observing on weeknights as short sessions make more sense when time to set up and take down are not necessary. If you are inclined to consider your own observatory, do it even if it needs to be kept modest. You will not regret it. Feel free to contact me if you would like further information.
The Crosby Observatory is open for small numbers of club members (3 to 4 at a time) who would be interested in seeing it and/or observing from it. My phone number is 295-5798.
Next time in Scotty On Scopes: Touring the Great White (Milky) Way and the star charts I own, use and recommend. Until next time.. May clear skies and happy times be yours!
What Space-age Inventions Have You Touched Today?
Exploring space is not easy. Space engineers and scientists have invented many new things to make it safe and not too expensive to go into space. Some of the inventions are used to help humans live in space. Showers and toilets that work without gravity are examples of inventions used on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. Other inventions are used on spacecraft going to Mars and beyond.
Many things invented for space are also very useful right here on Earth. New inventions or new uses for things invented for space are called "spinoffs." For example, special materials were developed for space suits to protect astronauts from the harsh environment of space. These materials are used in the special clothing that fire fighters wear to protect them from the harsh environment of a building on fire! Cordless tools were invented for the Apollo astronauts to use on the Moon. Cordless drills and vacuum cleaners are examples of spinoffs from these inventions.
Doctors can now take amazing pictures of people's insides to find out exactly what is wrong with them. These pictures are possible because of technology developed to process pictures from space. And what about the TV satellite dish you may have on your roof? Space program technology helped to make those pictures and sounds crisp and clear.
If it weren't for the space program, some of these wonderful inventions might never have come about! Find out about more space program spinoffs and play the Spinoffs Memory Game at The Space Place, http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/spinoffs.htm.
The Space Place is a web site for children with fun and educational activities and facts related to many of NASA's space missions. This article was provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by Caltech in Pasadena.
SPOC II Update for April
Due to the muddy conditions the sidewalk from the skateboard park to the patio has not been poured as of 22 April, however, the contractor hopes to pour 23 or 24 April including a new section of patio to replace the buckled portion we removed.
We are hoping to finish the roofing on the central portion of the building this Thursday if the weather will cooperate.
The Ealing has been functional for over a month and a 'Sky Wizard' digital setting circle unit from Orion has been donated/installed by Bruce Grim and is currently being tweaked.
All of the interior walls now have at least one coat of gray paint and finishing touches will be completed in the near future.
Again, due to the poor weather, final tweaking of the computer drive system has not been completed, however it is operational with a few caveats using Patrick's 8 inch refractor.
Intermountain Optics has delivered the remaining counterweights for the large scope and once they have been painted the large tube will be installed without the optics. They will come later ? no delivery date is available.
Carpet will not be installed until we see how our finances hold out.
We are very near completion of the building, however, we have been informed by the Stansbury Service Area that they do not have the money to install sprinklers and spray grass seed this year. We may be able to hold some star parties on the grounds, as the existing grass (such as it is) will be maintained by the Service Area. The first few star parties will be held on the parking lot and we now have keys to the lights on the concession stand and the restaurant owner will turn the security lights off for star parties.
Please welcome the following New Members for March & April
Deadline for the Jul / Aug issue is June 27th.
Next issue: Sue Chamberlin's ALCON '02 preview.
School Star Party
May 14, 2002
Public Solar Eclipse Party
On Monday, June 10th, SLAS will host a public Solar Eclipse Party at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex (SPOC) beginning at 6:00 p.m. This will be a partial eclipse for the Salt Lake valley with 55.0% of the Sun's diameter being eclipsed at maximum. Allow time for setting up your equipment! Below is timetable of events:
* * Private Star Parties * *
Minutes of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society March 26, 2002
The meeting was opened by President Siegfried Jachmann at 6:59 p.m. with the absence of one board member. Siegfried made the motion that Roger Butz be made the curator of the solar scope and related equipment. Ron Ford volunteered to take charge of the solar scope. The president has also requested that a notice be made as to the location of the rejection filter that fits a Celestron C-8.
President Jachmann said that Mr. Parsons committed to having the mirrors for the 37 inch ready for the ALCON 2002. He complimented Chuck Hards for the finish on the optical tube.
Tom Sevcik brought up the necessity for members to sign up on a monthly basis and to fill out a one-time sheet of personal information. These are for the center's use to justify our use of the building.
Ken Warner announced the club's monthly photo contest in which a subject is picked from meeting ?to-meeting. The subject for April being Comet Ikeya- Zhang. The participant's entry with the most votes would win $5.00 and a certificate. If there are no entries for that month's contest, the money will be placed in the following month's contest. It was suggested the funds come from the entertainment fund. There will be the usual November contest in which the monthly contest winning entry would be ineligible for reentry.
Siegfried announced that Chuck Hards would give a presentation on binocular astronomy for April's meeting. For May, those attending RTMC Astronomy Expo may have the floor.
The last item of discussion was brought up by Ken as to the availability of SLAS's newsletters and information to non-members. Pro-and-con views on free access, membership fees for the newsletter, benefits of membership etc., were tabled for perhaps the next transitional meeting.
Meeting was closed at 7:29 p.m.
President Jachmann opened the meeting with a introduction of board members and visitors. There was an attendance of 56, with 3 visitors. Siegfried asked everyone to fill out the necessary form and monthly sign-up sheet.
Ken Warner talked on the monthly photo contest to start in April with the first subject being the comet Ikeya-Zhang. Photos can taken by film or CCD, with prime-focus, piggyback or by what means the member chooses. He then covered the school star parties (listed in Event Calendar and http://slas.us/).
Kim Hyatt was introduced for his presentation on astrophotography. He mentioned that he missed viewing photos others had taken at the beginning of meetings in the past.
Kim opened with the subject of eye response vs. film. In addition he covered the use of automatic and non-automatic cameras and the desire to use interchangeable lenses. He expressed how many photos of the recent Leonid meteor shower that were "stacked" were not representative of the actual event. Shooting with mostly color slide film, he showed examples of composition, lighting, the rule of thirds and film selection. Kim also showed comparison slides taken from a dark site and from a backyard of the Seven Sisters (Pleadies) and how light pollution affected the final outcome and covered other topics.
The Secretary/Treasurer's report for March was as follows: General fund, $3,221.57; Printing & Postage, $151.76; Entertainment, $196.41; AL League, 407.75; SPOC, $10,218.83 and H-Alpha, $327.50.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Minutes of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society April 23, 2002
The meeting was called to order by President Jachmann at 6:55 p.m. with one board member absent. Chuck Hards would be doing a presentation on binocular astronomy. Ideas for next month's meeting included a suggestion by Kim Hyatt to do a report on the Astronomy Expo in addition to a show-and-tell session. Kim and Nate Goodman will give slide presentations of their trip. The topic for June will be the ALCON 2002.
Lowell Lyon gave a brief update on the ALCON 2002 with mention of speakers committed. Josephine Grahn had a updated financial report. She has been receiving numerous inquiries. Getting the convention on certain web sites (such as AOL and Astromart) was discussed. Lowell said that there were 25 paid attendees at that time. Most of the printing has been accomplished.
Patrick Wiggins updated the recent report on SPOC II for April by stating that the cement for the walk was poured earlier that day. Bruce Grim and Roger Butz were watching over the walkway as it was curing. The cost of $2,700 was questioned, and a discussion followed on the actual size of the walk and the amount of mix required for the pouring. Patrick also mentioned that the Sky Wizard was installed the previous evening and was working well without even be aligned.
Kim Hyatt inquired about carpets and Patrick said that carpets were not being considered with the present budget. Various floor coverings were discussed such as rubber mats etc.
President Jachmann then brought up an email that he, Nate Goodman and Tom Sevcik received from JPL concerning a monthly space column (see page 7) program. Siegfried made the motion that the editor could include the column at his discretion. Motion was approved.
Meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
President Jachmann opened the meeting at 7:34 p.m. with 70 in attendance. Visitors were recognized following the introduction of the board.
Ron Ford gave the Secretary/Treasurer's report for April: General fund, $3,191.10; Printing & Postage, $137.76; Entertainment, $205.41; AL League, $440.75; SPOC, $7,488.83 and H-Alpha, $327.50.
Ken Warner gave the update for school star parties and passed a sign up list.
Don Colton briefed the audience on a recent dark sky star party at the Wedge Overlook.
Chuck Hards, Glen Warchol, Richard Tenney, Bill Cowles, Joe Borgione, Allen Grahn and Deloy Pierce gave superb presentations on binocular mounts and observing. Karen Pierce said the AL's binocular section awards pins and certificates.
Ken Warner showed slides of the Leonid meteor shower taken with a wide-angle lens on his camera.
Charles Green was awarded $5 for his winning entry of comet Ikeya-Zhang taken with a CCD.
Kim Hyatt had hand-out copies of the planetary alignment for the first part of May.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
4 Public Star Party at
1 Public Star Party at
1 Public Star Party at
Salt Lake Astronomical Society
The NOVA is a publication of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society, a non-profit organization. The bimonthly newsletter contains minutes of Board and General Meetings, Board Member names and telephone numbers, activities, reports, calendars and new member information. It also announces special events and dates such as speakers, field trips and conventions. The NOVA may contain advertising of equipment for sale, etc. by its members.
The editor(s) of the NOVA is (are) appointed by the Board and may serve until replaced or resignation. The editor(s) may be Board members, and publication of the NOVA lies within the responsibility of the vice president.
Members are encouraged to contribute items and participate in publication. If you wish to help, please contact the vice president, a Board member or the NOVA editor(s). The deadline for submitting information or articles to the newsletter is usually the last week in February, April, June, August, October and December.