Presidents Message
The Newsletter of the Milwaukee Astronomical Society
Jan & Feb 2004
Presidents Message
by Scott Jamieson
For those of you that did not attend the November meeting, when I explained the picture shown below,
a brief explanation will follow.
I have been experimenting using my ST9 camera on a short focal length telescope to give me a wider field
for larger objects. Despite being fully aware that achromatic aberration would be severe in the infrared wavelengths, I tried it anyway and found that indeed the images were quite fuzzy. However, I also noticed two
images that appeared to be planetary nebulae. It turns out that the deep infrared was way out of focus forming a large round image similar to other stars, but in this case I could only see a very faint stellar object in the
middle. This object was obviously radiating mainly in the infrared and a check of the Deep Sky Survey,
available on the internet, revealed that this was IRC 44460, a compact M9 class infrared star. This was a real
surprise to me and led me to take and examine 4 more fields using the same setup. I found a total of 3 more
similar objects that turned out to be Mira type variable stars that also radiate primarily in the infrared. I enjoyed the fact that with such as simple setup I could “discover” such unusual stars. I have resolved to do my
own version of a sky survey to look for other infrared objects just for the fun of it. By the way the original
images were taken with my 7x50 finder as the telescope!
The image reproduction below is a bit too small to really see this object clearly, but it’s the red star in the
center. The color picture was produced by combining a V-filter image for the Green and Blue and using the
unfiltered image for the Red.
This experiment has brought home two points for me. First, when using a refractor for imaging, the stars
will be blurred by the infrared unless you use a V-filter. Second, when taking magnitude measurements from
images, be careful what comparison stars you use as they may have a greatly different spectrum than the
AAVSO data, which is all V-filtered.
As most of you already know, I will be retiring from the office of President this May. Just so there is no confusion, I still have great faith in the
MAS and intend to stay active, particularly in the hunt for a new site. I do
feel, however, that six years is a long time to try and lead an organization
and that it is time for others to take over. I have enjoyed this time greatly
and appreciate the faith many of you have shown in me.
Don’t forget that elections are coming up at the May meeting and, as
usual, all offices are open. If you have a real interest in contributing to our
club, the best way is to get involved.
2 MAS General Meetings
The January thru April meetings of the Milwaukee
Astronomical Society will be held at the UWM
Kenwood Campus in the Physics Bldg., Room 133.
In a related note, below is a picture taken by Carlos
Garces of the eclipse. Carlos placed his 3 Mega pixel
Canon Digital camera up to the eyepiece of an 8”
Dobsonian and snapped this shot:
The Board meets at 7 PM (All board members are
requested to attend) and the general Membership meets
at 8 PM. Visitors are welcome. See the map below for
directions:
December Board Meeting:
by Henry Gerner
The board approved the purchase of Adobe Acrobat 6
Pro, and Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 to be used by
Jerry Bialozynski for the production of the Focal Point.
Lunar Eclipse Party
by Henry Gerner
On November 8th Astronomy Magazine hosted a “Total
Lunar Eclipse Party” on the shores of Lake Michigan
(Veterans Park) in Milwaukee. WISN Channel 12, the
local ABC affiliate also co-sponsored the event.
Matthew E Quandt, Assistant Editor of Astronomy
Magazine invited the Milwaukee Astronomical Society
to participate. Great participation was shown by our
membership. Scott Jamieson was there with his 10”
LX200, Steve Diesso, Scott Berg, Tim Burrus, Thisath
Kularatna, Carlos Garces, Paul Gruener to name just a
few. I apologize if I missed some of the other members
but we were kept very busy with questions from the
public. There were hundreds of people that came out to
view the eclipse making it a huge success for Astronomy
Magazine, which also had door prizes including a
telescope donated by Meade. Matter of fact I hear Scott
Jamieson was kept so busy he never had a chance to
pause for a warm beverage also provided by Astronomy
Magazine.
There was some talk by Astronomy Magazine to do it
again this spring when the comets arrive.
The following picture submitted by Gerry Samolyk. Taken
with a 6" f/5 scope on 200 ASA film.
3 Annual Christmas Party
by Jerry Bialozynski
The on site MAS Christmas Party appeared once again
to be a success and enjoyed by everyone in attendance.
Much laughter and camaraderie was heard throughout
the evening. About 15 pizzas, of different combinations
of ingredients, were enjoyed with a plentiful supply of
beer and soda.
Member Guides - Update
by Scott Berg
Last month I asked the membership for their input of
information to produce a Member’s Guide. I have
received some documentation and several very generous
offers. Thank you!
After some discussion with the people responding to my
request, it became clear that there should be at least two
documents. This project is still getting organized, so
please keep those ideas coming.
1) New Member Orientation Guide - About 10 to 20
printed pages given every new member.
.
History
.
Location
.
Rules for parking, access, site security
.
MAS organizational structure, constitution and
bylaws
.
Library policy
.
Detailed instructions for the use of beginner
scopes (Weisen,Albrecht)
.
Brief overview of the more advanced scopes
.
List of information sources on astronomy e.g.
magazines, web sites, textbooks, amateur
organizations
2) Comprehensive MAS User Guide - Combination of
written and electronic form. Probably sold at a nominal
fee to those who want it.
.
Detailed operating instruction for all scopes
(LX200, Z, Z2, etc.)
.
Articles, monographs, etc. written by members
on a topic of interest e.g. variable star observ
ing, planetary observing, solar observing
.
Database of images taken by MAS members.
These would be in electronic form and suitable
for MAS member presentations, open houses,
etc.
.
Collection of useful spreadsheets and other
software (freeware) for astronomical data
If you have anything you would like to contribute,
please contact: Scott Berg, 18115 Whippletree Lane,
Brookfield, Wisconsin 53045
(262) 797-8772 or scott@scottberg.com
Upcoming Messier Marathon
by Henry Gerner
This years marathon will take place on March 20th
(Rain Date March 27th). Whether you stop by for an
hour or spend the whole night, it’s a good way to get
acquainted in using the MAS telescopes or bring your
own out. In the past pizza runs were made to keep everyone charged up. See you there!
4 The Year Ahead
submitted by Henry Gerner
The schedule of events was drawn up and approved at
the last meeting of the board. Plan your calendars:
Jan. 16 Board Meeting, General Meeting at
UWM
Feb. 20 Board Meeting, General Meeting at
UWM
Mar. 19 Board Meeting, General Meeting at
UWM
Mar. 20 Messier Marathon at the Observatory
Mar. 26 Open House at the Observatorytopic: Saturn.
Mar. 27 Messier Marathon (rain or cloud
alternate date)
Apr. 16 Board Meeting, General Meeting at
UWM
Apr. 23 Open House at the Observatory,
topic: Jupiter.
May 14 Open House at the Observatory,
topic: Telling time by Milwaukee
stars and the Allen Bradley clock.
May 21 Board Meeting, Election of Officers,
General Meeting at the Observatory
June ? (Tentative Open House)
Topic: Solar Eclipses and Solar
Observing w/ scopes set up for solar
viewing
June 14 Board Meeting at the Observatory
July 17 M.A.S. picnic at the Observatory
July 12 Board Meeting at the Observatory
Aug. 9 Board Meeting at the Observatory
Aug. 13 Open House at the Observatory,
topic: The Moon and Occultations
Sept. 10 Open House at the Observatory,
topic: TBA
Sept. 17 thru 19 M.A.S. Campout location TBA
Sept. 24 Board Meeting at the Observatory
Oct. 8 Open House at the Observatory,
topic: On a dark night you can see forever: The Local Group of Galaxies.
Oct. 15 Board Meeting, General Meeting at the
Observatory
Nov. 19 Board Meeting, General Meeting at the
Observatory
Dec. 4 Christmas Party at the Observatory.
Presentation topics, for the General Meetings, will be
posted on the M.A.S. website.
Special Events, other then dates listed above, will be
posted on the M.A.S. website.
Project in Process: e-mail notification to members with
internet access for Special Events, an alternative method
is being discussed on alerting members without internet
access.
So Little Time, So Many
Galaxies
By Dr. Tony Phillips
Fourteen billion years ago, just after the Big Bang, the
universe was an expanding fireball, white hot and nearly
uniform. All of space was filled with elementary
particles and radiation. "Soupy" is how some
cosmologists describe it.
Today the universe is completely different. It's still
expanding-even accelerating-but there the resemblance
ends. The universe we live in now is "lumpy." Great
cold voids are sprinkled with glowing galaxies. In
galaxies, there are stars. Around stars, there are
planets. On one planet, at least, there is life.
How we got from there to here is a mystery.
Finding out is the goal the Galaxy Evolution Explorer,
"GALEX" for short, a small NASA spacecraft launched
into Earth orbit April 28, 2003. GALEX carries an
ultraviolet (UV) telescope for studying galaxies as far
away as 10 billion light-years.
"GALEX is a time machine," says astronomer Peter
Friedman of Caltech. Because light takes time to travel
from place to place, pictures of distant galaxies reveal
them as they were in the past. "GALEX is investigating
the evolution of galaxies over 80% of the history of our
universe."
The Hubble Space Telescope can see faraway galaxies,
too, but GALEX has an advantage: While Hubble looks
in great detail at very small regions of the sky, GALEX
is surveying the entire sky, cataloging millions of
galaxies during its 2-year mission.
GALEX is a UV mission for a reason. Friedman
explains: "UV radiation is a telltale sign of star
birth." Stars are born when knots of gas condense in
interstellar clouds. The ones we see best are the big
ones-massive stars that burn hot and emit lots of UV
radiation. "These stars are short-lived, so they trace
recent star formation."
5
New Members
by Carlos Garces
Understanding star formation is crucial to studies of
galaxy evolution. When galaxies collide, star formation
This month 2 families joined the MAS. They are:
surges. When galaxies run out of interstellar gas, star
formation wanes. In galaxies like the Milky Way, spiral
Dr. Kari Kopach & Family of Pewaukee
arms are outlined by star-forming clouds. The shapes of
Stephanie Seymour & Family of New Berlin
galaxies, their history and fate ä they're all connected by
star formation.
A warm welcome to both!!
Even life hinges on star formation, because stars make
heavy elements for planets and organic molecules.
Focal Point Editor’s Note
"Our measurements of UV radiation will tell us both the
rate at which stars are forming in galaxies and the
At this time, the MAS Officers & Board Members
distances of the galaxies," says Friedman.
would like to extend their wishes for a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year to the MAS membership.
How did we get here? GALEX will show the way.
I would also like to receive constructive input on your
Find out more about GALEX at:
opinions of this newsletter. This is my first endeavor
www.galex.caltech.edu. For children, visit The Space
into something of this nature and I’ll need all the help I
Place at spaceplace.nasa.gov/galex_make1.htm and
can get to improve it over time!
make a beautiful galactic mobile while learning about
some of the different shapes galaxies can take.
Send comments to: focalpoint@bialozynski.com
This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, California Institute of Technology,
under a contract with the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration.
This image of Messier 101 (M101), a.k.a. the
"Pinwheel Galaxy," was taken in two orbits of GALEX
on June 20, 2003. M101 is 20 million light years away.
4 MAS Officers / Staff
President:
Scott Jamieson
Vice President: Vern Hoag
Treasurer:
Chris Weber
Secretary:
Henry Gerner
Observatory Director:
Gerry Samolyk
Assistant Observatory Director:
Paul Borchardt
Focal Point:
Jerry Bialozynski
(262) 896-0119
(262) 548-9130
(262) 789-7128
(414) 774-9194
(414) 529-9051
(262) 781-0169
(262) 895-7461
Future MAS Events
Messier Marathon Event to take place at the observatory the
evening of March 20 (Rain date March 27)
MAS Membership is open to anyone interested in Astronomy who
wishes to enrich their knowledge of the Universe.
Yearly Membership Dues:
Individual $34/yr, Family $40, Non-resident (individual $22, Family $40), Student (under 18) $16. For more information, contact
Membership Chairman, Carlos Garces, 16430 Melody Drive, New
Berlin, WI. 53151.
Phone: (262) 786-2623
Email : cgarces@wi.rr.com
Focal Point Publishing Guidelines
The Focal Point Newsletter is published bi-monthly (Sept., Nov.,
Jan., March, May and July). Articles, Announcements, Graphics,
Photos, Swap/Sale Ads etc. should be submitted at least 10 days
prior to the first of the month (of the pending issue). Article inputs
are preferred via email in a Text or Word compatible format. Submit Focal Point inputs to:
Jerry Bialozynski
focalpoint@bialozynski.com
Saturday Night Key Holder
January
3
10
17
24
31
Tim Huff
Scott Jamieson
Lee Keith
Dan Koehler
Scott Laskowski
(262) 662-2212
(262) 896-0119
(414) 425-2331
(262) 662-2987
(414) 421-3517
Bob Manske
Gary Parson
Terry Ross
Gerry Samolyk
(608) 849-5287
(262) 895-3015
(262) 784-2093
(414) 529-9051
Tom Schmidtkunz
Neil Simmons
(414) 352-1674
(262) 889-2039
February
7
14
21
28
March
6
13
Loaner Telescopes (available to members for local use)
Lee Keith (Franklin)
Scott Jamieson (Waukesha)
Paul Borchardt (MAS site)
Chris Weber (New Berlin)
(414) 425-2331
(262) 896-0119
(262) 781-0169
(262) 789-7128
MAS Observatory
8” Dob reflector
8” Dob reflector
6” Dob reflector
8” Dob reflector
(262) 542-9071
MAS Web Page: www.milwaukeeastro.org
The Milwaukee Astronomical Society
c/o Jerry Bialozynski
8823 Oriole Lane
Wind Lake, WI 53185-5516
ADDRESS CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
The Next Board & General meeting of the MAS will be held on January 16. The
Board will meet at 7:00 PM, the General Meeting will be at 8:00 PM at UWM.
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