April 2003

ACT, Inc. has been meeting continuously since 1937 and was incorporated in 1986. It is a nonprofit; tax deductible organization dedicated to promoting, to the public, the art of viewing and the scientific aspect of astronomy.


The Astronomy Club of Tulsa Club


Friday, 11 April, 2003 at 7:30 PM


Room M1 inside Keplinger Hall, the Science & Engineering Building at TU. Enter the parking lot on the East Side of Keplinger Hall from Harvard and 5th Street. This will take you directly toward the staircase to enter the building. Room M1 is the first room on the left.

*Note: If Tulsa Public Schools are closed due to weather, the ACT meeting will also be cancelled.

President’s Message

Denny Mishler

We are very fortunate to have Dr. Richard Marston, Professor of Geology at Oklahoma State University speak to us at our April 11th meeting. Dr. Marston is also a Research Scientist at the Arkansas-Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences. He specializes in studying landforms on Mars, especially those that are created by running water, ice, mass movement and wind. "Water on Mars", the topic of Dr. Marston's presentation to the Astronomy Club of Tulsa, is a very active area of planetary research, with new developments happening at a quickening pace. NASA will be exploring Mars with orbiters, landers and rovers in the next few years, so this will be a great opportunity for club members to get an up to date background on present research, and to better understand new developments as they occur. Dr. Marston will be returning from research in the Himalayas Mountains shortly before our meeting, so we may find a connection between that exciting area of our planet and landforms on Mars. Did you know that Mars has a canyon much larger than the Grand Canyon and several mountains that tower over Mount Everest? Join us as we learn about the Red Planet before it makes it's close approach to Earth this summer.

We will be having dinner with our guest before the meeting but we will have to find a new restaurant as the Luby's on 15th street will be closed (as of April 3rd). The news of Luby's closing just broke on the day I am writing this message so I can't give you the new location here, but we will find another restaurant and send out an email and post the time and location on our web site. Anyone without computer access can call me or another officer after April 7th to find out the location. Officers and their phone numbers are listed on the back cover of the newsletter. We will also have refreshments following the meeting so please feel free to add to the goodies table.

As we get closer to our MSRAL (Mid States Region of the Astronomical League) Convention, our chairman John Land will need volunteers to assist with the many things that will go into making our convention a success. Please give John a call or email to discuss how you can help. Thank you in advance for your help.Clear skies, Denny Mishler



VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We will need at least 3 persons with scopes to help with the Collinsville Elementary School event North West of the Collinsville School. Please let me know if you can help with this event, and I will send you directions to the location. If you do not have a scope to bring, that is OK. Just let me know, and you can operate one of the several club "house scopes." Also, bring a step stool or small ladder for the short kids. It is not unusual for 200 people to show up for this event. They always get a grant and give us money!

Tentatively scheduled dates below are bracketed with question marks. The number of persons expected is in parenthesis.



05-02-03 Fri 07:45 Club Star Party
? 05-03-03 Sat 07:45 Back up for 05/02 ?
05-08-03 Thu 07:45 BA Home School Group 1 (30)
05-15-03 Thu 07:45 BA Home School Group 2 (30)
05-30-03 Fri 07:45 Club Star Party
? 05-31-03 Sat 07:45 Back up for 05/30 ?


08-08-03 Fri 07:45 Tulsa Bicycle Club w/ Ed Kirkman (30)
? 08-09-03 Sat 07:45 Tulsa Bicycle Club w/ Ed Kirkman (30) ?



04-15-03 Tue 07:30 Collinsville Elementary at location near Collinsville (200)
? 04-24-03 Thu 07:30 Back up for 04/15?


05-16-03 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting at TU Keplinger Hall


06-20-03 Fri & Sat MRSAL Convention at TU


For Sale

In the past 6 months I have purchased 4 telescopes, not sure of what scope or scopes would be best suited for my area and size. The 2 scopes I am keeping are a 6" Skyquest dobson and a 127mm Starmax, both from Orion. The two I am selling is a 10" Skyquest dobson, only about 4 months old, like new, and comes with a tube case. Cost $753.85 with shipping, asking $500.00. I have a 4.5 short tube reflector, eq, and a small homemade dobson mount comes with it for $100.00. If anyone is interested, call Bartlesville at 918-333-6114 for details or leave message if I am away. Thanks, Don

Astroland Tidbits

by John Land


Plans are coming along well for the MidStates Astronomical League convention here in Tulsa on Friday June 20 to Sunday June 22. We have a great line of guest speakers already signed up you'll not want to miss. Several vendors have already agreed to support our event by sending some great door prizes. Enclosed in your March newsletter was an information flyer and registration form. Feel free to make copies and give them to your friends. Be sure to keep a copy of the registration form so you can SIGN UP EARLY! If possible let us know if you plan to come at our April 11 meeting and get your registration in by the May 16 meeting or earlier. If you don't have a registration form they are available at the web site or you may call John Land to have one mailed to you. Craig Davis, our vice president, will be handling the registration forms. Additional Information about the convention and its sponsors are available on our convention website at You can also reach the MSRAL web page from our club page.

You'll want to arrive early for this months meeting. Jupiter, Saturn and the moon will be easily visible and hopefully someone will have a telescope or two handy for viewing. Guests at our March meeting enjoyed their first views of these grand celestial objects.

The May issue of Sky and Telescope on page 10 has an article about a flash on the moon that was photographed by Tulsa amateur Dr. Leon Stuart in 1953. The Astronomy Club of Tulsa and five of our members are also mentioned.

This year's National Astronomical League convention will be held in Nashville, Tennessee July 9 to 12. Conference Theme: Amateur Astronomy's Next Decade. Details at :

Our membership chairman, John Land, is keeping our membership records on a computer spreadsheet. If you see errors or make any changes in your address or E-mail please keep us informed.

Contact John Land < John Land e-mail > or Phone

You may make Renewals and changes at any club meeting or mail a check to Astronomy Club of Tulsa - 25209 E 62nd St - Broken Arrow, OK 74014. Note: Sending your check to the club mailbox may delay processing several weeks. Club Membership: Adults $25 and Students $15 per year. Check your mailing label to see when your club dues expire. Renewal forms are available on the club Internet site.

Magazine Subscriptions: You can get substantial discounts for Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazine by ordering thorough the Astronomy Club. If your magazines are coming up for renewal, try to save the mailing label or renewal form you get in the mail.

Sky & Telescope is $30 / yr

Astronomy is $29 for 1 year or $55 for 2 years.

We are pleased to have added 23 new members since November. Take some time to get acquainted with them and share some of your favorite astronomy experiences. They are: Matt Williams; Davy Gunarso; Nicole Schmidt; John Bennett; Johnny Hicks; Rodney (Rocky) Keys; Dan Moses; B J Billings; Eric Perner; John C Kerr Jr.; Chuck Bigbie; Bill Griffin; Terry Koch; Jack Lee; Robert McDaniel; Vince Moore; Gerald Snider; Paul Storm; Maurice Terry; Bruce Winkelman; Robert (Bob) Boston; Carlos Cedeno and Dr. William B. Ross



By David Stine

The clouds cleared and the TUVA Messier Marathon turned out to be the best marathon in many years. It was a bit breezy and cold but after you put on several layers of clothing and started observing the cold didn't really bother you. We had a great turn out and Ron and Maura Woods was once again great host as they went out of their way to make sure everyone was having a great time. The whole day started at 91st/Memorial where several Astronomy Club of Tulsa members met to caravan to the TUVA site outside of Council Hill. Denny Mishler, Rod Gallagher, Gerry Andries, Teresa Kincannon, Steve Chapman, and I began our journey. After a couple of stops to re-group we finally arrived at TUVA. Ron remarked that when he saw me leading the caravan of vehicles that it reminded him of the old days of the marathon and he knew this was going to be a good night. Maura had already starting setting up a feast in the TUVA club building, which was more than all of us could eat. We determined that the best location to set up for observing would be on the south side of the TUVA building to block the wind. We started setting our equipment and more people began to show up including long time ACT members but never around for meetings or activities because of their schedule, Phil and Linda Jones. It was great seeing and visiting with them again. Several TUVA members started showing up including photographer Gerald Miller, Thomas McNicholas, and Chris and Mary Whitney. You may have seen some of Gerald's work on the TUVA website or ours. Later he would take some photos of all the activity and you can see these at KC Lobrecht showed up later with lots of goodies for everyone to add to Maura's feast. I think she takes ingredients from the stars and makes those cookies, cakes, and casseroles to where they are heavenly. After everything was set up we all came in to chow down on Maura's, KC's and other TUVA and ACT member's goodies. During this time, Denny showed his Solar Eclipse video from Baja and Gerald Miller talked about the new expansion observatory he is building at TUVA North. By the time we had finished, other observers began arriving including Chris Brown, Ted and Steve Bullinger. We went back out and viewed old Sol and it was loaded with sunspots, more than I have seen in quite awhile. Rod set his scope on Jupiter even though it was still pretty light. The red spot was very prevalent. Finally the sun set and darkness started creeping upon us. Who would be the first person to capture an M object and what would it be? I handed out a Messier Marathon Sequence list for those wanting it but we decided that we would jump over to one object that was going to be easy to locate because of its near vicinity of Jupiter. Rod found it first M44 the beehive cluster right by Jupiter. Everyone else followed. The 2003 Messier Marathon had begun. We went back to the list and tried for no. 1 and 2 the elusive M74 and M77. After spending what seemed a lifetime, those two were not going to cooperate and we would miss them again this year. Rod found the next object M31 and the race was on. Through the night it was an exciting time, looking for objects and visiting with everyone. During the night Rod located the asteroid, Vesta and for many it was the first time they had observed an asteroid. There weren't as many meteors as you would expect to see, but some of us did see one or two. The neighboring cows kept mooing all night and were probably wondering what those silly humans were doing with those cannons. As the evening got later several people started dropping out. Rod and I were neck and neck up until about midnight, but after Rod breezed through the galaxies in Virgo I was left in the dust. I wanted to try for the Omega Centaurus globular so around 2a.m. I used binoculars and panned the southern horizon in the general area where the globular should be and low and behold there it was, very large but dim. Most everyone had gone into the building by 4a.m. and Rod and I were the only ones still observing M-object's. Twilight was creeping upon us and it didn't look like we were going to get those last few. Rod found the bright small globular M15 through the trees around 4:30a.m. It was allot brighter than I had expected and this object would be the last M object that I would locate. My final total came to 88, which I considered good, but Rod surpassed all, finding 104 and winning this year's David Stine Award. I don't have totals from everyone, but Denny found 38 and Steve Chapman found 25. It was a great night for everyone and allot of fun. A thousand "Thank you" to Ron and Maura for hosting this annual Messier Marathon, and we will be looking forward to next year's marathon. TUVA would like to thank all the Astronomy Club of Tulsa members who participated and their congratulations to Rod on winning the 2003 David Stine Award.

Tuesday night April 15 there is going to be an observing session for the Collinsville school kids. I attended this last year and it was a very enlightening experience. If you have the chance come and help out and show the wonders of the universe to these kids and parents. Saturn, Jupiter and the moon will be a highlight for these people and you will hear comments like, “OK where do you have the Saturn picture located inside your scope?”. It just amazes people when they actually see Saturn and its rings, or Jupiter's cloud bands, or galaxy's like ours thousands of light years away, or seeing through a telescope without a drive how fast the earth moves, or panning the craters on the moon and pretending you are an astronaut getting ready to land on its surface. These are things that you can share with the non-astronomer and get those kids started on their way to a world of astronomy. If you would like to have that experience and help out, contact Gerry Andries for details and directions.

There are several telescopic comets viewable in April. C/2002 Y1 (Juels-Holvorcem) can be seen very low in the morning sky during twilight in Pegasus. It is around 6th Mg. now, but because of its location will still be difficult to see.

Comet C/2001 RX14 (LINEAR) is your best bet as it is visible high in Leo Minor from dusk to 3a.m. It is an 11th Mg. comet but with good eyesight and charts it isn't that hard to locate. Some suggestions for seeing the comet come from Comet Chasing Newsletter. You need a dark site. Look for something similar to an elliptical galaxy. If you have good charts find and match the stars you see in your widest field eyepiece in order to locate the position of the comet. When you know it should be near the matched stars you have found in your scope, concentrate on that area. It may not appear immediately as it will be little more than a soft round glow. Use averted vision and it should pop out at you.

Beginning next month the comet we have been hearing a lot about, C/2002 07 (LINEAR) should start becoming visible at 11-12th Mg. This comet is projected to possibly reach 3rd Mg. or better by next spring. This one will be one to watch as it slowly progresses over the year.

That's it from my corner this month; keep your eyes upward and clear skies for everyone.


Meteoroid Leaves Lasting Impression

Bill Byrns
Daily Journal
March 30, 2003

The hunt continues for fragments of the meteoroid that blazed over The Journal area Wednesday night.

So far 20 large meteorites and around 50 smaller fragments have been found according to Dr James Schwade of Kankakee.

Experts believe the meteoroid may have been the size of a Volkswagen "Bug" when it hit the atmosphere and possibly the size of a television set when it broke apart.

Schwade believes there may well be hundreds of pieces yet to be found. "It will take weeks before we know better."

Still he believes this could end up being the largest meteorite ever to hit Illinois. More fragments however will have to be found to stake that claim.

"It is only the ninth meteorite ever found in Illinois," Schwade said.

The first and largest fell in 1927 at Tilden, in downstate Randolph County just north of Sparta.

According to witnesses, the Tilden meteor broke up in a series of three explosions while it was still high in the air. The explosions rattled windows and dishes in the town. Only three pieces -- fragments weighing 9, 46 and 110 pounds -- have ever been found.

Schwade believes the Park Forest meteor may well have passed southwest of Kankakee before exploding in the air and showering fragments across Park Forest, Matteson and Olympia Fields.

Paul Sipiera, a professor of geology and astronomy at Harper College in Palatine, believes the debris field covers a path about 80 miles long by 20 miles wide from north of Bloomington to Chicago's south side and possibly part of northwestern Indiana.

Schwade has spent the past few days mapping where the meteorites hit and attempting to determine the size of the original meteor[oid].

Friday and Saturday he was attempting to confirm reports of meteorites landing in Beecher which would mark the southern extent of the shower.

Chris and Pauline Zeilenga of Beecher were watching TV around midnight when "The sky lit up completely from horizon to horizon. We've seen lightning storms, but this was nothing like that," he said.

"A minute or so later the house started rumbling and we heard all these tiny particles hitting the house."

Outside his home, Zeilenga found tiny gray and black pieces of stone. He didn't realize their origin until he heard people talking about meteorites as he rode the morning train to work in Chicago. "When I heard that I thought, 'That's what it was!' ''

Schwade said the largest specimen found so jar "weighed 7 1/2 pounds and was found two blocks north of Lincoln Highway and two blocks west of Western Avenue just barely into Olympia Fields.

"Another large meteorite, just over 5 pounds, was found two blocks south of Lincoln Highway and 6-8 blocks west of Western.

"Several others in the 1-to-2 pound range were found in northern Park Forest and in the south side of Olympia Fields."

The meteorite shower covered a three-mile diameter area of Park Forest, Matteson and Olympia Fields. Three homes in Park Forest were damaged, along with the fire department.

There were no reports of injuries, said Park Forest Police Capt. Francis DioGuardi. Police said about 60 pieces of space rocks have been turned in to the department.

In nearby Matteson, there were reports that two homes were hit by meteorite pieces.

Experts have ruled out speculation that the fragments may have been space debris.

Schwade believes the meteor may have originated in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Ironically another asteroid is now visible to the naked eye in the eastern sky. The asteroid 4 Vesta will be looping through the large constellation Virgo during the early evening hours.



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Astronomy Club of Tulsa, 918.688.MARS

President: Dennis Mishler

Vice President: Craig Davis

Treasurer: Nick Pottorf

Assistant Treasurer: John Land

Secretary: Jim Miller

RMCC Observatory Manager: Gerry Andries

Observing Chairman: David Stine

Web Master: Tom McDonough

New Membership: Craig Davis

Newsletter: Richie Shroff