August 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.

Presidentís Message

Denny Mishler


August 22nd (rain date Aug.23rd) brings our final Summer Star Party and begins a busy 3 week period for the Astronomy Club of Tulsa (ACT). We will be only five days away from Mars opposition, as Mars will be making its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years. In reality, the view of Mars on the 22nd will be indiscernible from the view on the 27th (as will be the view on any other day near opposition). We will hold a very short meeting on the east side of the observatory at 8:15 pm shortly after sunset. Besides discussing the evening events such as bright radium flares and other satellites, we will also discuss our plans for:

MARS WATCH 2003 on SEPT. 5th and 6th

Mars Watch will be a huge event for our club as we co-sponsor this event with Oxley Nature Center. The event will be held at the Polo Grounds at Mohawk Park, a site that is large, flat, has no lights and has low horizons. The latter is important for Mars as it rises in the southeast around sunset and will take a period of time to rise into view. More information is contained in this newsletter and on our web site, but I want everyone to be aware that at the last close opposition of Mars in 1988 over 1000 people turned out for a similar club sponsored event. Bring your telescope or binocs, or help where help will be needed and be prepared for the onslaught. Take a few days rest after Mars Watch and then attend our:



Our fall meeting schedule begins on the 12th with our monthly meeting at Keplinger Hall, University of Tulsa at 7:30 pm. Our Guest Speaker will be Dr. Derek Sears, the Director of the Arkansas - Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Sears is noted for his research on meteorites and comet surface processes, but for this meeting he will be speaking to us about a topic that will have been on our minds throughout this late summer period, "Mars". Join us in looking forward to this exciting period.

Clear skies,

Denny Mishler
Club President

Mars photo by holding a digital camera to an eyepiece. By Steve Chapman.




By David Stine

We are only a few days away from a once in a lifetime event. Mars will come within 34.65 million miles from the earth. This is the closest the red planet has been to earth since 57,617b.c. We are the first humans to see Mars this close to the earth. Think about that!!!!!!!! Mars is already a beacon in the sky in the evening at -2.7mg. and when the big day comes on Aug. 28 will be -2.9mg. Mars will not noticeably change for several weeks and that is why we have chosen the evenings of September 5-6 for a public viewing of Mars. We have located a great place (other than for mosquitoes) at John Oxley Polo Field at Mohawk Park for this event. As has been said we need everyone that can to volunteer and help us out as we expect a huge crowd. We have close to 30 telescopes already committed but we still need more to accommodate the crowd. The only disadvantage of this site is the mosquitoes, so be sure and bring plenty of repellant with deet in it. Mars will be the highlight of the evening but the public will want more, so John Land is developing a group of bright deep sky objects that the public can enjoy. Object assignments will be made so that everyone will not be just on Mars. Tracking scopes will be needed for Mars. There will be roped off areas for scopes on Mars, the Moon, and deep sky objects. In addition John will have an area for talking about the constellations and pointing them out with a green laser pointer. There will be an information desk that will be manned by volunteers who will hand out flyers and provide information to the public. Teresa Kincannon will head this information area. If you want to help contact her. Vince Moore is supervising the traffic and parking and will be using scouts and leaders to help out in this area. It is going to be a great event and a great way to showcase the Astronomy Club of Tulsa and our co-sponsor Oxley Nature Center.

As we get closer I will update you through my Astro Alerts. I put together some Mars facts for helping you to be able to answer some questions that the public may ask you:

  • Length of day - 24hrs. 40 min.

  • Length of year - 687 earth days

  • Equatorial diameter - 4,200 miles

  • Global average temp. - day-20 deg. f. night: -120 deg. f.

  • Distance from Earth varies from 70 million miles to 34.5 million

  • Distance from Earth 2003 - 34.65 million miles

  • Last time this close to Earth - 57,617 bc

  • Next time this close to Earth - 2729 -34.5 mil miles

  • Surface of Mars is mostly ferric oxide or rusty iron, which gives its surface the reddish orange color.

  • Two moons - Deimos and Phobos

  • Two space crafts are presently orbiting mars and five more are on the way. NASA's Mars Rover is to touch down on the surface in January 2004.

  • Largest volcano - Olympus Mons - 21.3 kilometers 2.5 times higher than Mount Everest

  • The Grand Canyon of Mars dwarfs Earth's Grand Canyon. Valles Marineris stretches more than 1800 miles and averages 5 miles deep

Tom McDonough has put together an excellent Mars section on our website at that has a lot of valuable information about our Mars Watch, map of the site, and other information. Again everyone is encouraged to attend and help us out on September 5-6. If you haven't already volunteered contact either myself at < David Stine e-mail > or John at < John Land e-mail >.

Several of us ventured up to the observatory during the Perseid Meteor Shower august 12-13. We had an enjoyable time but the meteors just didn't produce very much. I think we saw maybe 8 meteors during a 3-hour period. We did see a blazer just after midnight that was brighter than Mars and traveled from Perseus through Cygnus. This one was worth the night. Next major meteor shower will be in November, the famous or infamous, Leonids.

Recently from a survey in Australia it was determined that there are 70 sextillion stars in the Universe. This figure was determined by looking at one strip of the sky. In this strip some 10,000 galaxes were pinpointed and detailed measurements of their brightness taken to calculate how many stars they contained. That number was then multiflied by the number of similar strips of sky needed to cover the entire sky, and then multiplied out to the edge of the visible universe. The researchers said they there were likely many more millions of stars but the 70 sextillion figure was the number visible within range of modern telescopes. That is mind boggleing, and thank about that, theres got to be life somewhere out in those 70 sextillion stars. Now just to show you what a figure like that looks like here we go: 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Congratulations to Brad Young who completed the clubs summer observing program. He also did the alternate objects. Congratulations also to Rod Gallagher who also completed the list as well as KC Lobrecht. I will have the fall observing programing out shortly.

That's it from my corner this month, get out and observe and make plans for Mars Watch 2003.

Astroland Tidbits

by John Land

Regional Star Parties coming up.

Sept 21 to Sept 28 - Okie-Tex Star Party Nearly 300 astronomers make the annual trek to the remote Black Mesa at the far tip of the Oklahoma panhandle area making it one of the leading astronomy gatherings in the nation. You'll marvel at the vast expanse of the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon. . You'll need to be prepared of the extremes of temperatures that can occur in the dry air climate from searing daytime highs to frosty nights beneath the stars. As many as 30 Tulsans make this Starlight pilgrimage 410 miles to the west so ask around if you need to carpool. Registration is $40 adults. Get you registration in early as they may have to put a limit on the numbers that may attend.

Congratulations to Brad Young for completing his Messier Certificate.

New online survey supported by Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) You will be assisting in developing training and materials for amateur astronomers to help the public understand concepts of astronomy. In addition, the survey is collecting your experiences with any astronomy misconceptions you have come across in your encounters with the public. Click on this link to access the survey: from the ASP web site: Note this survey will end in early September.

Mars Watch 2003 - Thanks to all of you who have signed up to help. We still have a number of tasks for people without telescopes. Sign Up by contacting John Land or David Stine

Hold your OWN MARS WATCH for Your Neighbors and invite them to the Mars Watch 2003

Suggestions for the Mars Watch 2003 at Mohawk Park

I would encourage each person bringing a scope to bring a 2 or 3-step kitchen ladder or folding chair with a so that smaller people will have something to steady themselves on and not grab onto your eyepieces. The kind with the taller handle to hold onto work best

Also I plan to bring a couple of plastic tarps to spread out on the ground around my area. Advantages: 1. Decreases the chigger bites and dry area to stand on. 2. If you drop something you won't lose it in the grass The club has purchased several Citronella candles to repel mosquitoes. Bring your own Insect Repellant . We will have some extra for the public to use.

Some Mars Links

European Space agency Mars Express

NASA Mars Exploration Rovers

Japan's Mars Probe Nozomi Mars Rover page

Frequently Asked Questions

Address corrections: Every month we get several newsletters returned due to faulty addresses. Check your address label to see if it needs changes and send us an address change if you move. Also on your address label you will see the month that your membership dues expire.

Email Addresses - Sign UP to get the latest Astro Alerts from David Stine and other events that take place during the month. If you have not been receiving these we do not have a valid email address for you. If you would like to added to our email list send us your NAME - and Email address with subject - Astronomy Club email list to membership e-mail

ASTRONOMY Magazine Subscriptions: Several of your may have been receiving renewal messages from Astronomy magazine. In order to get the club discount you need to make you check to the Astronomy Club of Tulsa and mail it to the address below. To avoid interruptions in your subscription, renewals need to be receive not later than our November meeting. The price is still $29 / yr

PRICES are going up for Sky & Telescope The annual subscription price for Sky & Telescope is going up to $ 33.00 per year. If you still have your notification for the old rate of $30 send it in with your check ASAP to save $ 3 on next year's subscription if not you will need to pay the higher rate. In my opinion S&T is still a great buy even at the higher rate.

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 < Membership 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 $33 / yr

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


By Gerry Andries

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



22 Fri 07:30 Club Star Party
? 23 Sat 07:30 Back up for 8/22 ?
29 Fri 07:30 Green Country Outdoor Club (30)
30 Sat 07:30 Family & Friends(15)


01 Mon 07:45 Family and Friends (6)
11 Thu 07:00 Cub Scout Pack 237 (20)
26 Fri 06:45 Club Star Party
?27 Sat 06:45 Back up for 8/30 ?


03 Fri 06:30 Home School (20)
11 Sat 06:30 Grace Fellowship ( )
23 Thu 06:00 Sierra Club w/ George Brenner (30)
24 Fri 06:00 Club Star Party
?25 Sat 07:30 Back up for 10/24 ?
31 Fri 07:00 Owasso Home School (20)




05 Fri 07:00 Public Mars Star Party (1000+) w/ David Stine at John Oxley Polo Field in Mohawk Park
06 Sat 07:00 Public Mars Star Party (1000+) w/ David Stine at John Oxley Polo Field in Mohawk Park
12 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting at TU Keplinger Hall
18 Thu 07:00 Jarmin Elementary School (200) at the school, 9015 E. 79th St.
30 Tue 07:00 Sperry Library (100?) at the library


? 02 Wed 07:00 Back Up for 09/30 ?
10 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting at TU Keplinger Hall

Gerry Andries
Observatory Group Director
Astronomy Club of Tulsa


By Paul Barry

One of you asked me a rather sophisticated question:

Paul, what is your opinion of the theory that that is no such thing as "TIME", or that there are multiple parallel universes with the same events occurring in all of them simultaneously?

Remember, He asked for this:

Actually, as an experienced navigator, I believe time does not exist per se, that it is actually a byproduct of Distance. The further you go in distance, it seems longer to get there. Kids are very perceptive of this as they constantly ask, "are we there yet?" As you get older, you know what distance is, so you are not as aware of time, unless the destination is your mother-in-laws, in which case time seems to accelerate, then goes in reverse after you arrive. In navigation the basic formula is rate x time = distance. The problem in the formula is that nobody obeys speed limits (Rates) anymore, or they are not variables as they are set by local governments, and are ignored in reality. Therefore they don't exist, which means that time = distance, and if the distance of 0, then time doesn't exist.

So, if you go nowhere, say you are parked in your recliner, the whole idea of time goes away. This is proved when your wife comes in late in the day and starts beating on you about spending all day in that position, when you just feel like you just got there and was just getting comfortable. Likewise sitting at the table working on a radio, a puzzle, or putting in the shop, she will call for dinner, and your first response is "Holy cow, where did the time go?" Ever look up from your computer and been surprised to see it was not 11 pm but 4 am?? See! In fact the whole thing about time was summarized in a neat little cult movie called "Remo Williams". In it Joel Grey portrayed an old Korean Martial arts instructor who theorized, "Time is a confidence game invented by the Swiss". They couldn't put it on the screen if it wasn't true!

Now parallel dimensions are another whole bag of basketballs. The existence of these was proven on Star Trek. There have been many episodes where the Enterprise encounters itself and duplicate crewmen, each with their own experiences in a similar time line but in a parallel universe. And as we all know, they could not put this on TV if it were not true. Besides, even if it were not, almost all science fiction written to date has come true anyway, so therefore it exists, QED.

I know I have deep curiosity if the poor bastards that look like me in other dimensions are going through the same things I have, or if they somehow got smarter. I know I must be the baseline on which all the others gage how good they are doing.

That would also explain how UFO's and Bigfoot's appear and disappear without trace. They are residents of other dimensions that have learned how to manipulate worm holes and dimensional portals to move from dimension to dimension. We have not yet confirmed their existence, although they would explain where Amelia Earheart, Jimmy Hoffa, Judge Crater and Nixon's tapes went. These are not rare events either as you have on occasion experienced them when your car keys disappear, then reappears where you had already looked. Don't believe the old lady when she says you are losing it, its just trans dimensional shifting at work. Heck, I know people who are still looking for where the last 20 years went.

I really hope you are right that our duplicates in the other dimension are having the same events as we are. It would be depressing to think I am getting more of anything than I am now, but did not realize it. And what happens when we all die? Do we merge back into one person and find we have memories of things, places and people we never experienced ourselves? Or do we all show up at the pearly gates in a large Mob, with Saint Peter on the PA announcing "will the Barry party please get on the down elevator at this time!!" It would appear to create a large amount of housing problems in Heaven, and unimaginable problems in Hell!

The only other dimensional problems I have encountered were the concepts of width and weight. Again, these are measures of distance, the circumference of my waist, and the increasing distance I sink into the earth. Both increase inversely from my distance to the dinner table. Again, time does not enter into it. I am still searching for the portal to my "Thin" Dimension.

I hope this was helpful. I would refer you to Einstein, but if he was so smart how come his brain is in a jar at Harvard? Besides, if E=mc2, then the faster we go, time speeds up, so if we go infinitely fast, time does not exist, or if we stand still time is infinitely long, and is meaningless. So if Albert were as smart as everyone says, and time existed or was important, wouldn't He have put a "T" in his famous formula? The proof? If you use the formula and fire an atomic bomb, you don't care what time it is, you just want as much distance from it as possible.

But that's my opinion, I could be wrong.





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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