February 2002

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

Dr. Peter Shull

Professional Astronomer and Professor of Physics at Oklahoma State University


Friday, February 22, 2002 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.

Notes from the President

Denny Mishler

We have a wonderful speaker for you to enjoy at the February 22nd meeting. Dr. Peter Shull, Professional Astronomer and Professor of Physics at Oklahoma State University will be our guest speaker. Dr. Shull will present information and photos of the new Astronomical Observatory that is about to open at OSU (off campus). This observatory has been in the planning stages for years and is now about to open. Dr. Shull will also discuss the research that is about to take place at the new observatory.

Professor Shull was educated at Princeton and Rice Universities and has been an Associate Professor at OSU since 1989. He "studies the structure and evolution of protoplanetary disks and super nova remnants, both theoretically and observationally, with colleagues in the United States and Europe. The aim of this work is to improve our understanding not only of how massive stars die, but also how these deaths affect the births of future generations of stars and planets."

With such an outstanding speaker, please arrive early so that the meeting can start promptly at 7:30pm. If you have dues to pay please see our Membership Chairman John Land well before the meeting starts or at the end of the meeting. Once again we will have refreshments following the meeting so please fell free to contribute to the goodies table.

Our last meeting featured Pete Kron from Astronomics, Norman, OK and our own Tony White speaking to us on new and exciting equipment in Astronomy. Pete's knowledgeable presentation triggered an interesting session of questions from ACT members. He brought the new Celestron Nexstar 8 GPS telescope which is a much more sophisticated instrument than the regular Nexstar 8, while Tony brought his 5" Refractor which gave superb views of Jupiter following the meeting. Our attendance was 77 guests and members, perhaps the largest we've had since moving to Keplinger Hall.


Club Memberships

Please try to pay your 2002 dues by March 1. If you joined the club during the last half of 2001 you club membership is still current through June, but the rest of us need to get our dues up to date. Enclosed at the end of this newsletter is a membership application and renewal form. We will also have a form on the web site whereby you can join the club or renew your membership. Also if you receive a renewal notice for Astronomy $29/yr or Sky & Telescope $30/yr you can mail those to me along with your renewal check. You may mail a check to the

Astronomy Club of Tulsa
25209 E 62nd St
Broken Arrow, OK 74014

Or bring them to the February meeting.

We will be experimenting this month and next with the e-mail version of the newsletter to see how you like it. Send us some feed back both positive or negative but constructive. Those of you without e-mail will continue to receive your letter as usual.

John Land - membership - e-mail < John Land e-mail >



Let's welcome the new members to ACT that have joined us in recent months:

Craig Brashear

Steve Keen

Juliette Broach

Darrell Swank

June Rasmussen

James Kerr

Paul Blystone

Joseph Gagliardi

Kenneth Jones

Patricia Lyons

Rick Bost

Don Sanders

Julie Garrett

Russell Thomas


By David Stine


It's that time of the year again when all the Messier objects can be seen from dusk to dawn on one night of the year. I must warn you it is not an easy task, but if you are up to the challenge there will be a Messier Marathon at the TUVA Observatory just south of Council Hill. The TUVA Astronomy Group will host what is probably the best observing star party in Oklahoma outside the Oki-Tex Star Party. For those of you who are not familiar with messier objects, I will give you a brief history. Messier was a French Astronomer who hunted comets. While he looked for comets he would come across objects that looked like comets. Comets move after several minutes but deep sky objects remain stationary. Messier had to wait and wait and waste valuable comet hunting time to see if the object would move. He decided to start logging these pesky comet imposters and giving them a number so when he came across them again he wouldn't waste time waiting for them to move. What Messier didn't know at the time was what he considered pests would become some of the most famous and observed deep sky objects in the heavens. These objects include globular star clusters, open star clusters, double stars, galaxies, planetary nebulas and gas nebulas. On March 16 you will have the opportunity to view all of these objects. Ron and Maura Wood started having the marathon back in the early 90's even before Messier Marathon's started catching on across the world. Several years ago there was even an article written in the magazine Oklahoma Today about the marathon at TUVA. To make the challenge even more fun, Ron honors the person finding the most objects by adding his or her name to the marathon plaque. It just so happens that I was the first winner back in 1992. Logging 97 of the 110. It now is called the David Stine Messier Marathon Award. The plaque hangs in the TUVA Observatory and since then several Tulsa Astronomy Club members have had their name added. Recipients include, 1993-Marc Chouinard, 1994-Cancelled because of weather, 1995-James Liley, 1996 - James Liley, 1997 - Scott Parker and 1998 - me again. I don't think anyone has been able to locate all of them but James Lilly found over 100. The unfortunate accident that Ron had resulted in the marathon being cancelled for several years and the weather did not cooperate last year. This will be the first marathon of the new millennium. The site is easy to find and the skies are very dark. There are electrical hook-ups and Maura will have the coffeepot on. Bring lots of snacks and a tent or sleeping bag in case you don't last the entire night. TUVA has a new building that has just been completed and has a very comfortable large warm space where the Feynman Relic (an unfinished painting by Feynman) will be on display along with the Dave Stine Award. The building also houses a meteorite from the Sikote-Alin fall in 1947. You also will get a chance to look through BART their 24" scope. If you are wondering what BART stands for, it is Big Astronomical Reflecting Telescope. At the time of this writing they were working on possibly having some kind of informational seminar dealing with an astronomical topic for those early afternoon arrivals. If I have got your interest up now here are some tips if you decide you are up to the challenge.

1. Start as soon as it is dark enough to see anything. The hardest objects are M77, M74, M33 and M110 as these set before it really gets dark.

2. Don't spend a lot of time on each; locate the object then on to the next one.

3. Do a little pre-planning and set up a schedule of when the objects will be viewable then stay on that schedule. I will have my schedule at the marathon for anyone that wants it.

4. Of course you should start with the objects that are beginning to set and work your way east.

5. When you get ahead of schedule, take a short break.

6. Dress warmly as middle March temperatures can run you inside quickly.

Now you think you are ready, how do you get there? There are several ways, but this one is the easiest to follow:

A. From the Broken Arrow Expressway going east, exit at 81st St. which is also highway 51(last exit before the Muskogee turnpike starts).

B. Go about nine miles to Coweta. Watch for Wal-Mart on left at the last light before you exit right, off the highway, onto highway 72. Go under railroad bridge and through downtown Coweta.

C. Continue on 72 through Haskel, Boynton, and Council Hill




D. About 3 and half miles after you go through Council Hill, 72 ends. Watch for signs that say this and "junction 266". To the right is 266 west to Henryetta, and straight-ahead is 266 East to Checotah.

E. At this junction turn left (east) onto a county road.

F. Go 1/4 mile to stop sign, past a white church. Continue two miles east to a stop sign and a white two-story house on your left.

G. Turn north or left and go 1/2 mile north to a silver and red gate on your left (west)

H. There is a black mailbox and white Muskogee Phoenix box. Turn in and you are at TUVA ready for an exciting night.

And if you are afraid of getting lost or have trouble following these directions, you can meet me in the Homeland parking lot at 3p.m. and follow me there. I will wait till 3:15p.m. and then leave so don't be late. If you decide to do this call me and let me know you are going to meet me.

Even if you are not up to the marathon challenge, you can come and enjoy the dark skies and enjoy being around astronomy enthusiasts and might even learn something. Aside from the Messier objects, at this time of year you can also see Southern Hemisphere objects Omega Star Cluster, the 2nd brightest star Canopus, and the Centarus Galaxy. Also there is an outside chance that the newly discovered Comet Ikeya-Zhang might be viewable just after the Sun sets low in the West. Jupiter and Saturn will be viewable and Jupiter has a storm going on it near the famous red spot. Then in the early morning before the Sun comes up if you are still awake, you can view Delta Scorpii which has been undergoing a flareup. Delta is the middle star in the head of Scorpio. It is now almost as bright as Antares. Comet WM1 Linear, which put on a good show brightening to MG. 3 for Southern Hemisphere viewers, will be viewable after 3a.m. low in the SE. at Mg. 8.

This will be a great time for all, don't miss it. For more information on the TUVA Observatory check out their website at



A new comet has been discovered that has the potential of becoming a naked eye comet in late February and early March. Comet Ikeya-Zhang(C/2002 C1) was discovered as a 9th Mg. object on February 1. As of this writing it has already been spotted in binoculars and was around Mg. 7. It may become as bright as 4th Mg. in early March. On Feb. 28 it will be visible between Cetus and Pisces between 6-8:30p.m. low in the WSW at Mg. 5.5. It will slowly sink lower each evening as it brightens to 4th Mg. and by the marathon date it will only be visible until 7:30p.m. but will be worth a try. The comet will reach perihelion March 8th. Even though the comet may become bright is will be very low in the western evening sky after sunset and difficult to locate. After mid-March the comet enters the predawn sky, there strong moonlight will hamper viewing. A better time for viewing will be during April as is draws away from the Sun and makes its way across Cygnus, however the comet will have faded some to 6th or 7th mg. By late April the comet will make a slow pass from Cassiopeia into Cepheus then Draco and should still be a binocular object. For more information and an Ephemeris to track C2002 C1 go to, which is the Comet Observation Home Page. There are excellent pictures of Comet Linear at this site also.

Its still a few years away, but Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) discovered December 15, 2001 at Mg. 18 could become the next Comet Hale Bopp. By March of 2004 it may become naked eye and then by May become 0 MG!!!!!!!!!!!! That will be a sight to see. It could remain naked eye through the summer of 2004.

(Click on image for larger view)

That's it from my Astro Corner this month, don't forget March 16 Messier Marathon. Hope to see you there.


Our own KC Lobrecht was the first in our club to view Comet Ikeya-Zhang. She observed the comet on Tuesday evening Feb. 12. She describes the comet as quite lovely. The nucleus is brighter than M2 and quite a bit larger. KC detected some type of ring pattern or shock front in front of the coma, but she was unable to quite resolve. If you remember, Comet Hale-Bopp produced a very pronounced shock front with several ring structures of dust. KC could make out a small tail with averted vision and it seemed to go up from the head in a ghostly apparition. Each evening the comet will get brighter but also lower so now is the time to get out and view the comet between 7 and 9p.m.


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



02-15-02 Fri 05:30 TU Astronomy and Physics Class (30)
02-16-02 Sat 05:30 Home School (15)
02-19-02 Tue 05:30 TPS School of Arts and Science (30)


03-08-02 Fri 06:00 Club Star Party
03-15-02 Fri 06:00 Metro Christian Academy (30)
03-30-02 Sat 06:00 Grace Baptist Church (30)


04-10-02 Wed 07:30 Green Country Outdoor Club
04-12-02 Fri 07:30 Club Star Party



02-22-02 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting (at Keplinger Hall)


03-05-02 Tue 06:00 Metro Christian Academy
03-16-02 Sat Messier Marathon (at TUVA)
03-22-02 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting (at Keplinger Hall)
03-23-02 Sat 06:00 Public Star Party (TCC West Campus)


04-13-02 Fri Back up for 03/16
04-17-02 Wed 07:30 Herald Elementary School (100) (at
04-19-02 Fri 07:30 Darnaby Elementary 5th Grade (100) (at the school)
04-25-02 Thu 07:30 Back up for 04/17
04-26-02 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting (at Keplinger Hall)

Gerry Andries

Exciting Computer Software

Our Club has arranged for a bulk rate group purchase of the Starry Night astronomy software program. Many of you may have seen this program being used at our observatory. The prices are even better this year.

Backyard $30 Manual on CD Regular Price $50

Backyard SE $35 w/ Printed Manual Regular Price $60

Pro Version $75 Regular price $130

Go to to see the many features of these programs.

NOTE: We will only be accepting orders in February and March. Orders will be sent in April 1st so that we can get the discounts for bulk orders. You may pay at the meetings Feb 22 or Mar 22, or Contact < John Land e-mail >


Club Memberships


Astronomy Club of Tulsa Membership Application / Renewal Form

Name: ________________________ Phone: ( ) ____ _______

Address: ___________________________________________________

City / State / Zip____________________/____________/_____________


E-mail address - print clearly 

Check Lines below for YES

____ I would prefer to receive E-mail notification when club newsletter

is posted to the web.

____ I choose to receive my newsletter by E-mail ONLY instead of

postal mail. (Usually 3 or 4 days earlier * Must have web access )

____ Notify me by E-mail of late breaking Astronomy Events

Please check all that apply:

___ New Membership ($25) ___ Student Membership ($15)

___ Membership Renewal ($25) ___ Student Member Renewal ($15)

___ Sky & Telescope Subscription ($30) / year

also includes 10% discount on most Sky & Tel products

___ Astronomy Subscription ($29) / year ($55) / two years

* Magazine rates may change / prices available with membership only.

Please bring this application along with a check for the total amount made out to the Astronomy Club of Tulsa to the next meeting or mail the payment and application to:

Astronomy Club of Tulsa / 25209 E. 62nd St / Broken Arrow, OK 74014

For questions contact John Land< John Land e-mail >

How did you hear of the Astronomy Club of Tulsa? ___________________________________________________________

How long have you been interested or active in astronomy? ___________

Do you have a telescope? _______ Type __________________________

Have you been a member of other astronomy clubs? ____

Where / when ________________________________________________


What astronomy club activities would you like to participate in?





2002 Calendar of events

at TU
Feb 08 Feb 22
Mar 08 Mar 22
Apr 12 Apr 26
May 10 May 24


Astronomy Club of Tulsa, 918.688.MARS

President: Dennis Mishler

Vice President: Teresa Kincannon

Treasurer: Nick Pottorf

Assistant Treasurer: John Land

Secretary:Aaron Coyner

RMCC Observatory Manager: Gerry Andries

Observing Chairman: David Stine

Web Master: Tom McDonough

New Membership: Dennis Mishler