February 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, 21 February, 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.

Presidentís Message

Denny Mishler

Pete Kron from Astronomics will be our guest speaker at February's meeting. Pete is very knowledgeable about, what is selling, what performs best, and new astronomical equipment. Astronomics is located in Norman Oklahoma and is known for personal service in addition to being one of the largest telescope dealers in the world. Pete handles tech support at Astronomics. He has also become a very astute maker of Dobsonian telescopes. Pete will do a show and tell on how he makes large Dobsonians explaining things step by step. Afterwards, Pete will answer your questions on any type of Astronomy products. Last year Pete's visit brought us our largest attendance of the year and the question and answer session following his presentation was one of last year's highlights. For these reasons we have invited Pete back and he has enthusiastically accepted.

Our own Tony White will be showing and telling us about his new 6" (152 mm) refractor from TMB. Tony uses a Losmandy G-11 mount with Gemini go-to capabilities. At our January Star Party the views of the Orion Nebula and Saturn through this telescope blew us away. Saturn's Cassini Division was large and stable and even the Enke Division was visible. Orion was a swirling festoon of gases with unbelievable detail for a 6-inch telescope. And the only U. S. distributor of this marvelous telescope: you guessed it ... our friends from Norman, Astronomics.

At our January meeting club member and professor at TCC, Chris Brown gave a wonderful talk on Cosmic Radiation to a crowd of 75 members and guests. Chris told us the history of radiation and then explained some of the basics of particle physics as he brought us up to date on present research. Our January Star Party was blessed with 60-degree temperatures as the sun set and wonderful viewing conditions. I estimate that 60 members and guests attended, probably a record for a mid winter Star Party. The next Club Star Party will be held Friday February 28th weather permitting.



There has been a remarkable set of events Find out how the only known photo of a meteor crashing into the moon taken in 1953, the rejoining of our club by Wes Johnson after a nearly 50 year hiatus, and an inquiry by Kelly Beatty the Executive Editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine are causing Lunar Geologists to reevaluate their theories; with all of this leading up to a major article in an upcoming issue of Sky and Telescope (probably May). Wes Johnson himself will tie it all together at the February 21st meeting. Don't miss it.

The Aviation and Space Museum on Apache Avenue near the Airport is preparing a Memorial Journal to be sent to NASA and the families of the Columbia Astronauts. For the next few weeks until February 28th you can enter the museum and sign the Memorial Journal. It is not necessary to pay admission to do this.

Schedule of Events

By Gerry Andries



02-12-03 Wed 05:30 Rogers State Univ. Phy. Sci. (30)
02-22-03 Sat 05:45 Bixby BS Troop 117 (15)
02-27-03 Thu 07:00 Green Country Sierra Club w/George Brenner (35)
02-28-03 Fri 05:45 Club Star Party


03-07-03 Fri 05:30 TU Physics Class w/ Aron Coyner
? 03-08-03 Sat 05:30 Back up for 03/07?
03-28-03 Fri 06:00 Club Star Party


05-08-03 Thu 07:45 Home School Group 1 (30)
05-15-03 Thu 07:45 Home School Group 2 (30)


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



02-21-03 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting at TU Keplinger Hall


03-21-03 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting at TU Keplinger Hall
03-29-03 Sat --:-- Messier Marathon at TUVA


04-11-03 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting at TU Keplinger Hall


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


David's Astro Corner - "Comet's Galore"

By David Stine

This year may go down in the record books as the "Year of the Comets". We have witnessed an unusual amount of bright comets already in just the last few months and there are more on the way. Comet C/2002 V1 (Neat) has been a neat comet as its name implies. V1 has been viewed by many of the club members and it has not disappointed. Sprouting a beautiful long 1-2 degree tail, the comet had increased its brightness to Mg. 3.5 as of this writing and was heading for a close encounter with the Sun. My last view of V1 was on Feb. 10. It was an awesome sight over the hills of Skiatook Lake. Through my 80mm Refractor it revealed a very bright and large coma and nucleus with a flowing tail. By the time you read this, the comet will have passed perihelion and if survived the encounter with the Sun may become a daylight comet. It may become as bright as -2 Mag. and be able to see just above the Sun in the morning. WARNING: IT IS VERY DANGEROUS TO LOOK AT OR NEAR THE SUN, SO IF YOU ATTEMPT TO LOCATE THE COMET, BLOCK OUT THE SUN WITH A BUILDING OR OBJECT. SOLAR FILTERS ARE TO DARK TO SEE THE COMET, SO THEY WILL NOT HELP YOU. DON'T EVEN ATTEMPT TO VIEW THE COMET WITH BINOCULARS OR SCOPE UNLESS YOU ARE EXPERIENCED. IT ONLY TAKES A SECOND TO DO DAMAGE TO THE EYES. A MISCALCULATION AND A FLASH IN YOUR EYEPIECE COULD DAMAGE YOUR EYES FOREVER. Southern Hemisphere viewers should be able to see the comet the latter part of February and it could be a spectacular view if the comet holds up. Anyone ready to charter a plane to Australia?

Comet X5 (Kudo-Fujikawa) put on a show in early January for Northern Hemisphere observers. It recently passed the Sun and has been recovered by Southern Hemisphere viewers at Mg. 5.9. In January observers here observed the 4th Mg. comet. During its close approach to the Sun, it was visible to everyone on Soho cameras and could be followed as it moved pass Sun. Comet V1 will also pass through SOHO camera views and can be watched between Feb. 16-20th. The website is When you get to the site click on the Lasco C3 image and look for the comet.

Comets C2001 (RX14) and C/2002 Y1 (Juels-Holvorcem) have also performed better than expected. The Internet has had many beautiful pictures of RX14 with its fan tail. Y1 is just now getting allot of attention. The comet has been reported as bright as 8.8Mg. which is two magnitudes brighter than predicted for this time period. It is now in Draco and moving through Cepheus and heading toward Lacerta. What makes it ideal for Northern Hemisphere viewers is that it is circumpolar and will remain circumpolar through the middle of March. It is best viewed when it is highest which is between Midnight and dawn. This comet is one to watch as it develops.

The best is yet to come. There are two comets that may become naked eye comets in the early part of 2004. One of these comets could become another Hale-Bopp at Mg. 0 in May of 2004. One month earlier in April another comet may become as bright as Mg. 2. We will have two naked eye comets at the same time. Now won't that be something. Comet C/2001 Q4 (Neat), another neat comet, could become naked eye the first of 2004 and become 0 Mg. and remain a naked eye comet through the latter part of the year. Comet/2002 T7 (Linear) is expected to reach Mg. 2 by April of next year. This comet has already been observed at Mg. 15.9. By the end of this year the comet should be a binocular object at Mg. 8.

One observer who has imaged this comet is Dr. P. Clay Sherrod, the comet and planet expert of this part of the country. Dr. Sherrod stated that the comet was Mg. 15.9 and its coma was small holding a steady brightness. Dr. Sherrod is coming to Tulsa to speak at our next meeting in March. You do not want to miss this meeting. Any night that it is clear, you will find him out imaging comets. On one night recently he imaged 19 comets in one night. I am lucky if I see more than 2 in one night. Everyone should look forward to his lecture March 21.

It is a great time for comet lovers. If you want any more information on any of these comets or future comets e-mail me at < David Stine e-mail > and I will send you detailed coordinates.

Mark your calendars for March 29. This is the date for the TUVA Messier Marathon. On that night you can try and locate all 110 Messier objects from dusk to dawn. It has always been an exciting and fun time in the past with observers from across the state attending. There are always surprises during the event and I am sure this one will be no different. You never know what to expect, a bright comet, meteor or even an aurora. Don't miss it. I will have complete details, maps, etc. on the event in my March article.

To keep up on new comets, meteor events, astro subjects, send me (< David Stine e-mail >) your e-mail address and I will add you to my Astro Alerts.

That's it from my corner this month; keep looking for those comets and clear cosmos to all.


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. Mail outs for registrations should be arriving with your March newsletter so plan to sign up early. Keep up with the conventions plans by clicking on the MSRAL address on our club web page

Lots of volunteers will be needed to prepare for and host this event. A big thanks to those who have already volunteered their talents! Aaron Coyner for web design - contacting speakers - and program design. Barbara Wollmershausr and Teresa Kincannon for planning meals and reviewing lodging. Tony White and Denny Mishler for contacting vendors.

You'll want to arrive early for this months meeting. Both Jupiter and Saturn are easily visible and hopefully someone will have a telescope or two handy for viewing. Wes Johnson will be giving us an update on the Tulsa connection to the Moon's youngest crater. Several of our club members were involved in the quest to track down records of this astounding event. For details see:

One of our newest members, Jack Lee, pasted on this wonderful website showing our place in the universe at many different zoom levels.

Looking for a fully indexed great set of astronomy photos? Try

Starry Night Astronomy Software Many of you have seen the Starry Night Astronomy software running at our observatory. Starry Night has just announced the release of their vastly improved version 4.X for their popular Backyard and Pro versions. This software runs on both PC and Mac formats. One of my favorite features is that you get weekly updates of the positions of the newly discovered comets and the latest orbit elements for satellite viewing. These install themselves automatically into the database to add some spice to your observing nights. In the past we have been able to make a group purchase at substantial savings to our members. We will be sending in a group order about April 1 in time to arrive for our April meeting. At this writing I have not received a reply as to this year's group rate discounts. Hopefully I will have them by the meeting and you can start making orders then. In the meantime look over the new software at their website.

** NOTE: If you are running an older computer read the details on system requirements for version 4.X

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 Sky and Telescope also offers discounts on their other products through the club.

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

For questions on Memberships or Magazine renewals: 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.

KILMER - Lauren Gordon, passed away peacefully in Austin, TX on December 24, 2002, at the age of 93. Lauren was born June 20, 1909 in Belle Plaine, KS to Elmer and Helen Kilmer and spent his youngest years on the farm with parents, 2 sisters, Ruth and Margaret and his brother, Floyd. Later, the family moved around western Kansas as Elmer managed grain elevators. Lauren attended high school in Arlington, KS and then matriculated at Pittsburg State Teachers College where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Arts. He graduated from College during The Great Depression. For a while he was unable to find work. During this period he met and married Mazie Ernestine Barnett, a Music Teacher in Wilmore, KS. One day, Mazie saw a classified ad in The Kansas City Star for a position as a Machinist in Tulsa, OK. Thus begin Lauren and Mazie's 60 years of life together in Tulsa and Lauren's rise as a largely self-taught Mechanical Engineer and Inventor. Tulsa at the time and for several decades, the famous "Oil Capital of the World" offered many opportunities to Lauren. He assumed ever more important responsibilities at the research laboratories of Standard Oil, Sinclair and Amoco. He became a highly valued Design Engineer, both within and without the oil industry. He was unique in that he was a Precision Machinist who could make working prototypes of his designs in many different materials. Lauren has a long list of patents to his credit for designs of seismographic equipment, cameras, readers and edge-polishing machinery for contact lenses and other designs in optics in partnership with Tulsa Ophthalmologist, Dr. Gene Reynolds. Lauren went to Austin in late 1999 to live with his only child, the violinist, Richard Kilmer. He was a very gentle, tolerant, highly intelligent friend, much loved and respected by many. He kept his inextinguishable curiosity about the world and dry sense of humor almost to the end. May he rest in comfort and light. A graveside service will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery, 51st and Memorial, Tulsa, OK, on Wednesday, January 8, 2003 at 10 a.m. Arrangements by Weed-Corley_Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78705, (512) 452-8811.



Club Memberships

Astronomy Club of Tulsa Membership Application / Renewal Form

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* 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

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

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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: Dennis Mishler

Newsletter: Richie Shroff