July 2001

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 Picnic and Star Party


July 20, 2001 at 7:30 P.M.


Club Observatory near Mounds, OK.

Notes from the President

John Land

Club Picnic and Star Party - Friday July 20th. If the weather is cloudy on the Friday then we will meet on Saturday. Future Events: Aug 10 - 11

During the warmer months many club members and their guests enjoy gathering at the club's observatory for an evening of observing and visiting with friends. For the new comers to astronomy this is a great chance to see different types of telescopes and enjoy a variety of celestial objects. Arrive early and bring materials for a picnic before sundown. We have plenty of tables and chairs and even an outdoor grill. All you need to bring is plenty of food and drinks and some snack food or dessert to share with others. Its summer time so remember to bring your insect repellent. If you stay late a light jacket or windbreaker may be useful depending on the weather conditions. The observatory does have a single access restroom.

We typically have 30 to 50 people for these events and 15 to 20 telescopes to look through. In addition our observatory features a 16-inch telescope and classroom area. We also have about 1.5 acres of open ground for setting up your own equipment. This is a great time to begin work on one of the observing certificate programs offered by the Astronomical League. Families are welcome but Children MUST be supervised. You can see more about the observatory at our website. The Observatory is open at club star parties and other scheduled events. If you plan to go at other times < Gerry Andries e-mail > or a club officer should be notified. Due to our remote location it is not advised for observers to go alone. See schedule of events below.


The following is the current schedule of star parties and public groups. Tentatively scheduled dates are bracketed with question marks. All events are at the RMCC unless noted otherwise: Contact < Gerry Andries e-mail > at Phone


? 07-17-01 Tue Kansas, OK Public Library (At location near Kansas,OK) ?

? 07-19-01 Thu Back Up for 07-17-01 ?

07-19-01 Thu 13:30 Coweta Public Library (at the Library w/John Land & Tony White)

07-20-01 Fri 19:30 Club Star Party & Picnic

07-21-01 Sat 19:30 Club Star Party (Backup for 7/20)



08-10-01 Fri ACT Club Star Party & Picnic

08-11-01 Sat ACT Club Start Party (Backup for 8/10)

? 08-17-01 Fri Tulsa Bicycle Club w/ Ed Kirkman ?

? 08-18-01 Sat Tulsa Bicycle Club w/ Ed Kirkman ?


The club Star Party and Picnic on June 22nd was a big success. By the time darkness fell after 9pm more than 40 cars and 80 people lined the open field around the observatory. A steady stream of observers viewed Mars with the club's 16" Newtonian, various 8" to 14" Schmidt-Cassegrains and many smaller instruments. Polar caps were easily visible although the surface detail was less than when Syrtis Major was visible earlier in the month. On a night when the seeing rated good for this time of year, members and their guests had inspiring views of M-13, the Great Globular in Hercules, M-57 Ring Nebula in Lyra, and the many beautiful nebulas (M-8, M-17 etc.) in the Southern Sky. We will repeat the fun at our July Star Party and Picnic on Friday July 20th (backup date Saturday July 21st). If you missed the June Party don't miss July's.

On Sunday morning July 1st around 3am, a dozen ACT members inspired by David Stine observed Comet Linear at the club's observatory. As the comet rose higher and higher in the eastern sky a rather large 3rd to 4th magnitude coma became easily visible. Some of us felt it compared well with the central glow of the Andromeda Galaxy! This is the brightest comet since the spectacular Hale-Bopp; well worth the sleep deprivation we endured.

Denny Mishler, Club Vice President


The club now has its own domain name and a new web site. The new URL is

Tom McDonough, the webmaster, has done a great job redesigning a great site that Dean Salman originally designed. Thanks to both.




Eight club members attended the MSRAL Convention from June 8 - 10 at Conway, Arkansas hosted by the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society. MSRAL stands for the Mid-States Region of the Astronomical League and our club belongs to this region of the Astronomical League. The convention began with a Fish Fry at Toad Suck Park along the Arkansas River. In spite of the name (several stories about how the name was derived were given but none made much sense) we had an enjoyable dinner, which was followed by observing at the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society's Observatory. The skies went from fairy poor to wipeout so most of us got plenty of sleep except for a group that conversed with the convention's keynote speaker until well past 3am. Incidentally, the convention was located at Hendrix College, a pretty little college with beautiful gardens and walkways. The dorm room accommodations were said to be among the best for a regional convention.

On Saturday we had an astounding development at the business meeting. Three clubs including ours volunteered to host next year's convention. When the dust settled a new club from Siloam Springs, AR was chosen to host the 2002 Convention. The Astronomy Club of Tulsa will host the convention in 2003 and the Springfield, MO Astronomy Club will play host in 2004. This shows that the MSRAL is healthy with the Kansas City club no longer having to shoulder most of the responsibilities. Five speakers gave presentations during the day. Dean Williams gave a humorous overview of the Science of Astronomy and Wayne Clark explained the hot research topic of Gamma-Ray Bursts and how amateurs with CCD cameras can make important contributions. We had dinner at "The Old Gin", which was followed by keynote speaker Robert Reeves from San Antonio who spoke about creating stunning celestial images with easily available equipment. Robert has written numerous articles and several books on Astrophotography.

Saturday night some of us revisited the host club's observatory, which reminded me of a smaller version of the Dallas club's Atoka location with clubhouse, individually owned observatories, observing pads and electric. Chris Lasley, the convention chairman showed us his compound, which contained a 16" Richie Criterion telescope on an Astro mounting. As the seeing dropped to 3rd or 4th magnitude, no one bothered to get out a telescope except Chris who said he would give us some CCD observations (or is it recordings). I had my doubts that we would see any results as the Big Dipper grew faint. After about 45 minutes of calibrations and adjustments we were ready for some 30-second recordings. The first object up was M-51 the Whirlpool Galaxy. When it came on the screen I couldn't believe my eyes. There was the beautiful Whirlpool with arms and dust lanes and the connecting bridge to the colliding companion. Next up was M-57. How about a 3-inch diameter ring in the middle of the computer screen complete with central star? The recordings went on, M-13 spectacular, M-22 impressive, and so on. When Dean Salmon gave his CCD talk last year and said that we can do CCD Astronomy work from the middle of Tulsa, he wasn't kidding. Chris can actually sit inside the RV trailer he has on the grounds and operate the telescope and CCD camera remotely. The whole experience gave me something to dream about...

Denny Mishler, Club Vice President





By Davis Stine

If you haven't seen Comet Linear, your chances and time are running out. The comet is now visible high in the ESE in the early morning. By late July it will be a late evening object high in the constellation Delphinus rising at 9 p.m. and in the sky from dusk to dawn. But it probably won't be as impressive as it has been the last few weeks. Many club members including KC Lobrecht, Steve Chapman, Gerry Andries, Hugh Selman, etc., have been getting up in the wee hours of the morning and viewing this wandering object. One of the best nights was at the observatory the morning of July 1. It was a great morning for viewing Comet Linear. We had finally had a break in the weather. KC had her big Dob and Gerry had the observatory scope trained on the comet. KC and I had trouble at first orienting ourselves to the sky if that's possible, but when we did the comet was an easy object. It was actually higher in the sky than we had anticipated. Through the clubs 16-inch and my 10-inch Dob and KC's 13-inch Dob the comet showed a huge coma, flat on one side. It was an awesome sight, one of the largest comas I had ever seen a comet produce including Hale-Bopp. We could not discern a tail but one side of the comet's coma seemed to show an expansion, which left the impression of a tail or jet. Through binoculars it was very much like looking at the Andromeda Galaxy but not as bright, maybe 5th MG. The most impressive aspect of the comet was how fast it moved. There was a star right next to the comets flat side of the coma and every time you would leave the eyepiece to let someone else view and then come back the comet was farther away from the star. You could actually watch the comet move if you stayed at the eyepiece continually for several minutes. Even though it did not show the beautiful tail that southern hemisphere viewers got to see, it was an awesome comet and the best I have seen since Hale-Bopp. The best views came from the clubs 16-inch and KC's Dob. It is visible from light polluted areas but it is best viewed from a dark location. Club member Hugh Selman reported viewing the comet from his light polluted backyard and with his Dob he located it fairly easily, so you don't have to go far to see it. I will try and include a chart of where it will be for the next couple of weeks somewhere in the newsletter, but if there isn't room for it you can go to and they give a nightly chart of the comets location. By our next club star party, July 20th, the comet is 40 degrees in altitude by 11p.m. between the constellation Pegasus and Delphinus and by 3a.m. it is 80 degrees high, almost straight overhead. I would insist though that you get out now and view the comet and don't wait until the star party, as it probably will have faded considerably. I hope everyone will get out and see this visitor from deep space before it is gone forever.

The next predicted naked eye comet should become visible in backyard telescopes by the end of the month. This comet also a Linear, designated Comet C/2000 WM1(Linear) will become visible at 13th Mg in the constellation Perseus after Midnight. If the predictions hold up it should become a naked eye object by the middle of November between Aires and Triangulum at Mg. 5.9. By Christmas it should be an easy naked eye object at Mg. 4.5 low in the south in the evening below the star Fomalhuat. It will reach its brightest in January at 3.9 but will be to far south for northern viewers.

I also want to remind everyone that on July 17, we will have a daytime event that you can show you fellow employees at your office. In fact, people with very good eyes will be able to view the event with no optical help. A thin crescent moon occults Venus. Venus will disappear behind the moon in Tulsa at approximately 1:05 p.m. and reappear at 2:26 p.m. It is also a good time to show co-workers that you can see Venus in the daytime also. This would be a good opportunity for recording the event with a camcorder.

One last thing, I would like to welcome new club member Todd Lindley of the National Weather Service. We now have an inside contact on cloud and weather conditions and he promises to keep the clouds away during our viewing sessions. That's it from my corner this month.


C/2001 A2 (LINEAR)

Finder chart for C/2001 A2 (LINEAR) provided by Gregorio Drayer. (Click on image for larger view.) Copyright 2001©Gregorio Drayer {It has been pointed out to be that this chart is in error by one day. That is, the position indicated for July 1 (0 UT) is actually valid for July 2.)


Astronomy Club of Tulsa, 918.688.MARS

President: John Land

Vice President: Dennis Mishler

Secretary: Teresa Kincannon

Treasurer: Nick Pottorf

RMCC Observatory Manager: Gerry Andries

Observing Chairman: David Stine

Web Master: Tom McDonough

New Membership: Dennis Mishler

Librarian: Ed Reinhart

Education Coordinator: Scott Parker