June 2004

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 Star Party


Friday, 11 June, 2004 at 8:00 PM


RMCC Observatory


Presidentís Message

Craig Davis

Editor: We will not be hearing from our president this month because he is lost. If he was here I am sure he would be reminding everyone that there will be no meeting at TU during the months of June, July and August, and inviting all of the members to the next club star party on Friday, 11 June. See you there...





Broken Arrow High School science teacher John Land has been chosen to receive the prestigious Thomas J. Brennan Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for 2004. Mr. Land, who has been a Broken Arrow Public Schools teacher for 26 years, will be the guest of the organizationís annual awards banquet in Berkley, California, this summer when he will officially receive his honor.

The award was established by Terry and Cindy Brennan of Bullhead City, Arizona, in memory of Mr. Brennanís father, Thomas J. Brennan, and is intended to recognize exceptional achievement related to the teaching of astronomy at the high school level.

In the Astronomical Society of the Pacificís letter to Mr. Land informing him of his award, ASP Board of Directors Secretary, Dr. Mary Kay Hemenway wrote the following to Mr. Land: "Ö.Your achievements in Broken Arrow, including teaching astronomy to over 3000 students, your early introduction of computers to instruction, your use of the districtís portable planetarium to prepare other teachers and your own students to present shows, and a wide range of public outreach, were noted by the Committee."

Despite its regional name, ASP has members and officers from throughout North America. One of the organizationís primary goals is to promote Astronomy education in high schools.

As winner of the Thomas J. Brennan Award for 2004, Mr. Land will receive a citation and a cash prize. He has also been invited to produce a short article for an upcoming edition of Mercury magazine.



David's Astro Corner

David Stine

All who participated in our Comet/Planet Watch last month enjoyed a great two nights of showing the "Stars to Tulsa". We received allot of great compliments and many people walked away with a little bit more knowledge about the planets, stars and comets. Thanks to all who participated. We plan to do it again later this year.

What a year of comets! Q4 and T7 continue to be very active and are visible in the evenings. A new comet also was just discovered to add to the list; C/2004 Comet Swan H6 was picked up by SOHO spacecrafts SWAN ultraviolet camera. This comet has already passed perihelion and is heading on a high inclination parabolic trajectory through the inner solar system. It will probably remain as an 8th Mg. glow for at least two months in telescopes but will not be visible in the northern hemisphere until July.

Now how about a comet marathon. According to Tom Hoffelder there are several days in the middle of June that you have the opportunity of viewing six comets in one night. The list is from June 11-19, but I am only listing the club star party night and new moon weekend of June 18-19. If you want the complete list, I will get you a copy. Tom has a unique way of locating objects by using nearby stars and sweeping to the object. The list names the nearby star then the sweep you need to make to reach the comet. Tom says finding all six will be a challenge as T7 even though bright will never get very high, Bradfield will be very dim as well as Howell which will be dim and low. You will need a good horizon to the west for T7, to the NE for T3, and the E for Howell. A night out at the observatory for those interested on that Friday and Saturday night may be needed for those interested in attempting this comet marathon.

June 11

Comet T7 Linear Star-Alpha Hya Sweep 0.5S/4.8E 09 47.02 RA -09 10.6 DEC Mag. 7 Early Evening-11:30p

Comet Q4 Neat Theta UMA 1.6S/4.5E 10 00.59 +50 13.8 6.3 All night

Comet K4 Linear Iota Her 0.1S/6.5E 18 16.88 +45 55.0 9 All night

Comet F4 Bradfield Theta Cas 0.8S/2.3E 01 27.14 +54 17.7 12 All night

Comet T3 Tabur Lambda Per 1.4N/1.8W 03 55.61 +51 43.4 10.8 2a.m.-dawn

Comet 88P Howell 29 Cet 0.2S/2.2W 00 58.89 +01 48.7 10.6 3a.m.-dawn

Note: Epsilon Psc is 7.2S/12.3E of Gamma Peg and 29 Cet is 5.9S/1.2E of Epsilon Psc


June 18

Comet T7 Linear Star-Alpha Hya Sweep 0.5N/8.5E 10 01.60 RA -08 10.2 DEC Mag 7.9

Comet Q4 Neat Theta UMA 0.7N/6.0E 10 12.04 +52 27.6 6.8

Comet K4 Linear Iota Her 1.1N/0.7W 17 35.48 +47 04.3 8.7

Comet F4 Bradfield Theta Cas 1.3n/2.6E 01 29.33 +56.25.1 12.5

Comet T3 Tabur 1 Cam* 0.1W 04 31.16 +53 52.8 11

Note: 1 Cam is 3.5N/3.8E of Lambda Per

Comet 88P Howell 29 Cet 1.3 N/1.6E 01 14.31 +03 20.2 10.7

Note: Epsilon Psc is 7.2S/12.3E of Gamma Peg and 29 Cet is 5.9S/1.2E of Epsilon Psc

The motion of some of the morning comets is enough that the sweep will need to be slightly revised by the time they are observable. The locations are for 7 p.m. CST and the sweep revision for each are as follows: T7, Q4, and F4 N/A K4-0.04W each hr., T3-0.03E each hr. 88P-0.02E each hr.

Also you can find charts for all 6 comets and the new comet at

There is a possible chance for an outburst during the June Bootids Meteor Shower between June 20-27th. The best possible date for the outburst will be June 23. You might want to be out watching the skies that night just in case. Also there is a good chance that we may see a good display this August during the Perseid Meteor Shower. It won't be a storm but higher than normal levels compared with past years. More as we get closer to August.

For those still deciding whether or not to journey to another state for the Venus Transit next Tuesday morning there is a very good map with times showing the locations for best viewing. Check out :

Tulsa is basically out of the picture for any really good views of the transit. As John Land mentioned, you can view the entire transit on your computer but it's a midnight to 6a.m. time frame. Check Johns article for the site. Steve Chapman is planning on going to Springfield, Illinois to view the transit so if you are interested you might contact him. He has limited seating but you could still follow him in your vehicle. Maybe enough people could car pool. Steve will be leaving after work on Mon June 7 and joining the Springfield Astronomy club at Centennial Park and returning Tue June 8th after the event.

Congratulations to Gary Buckmaster as he recently received his Master Observing Certificate. Check out the new Reflector magazine that you should have already received and you will see his name under several observing certificate awards. Great work Gary. You might not know but we have two observing programs in the club that I designed and several people have already received their certificates. The summer program is ready to go, so if you want the list of objects just e-mail me. It's a lot of fun and some out of the ordinary objects to locate but very interesting. To get started you can go to our website then go to the newsletter option at the top then click on June 2003 and you will find the list. I can supply you with a detailed list complete with coordinates and an observing form if you contact me. Good luck

That's it from my corner this month, happy comet hunting until next month.



Astroland Tidbits

by John Land

Welcome to our new members. Jillian Parker, Tracy George, Emma Leturgez, Larry Hight, Edward Smith, Jason Taucher, Owen & Tamara Green, Rick Ryan

Sky & Telescope announces new magazine for beginning astronomers. The club has coupons for a free issue - Send a self-addressed stamped envelope or pick one up at a club event.

LAST CHANCE to Register - MSRAL 2004 - June 18-19 at Springfield, Mo Five State Astronomy Convention - Information AVAILABLE ONLINE

Keynote speakers: Mr. Charles Armstrong, key member of the Houston NASA International Space Station Team; Dr. Kevin Evans, SMSU, speaking on impact craters in Missouri.

Many of you attended the MidStates Convention here in Tulsa last June. Plan to renew friendships with other area clubs in Springfield (MO) for the MSRAL Convention on 18-19 June. Plan on observation time (weather permitting), a visit to the SMSU Observatory (16" research-grade telescope with advanced CCD camera), a banquet, a full day of workshops and other presentations, an astro-imaging contest, an astro art contest (something new this year), and more! Bill Burling - MSRAL 2004 Chairman

There is a great set of new images from the Tulsa 2003 convention at

AstroCon 2004 July 20 - 24 - National Astronomical Convention at Berkley, California Tours of Lick Observatory, Nationally Renowned speakers Banquet on the USS Hornet commemorating to the day the return of Apollo 13.

A lot closer to home at the tip of the Oklahoma Panhandle is the Okie-Tex Star party to be held Oct 10th to Oct 17th, 2004 There has been serious discussion of limiting attendance to 300 so stay tuned to their website.

ON LINE Club Memberships and Renewals: Club memberships are $25 per year for adults and $15 per year for students. We now have an automated on line registration form on the website for new AND renewal memberships plus magazine subscriptions. You simply type in your information and hit send to submit the information. You can then print a copy of the form and mail in your check to: Astronomy Club of Tulsa - 25209 E 62nd St - Broken Arrow, OK 74014

Monthly Newsletter - You have a choice! We prefer to use email when available but if you prefer to also receive a printed postal newsletter make a request at

Magazine Subscriptions: If your magazines are coming up for renewal, try to save the mailing label or renewal form you get in the mail. Do NOT mail renewals back to the magazine! To get the club discount you must go through the club group rate.

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

Sky & Telescope is $33 / yr Sky and Telescope also offers a 10% discount on their products.

Address Corrections- Email changes - Questions:

You may forward questions to the club by email or call our message line at 918-688-MARS (6277) Please leave a clear message with your name, phone number, your question - along with address or email Please make email subject lines that address your question. The spam filters may DELETE emails without clear identification!



Astronomy Club June Events

John Land

Our Next Club Star Party will be Friday June 11 at the Clubs Observatory. ( Driving Directions at the end Email ) Alternate night is Saturday June 12th

Note: This is a change from the original June 18 date.

Many club members will be attending the MidStates convention that weekend.

During the summer months club members and their guests gather for a summer star party. We start gathering about an hour before sunset at 8:30 PM Some people like to bring a few snacks and have a little picnic before hand. Telescopes are often set up to check for sunspots. An added attraction will be viewing comet Linear T 7 as well as Saturn and Jupiter. Several club members may be back with tales of the June 8th Venus Transit.

Members and guests are welcome at the summer star parties. Large groups should make separate arrangements for viewing dates by contacting Gerry Andries. < Gerry Andries e-mail >

Observatory images at

If in doubt call 688-MARS for messages.

Plan to arrive before dark. We have plenty of chairs and a classroom area. We have a microwave and you can bring your own snacks. We also have a small charcoal kettle for cooking. There is a restroom available. Bring your own telescope or just enjoy looking through the club's sixteen inch telescope or share the view with some of the members.

Map at

To get there

  • Take Highway 75 South toward Okmulgee.

  • Turn WEST (Right) on 241st St South (across from Duck Creek Indian Casino )

  • Continue on 241st about 6.5 miles ( Its a dirt and gravel mixed road)

  • As you reach the west end of 241st it turns up a steep hill to the right

  • As you reach the top of the hill it turns into a paved road.

  • Continue on pavement about 1 mile and you will see the observatory on the top of the hill.

Children are welcome at both events but must be supervised.

Insect repellant is beneficial in the warmer months.



May Family Planet Night

The May Family Planet Night was a great success. While the crowds were smaller than last fall everyone had time to look through several telescopes and visit with the astronomers. We estimate around 200 guests participated in the events plus 60 to 70 people helping with the event each night. Below is a Quote from our own Bob Boston:

ďThe crowd at Oxley Nature Center/ Mohawk Polo Field Friday, June 21, 2004, may not have been as large as we had hoped but rest assured, there was no lack of enthusiasm and appreciation for all the work done by members of the Astronomy Club of Tulsa,

I heard nothing but praise and compliments for your efforts and the presentations offered. Without exception, every participant had a wonderful time, learned immensely and met new friends with whom they can now network in their efforts to be come better amateur astronomers.

Did you overhear some of those "loud" little students who knew as much or more about the cosmos than many of us ever will? They astounded me!!

You all should be proud of the accomplishments you made in the name of promoting Armature Astronomy. I'm proud to be associated with such wonderful, knowledgeable people!

Respectfully, Bobby BostonĒ



June 8 Venus Transit

On June 8 the planet Venus will pass directly in front of the sun. The last such transit of Venus occurred in 1882. Tulsa is just slightly too far west to observe the event. Some club members are travel to points near St Louis or Springfield IL

But if youíre land locked in Oklahoma you can still view it on the web. The Exploratorium in San Francisco will be webcasting the event live from Athens Greece. Youíll have to plan on an all night viewing. The event starts at Midnight Tulsa time and lasts until about 6:00 AM

Preview the details at

or try

From past experience I suggest you log on early and stay connected. An eclipse event in 1999 completely saturated the worldwide Internet with people trying to log on.





We still have not set a date for the below request. I have gotten comments from several people --- any more comments? If not, I plan to suggest July 23-25th for a first attempt so the public can view the moon. I am thinking that is the kind of event Mr Wyrik has in mind.


To Whom it May Concern: Hello: My name is Roger Wyrick, I am the Park Manager for Okmulgee/Dripping Springs State Parks. We were wondering if your club would be interested in maybe hosting a Star Party at our park sometime in the future. We have some very nice and dark areas in the park to set up telescopes, and some are right next to the lakes. We also offer RV and tent camping for those who would like to do that. If you are interested please let me know and then we can set the dates, the dates will be whatever is convenient for your club because we are open 24/7/365.


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



08 Tue 05:30AM Venus/Sun Transit watch - the first since 1882

11 Fri 08:15 Club Meeting and Star Party

12 Sat 08:15 Back Up for 06/11


16 Fri 08:15 Club Meeting and Star Party

17 Sat 08:15 Back Up for 07/16


13 Fri 08:15 Club Meeting and Star Party

14 Sat 08:15 Back Up for 08/13

20 Fri 07:00 Tulsa Bicycle Club Camp Out

21 Sat 07:00 Tulsa Bicycle Club Camp Out



? 07 Tue Venus/Sun Transit Field Trip - to Illinois (Call David Stine)

Gerry Andries
Observatory Group Director
Astronomy Club of Tulsa


Astronomy Club of Tulsa, 918.688.MARS

President: Craig Davis

Vice President: Ruth Simmons

Treasurer: John Land

Secretary: Jim Miller

RMCC Observatory Manager: Gerry Andries

RMCC Facility Manager: Craig Davis

Observing Chairman: David Stine

Web Master: Tom McDonough

New Membership: Dennis Mishler

Newsletter: Richie Shroff