October 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


Friday, 18 October 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.

President’s Message

Denny Mishler

Our October 18th meeting features a very distinguished speaker, Dr. Claud Lacy, Professor of Physics and Chairman of the Astronomy Program at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Lacy is also a Scientist at the Arkansas-Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences. He grew up in Shawnee, Oklahoma; received his B.S. and MS degrees from the University of Oklahoma and received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Texas. He will be speaking to our club about an area of Astronomy that is at the forefront of Astronomical Research: "Eclipsing Binaries and Extrasolar Planets". With the advent of CCD cameras, moderate equipment such as the Robotic Telescope at the University of Arkansas is ideally suited for the observations of Extrasolar Planetary Transits in Open Star Clusters. A careful program of observations could yield several new planets per year (could a discovery of a new planet by a serious amateur be far behind). For those of you wanting a science discussion with depth, this is one of the meetings you've been waiting for. Please come early so that we can begin promptly at 7:30 PM. As always, we welcome your contributions to the refreshment table for enjoyment at the end of our meeting.

With the enjoyment and large turnouts at recent Club Star Party's, don't miss our next star party on Friday, November 1st, with a cloudy/rain date of November 2nd



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



11-01-02 Fri 06:00 Club Star Party
11-08-02 Fri 06:00 Tulsa GS Troop 428 (20)
11-09-02 Sat 06:00 Back up for 11/08
11-18-02 Mon 08:00 Leonid Meteor Storm all night


02-03-03 Mon 06:15 BA Home School (30)



10-18-02 Fri 07:30 Regular meeting (at TU Keplinger Hall)


11-11-02 Mon 06:00 BA High S (at Spring Creek Elem)
11-13-02 Wed 06:00 Hoover Elem (at Hoover School)
11-15-02 Fri 06:00 Annual Club Dinner Meet
(at Furrs, 41st & Garnett, Tulsa)

Gerry Andries

Okie-Tex Review

From K.C. Lobrecht as told to Denny Mishler

I had a blast at Black Mesa (Okie-Tex) this year. The wind was terrible all week, but I had three solid nights of observing before leaving on Friday. On two of the nights Auroras were visible and on one night following sunset the Gegenschein, the counter glow, was visible. An iridium satellite flare was the brightest I had ever seen (Mag. -7). At Okie-Tex it seemed like -11. The second night, Monday, I got up at 12:30 AM to finish my Double Star Program (Astronomical League Observing Program). Rod Gallagher, my observing partner got up too since he needed the Spring and Summer Constellations also. He was observing very efficiently, doing both his Messier and Binocular programs at the same time. I missed 94 Aquari but caught it three nights later and that finished my Double Star Program.

I had a scare when the Declination Axis let go on my Celestron and the eyepiece diagonal smashed into the encoder. It cracked the encoder housing but everything worked fine afterwards. It shook me up though because earlier I had offered to install Rod's new Televue 76 refractor on my Celestron. We were comparing his new 76 with the one I purchased 6 years ago. No performance difference, but quite a price increase.

Howard Minor (club member who moved to Texas) saw a large brown bear (light phase of a black bear). He was blown away by the experience. He was driving when he caught sight of the bear so he slammed on his brakes, backed up and got out his camera. That bear was hauling _ _ _ across the open range but would stop every now and then, stand up on his haunches and look back. Howard also saw 2 large furry weasels (fishers, martins?) on the bluffs above the campground. Raccoons got into several tents raiding for potato chips or anything else that was edible. One of the organizers of Okie-Tex hit a mule deer, killing the deer and deploying the air bags. Fortunately, no one was injured. I came upon them minutes after it happened. The car was smashed pretty badly and lost all of it's coolant. The owner had to rent a U-haul and trailer and tow it back home. I was with friends from Arkansas and we were on our way to see the dinosaur tracks at Clayton Lake, New Mexico.

By Sunday (the first official day of Okie-Tex) the campground on the East Side was filling up. Registration had reached 325 and with at least 50 more expected to register at the door, a new attendance record was assured. By Friday it was too much for me. The hordes were coming in and with a dog barking all day near the bluff to the South, I decided I'm outa here. Besides, the caterer made a fatal mistake; canned banana pudding twice and no chocolate cake. But what I'll always remember about Okie-Tex was the double dust lane in M32, and the ground being lit up by the Milky Way. Rod noticed something interesting, the passing clouds were dark because of the bright effect of the Milky Way background. And wasn't it great to see and talk to Dean Salman (club member who moved to Arizona).

From Denny Mishler:

I got back from Okie-Tex at 3 AM Sunday morning. I left right after dinner Saturday night having decided that unless it was completely clear I would hit the road. During the trip back I had three coyotes pass in front of my vehicle and I saw a herd of Prong Horn Antelope, probably the same herd that I had seen driving in. The chocolate chip cookies K.C. had left in my possession lasted about 30 minutes Friday night. Sorry Chris (Brown), but all those hungry students would have devoured the cookies before I got to Tony's (White) turf. Next year Jim (Miller), don't be bashful, take two.

The viewing was great Thursday and Friday nights but I heard that Monday night (before I arrived) was the best. I have not seen stars down that close to the horizon since visiting Chile. I had planned to arrive Wednesday but it was bad weather out West so I made the 7 hour 435 mile drive on Thursday and drove through sheets of rain between Enid and Guyman, but found Okie-Tex out in the sunshine after experiencing those heavy rains earlier. On Thursday night I began my Messier Binocular Program and knocked out 41 objects in about 3 hours. They should ban 100mm binoculars from being used (especially out at Okie-Tex), but I will accept my certificate when I earn it, Thank You.

Rod Gallagher won the second biggest prize, an 8" Dobsonian. When I left he was discussing its sale with an interested buyer. Gary Buckmaster won a nice eyepiece. I won a little Beginners Guide to Astronomy (no snickers please). K.C., you did not loose out on a prize (by leaving early) as you did last year. I was talking to the Star Party Director from the Oklahoma City Club. He said that they might have to cut off attendance next year as some of the facilities are being over taxed.

I was surprised at the meager portions at some of the meals (the meals are provided and determined by a private caterer). The hard part about going to Okie-Tex is getting your observing appetite fed but not your stomach. Just kidding. Actually the hard part is the withdrawal one feels when you get home and realize that it will be a long time before you can observe like that again.




By David Stine

We are only a month and a half away from what could be the greatest meteor storm that we will ever see in our life times, the 2002 Leonid Meteor Storm. I will briefly give you a synopsis this month and next month before the storm I will give a full report of what to expect. For now, most astronomers are predicting three possible peaks. The first comes on the night of November 18th at 10:03 pm, which isn't very good for us, but we could still see some earth grazers. In Europe they are expected to see 3500/hr. Then at 12:36 am on the 19th a brief encounter of 160/hr will be visible. The big daddy comes at 4:40 am the morning of the 19th where we are expected to see anywhere from 2600-5,000/hr at this time. Perfect for Tulsa if we have clear skies. According to weather statistics we are in a 40-60 chance area, which isn't too good, so be ready to vacate Tulsa and head for clearer skies if we end up clouded out. Start making plans now, as you will need to take off Monday and Tuesday from work. The other drawback this year is that we will also have a near full moon which will knock out probably as much as 40% of the meteors. Even so there will be more than you can count bright meteors flashing through the sky. The one advantage is that the moon will be low in the west during the big daddy peak and the Leo radiant will be high in the East. As I said earlier I will have a full report next month before the Leonid Storm.

That's it from my corner this month.


Astroland Tidbits

by John Land

Congratulations to Aaron Coyner, Michelle Stevenson and Ian Zedalis on their fine presentations at last month's meeting. It was inspiring to see the products of their many months of persistent problem solving and design testing come into being. Michelle especially deserves an award for her courageous fielding of questions and all the levels of problem solving and testing she had been though on her micrometeorite project.

Congratulations are also in order for fellow astronomy club member James Kerr for his selection as Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year. James is an Earth Science teacher with the Union school system. As Teacher of the Year he will have a unique opportunity to share his vision of science education throughout the state.

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

Order your 2003 Calendar - Twelve Stunning Astronomy images from the 2003 Astronomy Calendar Each photo is 13" by 10.5" and folds out to a great wall calendar 13" by 21" Regular price $12 plus $5 shipping.

Through the astronomy club:

Your price $8 each and NO shipping if you pick them up at a meeting. They will make a great Christmas gift. We will place our first order by Nov 1. Place your order at the Oct 18 meeting or contact John Land to order.

Club Membership: Adults $25 and Students $15 per year. Most of our club members will need to get their club dues in by December 2002. You can check your mailing label to see when your club dues expire. Avoid the cash crunch at Christmas time and renew early. Renewal forms are available on the Internet site also.

"Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens" on PBS Oct 29 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

NOVA will be presenting a two hour special entitled "Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens" This documentary is based on the book "Galileo’s Daughter" by Dava Sobel and the sequel book "Letters to Father" Both books feature letters written of Galileo by his eldest daughter who lived as a sequestered nun. Virginia was nine years old when Galileo first turned his telescope toward the heavens. What a wonderful adventure they both must have shared looking at the wonders of God’s universe for the first time. Her deep love for her father and his grand journey are envisioned in her chosen catholic nunnery name Maria Celeste "Mary of the Heavens". I have read the book "Galileo’s Daughter". In addition to the many personal insights in the relation of father to daughter you will find a careful chronology of Galileo’s astronomical studies. This is not your elementary school image of Galileo as the grand champion of the universe. There was a great deal of political patronage involved in getting acceptance for his ideas. The November 2002 Sky and Telescope has an article on page 64 and sights a website

The website features interactive versions on some of Galileo experiments in physics and thought.

Note: Teachers: you should preview the website and documentary. As with most idealized historical figures their personal lives and dispositions did not always live up to our simplified elementary school images of them. If the program accurately portrays the life of Galileo some topics may not be for the very young. On the other hand this may dispel the often-mistaken belief that the church was totally opposed to Galileo’s new visions of the universe.

2002 Calendar of events

When Where
18 October Meeting at TU
1 November Star Party - RMCC
15 November Business Meeting
6 December Star Party - RMCC
13 December Meeting at TU


Club Memberships


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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

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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

Newsletter: Richie Shroff