Minutes from the Jan 2011 Meeting

by Bill Engberg

Clear Skies and a Medieval Murder Mystery!

Inside the Clubhouse it was warm and inviting, outside it was clear and beautiful with Orion high overhead.

The Jan meeting was great time and we had 4 new visitors show up! It was a pleasure to meet a former member who recently moved back, David Reynolds; also Brandon Alleman, Roger Gudith, Chad Everett and welcome them to the club.

Big Kudos to the members who are bringing their friends, schoolmates and co-workers. That is the ultimate outreach!

No clouds in the sky and it was clear. But the mystery over “How” did Tycho Brahe die…that was a clouded mystery! Jim Fisher hit a home run by starting the year with a 4 century old mystery, it was great!!! Was it the astronomical “frienemy” and competitor Kepler? Jaded common law wife? Self-induced victim of alchemy? A dark visitor to his castle or the plagiarist publisher who stole data from him…?  A HINT: 13 hours before his death he was given a lethal dose of mercury… The astronomer met is end with an element named after a planet…so poetic it should be a Shakespearean play!

Using mass-spectroscopy, the same technique to see what elements the stars are composed of; investigators could also see the high dose of mercury in the roots of his hair. If you were at the meeting, you learned of the complex web of intrigue and deceit, fortunes gained and lost, kings and courts, and the shifting winds of political favor and banishment!

Afterward was just as exciting: Wade Van Arsdale and others set up their scopes and capped the evening with fantastic stargazing. Wade was nice enough to have his Observatory open and lines quickly formed as his servo motors quietly and perfectly swung his massive Celestron EdgeHD from Jupiter, to Uranus to M42 Orion… as well as many others. What a delight to see through his fantastic and perfectly tuned equipment.

Special Thank You to Carolaina Ferren for her very kind gift of her beautiful handmade gloves and scarfs for all the last year’s Officers. No gift is as special as one that is custom made by someone, for someone…a true gift from the heart and a true treasure. The “astronomer gloves” were fingerless, perfect for setting eyepieces and focusing knobs when it is chilly. I’ll treasure mine forever!

-Who else was at the Meeting?

20 people enjoyed the evening’s tales and observations of the heavens:

4 visitors (see above)

Jim Fisher,

Wade Van Arsdale,

Rocky Togni,

Coy Scott,

Robert Brown,

Eric Walker,

Don and Carolaina Ferren,

Carl Freyaldenhoven,

Jim Fisher,

Jim Dixon and Samantha,

Pat and Sandy Morris,

Darrell Heath,

and me…your humble scribe

-Upcoming Events (as always, see website for updates)

Feb 12th – CAAS Meeting

Mar 12th– CAAS Meeting

March 26thStar Party at Woolly Hollow State Park  Sunset: 7:26 p.m.  Observing Highlights:  Saturn, the spring constellations: Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Ursa Major and Hercules. (No evening moon)

Apr 28th (Thursday) – Japanese Students and guests (about 30 total) return for Star Party at Pinnacle Mtn State Park (West Field)
Blue Skies
Club Scribe, Bard of the Bolides, Galactic Secretary, Commentator of Comets  (now with warm hands + soft astronomer gloves!)