Minutes from the Aug 2011 Meeting

by Bill Engberg


Meteo-rites of Passage

The first right of passage was the “physical challenge” by making it through the telephone pole chicanes of Hwy 300. Done!


Then was the “intro challenge” with 5 new members here for the first time last night .and since most of them were college students, Dean Wormer made them pledge ΔTX  “Erik Stratton, Rush Chairman.darn glad to meet you.”   Done!


We even had macho door prizes. The full color illustrated astro-photo book “Astronomy” by Chaisson & McMillan was donated by Larry Sessions and was won by a first time guest, new member.Thank you Larry, that book is excellent!


A great evening across the board and 21 people were able to enjoy it. If you weren’t there, you are square. Sublime presentation on meteorites by Bill Sanders and Rocky Togni, even had a lot of actual big iron.humongulous samples for people to see. Shooting stars …you could hold in your hand!  We watched a great presentation covering the history of ancient sightings and interpretations; also how to do data collection, and cool science related to big impactors, some very close to Arkansas. The one impact at Meteor Crater Park in Arizona is 4000 feet across and 40 stories deep.   .and it just missed a house and highway leading to it   😉

Thank you for presenting~!


After the presentation we all headed out to see the sky through everything from binoculars to telescopes. It was a clear and perfectly cloudless night and there were FIVE (!)  1st time guests and new members. You don’t need a scope to enjoy CAAS. There are always a dozen people happy to show the universe to you through their excellent equipment. A great way to learn about all the various types of telescopes and how to get started…without spending a penny!


Thanks to everyone who helped me roll out Ardent (the 24″ Dobsonian) and set up. John Reed is a super hero for helping me put the right settings into my Argo Navis computer, so it became fully functional again.

I was about to rename it HAL:

Me:  “Take me to Messier 57, the Ring Nebula.”

HAL: “I’m sorry Dave, I can’t allow you to do that.”

Me:  “My name’s not Dave, and you’re not supposed to be able to talk..help!


Some of us stayed until sunrise because the skies were so clear! Things we saw:

  • The ISS flyby happened at the same time as an Iridium Flare!! Double Flare action.whooo hooo!
  • THE MOON   (all CAPS because I’M YELLING) we still have that image seared into our retinas. Anyone who stepped away from Ardent (even with the 13% Filter) went night blind in one eye for a ½ hour. I just ordered a polarizing filter that is variable down to 1%. My new seeing eye dog is typing this letter. Woof.
  • Dumbbell nebula
  • Little Dumbbell nebula
  • M57 the Ring nebula
  • Saturn nebula
  • Stephan’s Quintet (could only see 1)
  • Wild Duck Globular Cluster
  • M31 Andromeda galaxy
  • The Blinking Planetary nebula (the core star was so bright, John Reed said he’s never seen it like that before. Agreed.eye candy.Awesome!)
  • Blue planetary nebula
  • Blue Snowball
  • Cat’s Eye nebula
  • Neptune
  • Uranus
  • Mira, a variable Red super giant star.
  • M42 the Orion nebula.eye candy
  • Alberio (fantastic gold and blue double star)
  • Multiple bright and long tailed Perseid Meteors after midnight.
  • Perseus Double Cluster / NGC 869.eye candy
  • Alcyone the triple star / Pleiades
  • Mars
  • The sun.as it rose.


-Who else was at the Meeting?

Jim and Kathy Fisher
Pat and Sandy Morris
John Reed
Ray Jeter

Britt Jeter  (1st time guest / New Member – He studies black holes and other compact objects at the University.  Too cool!)

Carl Freyaldenhoven

William and Scott Bryden (New Member + 1st time guest!)
Roger Gudith
Allen Lee

Josh Thornburgh (New Member/1st time guest!)

Landon Sanders (New Member1st time guest!)
Don and Carolaina Ferren

Wade Van Arsdale

Rocky and Carol Togni

Bill Sanders

Bill Engberg .your humble club scribe.


 -Upcoming Programs and Events  (as always, see CAASASTRO.org for updates)

Aug 20th Public Star Party – Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Aug 21stStar Gazing Cruise – Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Sept 10th    12-5pm (time TBD ?)   Grounds/building clean-up day and “Star” B- Que

  • 7pm Regular CAAS Monthly Meeting / Program: Mayan Calendar (explaining the 2012 event…very cool!)

Sept 17th – Public Star Party – Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Oct 1st – Public Star Party – Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Oct 8th – Regular CAAS Monthly Meeting/International Observe the Moon Night

  • 6pm Board Meeting

Oct 29thPublic Star Party – Woolly Hollow State Park

Nov 12thRegular CAAS Monthly Meeting

     Dec?? – Annual meeting, time, location TBD
Blue Skies 
Club Scribe, Galactic Concierge, Bard of the Bolides