Saturday, March 29, 2008

April 2008 newsletter - download it now

The April newsletter is now available on Click on the word NEWSLETTER on the left side of the site. Enjoy!

Don Boyd, Editor
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Friday, March 28, 2008

Farmer finds mystery space junk

Farmer finds mystery space junk
Received from Matt

Friday, Mar 28, 2008 3:2PM UTC

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A cattle farmer in Australia's
remote northern
outback on Friday said he had found a giant ball of
twisted metal, which
he believes is space junk from a rocket used to launch

Farmer James Stirton found the odd-shaped ball last year
on his 40,000
hectare property, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) west
of the
northern Queensland state capital of Brisbane.

But Stirton only started inquiring into what the ball of
metal really
was, and where it had come from, in the past week.

"I was riding out to check some cattle, and I came
around the corner
and there it was in a paddock," Stirton told Reuters
on Friday.

"I know a lot about sheep and cattle but I don't know
much about
satellites. But I would say it is a fuel cell off some
stage of a rocket."

He said the object was hollow, and covered in a
He has contacted some U.S.-based aerospace
companies to
try to find out
what the object really is.

Sydney's Powerhouse Museum said it was not uncommon for
people to find
spacejunk in remote areas of Australia.

In 1979, large parts of the Skylab space station fell
to earth near a
tiny outback town in Australia's west. A local council
sent NASA a
ticket for littering and then United States President
Jimmy Carter rang a
local motel to apologize.

(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by David Fox)

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tonight's Meeting of the Minds - Main topic - Mayer Event

Tonight's Meeting of the Minds - Main topic - Mayer Event

Come help us assemble the last 320 bags needed for the Mayer event.
Copies have been made and received, and we are ready to put the final touches on
this event and discuss the last minute details.

If you have a topic that needs to be discussed, other than Mayer, please email it over prior to 3pm today. We will add it to the list and hopefully have time to talk about it. If not, we can do it at the next MOM, when Mayer will have happened and the need for discussing it won't be a topic for discussion for that night.


Here is tonight's topics:


Next Meeting: Thursday, Mar 27, 2008

Location: PVCC in G-147 at 7pm

We start promptly at 7:30pm


& Bag Assembly MEETING

This meeting is usually held on the last Thursday of each month.

Special circumstances may change that date. Check for proper

dates on website in Upcoming Events. This month's meeting is scheduled for the date above.

No RSVP is needed for the meeting, and the meeting is open to anyone interested in

talking about the business portion of PAS, upcoming events, ideas on how to improve

PAS, setting up star parties, and more. Special meetings are sometimes called and

held at the MOM's.

Topics are needed. If we don't have enough topics to make the meeting worth meeting

for, we will cancel the meeting a day or so prior. Watch for changes on the site, or email

me for status. Usually, a few days prior to the meeting, I send out the list of topics to be


Please do not bring children to this meeting. Although we do sometimes have presentations,

demonstrations and more fun than you can imagine, we do not wish to bore children while

we talk over PAS Business Stuff.

The meeting will run up to 10pm, but usually ends prior to 10 and then we socialize for

the remainder of the time. Your topics are welcome. Email them to me right away or

bring them along to the meeting. You do not have to feel obligated to stay the entire

length of the meeting. Leave when you need to unless your topic hasn't been discussed

yet. Let me know if you need to leave early and we will take care of your topic near the

beginning of the meeting.


Mar 27th TOPICS ARE:


Caravan / carpool: who with who

Over night? Who's staying, who's
* Sleeping, bring a cot or air mattress? Accommodate 7 adults in beds.


Review planned events for day and night

Telescope Door Prize

Meteorite Door Prize

What time leaving in morning?

Plans for the event, day and night

Someone to hand out blue bags with
sponsor page during the daytime

Someone to Traffic Control day & night

someone to pass out Door Prize tickets
for Telescope

Someone to pass out Door Prize tickets
for meteorite

Someone to have anyone sign up for
PAS Blog

No bouncy balls or red flashlights
can be sold at event.

Decisions to be made:


Can you fit someone & their stuff
into your vehicle?

Are you going up at 7:45 to get
there by 9am with very little to set up?

Are you going up at 5:45 to get
there for Breakfast at 7am, and then
set up & ready by 9am? Wursts, Finches,

If you have stuff to set up, we
start at 9am, what time will you
come up with time to set up if not
the above 2 times?



Barbara & Scotty Hartman

William & Terri Finch

Ed & Bette Wurst

Bruce Wurst

Rod & Sue Sutter

Don Boyd

Mike Marron

Steve Palmer

Chris Johnson

John Pulis

Sam Insana

See you at the meeting!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Earth Hour

Thought this might interest some of you.


Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

April PAS Meeting Speaker

Good morning,

Dr. Laurice Dee has changed her topic for Thurday's PAS meeting on Apr 3rd.

Her new topic will be: "The Study of Our Solar System by Some of the Robotic Explorers"

See you there.

Also, remember, we have a Special Raffle this month. We will be raffling off a SkyScout. Bring cash, join the raffle.

Drinks and snacks will be provided. Donate to the PAS Snack Fund so we can have really awesome snacks every month! Thanks.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Space Weather News for March 26, 2008

Space Weather News for March 26, 2008

Solar activity is surging. Three large
sunspots have
materialized and
at least one of them harbors energy for
strong solar flares. An
M2-class eruption on March 25th hurled
a coronal mass ejection (CME) into
space and emitted radio bursts audible
in shortwave receivers on Earth.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance
of more M-flares during the next
24 hours.

Visit to see
pictures of the burgeoning
sunspots and to listen to yesterday's
radio flare.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A new Constellation is discovered

I found this while searching for info on
the beehive cluster...check it

out, a new constellation


Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

John Dobson 3/20

Received this info through the EVAC list.

I thought everyone might want to know.

Original email:

To all of you who know and love John Dobson as a dear friend and teacher,
this is to tell you that lately John hasn't been well.

Last week John had some problems with dizziness and trouble keeping
his balance. He fell, and was taken to the hospital for some tests.
They now believe that John had a stroke. He is scheduled to meet with a
neurologist today to find out more about his condition.

Here’s hoping all turns out well for him….


Phone: (480) 965-6511

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Center for Meteorite Studies at ASU 3/28 Open House


The Center for Meteorite Studies at
Arizona State University
would like
alert you to an upcoming outreach event
on Friday, March 28, 2008.
Friday (March 28, 2008), the School of
Earth and Space Exploration with

collaboration from the Department of
Physics astronomy graduate
students will
be hosting the 2nd Astronomy Open House
of the semester. The event runs

from 8 pm until 10 pm. We will have
exciting telescope viewing, Physics

demonstrations, Meteorite and mineral display
and a short talk by one
of our
graduate students titled "News from the frontier".
The talk will cover
all the
latest in solar system exploration. Please join
us Friday on the 5th
floor of the
Physical Sciences Bldg. H-wing (ASU Tempe Campus)
for our 2nd activity
the semester. More information can be found here:

Hope to see you all there,

The ASU Center for Meteorite Studies

Phone: (480) 965-6511

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

2 Really Cool Links

Find out when to look for Satellite flybys using the new Simple Satellite Flybys tool:

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Who says the sun is quiet? Two new sunspots are growing rapidly near the sun's equator. Just yesterday they were almost invisible; now the active regions are several times larger than Earth and are putting on a good show for anyone with a backyard solar telescope. Visit for movies, photos and updates.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society


The last, for a while, Bookman's Telescope Workshop will happen on Sunday 3/30 from 4:30 to 6:30pm in the back room.

Bookman's is renovating in April. We do not know if we have the room for the dates after Mar 30th. We'd love to have many people there. RSVP today to help out or to learn how to use your telescope.

Come share your telescope knowledge, or learn from PAS.

Dinner afterwards will be Carlos O'Briens, just down the street and we would love for you to join us there as well.

RSVP is required for Bookman's. RSVP with Terri at Please RSVP by day before so you are assured to get a seat. Thank you!!!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Greenfield Elementary School Star party 3/28

Good afternoon,

The Greenfield Elementary School has a star party planned for this Friday and anyone wishing to help out will need to email Rod to RSVP.
The start time will be 5:30pm. Rod has the details and the map, drop him an email at Your RSVP by the day before, is requested and appreciated.

Thanks for helping out!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Planet Mnemonic

Planet Mnemonic

It used to be :

My - Mercury
Very - Venus
Educated - Earth
Mother - Mars
Just - Jupiter
Served - Saturn
Us - Uranus
Nine - Neptune
Pizzas - Pluto

Now they are saying this... and I'm taking it straight from an article in the AZ Republic:
(by the way, this article has a ton of typos. So, if it doesn't make sense, it is because I took it word for word but corrected the misspelled words as I went along).


4th-Trader wins contest for planets mnemonic
Great Falls, Mont.

Those having trouble remembering the newly assigned 11 planets, including three dwarfs, can thank a fourth-grader, Maryn Smith, the winner of the National Geographic planetary mnemonic contest, has created a handy way to remember the planets with the phrase: My Very Excited Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants. The 11 recognized planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Eris.
Ceres, Pluto and Eris are considered dwarf planets.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society