Friday, May 23, 2008

Star Party for Fri 5/23 HAS BEEN CANCELED

Due to obvious rain,
we have canceled tonight's star party at Gonzalez Elementary School in Tolleson.
Please have a awesome evening.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SUNDAY MAY 25 3pm to 6:30pm RSVP TODAY

Leah Sapir will be presenting:

What can we see in a telescope?

Why we’ve been “spoiled” with photographs…

Why our eyes can’t see the same as a photograph…

at Bookman's in the back room

19th Ave and Northern, RSVP Required

Seating is limited. RSVP deadline will be Fri 2pm.

Come learn about the topic being presented as well as

how to use your telescope so that you can enjoy it!

See you there!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Happy Wednesday to you!

I'm looking for some RSVP's for this Sunday's Bookman's event.
Currently we have Leah doing a presentation. I am looking forward
to this presentation.
However, if you wish to come help out and share your telescope knowledge,
please RSVP today so I know who will be there.
Seating is limited. Your help is needed, and attendance is limited.

We hope to see you there!
Bookman's is at 19th Ave and Northern.
We meet at 3pm and the presentation will begin at 4pm and go until Leah is done,
and then we are planned to be there until 6:30pm. We only leave early if the public we are
helping departs.
Then, afterwards is Carlos O Briens for dinner. Those attending Carlos need to RSVP with Terri
to be sure to get a spot at the PAS table. Everyone is welcome to join us at Carlos, we go Dutch.

RSVP today, with Terri at, thanks!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Phoenix Mars Mission "Planetary Wonderings"

Planetary Wonderings
May Focus:
Phoenix Mars Mission
By Mary-Frances Bartels, NASA Solar System Ambassador

Have you noticed one of JPL’s newest missions in the news lately? It

is the Phoenix Mars Mission. Launched in August 2007, the PMM is

the first in NASA's Scout Program. It combines the missions of two

previous missions --- the 1998 Mars Polar Lander that crashed and

2001 Mars Survey Lander that was cancelled. This three-month

mission is to study the history of water and habitability potential in

the Martian arctic's ice-rich soil. The spacecraft will land farther north

on Mars than any previous probe.

Phoenix has much to accomplish during its short lifespan. It will collect

weather-related data such as air temperature and pressure, wind, and

humidity. Like other missions, it has a camera and will be able to take

stereo images. On the more “exotic side” it also has a robotic arm to

dig, scrape, and grind samples. Scientists expect to find an ice-rich

layer lying within inches of the surface. The craft also has a gas

analyzer and a self-contained chemistry lab complete with microscope.

On Sunday evening, May 25, 2008 , the NASA Phoenix spacecraft

will arrive at Mars. Live news briefings and commentary of the

event begins on NASA TV at 3:00 PM EDT with actual landing

coverage beginning at 6:30 PM . A briefing covering the first

collected data is scheduled for 9:30 PM . NASA TV may be

accessed via cable and satellite TV systems or online at .

Resource of the Month: Visit PMM’s educational website at where one can find

lesson plans, activities, and other classroom materials. An interactive

map will soon be available. Alternatively, PMM has a special site

for kids at where one may

find specially composed music for Mars, artwork, and essays written

by children. Learn more about Steve the Cat’s trip to the Red Planet

or follow the travels of Phil the Phoenix bird.

Activity of the Month: Here are some trivia questions pertaining

to Mars. See how many you can answer. Research Mars and the

Phoenix mission and come up with trivia questions of your own.

  1. What famous story about Mars was turned into a musical?
  2. Who mastermined this project?
  3. Can you name at least five video games based, at least in
    part, on exploration of Mars?
  4. What publishing house created a Mars exploration game that
    uses cardboard pieces based on real maps of the red planet?
  5. Did you know that you can download the same software
    uses to control the Mars Exploration Rovers? What is its name?
  6. How many missions to Mars have there been? How many
    of these have been successful?

Suggestions, questions, and comments about “Planetary Wonderings”

are welcomed and may be directed to stargazer @

(remove spaces). Past columns may be found at

(all past columns, click on “Planetary Wonderings” on the right side of

opening screen) and at

(columns from Jan. 2007 to the present).

Remember to keep looking up!

Sources: Various NASA e-mails

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Star Party this Friday - VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED

Good morning,

Rod is inquiring.... are you helping out at the Gonzalez E.S. Star Party this Friday?
Currently the start time is 6:30pm and I originally scheduled it to 9pm. However,
our contact, Kelly, was just asking me in email today to give him a start and end time,
so since Rod is RSVP, I'm leaving the times up to him.

If you are going to help out at this star party, Please let him know right away. Currently,
Rod and Don are the only two doing the star party and I believe this is an all school star
party, so many more telescopes are needed. Your help is needed, wanted, desired and very appreciated! Weather may be an issue, but please RSVP with Rod so he can have the help needed. Rod's Email is RSVP today!

Weather for Friday:
Zip 85353
Forecast as of Today, Wed 5/21
50% chance of rain
69% cloud cove
16mph winds

That doesn't sound good, but weather changes.

Here are the details for this star party:
Friday, May 23 6:30pm to 9pm
P.H. Gonzales Elementary in Tolleson, Arizona,+Tolleson,+AZ&sll=33.45568,-112.26286&sspn=0.016291,0.040083&ie=UTF8&ll=33.456848,-112.262785&spn=0.008145,0.020041&t=h&z=16&iwloc=addr

Address of school: 9401 W Garfield St
Tolleson, AZ 85353
6th grade

Kelly wrote:
I just wanted to make sure you had directions to the school. Coming
from the East Valley: 1) Take I-10 West
2) Exit 134 on 91st Ave toward Tolleson 3) Turn left on 91st Ave
(heading South) 4) Take a right on Van Buren
5) Take a right on 95th Ave 6) Our school- P.H.Gonzales- will be on
your right.

Rsvp's so far: Don, Rod HELP IS NEEDED!

RSVP so Rod will be able to let you know if party is canceled due to weather.

Events Coordinator

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Naked Eye Comet 3/4 size of Moon

This info comes to us from our good friend Dennis Young.

There is a naked Comet in Sky at present in Hydra the water snake. Believe it or not it is already 3/4 size of the diameter of the moon!!!(coma). Comet C2007 W1- Boattini
Moon is 30arc minutes.. it is 20arc minutes at present.. It brighten unexpectedly to one full mag then predicted. It is now at 6.2mag.

More info... and sky link below... (by the way an --EXCELLENT site for comets)...
look under second one down...

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Sunday, May 18, 2008

International Space Station

Space Weather News for 18 May 2008

ISS MARATHON: The 2008 "ISS Marathon"
gets underway this week
when the
International Space Station spends
three days (May 21-23) in
almost-constant sunlight. Sky watchers
in Europe and North America can see the
bright spaceship gliding overhead two to
four times each night. The ISS
is as bright as Venus or Jupiter, so even
people in light-polluted
cities can see it. Please use our new
and improved simple Satellite
Tracker to find out when to look:

SPACE STATION MOVIE: Today's edition of features a
must-see movie of the International Space
flying over Germany on
May 12th. Although it looks like footage
from a satellite or
high-powered telescope, the movie was made
by an amateur astronomer using a
backyard 5-inch refractor. As a result of
ongoing construction (every
shuttle flight in recent months has added
a new piece to the ISS), the space
station is now a wide and easy target
for amateur-class telescopes.
Catch the show at

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Phoenix Mars Lander

For those interested who have access to the Science Channel:

There will be a live broadcast of the Phoenix mission landing on Mars.

The Science Channel will begin coverage Sunday, May 25th at 4:00 p.m. MST.


Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

ISS This Tuesday 5/20 & Thursday 5/22

Received from Randy,

There will be a good flyover by the International Space Station of the
central Arizona area (Phoenix metro area) on Tuesday, May 20. Look
just above the horizon to the south-west at 8:48 pm MST. Within
a minute or so you will see a bright star-like light moving toward you.
It will be brighter than any star in the sky, at about magnitude -2.6.
Within 3 minutes, it will be nearly overhead, and two minutes after
that (a total of about 5 minutes from horizon to horizon) it will pass
into the Earth's shadow to the north-east.
Forgot to set an alarm to remind you to look for it - and miss it?
You'll get a second chance on Thursday night, May 22. On this night,
at 7:58 pm MST, look again toward the south-west. Within about a
minute it will appear, and 2 minutes later will be nearly overhead.
About 3 minutes after that (a total of about 6 minutes from horizon
to horizon) it will disappear near the horizon in the north-east.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society