Thursday, October 9, 2008

PVCC Star Party by Telescope Dome - TONIGHT!

Good afternoon,

Please join us at PVCC where we will have several telescopes set up
for your viewing pleasure from 6pm to 10pm, or when ever the crowd leaves.

The forecast for tonight is:
16% cloud cover, that's good
No rain in sight
8mph winds which is ok
and 94 degrees.
It is so nice to be below 100 degrees, finally.

Please enjoy the star party.

The telescope operators for tonight shall be:


Please have an awesome viewing session!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting Canceled event info via Email

A few folk have been telling me that they don't get their notices from the PAS Digest Blog before the star parties for which the cancel notice has been going out... meaning.... if i canceled a star party now, around 1pm, on the blog, sometimes they do not get the notice until the next day. That isn't good.

When I send out the blog info, i get it within a few minutes of sending it. It comes right into my email. I have noticed that those who say they aren't getting it in a timely manner, are on AOL. I don't know if that has something to do with it or not, but I thought I'd bring it to everyone's attention.

The idea behind the Blog is to get info out right away. So, if i cancel an event on the blog: I am hoping to reach everyone prior to the event happening.

As some of you know, Rod and I have been working together to try to call a star party On or OFF by 4pm the day of the event. If you are unsure about the skies or the weather (visit Weather Underground and put in your zip code), you can call Rod or Terri for an update, preferably around 4pm. If the skies are clear, and you've visited the event listing in the PAS Calendar on the website and it doesn't say Canceled, then the event will happen. And if you have RSVP'd for the event, you have a better chance of getting word of a canceled event from Terri, as she will first email those who have email, and then call those who do not have an email address listed, to cancel with you. So, this shows you how important it is to RSVP for an event. Especially if it is one that can be canceled due to weather.

PAS can control the events, but not the Weather!

The other place that news gets out to you is the PAS Forums. If an event is canceled, Terri has been putting that notice right into the Calendar, first, and then going to the Forums The NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS forum is your place for updated info about star party. However, I have noticed that you do not get a notice very quickly with that means of sending out info either. Chris set it to send out every day at 4pm. That's fine if everyone is getting the info. But for those of us who receive the info after leaving for a star party, it is not a good.

One thing I do not like about the NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS sign up option is that it doesn't tell you much about the topic that is available, in the email message you receive. It gives you the title of the topic, which is good if I include CANCELED in the title, but if I don't include that, you'd have to go see what the topic is. So, I'm making a point to include the word CANCELED in the Thread Title so you know ahead of time what the topic holds.

Now, it is my suggestion that instead of relying on email to tell you if an event is canceled, prior to you loading up to leave the house, go to the calendar, check the status. As long as Rod, Don or I can get to the calendar in time, we can cancel the event and get the news out about it.

So, verify each event before attending. I've noticed that Mike doesn't always do this. A simple phone call to Rod or Terri could solve this, if the weather is questionable. If it looks great outside, and it is an outdoor event, then attend. However, if it is an indoor event such as the Meeting of the Minds, or PAS meeting or other such indoor event that weather doesn't interfere with, then I'd check the site prior to attending. Especially if you drive a long ways to get to an event.

Those are just some thoughts I thought I'd share with you since I have been getting input about the Blog not putting the info out to everyone as efficiently as it should. I can't control that. I didn't set up how the blog program works and I don't think I have an option to change the way it notifies everyone. So, we have to go with what we have for the ability to contact everyone quickly about the events.

With monsoons no longer here, it is just the Winter weather we have to contend with. Watch the weather sites, check any forecast that you can find, and verify the events prior to leaving your home to attend. We love
having you attend but really feel bad if you drive someplace only to discover we have canceled that event.

Have a super Wednesday!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Nov 15th Prescott 100 Girl Scout Star Party - VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

I only have 1 RSVP for this star party.
Can anyone help Rod do this event?

Prescott Girl Scout Star Party

Your help is requested.
RSVP below.

Current plan:
Arrive 5pm for dinner.
7pm - 10pm star party
Overnight available - accommodations
Breakfast Sunday morning
Gas reimbursement

See info in calendar:


Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

The Great World Wide Star Count

The Great World Wide Star Count
October 20 – November 3, 2008

This Windows to the Universe program is an international citizen-science event that encourages everyone, astronomers and non-astronomers alike, to measure their local light pollution and report their observations online. The Great World Wide Star Count, part of the Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone project for the upcoming International Year of Astronomy, is designed to raise awareness about light pollution as well as encourage learning in astronomy. No prior experience is necessary--all information needed to participate is on the Star Count Web site, along with a downloadable activity guide available in eight languages. All observations will be available online via Google Earth and as downloadable datasets.

In 2007, people from 64 countries contributed more than 6,600 observations to the inaugural Star Count. In order to build momentum in for IYA in 2009, we are hoping to double our participation this year and need your help!

Please help us spread the word to your members, families, friends, and especially any teachers that you may know. Our downloads page also contains a half-page flyer that may be freely printed and distributed.

If you or your organization are interested or would like more information, please contact us at

Clear Skies,

Dennis Ward
Educational Technologist / Astronomer
UCAR Office of Education & Outreach
Boulder, CO

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Order your PAS Name Badges & 2009 Year In Space Calendar today!
Deadlines are approaching quickly! Don't miss out!

RSVP your YEAR IN SPACE calendar today at
Deadline 11/6/08

RSVP your PAS Name Badge today at
Deadline 12/4/08
Pricing on Name Badge goes up Jan 2009. Order today!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Monday, October 6, 2008

ASTEROID 2008 TC3;orb=1

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Asteroid to hit EARTH tonight!

Space Weather News for Oct. 6, 2008

ASTEROID 2008 TC3: A small, newly-discovered asteroid named 2008 TC3 is approaching Earth and chances are good that it will hit. Measuring only a few meters across, the space rock poses no threat to people or structures on the ground, but it should create a spectacular fireball, releasing about a kiloton of energy as it disintegrates and explodes in the high atmosphere. At least one expert estimates that atmospheric entry will occur on Oct 7th at 0246 UTC over northern Sudan. Stay tuned to for more information and updates to this developing story.

Sign up for free Space Weather News bulletins:


Rock From Space To Burn Up Over Africa

This is an AstroAlert from Sky & Telescope.

October 6, 2008

A very tiny asteroid, not much more than 10 feet across, will enter Earth's atmosphere over Sudan in Africa tonight, October 6-7, 2008, near 2:46 Greenwich Mean Time. Most likely it will burn up before hitting the ground, but it could produce a spectacular fireball, or bolide, in the night sky equivalent to the explosion of about a kiloton of TNT.

These are the assessments of astronomers Andrea Milani of NEODyS in Italy and Steve Chesley (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). They are concerned that eyewitnesses might misinterpret the event as some type of hostile military action. Says Milani, "The earlier the public worldwide is aware that this is a natural phenomenon, which involves no risk, the better."

The first observatory to capture images of 2008 TC3 (as it's now designated) were Richard Kowalski and colleagues of Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona, about 12 hours ago. Confirming measurements were quickly secured by amateur astronomer James McGaha at Sabino Canyon Observatory near Tucson, and then by Gordon Garrad and others at Australia's Siding Spring Observatory and also Christopher Jacques and E. Pimentel using the Global Rent-a-Scope site in Moorook, near Melbourne.

First to point out that the incoming object was heading right for a collision with Earth's atmosphere was Bill Gray of Project Pluto, in a post earlier today to the Minor Planet Mailing List. Canadian amateur Andrew Lowe has independently calculated the object's point of entry to be over Sudan.

The object's entry might be visible as far north as southern Europe and the Middle East. Its location in the sky, however, is completely dependent on an observer's geographic location. As further details become known, be sure to look at the online version of this AstroAlert at for possible updates.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society