MAS
General Meeting

Topic : Catastrphic Novas
Video Speaker: U of CA Berkeley Prof Alex Filippenko

Science Museum of MN
Second level classroom area. St Paul, MN

Images shot on April 5th, 2007.
Shot with a Nikon D40

(Click on any thumbnail to see a larger 1504x1000 JPEG image)

Thursday 4/5/2007

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parking rebate
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Building sched
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handout table
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putting out books
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Katy H. stumps for Astronomy day @ SMM
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Katy H.
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MAS attendees
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Bill Kocken talks about 9th Annual Messier Marathon
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Bill Kocken with Observing Champion Carl Hasbargen prize for 9th Annual Messier Marathon
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Bill Kocken & 2nd place winner Ken Hugill
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Bill Kocken and 9th Annual Messier Marathon Door prize winner Dick Jacobson
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Bill Kocken and 9th Annual Messier Marathon Door prize winner Dick Jacobson
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Loren starts the video
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astro books
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astro books
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astro books

Next Meeting

The April meeting of the MAS will be held at the Science Museum of Minnesota on Thursday Apr 5th from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the second level classroom area.

The general meeting of MAS will feature a video of "Catastrphic Novas" by U of CA Berkeley Prof Alex Filippenko.

Ivan Policoff, speaking on, 'X-Ray Spectra : Cass A as a lab experiment.' Originally scheduled for March then April has now been rescheduled for August 2007.

Also there will be a fund raising auction of older physics and astronomy text books.

Plus the usual SIG News.

Note: there will be competition for parking spaces with MN Wild vs Oilers Hockey fans that night too.


The 9th annual Messier Marathon is in the books.

The weather forecasts for the night were marginal. The clouds were forecasted to dissipate late in the afternoon and reappear after midnight. The transparency was also forecasted to be average or below average. Since the forecast for Saturday was hopeless, and next I called the party ON. I was the second to arrive, at about 3:30. Ken Hugill had arrived early to set up his scope, the 24" Starmaster and to cut up some brush. The Cherry Grove crew has done a nice job of improving and maintaining the site. Thanks guys. We set up the light screens, which helped reduce the problem with cars' headlights.

Over the course of the next few hours, the scopes kept arriving. I called it the valley of the dobs. Check out the photo section under http://www.mnastro.org/forums/album_page.php?pic_id=452 . We had several 12 or 12.5 scopes. We had other scopes of 15, 16, 17.5, Dick Jacobson's 20" DobQuatorial and the 24" Starmaster. Dick's scope is a unique ATM project that is a cross between a dob and a fork mount style equatorial. An 8" SCT and a 120mm refractor rounded out the field.

As the sun set, Venus made its appearance. Scopes swung to the west to try to spot the first 2 objects, M74 and M77. M74 was supposed to be just a few degrees to the right of Venus. Despite all of the big glass in use, no one spotted it! The poor transparency and pine trees to the west conspired against us. M77 was only spotted in 2 scopes, the 24" and by our ultimate 2007 MM Observing Champion.

As time went on we had more success and most observers cruised through the list, knocking off old favorites like M45 (Pleiades), M42 (Orion Nebula), M1 (Crab Nebula), and many fine open clusters in Monoceros, Puppis, Auriga, and Cassiopeia. As galaxy time in Leo started to arrive we began to get major league frost problems. The telrads succumbed to the frost first and eyepieces needed to be warmed electrically or swapped out. Finally, our secondary mirrors even began to frost over. (Note to self. I need to hook up my secondary heater!)

After some heat from 12volt hairdryers most of us were back in action again, but the frost was starting to wear some down. See Dick Jacobson's post at http://www.mnastro.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2548 At his point the clouds were starting to thicken up and it became more difficult to find guide stars. I finally gave up after a futile search for M102. We dialed it up in the 24" and I know why I couldn't see it in my scope. It didn't look like much, especially through the high thin clouds moving in!

When Ken and I both left at about 2AM, only Tom Lindquist and our ultimate 2007 MM Observing Champion remained. Tom was checking out his camera connections and going deep with the 24"

Here are the final tallies.
Name, # Seen Aperture, Number / Sq inch
Bill Kocken , 39, 16, 0.15
Ken Hugill, 47, 12, 0.33 , 2nd Place most/ aperture
Vic&Joan Heiner, 28, 12 , 0.19
Steve Emert, 32, 12.5, 0.20
Carl Hasbargen, 58, 12.5, 0.37, 1st Place Winner of Most Observed
Dick Jacobson, 16 , 20 , 0.04 , Door Prize winner
Eric Gage, not reported
Sridhar Nivarty, not reported
John Horbal, not reported
Tom Lindquist , not reported

The 2007 MM Observing Champion is Carl Hasbargen. He wins a new 12 volt hairdryer. Carl was the only observer to see M77 without computerized help, and Carl wins the most dedicated observer award. He stuck it out until 3AM, playing sucker hole astronomy to see the most objects of all.

Ken Hugill wins the 2nd prize, a very nice book, Galaxies and Stars, published by Astronomy Magazine, courtesy of Radio City, in Mounds View..

The door prize, selected by random drawing, is Dick Jacobson. He wins a book, Beginners Guide to the Sun, by, Peter O. Taylor, also courtesy of Radio City, in Mounds View. Although 20" of aperture may be a bit much, at least his scope won't frost up doing these projects,.

A special mention goes to a brother/sister pair of high school aged observers, who never signed in. They set up their 10" dob and began to observe galaxies, big time. We were all impressed as they were knocking off numerous NGC galaxies in and around Leo in their 10" dob.

So it wasn't an all nighter, and we never had a chance at seeing all 109 possible objects, but we had a good time.

Our next observing event is the Virgo Venture, which will be held on April 13 or 14 at Cherry Grove. We'll be concentrating on the Virgo cluster and other fine spring galaxies. We'll have Virgo Bingo and prizes and most of all we'll have fun. See you there!

Bill Kocken


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