Ryukyu Astronomy Club Newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 1 January/February 2005

Next Club Meetings - February 12th and March 12th
Conference Room B at the Camp Lester Naval Hospital

December and January Meetings
The December 11th meeting was held at the Naval Hospital and saw about a half dozen participants.  We had a short meeting and proceeded to Torii Station to scout our new observing site and hopefully get some viewing in.  There were only intermittent breaks in the clouds, but we did decide that the new site at Torii holds promise for a nearby location.

The January 8th meeting was held at the Naval Hospital.  There were just three at the meeting, but one was a first-time attendee.  Mike Swanson gave a presentation on introducing astronomy.  After the presentation there was a short discussion session.  The weather was poor so there was no observation session.

Things to See in the Night Sky
Clouds.  Well, at least that's mostly what we've been able to see for the last couple of months.  But, if the clouds ever clear...

Saturn is still well-placed in the evening sky.  Jupiter is now becoming an evening object, albeit late evening.  Around midnight, Jupiter is the bright point rising in the East. 

Comet Machholz is still well-placed for viewing.  Use binoculars to search for it throughout the month as it approaches Polaris (the North Star).  Read more and see an online finder chart at Sky and Telescope's web site:

Other objects well placed for viewing:

  • Open Cluster M44 - also called the Beehive, M44 is a great sight in binoculars.

  • One of the most spectacular sights visible in the Northern Hemisphere is found in the winter sky - the Orion Nebula (M42). Even binoculars and small telescopes provide a treat with this great cloud of gas and dust. The Orion Nebula is one of the most active stellar nurseries know - inside the nebula, dozens of stars are bursting into life. In addition to the nebula, study the bright stars nestled within. The four bright stars in the heart of the nebula have been given the name "Trapezium". Small scopes will show these four - designated A, B, C, D - while larger scopes can pick up E and sometimes F.

  • Using binoculars or a telescope, take a look at the two bright corner stars in Orion - Betelgeuse and Rigel.  Betelgeuse is a red giant and a quite striking red at that.  Rigel is a bright white-blue giant with a must more faint companion star orbiting it.  The companion star can be seen with good optics of about 5 inches or larger.

For more objects of interest and the locations of those listed above, download the latest chart from or visit and customize the online star chart for Okinawa's general location of 128 degrees East longitude and 26 degrees North latitude.

Call for Presentations and Newsletter Articles
We are always looking for volunteers to give presentations at the monthly club meetings or contribute articles for the newsletter.  If you have a topic, contact the organizing committee at  

Clear Skies!

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