Ryukyu Astronomy Club Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 4 July/August 2004

Next Club Meetings - August 14th and September 11th
Conference Room B at the Camp Lester Naval Hospital

June and July Meetings
The June 12th meeting was held at the Naval Hospital and saw about a half dozen participants.  Mike Swanson made a presentation on planning observing sessions (available in the Downloads section of our web site).  After the presentation we had a nice discussion on a variety of topics, most of them focused on cosmology.  The weather was bad, so there was no viewing.

The July 10th meeting was held at the Naval Hospital but only 4 were in attendance.  Mike Swanson gave a presentation on "Discovering the Expansion of the Universe".  The presentation is available for download from our web site.  The sky was partially cloudy, but a few members ventured up to Alivila.  Though haze remained, the clouds cleared for about 2 hours and permitted some nice views of brighter objects.

Things to See in the Night Sky
The solar system highlight for August is the annual Perseids meteor shower.  For several nights centered around the 11th and 12th of August, the Earth will be passing through the trail of small dust particles left by the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.  Swift-Tuttle orbits the Sun once every 130 years, with the last pass through our neighborhood occurring in 1992.  As we plough through the dust stream, the meteors will appear to originate from the constellation Perseus which gives them their name.  To get the best views, go out the nights of the 11th/12th and 12th/13th a bit after midnight.  The show should begin about 1AM.  Look towards the northeast and you should see a fair number of meteors as the night rolls on.  If those night are not good for you, there will still be meteors to be seen on the 13th/14th and 14th/15th, though the numbers will be less.  To keep comfortable, don't forget the bug spray and you might want something comfortable to lie on, like an air mattress or lounge chair.  One final suggestion - most meteors are relatively faint - you will see many more from a dark site with a clear view to the northeast.

Other objects well placed for viewing:

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.

Clear Skies!

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