Next Club Meetings - October 9th and November 13th
Conference Room B at the Camp Lester Naval Hospital
August and September Meetings
The August 14th
outing was to be held at the Alivila Hotel site, but weather did not permit.
11th meeting was held at the Naval Hospital and saw about a half dozen
participants, including a new face. There was to be a presentation on
equipment basics, but all the participants were familiar with the topic.
Instead, we discussed collimation issues on Newtonian and Schmidt-Cassegrain
telescopes and chatted a bit. The weather was bad, so there was no viewing.
Things to See in the Night Sky
through the 26th is the timeframe of the annual Orionids meteor shower.
Though the Orionids is not an especially strong meteor shower, it is
interesting to note that the particles streaking through our atmosphere were
shed by Halley's Comet during one of its previous passes through the inner
solar system. For more information, visit
interesting solar system happening is the nearby pass of asteroid Toutatis.
This near-Earth asteroid will pass 1.5 million kilometers (about 4 times the
distance between the Earth and Moon) on September 29th. Still, it will only
be visible in binoculars or a telescope as it will be a faint magnitude 9.
For more information, visit
well placed for viewing:
The Andromeda Galaxy
(M31) - The nearest large galaxy, this collection of billions of stars is
very much like our home galaxy, the Milky Way. The best views are with
large binoculars or a short-tube refractor from a truly dark site.
Globular Cluster M2 - A
nice, bright globular cluster that is even visible as a fuzzy "star" in
most binoculars. 6" and larger scopes will begin to resolve individual
The Double Cluster (NGC
869/884) in Perseus - two open clusters so near to each other they fit a
single wide-field telescopic view. From a dark site they are equally
impressive in binoculars.
Albireo - Considered by
many to be the most beautiful double star, Albireo is found in the
constellation Cygnus. Even small telescopes will clearly show the brighter
star to be a golden hue while the second star is a vivid blue. Albireo is
not a binary star (two stars orbiting their common center of gravity) but
rather is it an optical double formed by chance alignment to our line of
objects of interest and the locations of those listed above, download the
latest chart from
and customize the online star chart for Okinawa's general location of 128
degrees East longitude and 26 degrees North latitude.
Equipment Review - Buy Astro Stuff's Astronomy Chair
For years I had
been stooping at the eyepiece of my various telescopes and living with the
literal "pain in the neck". My conclusion: a chair is the most important
piece of equipment you will buy for use with your telescope. In the last
year I have tried a couple of stools and chairs, but they either didn't have
enough range in vertical adjustment or they were simply not portable. A few
months ago I built a chair (based on the Denver Observer's Seat at
http://members.tripod.com/denverastro/seat.html) but my woodworking
skills and tools didn't really allow for a professional job, so I was still
Astro Stuff's Astro Chair. I heard about it on an Internet discussion
group. Everything I heard was very promising and the price was right.
At $95 (USD) plus shipping, Buy Astro Stuff's chair is significantly
lower in price than all other nationally advertised astronomy chairs.
The usual price for such a chair seems to be closer to $150. I visited
their web site (http://www.buyastrostuff.com),
clicked the link for "Metal Astro Chair" and decided it was the right
So I got
Stuff had my chair on its way in no time and I received it in less than
a week (that's as fast as things can get from Colorado to Okinawa!). I
was a little worried when I got my first look at the package; the
military postal gorillas had really done a number on the shipping
carton. I opened it there at the post office just to see if I needed to
file a claim. But my worries were unfounded, the chair was unscathed -
it's a really tough customer.
there's not a lot you can say about a chair, but here it is. It is
lightweight - about 10 pounds (4.5kg) - but very strong. I'm not a
heavy guy, but it definitely would hold someone with a healthy
appetite. The legs open sufficiently to provide a stable platform that
still fits easily between the legs of a tripod. It's very portable when
stowed. It folds up into a slim 4 inches (10cm) that can easily fit in
your closet or your car trunk. When folded, a clever design feature
locks the seat in an upright position to ease storage and transport.
importantly, it's comfortable! The padded seat adjusts from about 18 inches
(46cm) up to 31 inches (80cm). At the higher elevations the sturdy footrest
is a welcome addition. The height is easily adjustable with one hand and
soon you will be adjusting it like a pro. I now find myself quickly
fine-tuning it for maximum comfort each time I move to a new object.
If you don't
have an observing chair, you need one. And Buy Astro Stuff's Astro Chair is
as good as they get. Well, that is until I get that antigravity chair that
moves by thought command.
Call for Presentations and Newsletter Articles
We are always
looking for volunteers to give presentations at the monthly club meetings.
If you have a topic, contact Mike Swanson at
welcome articles for our newsletter. Perhaps you would like to discuss
equipment, black holes or astronomy software. Contact Mike Swanson with