December 2017 DFAC Update

quidnoviNewsletter of the Desert Foothills Astronomy Club
Captain’s Log: December 1, 2017

Greetings Fellow Stargazers,

As 2017 winds down and 2018 looms, I bid you and yours the best Holiday Season. DFAC activities are minimal during this busy time of year, but you can see on our DFAC Events page that we already have three gigs in the works for January, and two great shows at Walker Star Barn this month. I’d also like to acknowledge Bruce Bossie of north Scottsdale as our newest member, who is just now considering his first telescope purchase and consulting with me on his options. Bruce, along with recently “repatrioted” Jim Renn, brings our end-of-year membership total up to 16. Welcome to both, and thanks to all!

1. Treasurer’s Report
I’m aware this is long overdue, and apologize for the delay, but several complicated transactions left our Treasurer stumped and in need of assistance, so I had to pull it together with some help from GoDaddy (our webhosting and domain name provider). The short news is, allowing for our latest dues received, our account now has $303.27 to apply to honoraria for speakers this season. Note that DFAC provides $50 for in-town speakers, and $100 for out-of-town speakers, to help cover time and travel expenses. This ensures we get the best presentations from the most in-demand individuals (like Tom Polakis who will present in January). Our GoDaddy hosting and domain name service is now paid ahead through March 2021 so we’re in fine shape there too. If you want to see the full report, you can DL it on our Maps & Docs page. That page is password protected, so as an annual end-of-year reminder that password was included in your email notification for this Quid Novi.

2. Save a tree …
… by downloading your copy of the Astronomical League’s Reflector newsletter. I prefer the hardcopy since they make for great handouts to guests attending our meetings at ACB. Your email address is on record with the League via our quarterly roster updates, and they make it pretty easy to access. Get them here:

Single page format:
Double page format:

3. Scientists’ Warning to Humanity — Second Notice
Not like any you aren’t already aware of the looming climate crisis, but I read an excellent scientific paper on the topic “signed” by 15,000+ experts from 184 countries. The body runs 3 pages, with another 6 pages of references. Definitely worth your perusal. Download the 486k PDF here.

4. Nov 11 open observing
Only three attended this observing event. We never did find comet ASASSN1, which was pretty faint by then. The skies stayed clear till 9–10 pm, and I was getting a reading of 20.42 on my SQM until a light haze rolled in. We did catch a couple short meteors and a double (!) Iridium flare (which was very cool) — probably peaked at around magnitude -6. Beautiful view of the double cluster in Perseus, but not a lot else was up. Probably spent more time talking astronomy than doing astronomy, but to paraphrase and old saying … even a bad night at the scope is better than a good day at the office.

5. Astronomical Eye Candy
This fascinating time-lapse video by NASA shows what can best be described as Earth breathing. Most of the color changes are of obvious origin, but not so obvious is the phytoplankton blooms in the oceans (shown as light blue). To see the entire video, with commentary and text, go to

Till next we meet, clear skies.

Dan Heim
Desert Foothills Astronomy Club


November 2017 DFAC Update
January 2018 DFAC Update