Greetings Fellow Stargazers,
Mars will reach perihelic opposition this year on July 26, with an angular size of 24.3 arcseconds and estimated magnitude -2.8. It will be lower in the sky for us northern hemisphereans, culminating at 28° in AZ, but still the best opposition since 2003. Needless to say, I will be observing the Red Planet over several nights. I’m hoping you can join me here at Heimhenge for our next DFAC observing session, which is …
1. Mars Night
August 4 is 1½ weeks past opposition, but avoids the Full Moon of July 28. Sunset is at 19:30, at which time Mars will be at elevation 3°. Suggested setup time is 19:00. BYO everything. Restroom is available. Please RSVP by Aug 3. And pray the monsoon holds off.
2. DCT field trip
Our field trip for a private tour of the Discovery Channel Telescope is now booked for Saturday July 21. We are to be at the site to start our tour at noon. You’ll need to take Exit 306 (Stoneman Lake Road) off I-17 about 20 miles north of Camp Verde. Google Maps says it’s a 93 mile drive and 1 hour 40 minutes north of New River. Map available here: DCT.pdf (two pages). Note that Stoneman Lake Road does not require 4WD, but it is a dirt road and gets muddy in rains.
We currently have 15 RSVPs for this event. The next step is planning the carpooling. Parking is limited at the DCT so fewer vehicles is better. What I need now is for all RSVPs to email me with the answers to:
a. Will you drive yourself to DCT?
b. If you can carry passengers, how many?
c. Do you need or want to ride with someone else?
Please respond as soon as possible. Thanks.
3. Beer & Brats Movie Festival
The annual “Beer & Brats” double-feature at Walker Ranch & Cineplex will be hosted by the ever-magnanimous Ron & Julie on July 28. Ron requests an RSVP by July 22 (see our DFAC Events page), along with nominations for 2 (usually) science fiction movies of your choice. A simple majority rules, and Ron owns pretty much any movie you can name (and can’t name). You need not stay for the second feature, but festivities begin at noon.
4. State of DFAC
No member has volunteered to run for the position of Vice President. Thus, I am announcing the (hopefully temporary) suspension of our DFAC Lecture Series at the Anthem Civic Building. As I explained in the last Quid Novi, DFAC will continue with observing events, field trips, and social activities (see our DFAC Events page). As a result, membership renewal for the 2018-2019 season will cost only $10/family. If you have already sent in your dues at the original $25/family, please contact our Treasurer for a partial refund (or to donate the excess). Thank you for your continued support of DFAC.
Membership renewals for this season are hereby extended until June 30. Please send your check for $10 to Treasurer Jay Chatzkel (mailing address here). Only new members need to complete the application form.
Existing officer positions will continue with Dan Heim as President (and Editor and Webmaster), Jay Chatzkel as Treasurer, Diann Smith as Media Liaison, and Jim Renn as VOF Liaison. We thank these individuals for their contributions. The positions of Vice President and Social Media Manager remain unfilled.
This year’s Treasurer’s Report will be posted next month after we compile our new roster.
5. Astronomical Eye Candy
This was posted on Vimeo 5 years ago by Ivan Maria Friedman and showcases some great images of varied martian terrain — alas, nothing like we’ll see on August 4 but gives you something to dream about. The sound track is mesmerizing, and the images are in spectacular HD.
Till next we meet, clear skies.
Desert Foothills Astronomy Club