February 2018 DFAC Update

quidnoviNewsletter of the Desert Foothills Astronomy Club
Captain’s Log: February 1, 2018


Greetings Fellow Stargazers,

February is a short month, and this will be a short Quid Novi. No club activities are planned for February (other than the Star Barn shows). I need to fly back to Wisconsin this month for some family business, so let’s get right to it.

1. Last meeting
Our Jan 18 meeting went on as planned, albeit with an audience of 1 (me). Given the topic, I wasn’t surprised at the lack of general public attendance, but I thought for sure at least a few members would show up. And so we waited till 7:15 pm, at which point I offered Tom $20 for gas and suggested we cancel. He countered that as long as he was all set up, and since he was giving this same presentation to other clubs around the state, he would appreciate the chance to “rehearse and refine it in front of a critical audience.” And so he did. I learned much about photometry that I didn’t know, and his lecture was the usual Polakis masterpiece. I gave him the full $50 honorarium at the end because I thought it was the fair thing to do.

2. Speckle interferometry
As you can see on our DFAC Events page, member Richard Harshaw decided to cancel our scheduled speckle interferometry session due to weather. He wants to reschedule for another date, but since I want to attend it probably won’t be till March. Member Scott Loucks was the only other RSVP, but hopefully we’ll get more interest once the weather turns warmer.

3. VOF event
The Vatican Observatory Foundation is hosting an event in Tucson on Feb 23, 2:00 – 4:30 pm, at
Gramer Hall, SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, 1436 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson. For more info, contact: katie@vofoundation.org or (805) 901-6591. It’s the 25th anniversary of the Vatican Advanced technology Telescope (VATT) and presentations will include:

Paul Gabor, SJ: VATT: New Upgrades, New Collaborations
Richard Boyle, SJ: What’s Up at VATT?
Jean-Baptiste Kikwaya Eluo, SJ: VATT and Research on Near Earth Objects (NEOs)
Christopher Corbally, SJ: VATT is Helping Solve a 75-Year Old Puzzle

Also included in the VOF notice were links to two outstanding blog posts both well worth a read:

Across the Universe: Mirror image

4. IDA Nightwatch
Here’s your January copy of IDA Nightwatch. Of note, the US just got it’s first designated International Dark Sky Reserve in, not surprisingly, central Utah. And it’s the third largest such reserve on the planet.

5. Good news for Fountain Hills
Also on the topic of dark skies, Fountain Hills just became the fourth Arizona community to earn an IDA International Dark Sky Community designation (alomg with Flagstaff, Oak Creek, and Sedona). Read more here.

6. Astronomical Eye Candy
Here for your edification and entertainment is my time lapse of that Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg back in December. You can read more details, and an explanation of what you’re seeing, in last week’s Sky Lights. It’s not nearly as good as the video by Jeremy Perez featured in last month’s Quid Novi, but it’s all I got. Enjoy.

Till next we meet, clear skies.

Dan Heim
President
Desert Foothills Astronomy Club