Newsletter of the Desert Foothills Astronomy Club
Issue #45: May 5th, 2010

About Quid Novi

Past Issues

DFAC Events

Next Meeting

Last Meeting

State of DFAC

Quote of the Month

Space Debris

Contact the Editor: Dan Heim, phone: 623.465.7307 or email:

DFAC Events for 2010:
Date   Time   Event   Location
Jan 14   6-8 pm   Astronomy Night   YMCA at 34250 N. 60th Street (just south of the Carefree HWY)
6-8 pm (setup 5:30-6:00 pm)
Jan 20   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #4
Speaker: Dan Heim
Topic: The Physics of Weightlessness
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
Feb 17   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #5
Members' Night
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
Mar 17   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #6
Speaker: Scott Schoneman
Topic: New Launch Systems at Orbital Sciences Corporation
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
Mar 20   6:00 pm-???   Members-only Astronomy Night   Heimhenge in New River.
Apr 21   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #7
Speaker: Rick Tejera
Topic: How to Use a Star Atlas - Finding Your Way Around the Night Sky
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
May 25   6:30-8:30 pm   Annual Business Meeting   North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
This is a change from our previously scheduled May 19th meeting.
TBA   TBA   June Summer Social at Heimhenge   coming soon via email
TBA   TBA   July Summer Social at Walker Ranch   coming soon via email
TBA   TBA   August Summer Social at the Renn Estate   coming soon via email

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Next Meeting: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
This is our annual Business Meeting. We have some minor constitutional revisions to vote on. See: and look for what is lined out as deleted and also what has been added in red. These revisions will be voted on at the meeting. If you cannot attend, and want to send your feedback by email, please do so and trust that I will cast your proxy vote. I will have color copies of those revisions for distribution at the meeting, but if could look and think about them beforehand, that would be good.

Roger will present his annual Treasurer's Report. We will also vote on whether to renew our domain name registration for an extended period. Our domain name ( is currently registered until March 2011. We can get a better deal if we re-register for a longer time period. Since DFAC is now likely a continuing entity, it makes sense to lock in a 5-10 year domain name registration. Your input on this issue is also solicited.

This should not be a long meeting, and we'll surely adjourn to Legend's early. Hope to see you there.

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Last Meeting: Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Rick Tejera, SAC Editor and expert stargazer, presented a program designed for beginners. How to use a star atlas, star hopping, determining orientation at the eyepiece, and calculating field of view at the eyepiece, were all covered. He is here setting up his daughter's laptop. Rick admitted this was his first "presentation" and that his daughter (a PowerPoint expert) helped him put this presentation together.

This "agenda" slide pretty much covers what Rick talked about. If you're a member of DFAC, and a beginner in astronomy, this was the lecture to attend.

One of the things Rick emphasized for beginners was the benefit of knowing how to use a planisphere. He here demonstrates some basic planisphere operations.

We ran a little late, but still had time for some Q&A.

This meeting had a good turnout. 15 members attended. We adjourned at 8:30 pm, and several of us regrouped at Legends SB&G for libations, grub, and further discussion.

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State of DFAC: By Dan Heim, President
Item 1. This issue of Quid Novi is going out late, by about a week. Other obligations to my business clients have pretty much overwhelmed me. Still, there is sufficient time to do what we need before our May 25th Business Meeting. This will likely be a brief meeting, with the usual Treasurer's Report, discussion about public outreach commitments, and a few minor constitutional revisions. Those constitutional revisions are can be seen at:

The constitutional revisions are indeed minor, but if you have any input, and will not be attending the May 25th Business Meeting, you can provide input via email, and your input will be considered as part of the quorum in our decision-making process.

Item 2. Our traditional "Summer Socials" will be locked in at that May 25th Business Meeting. Watch for dates and times. These are always great events, and a way to get to know each other on a social basis.

Item 3. VP Jim Renn called my attention to a recent article in In&Out magazine (the Anthem local). Seems the Anthem School (at 41020 Freedom Way) is opening their own Aerospace Academy, a magnet school for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). STEM is a national initiative to increase our global competitiveness in those areas, where we sadly lack at present. Principal Patrick Yennie, the article said, was looking to establish relationships with AZ aerospace companies, NASA, Young Astronauts, Air Force JROTC, and Luke AFB. Jim suggested that perhaps DFAC should offer to get involved, and I agreed. I have since spoken with Principal Yennie, and he is eager to have DFAC as part of his program. What this means for DFAC, is an annual Astronomy Night for these students, and yet another great PR opportunity. DFAC members who regularly volunteer for these events are most appreciated. That's how we grow the club.

Item 4. As many of you already know, my Sky Lights column, which previously ran in print in the now-defunct Desert Advocate newspaper, has been recently resurrected in the online version of the Foothills Focus newspaper. The link is:

Foothills Focus editor Marc Buckhout is running this "teaser" in print for a few weeks just to generate interest.

My column is updated weekly on Wednesday (or thereabouts, depending on how busy their webmaster is). Check it out. Bookmark it. The more page hits I get, the better my negotiation ability. I'm doing this for free at present, but will negotiate for a fee in the near future. Send the link to your friends. Thanks for you support.

Thanks for reading Quid Novi. If you have feedback, you know where to reach me. Until next we meet, clear skies!

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Quote of the Month:
"Lie on your back and look at the stars."

— H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (from "Life's Little Instruction Book")

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Space Debris: IDA Notes
This just in from DFAC member Raul Espinoza. Some amazing images and video from the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

And yet another STS Moon transit by expert astrophotographer Tom Polakis:

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