Newsletter of the Desert Foothills Astronomy Club
Issue #51: January 1st, 2011

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 2011:
Date   Time   Event   Location
Jan 19   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #4
Speaker: Dennis Young, Sirius Lookers Astronomy Club of Sedona
Topic: Astro Scenic Photography of Arizona
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
Feb 16   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #5
Speaker: Howard Israel, IDA
Topic: The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
Mar 16   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #6
Bob Holmes, Meteorite Man
Topic: Meteorite Hunting
The Inside Story
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
Apr 20   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Lecture Meeting #7
Speaker: Rick Tejera, Saguaro Astronomy Club
Topic: Beyond M42 (what to look at after you've found all the easy stuff)
  North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
May 18   6:30-8:30 pm   Annual Business Meeting   North Valley Regional Library, 40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem, AZ 85086
Jun TBA   5:00-9:00 pm   June Summer Social at Heimhenge, featuring Asteroids Snooker, snacks and drinks provided by your hosts Dan & Sandi.   Maps will be sent to members only.

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Next Meeting: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Our speaker will be Dennis Young, of the Sirius Lookers Astronomy Club in Sedona. Dennis is not only an astronomical entrepreneur, providing stargazing experiences for visitors to Sedona resorts, but also an avid photographer, specializing in the combination of terrestrial landscapes as astronomical skyscapes. He has an entire line of postcards based on this concept, and will share his work with us, explaining what is involved in producing these works of art. He also has a massive open-truss Dob, through which your President first saw the Veil Nebula up at Orme-Dugas Road off I-17 some 10 years ago.

Doors will open at 6 pm. Hope to see you all there!

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Last Meeting: Saturday, December 18th, 2010
This "last meeting" was actually our DFAC Holiday Social, hosted by Jay & Barb Chatzkel at their beautiful home in New River. If you're looking for our last formal meeting, in November, check here. This was our first gathering at the Chatzkel hacienda. There was a bit of a mixup with the map. MapQuest had the roads wrong, which they often do in developing rural areas. That map has since been updated to reflect reality. With the help of a hastily posted sign, all attendees were able to find the place, though a few arrived late.

The weather started out pretty nice, so we took advantage of their deck and beautiful views of the surrounding open desert.

The deck also provided a spot for members to enjoy a pipe of their favorite tobacco. Left to right: Dan, Diann, Ron, Scott, and Dave.

As the weather cooled we moved inside. Left to right: Peggy and Bob, Julie, and Barb (our gracious host).

Jay had this cool cake made up for us. Note the two stars exchanging mass in the upper left Orion Arm of the Milky Way. Or maybe that was just dribbled frosting?

Host Jay cuts and serves, as Dan offers thanks for the cake we are about to receive.

It was a great Holiday Social. With 10 members in attendance we had lots to talk about and enjoyed each other's company. Thanks again to Jay and Barb for making this possible!

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State of DFAC: By Dan Heim, President
Item 1: Not much to report at this point in time, except that our speaker schedule for Spring has filled in nicely. See the DFAC Events for 2011 at the top of this page. We have some interesting lectures on tap for 2011, and always strive for a good mix of topics. We think you'll enjoy our selections.

Item 2: And yet another copy and paste from last month. In fact, expect to see this here every month until we get some action. VP Jim Renn will not be continuing as VP next year. He'll still be a member, but time constraints dictate his decision not to run. So we're looking for a member to step up and run for VP, to be voted on at our May 2011 Business Meeting. Here's the job description from our Constitution:

ARTICLE 2: Officers and Duties

b. Vice President: The Vice President shall assist the President in the performance of all duties, and assume responsibility for those duties should the President be unable to do so. The Vice President will maintain and a list of potential speakers for our Lecture Series, contact and schedule those speakers, and coordinate stipends as needed with the Treasurer.

If you think you can fill this position, please let me know. A few things to be aware of ... first, we maintain a "speaker contact list" with both phone numbers and emails for some 24 potential speakers to make the job of scheduling easier (not that you can't add to the list, which grows yearly). Second, as #1 for the President, your attendance at meetings is crucial. Should the President, for whatever reason, be unable to preside, you will need to be there. And third, should you become our new VP, you'll get an unlimited supply of these cool DFAC business cards:

I count on our membership to help make DFAC work. I appreciate the support of those who do step up, and encourage those who haven't to consider it. Bottom line is, none of the Officer positions really dominate your schedule, and you have considerable flexibility in choosing how to make it work. So please consider this, and I appreciate your thinking about it.

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:
“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

Arthur C. Clarke's First Law

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Space Debris: Astronomical Poetry
For those of you inspired by the Muse, I stumbled across a great collection of astronomical poetry at:

Here's just one example from Walt Whitman I'm sure many of you are already familiar with:


When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired, and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

Walt Whitman, 1865 (TOAOAL-II, PP 821-822)

There are many other poems by lesser authors, but it's a nice collection to browse. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

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