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Tycho and Kepler - Book Review - Astronomical History

Book Reviews
Tycho and Kepler -The Unlikely Partnership That Forever Changed Our Understanding Of The Heavens
By Kitty Ferguson
Copyright 2002 Walker & Co. New York

Tycho Brahe ranks among the most noteworthy of all the men in history, right alongside Aristotle, Copernicus and Galileo. This book by Kitty Ferguson delves deep into the life of Tyge Brahe (pronounced "teeguh" - his real name before he Latinized it to Tycho) and his Danish ancestry to tell a personable tale of a man obsessed with the night sky. Tycho's life and times provide the reader with so much information about the preCopernican misconceptions of the universe that one has to wonder where mankind would be today if not for this man and his research.
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Build Your Own Calendar With AOAS!

General News
Astronomy calendars are a way for those who love the science of astronomy to let others in their lives know about their passion. Whether it's for your home or office, an attractive calendar of spectacular astronomical subjects is your statement of affinity for the universe.

We've gathered a few dozen of the most spectacular images from Hubble Space Telescope to use with your own software to produce the most beautiful astronomy calendar you can imagine. Maybe you'd like a calendar of just planetary nebulae, or just galaxies, or maybe one of each. Or you might wish to mix it up with the best of each of the major classes of objects, even adding Hubble images of Mars and Saturn.

It is entirely up to you. The images from Hubble Space Telescope are public domain images, meaning they already belong to you, the public. Enjoy this selection of images and have fun with building your very own astronomy calendars. But remember these images will use considerable amounts of ink if used at their full size. Size them to your desires but be thoughtful of how much ink you'll use to produce your own calendar.

Click here to go directly to these photos, have fun, and good luck.
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What Would 'Ya Like To Say?

General NewsAre you an amateur astronomer, or someone who's interested in amateur astronomy? We'd like to know what you think or would like to ask about!

We at AOAS are extremely proud of our little club and probably most proud of our web site. It's a highly interactive site where ANYONE can post replies to nearly all our stories, discussions or other items. You can even test out your writing abilities by submitting your own story.

Been doing some observing lately? Write us a story about your experiances. Been reading about some of the new and exciting research and findings about astronomy lately? Write us a story or start a discussion topic on it. We want to hear from anyone and everyone who has an interest in astronomy.

C'mon, don't be shy, CONTRIBUTE!
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General News
Did anyone else put the aurora from the 20th of November on film or chip? I did manage to get a couple of images. Would like to see some of the other members shots.
Mike H.

Click the image at left for a larger view.
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Dr. Derek Sears To Speak At AOAS December 19th Meeting

Lunar & Planetary
Dr. Derek Sears will present a lecture on the possibility that liquid water may exist under Mars-like conditions at the Friday, December 19th dinner/meeting of the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society at 7:30 PM, in the Rose Room at Creekmore Park. The title, "Water on Mars: Tales of a Martian Mud Machine" will reveal the results of his recent groundbreaking research project which proved that liquid water CAN exist under Mars-like conditions (See story, "Done Deal...Liquid Water CAN Exist on Mars!")

Dr. Derek W.G. Sears is a professor in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and is the director of the Arkansas Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences. Recently, he led a team of graduate students into new territory by first building a special chamber where the conditions on the surface of Mars could be duplicated, and then determining whether liquid water might be able to exist there. Their conclusion? YES, liquid water CAN exist on Mars!

Since the days of Percival Lowell and H.G. Wells in the late nineteenth century, Mars enthusiasts have thought that the Red Planet might harbor liquid water. Lowell believed he could see "canals" on the surface of Mars, which he mistook for a vast planet-wide irrigation system that brought liquid water from the frozen polar regions down and across the arid desert regions of equatorial Mars. When mankind's first spacecraft visited in the mid-60's, what we found was a cold, dead landscape not too different from the way the surface of the moon appeared. Water, it was thought, couldn't possibly exist under such dry and barren conditions.
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AOAS Founding Member Dale Hall Receives First "David Gibbs Achievement Award"

General News
From left: Joe Roam, Dale Hall, Bob Moody
On Friday evening,October 17, 2003 Dale Hall became the first AOAS member to receive the Society's very first award. Dale is a founding member of AOAS and has served as Public Relations officer since the club formed on January 15, 1985.

The "David Gibbs Achievement Award" also honors one of our own past members, who passed away suddenly in 1999. David Gibbs was another outstanding member of the Society. David had an uncanny way of seeing things from other points of view, which always kept us "on track" in our executive committee meetings, and when we made decisions concerning the club and our activities. He was our "rock," which kept us anchored to reality. This award will be our eternal recognition of his support and dedication to AOAS.
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Current Comets

Lunar & PlanetaryA couple of comets are fast approaching. Comet 2P ENCKE is at magnitude 14(+-) and approaching fast. Comet C/2002 T7 is now at magnitude 10+ and brightning steadly for its visit to our skys next May. I have images of these two comets from 10/18 (morning skys). To view these images, click the comet name at the top of the page on my web site.

Good luck, Mike Holloway
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ScopeDriver and DarkAdapted

Computers & SoftwareThe following is not an endorsement, but is for your information only.

If you use a computer to control your telescope (limited to specific scopes at the present time) or use a laptop computer in conjunction with your telescope out in the field, you may wish to check out the following web sites:

ScopeDriver (shareware) allows you to connect your computer to one of the following telescopes:
  • Meade Autostar with RS-232 serial port;
  • Meade LX200 (including LX200 GPS);
  • Losmandy Gemini Level 1 or Level 3;
  • Any telescope compatible with Autostar, LX200 or Gemini command set.
  • Celestron software yet to be developed.
See web site at: http://www.adpartnership.net/ScopeDriver/index.html

DarkAdapted (free) is a gamma control application program. It modifies your screen gamma settings so that you may, for example, preserve your dark adaptation while using your computer. High-resolution sliders allow you to adjust red, green, and blue video components individually and in real time.
See web site at: http://www.adpartners.net/DarkAdapted/index.html
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World's Largest Digital Camera

Astro ImagingCondensed from Popular Mechanics, Nov. 2003, pp.34,37. by Paul Eisenstein

QUEST, a new installation at the Palomar Observatory's Oschin Telescope near San Diego, is the world's largest astronomical digital camera, designed and built by astrophysicists from Yale and Indiana Universities. It uses an array of 112 CCDs, able to deliver data immediately, allowing researchers around the world to share QUEST's vision in real time. Unitl now, the largest astronomical camera had only 30 CCDs.

Designed for wide-field viewing, QUEST's massive CCD display will permit researchers to cover an unprecedented 500 square degrees a night. QUEST is expected to generate an unprecedented amount of astronomical data in digital form, more than 1 terabyte a month. A terabyte is 1 million megabytes of data.. That is equivalent of 2 million books, and by 2008 QUEST could generate more than twice as much information as is stored in the Library of Congress.

The data will be transmitted over a special 45-megabits-per-second HPWREN, to image-processing labs and university observation centers all over the country. Even amateur astronomers will be able to share in the digital action. Plans call for QUEST's data to be made available on the Internet through the National Virtual Observatory. Updates will be posted on various Web sites, including www.physics.yale.edu/quest/palomar.html
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Asteroid 2003 QQ47

Lunar & PlanetaryAsteroid 2003 QQ47 is being closely monitored by British astronomers after they discovered it may pass uncomfortably close to Earth on March 21, 2014. Judging from the size of the asteroid, scientists predict it could have the same impact as 20 million Hiroshima-size atomic bombs. The good news is that astronomers are unsure of their calculations.
(Ref.: Popular Mechanics, Vol. 180, No. 11, Nov. 2003, 'Tech Watch' p.24)

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