Syracuse Astronomical Society President's Message for October, 2007

A repost of the original at the Syracuse Astronomical Society website.

The SAS board is, once again, very happy to be having our non-observing society meetings for the next few months at the MOST, joining the other attendees for the second year of their Space Science Series.

The MOST lectures and our usual Friday/Saturday viewing schedules no longer coincide, a problem that may disappear in shorter order as winter (if we have one) sets in and we close the observatory for the season. As always, keep track of the "Who's Observing" page to see if anyone plans on going to Darling Hill.

MOST Space Science Series 2.0

From the official release:

"The four-part 2007-2008 meritorious science speaker series at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST), 500 South Franklin St. in Syracuse's historic Armory Square, will highlight Space Science. Our invited audience is citizens of Central New York with an interest in space – no experience with intergalactic space travel is necessary. It is our expectation to take you out there! Middle and high school students and their parents are also welcome.

The New York State NASA Space Grant at Cornell University, with support from the MOST, is pleased to offer the Central New York community this opportunity to explore and learn about our immediate neighbors to the most distant space matter."

2008 International Observer's Handbook

Click on the image for more information.

Until someone runs a cable line to the Observatory or we eventually get a decent cell phone signal for surfing the web at all hours of the night, reference books are de rigueur for any serious observing activity. With that in mind, Mike Brady sent off the following message announcing the release of the 2008 International Observer's Handbook from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

"A reminder that our friends to the north have just published their newest reference book, the 2008 International Observer's Handbook, which is now available at

This is the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's 100th year of publication. FYI, I've never seen more facts packed into a small sized reference work!"

Ant: Light Pollution

Prof. John McMahon sent off the youtube video embedded below as a fun little discussion about a very unfunny subject to amateur astronomers. The subject of light pollution has received recent attention both on the state political level (with the SAS and myself endorsing A7438/S4364) and, recently, an interesting New Yorker article noted in last month's message. The video below is intended to, dare I say, shed a little light on the topic.

Anatomy Of A Black Hole

The following demo came across last week (always a great place for notable space news as well). On the timescale of the Net, a demo still available from 2003 is nothing short of still having a pharaoh around to answer your Egyptology questions. Educational and animated, a tough pair to beat.

The First Photo From Space

From Click HERE for more information.

We've become accustomed to finding our cars on Google Earth, seeing "yet again" the most distance astronomical object ever photographed, and even real-time web streams from the ISS. As for the state-of-the-art just 61 years ago, check out the article from Air and Space Magazine from Oct/Nov 2006 (yes, a little late, but will make sense in a moment). Better still, the movie taken by strapping a video camera to a V-2 Rocket in New Mexico, also at

And, for a little before-and-after…

HiRISE Photo Gallery

From HiRISE. Click HERE for more information.

…or "How I spent my summer vacation and the government spent my tax dollars." The HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) site has put together a first gallery of color images taken as part of the planning stage for the Mars Science Laboratory. The technological progress is, to say the least, stunning, having started with grainy black-and-white just 65 miles above our own planet to now freely available color images taken high above in Martian orbit. You will note, for each, that many of these full-color images are available not in the kilobyte range but in the megabyte and, for the full versions, gigabyte regime, absolutely mammoth file sizes with stunning detail (stunning for now, anyway, until the NEXT camera settles into orbit).

"Cassini's new view of land of lakes and seas"

From The European Space Agency. Click HERE for more information.

Somewhere between the two extremes above lies the European Space Agency North Pole radar mosaic image from Cassini's visit to Titan, complete with fairly detailed views of the hydrocarbon lakes that made for numerous press releases when the Huygens probe fell through the Titan atmosphere and onto its surface way back in January 2005.

Space is the place,
Damian Allis, Ph.D.

Links Used Above (Subject To Web Changes)

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