Observing & Other Notices

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ALPO 2020 Conference Door Prize Donations Announced

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(September 29, 2020) The ALPO is pleased to door prize donations from both Celestron and Explore Scientific for the 2020 ALPO Conference scheduled for Friday and Saturday, October 1 and 2.

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The Celestron donation will be a NexImage 5 Solar System Imager.

• 5-mega pixel color sensor with Micron® DigitalClarity® technology to dramatically reduce image noise levels.
• Software automatically filters out video frames most affected by poor atmospheric conditions, leaving only the sharpest, clearest frames to be stacked and aligned into one high-quality image.
• View and capture live video on your computer.• Manually adjust gain, contrast, exposure time, frame rate and color saturation using your PC
•.Machined aluminum 1.25-inch adapter barrel with C-threads for direct threaded connection to almost any telescope.

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The Explore Scientific donation will be the company’s 8.8 mm eyepiece from its 82° Series.
“Explore Ultra-Wide Eyepieces – Comfort, Quality, Value. Explore Scientific 82° Series eyepieces, with their 82° apparent field of view, immerses you in a very comfortable ultra-wide field that naturally promotes relaxation at the eyepiece. When you relax your eyes and take in the scene presented before you, it is much easier to observe for longer periods of time and details begin to materialize that may not have become apparent to you at first glance. Another great benefit of ultra-wide eyepieces is the ease with which you can gaze, not directly at an object, but slightly to either side. This skill, called using averted vision, is especially helpful when observing faint objects, because using averted vision puts the image on a part of your eye that is more sensitive to light, allowing you to see fainter images.”

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Besides these highly appreciated donations, the ALPO itself will forward a pdf file of the most recent ALPO Journal to all nonmembers who contact our membership secretary, Matt Will, at matt.will@alpo-astronomy.org
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In addition, those who actually join our organization will have their membership extended by one additional Journal. A one-year online ALPO membership is only $18, so please consider it.

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ALPO 2020 Conference to Feature International ‘Astronomy Populizer’ Pranvera Hyseni

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(Updated September 12) — The Assn of Lunar & Planetary Observers (the ALPO) is most pleased to announce that its keynote speaker for this year’s conference will be Ms. Pranvera Hyseni

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Due to the continuing nearly worldwide quarantining caused by the Corovid-19 pandemic and another wave of infections, the 2020 Conference of the ALPO will be held online via Zoom on Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3, 2020. The conference times will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pacific Time) on Friday, October 2, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific Time) on Saturday, October 3.

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Ms. Hyseni’s appearance will follow presentation of the annual Walter Haas Observer Award after the last talk on Saturday afternoon.

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The ALPO Conference is free and open to all, however, all presenters must be current members of the ALPO. Digital memberships start at only $18 a year. To join online, go to http://www.astroleague.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=10&products_id=39 , then scroll to the bottom of that page, select your membership type, click on “Add to Cart” and proceed from there.

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Ms. Hyseni is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Planetary Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is the founder and director of “Astronomy Outreach of Kosovo”. Ms. Hyseni is dedicated to rebuilding her home country through the stars along with her organization’s team, consisting of two-hundred volunteers. Ms. Hyseni was recently was selected as one of the five most influential women in Kosovo and was also recognized as a distinguished student by the Municipality Assembly of Vushtrri. Besides working towards attaining her master’s degree, her current effort is to develop the first observatory and planetarium in Kosovo.

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She’s been honored by the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center with the naming of an asteroid, 45687 Pranverahyseni. The Municipal Assembly of Vushtrri (Kosovo) named her a distinguished student, and she was also honored with the “24Under24″ award by the Mars Generation as a young leader in STEM education. She received the “Master Outreach” award in 2019 from the Astronomical League, and was named as Slooh’s Space Ambassador by the robotic telescope service “Slooh.”

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Besides access via Zoom, the ALPO conference will also be live-streamed both on the ALPO Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=2020%20alpo%20virtual%20conference and on the ALPO YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEmixiL-d5k2Fx27Ijfk41A

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An advantage of Zoom access, however, is that attendees can participate with their own questions submitted via the Zoom group text chat feature. Those attendees using Zoom must already have it installed on their computer prior to the conference dates. Zoom is free and available at https://zoom.us/

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The Zoom links for the ALPO conference will be posted on social media and e-mailed to those who wish to receive it that way on Thursday, October 1. There will be a separate Zoom meeting set up for each day. The Zoom virtual (online) meeting room will open 15 minutes prior to the beginning of each day’s activities.

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Conference participants are encouraged to submit research papers, presentations and experience reports concerning various aspects of Earth-based observational solar system astronomy. Suggested topics for papers and presentations include the following:

Those individuals wishing to attend via Zoom or present a paper should contact Tim Robertson at cometman@cometman.net no later than Monday, September 21. Presenters should submit a brief bio of themselves and a summary of their presentation. Microsoft PowerPoint is the preferred method of visual presentation along with an audio explanation.

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The ALPO YouTube Channel is Now Alive!

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July 10, 2020 — In another effort to expand our online presence, ALPO Podcast Coordinator Tim Robertson has started an ALPO YouTube channel. While it’s still new, here you will find videos and content — including live streaming of events and tutorials — that support the mission of this organization. To learn more about the ALPO on our YouTube channel, click on the ALPO YouTube Channel link in the upper corner of the right  sidebar on this screen.

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Organizational Changes and Appointments

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July 2, 2020 — Due to unforeseen circumstances, the position of ALPO Jupiter Section Coordinator is open once again. Interested individuals should contact ALPO Executive Director Julius Benton via e-mail at jlbaina@msn.com for more information.

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June 26, 2020: IMPORTANT ALERT: AMATEUR-PROFESSIONAL VENUS OBSERVING OPPORTUNITY

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Please go to the ALPO Venus Section for an important request for Venus observations!

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Organizational Changes and Appointments

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The Assn of Lunar & Planetary Observers is proud to announce the following organizational updates effective May 1, 2020.
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  • Creation of an “Outreach Section” which includes the “Lunar & Planetary Training Program” with Timothy J. Robertson as coordinator, “Podcasts” also with Tim Robertson as coordinator and “Youth Activities Program” with Pamela Shivak as coordinator.
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  • Tim Robertson has been elected to the ALPO Board of Directors to fill the vacancy created with the passing of Dr. Michael Reynolds in October 2019. Tim grew up in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, California. His father was an engineer with Rocketdyne, which designed rocket engines for the Apollo program. Tim’s interest in astronomy began one afternoon while he was climbing around in the rafters of the family garage and came across a telescope that his older brother had used. Setting it up that evening and looking at the Moon, Tim was hooked. But living in the light-polluted valley, his stargazing was limited to the Moon and planets. Plus, he enjoyed see the changes in these object on a nightly basis. Now, years later, Tim works for NASA and has had a number of telescopes in his lifetime and still prefers observing the Moon and planets. Tim has been a member of the ALPO since the early 1970s and has been coordinator of the organization’s Lunar & Planetary Training Program since the 1990s; in 2017, he started hosting the “Observers Notebook” podcast for the ALPO.
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  • Jim Tomney has been named acting assistant coordinator in the ALPO Online Section. He will report to Online Section Coordinator Larry Owens in overseeing the ALPO website, especially daily updates to the home page and posting images to the section galleries. Jim started observing using a classic 60mm starter scope; later came his Criterion RV-6 Dynascope (Newtonian reflector), which he still uses to this day, some half century later and which fostered his interest in planetary observing. Jim hopes to contribute his skills as an IT professional to the ALPO Online Section, where he hopes to improve the the ALPO website site incrementally. He also wants to focus on keeping the content up-to-date so that it’s not only a helpful resource to our members, but also an enticement for others to join ALPO. Look for an expanded write-up about Jim as well in the summer issue of the ALPO Journal (due for release in June).
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  • Besides her new duties in the “Youth Activities Program”, Pamela Shivak will also continue as an assistant coordinator in the ALPO Solar Section. Pam’s “Youth Activities Program” duties include trying to reach a broad audience of astronomy clubs and STEM organizations and encourage them to organize astronomy or space-related activities for youths of various ages for the purpose of introducing children to the wonders of the universe and space exploration past, present and future via social media platform such as Facebook and the internet. Pam invites all to join the “ALPO Youth Activities Program” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALPOYOUTHPROGRAM/?ref=share
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  • Kim Hay has been named acting assistant coordinator in the ALPO Solar Section. She had served as lead coordinator of the ALPO Solar Section, then was an assistant coordinator there before leaving several years ago to concentrate on other matters. In the short term, and with Kim already having experience with both Yahoo Groups e-mail lists and Groups.io, she will be working to transfer everything from the Yahoo Solar ALPO e-mail list to our new Solar e-mail list at Groups.io. In the long term, Kim will be a liaison for the ALPO Solar Section, joining with Pam Shivak to put the ALPO Solar Section on more social media more regularly and to recruit new members from some of the observers who continue to post excellent images on these sites. Kim first became interested in astronomy when she was a young girl on her aunt’s farm under dark pristine skies of Canada and seeing her first meteor which belonged to the Perseid Meteor shower. She has since then developed her astronomy interest to include solar, meteor and radio astronomy. She has observed the Sun in white light for over 20 years using a 100 mm (4 inch) Bausch & Lomb SCT and sketches sunspots every clear day when possible. More recently, she purchased a Coronada Solar Max 60 solar telescope which she uses to observe and sketch in H-alpha. Future plans include observing the Sun in the calcium line.
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Followup: Transit of Mercury, November 11, 2019

Congratulations to all who were able to observe and image this transit. The next Mercury transit available to even more observers in the western hemisphere won’t be until May 7, 2049.

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The image here is part of a video clip posted on the ALPO Facebook page by ALPO Solar Section Assistant Coordinator Pam Shivak: “Check out this awesome video our friend Claude Plymate posted taken from the Big Bear Solar Observatory of the Mercury Transit! Claude is the Chief telescope operator there! (That facility is located approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of downtown Los Angeles, California USA.)

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“Claude writes ‘Here is the “quick look’ video of the transit of Mercury from Big Bear Solar Observatory. These observations were taken with a PCO-2000 CCD with 2ms exposures though a 10a wide filter centered at 7057A. The field of view is 70×70″. Hopefully, we can get the data processed and put out a much better version soon. Please keep in mind that these are completely raw, unprocessed images.”

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The actual video can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/pamela.shivak/videos/10220329722894095/?t=0

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PLEASE send your reports and images to Keith Spring, who is the acting assistant coordinator of the ALPO Mercury/Venus Transit Section. Keith can be reached at:

2173 John Hart Circle

Orange Park, FL 32073

Email star.man13@hotmail.com

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December Lunar Observer Newsletter Now Available

The December 2019 issue of The Lunar Observer, newsletter of the ALPO Lunar Topographical Studies & Selected Areas Program, and the Lunar Geological Change program is available at http://moon.scopesandscapes.com/tlo.  Back issues are also available at http://moon.scopesandscapes.com.

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In the December issue, look for an interesting article about lunar domes (with images) authored by Raffaello Lena, Carmelo Zannelli, Maximilian Teodorescu and Jim Phillips, an article about lunar domes near the craters Hall and Luther along with several images and articles about domes from Howard Eskildsen.  John Sabia takes us on a tour of the Moon with a 9.5-inch Alvin Clark refractor, though Damian Peach’s image of Plato through a 1 m telescope is also quite the view.  Sounds like dream telescopes for such a purpose. And as always, Tony Cook provides an engaging article about lunar geologic change.

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Tours of the lunar topography are presented in short articles, drawings, and images throughout this issue.  Enjoy and have fun observing our nearest neighbor in space.

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If the link above doesn’t work for you, try typing it directly into your browser.  If that doesn’t work, reply (NOT reply all) to this email and I’ll send you a copy by email.

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David Teske
Acting Coordinator, Lunar Topographic Studies Program

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Comet Activity for December 2019

C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) is well placed in the evening sky for northern observers and should become brighter than 10th magnitude this month. CCD imagers are encouraged to image a number of fainter comets this month. In particular, the following are of interest. Interstellar visitor 2I/Borisov will be at its best around 15th magnitude. December and January will see short-period comet 289P/Blanpain pass within 0.09 au of the Earth. How bright this comet gets is uncertain as it is a faint, outburst prone object. Speaking of outburst prone comets, the British Astronomical Society invites CCD photometrists to join their effort to monitor the outbursts of 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann.

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The monthly ALPO Comet News PDF can be found here. An edited version of this report is posted on the Cloudy Nights forum at (https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/685850-alpo-comet-news-for-december-2019/). Everyone is invited to join the discussion at our Cloudy Nights forum.

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Carl Hergenrother
Coordinator, ALPO Comets Section

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Expected Meteor Activity for November 30 – December 6, 2019

This post discusses the expected meteor activity and lunar conditions for the current week. It is focused on North American latitudes but may be used in all locations. Sky charts displaying current radiant positions are provided for early evening hours, midnight, and the hour prior to dawn. European readers may wish to use the charts in the same article at www.imo.net for better accuracy.

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To access the meteor activity outlook click on: Meteor Activity Outlook for November 30- December 6, 2019

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We welcome hourly reports on meteor activity at: lunro.imo.usa@cox.net

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Reports of individual fireballs should be filled out at: https://fireball.amsmeteors.org/members/imo/report_intro/

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Meteor Activity Outlooks for observers in the southern hemisphere are available upon request at: lunro.imo.usa@cox.net

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Clear Skies!.

Robert Lunsford
Coordinator, ALPO Meteors Section

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Notes About Lunar Domes Luther and Hall

Two lunar domes located near the craters Luther and Hall (which we termed Luth1 and Hall1), have been imaged and studied.

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The morphometric characteristics of these domes have been examined by making use of a combined photoclinometry and shape from shading approach and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) WAC images, including th LOLA DEM data set. A full spectral analysis based on Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper is in progress.

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The ALPO Lunar Domes Studies Program encourages all to participate by submitting more high-resolution imagery of this wide lunar region so that we can have more data to identify further lunar domes not yet characterized in the morphometric and spectral properties.

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The preliminary report can be found at http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/lunarblog/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/domesLuther-Hall.pdf

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Raffaello Lena
Coordinator, ALPO Lunar Domes Studies Program


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Publications Section Bulletin

Are you looking to see if the ALPO ever covered a special solar system event that you remember? Does your current research require specific solar system observational data by the amateur astronomy community? Click Here to go to JALPO Indexes

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