Observing & Other Notices

Organizational Changes and Appointments

.

.
The Assn of Lunar & Planetary Observers is proud to announce the following organizational updates effective May 1, 2020.
.
  • 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.
.
  • 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.
.
.

.

.
.
.
  • Bruce Cordell has been named acting coordinator & scientific advisor of the ALPO Jupiter Section. This appointment allows Richard Schmude to return to the assistant coordinator position, where he will continue to produce the Jupiter apparition reports; he had been serving as lead coordinator as well for several years following the vacancy created when the previous coordinator left for health reasons. Bruce’s duties will include working with the existing ALPO Jupiter Section staff, which consists of assistant coordinators John McAnally, Craig MacDougal and Richard Schmude. Bruce’s beginnings in astronomy go back to the 1960s and his Criterion RV-6 Dynascope (Newtonian reflector) which stunningly revealed a Moon that NASA was about to land on, seasonal changes on Mars, the dynamic atmosphere of Jupiter, and the nearly edge-on view of the rings of Saturn. A later very special meeting with Clyde Tombaugh when Bruce was 16 accelerated this process; Bruce still has a copy of our Journal, The Strolling Astronomer, (Vol. 19, No. 7-8) which Mr. Tombaugh autographed! A later encounter with Gerard Kuiper, founder of the Lunar and Planetary Lab, led to Bruce leaving UCLA and getting a PhD at the University of Arizona in Planetary Science. His professional career in part includes being an astronomy professor in the California State University and elsewhere. He retired in May 2018 and moved back to Tucson, Arizona, where he is building his observatory. He says: “It’s a real pleasure and I’m excited to be part of the Jupiter Section where, in the long, illustrious tradition of ALPO, our current and future observers will expand the scientific conquest of the mysteries of Jupiter.” Look for an expanded write-up about Jim in the summer issue of the ALPO Journal (due for release in June).
.
.
.
.
  • 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).
.
.
.

.

.
.
.
.
.
.
  • 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
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
  • 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.
.

.




******************************************
.
.
.
.

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.

.

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.)

.

“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.”

.

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

.

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

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

David Teske
Acting Coordinator, Lunar Topographic Studies Program

.

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.

.

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.

.

Carl Hergenrother
Coordinator, ALPO Comets Section

.

.

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.

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

Clear Skies!.

Robert Lunsford
Coordinator, ALPO Meteors Section

.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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

.

Raffaello Lena
Coordinator, ALPO Lunar Domes Studies Program


.

.

.

.

.

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

.

.

Privacy Policy

Because you have the ability to order merchandise from an advertiser with a link on the ALPO website, we want you to know that your privacy is important to us. Click here for the text of our entire privacy statement.

.

.