2006 ALPO Conference Presentations


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Presentations\Owens - Planetary Imaging.pdf



Presentations\Reynolds - Eclipses.pdf




Presentations\Westfall - MercuryTransit.pdf






Presentations\Melillo - Mercury Highlights.pdf








Presentations\Parker - Mars 2005 app.pdf





Presentations\Schmude - Mars SPC.pdf





Presentations\Cross - Mars Topographic Features of Mars.pdf




Presentations\Schmude - Jupiter.pdf




Presentations\Benton - Saturn.pdf








Presentations\Haas - Saturn Outbursts.pdf







ALPO2006Conf\Presentations\Schmude - Remote Planets.pdf




Presentations\Schmude - Extrasolar2006.pdf





Below are a number of presentation from the ALPO 2006 Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia. All are in pdf. Note that ALL of these pdf files require the free utility Adobe Reader available at http://adobe.com or click the "Adobe Reader" button at left.

There are two ways to access these documents:

  • Left-click on the file name below the image to simply open the file and read it online.
  • Right-click on the file name, then save the file directly to the folder of your choice on your own terminal.

In both cases, the documents will open in Adobe Reader on your terminal.



Planetary Imaging Workshop

By: Larry Owens, ALPO Member

An extended session which explores the complexities of planetary image acquisition and various processing techniques of Registax 3.0 required to overcome camera limitations, optic system configurations, and even planetary imaging challenges. The workshop will include abundant demonstrations and a lab where participants can practice these techniques using their own laptop (CD’s will be available loaded with processing software and raw images for use in the lab).




Eclipse Section Report

By: Dr. Mike D. Reynolds, ALPO Eclipse Section Coordinator &
Member of the Board, ALPO 

An overview of recent and future eclipses, with a focus on 29 March 2006 Total Solar Eclipse observations and data. New techniques for eclipse imaging will also be overviewed, including stacking of images taken during totality.

Excellent conditions persisted for the majority of 29 March eclipse observers. Differences in observations included totality horizon colors; those across Africa describe a colorful horizon whereas those observing on Mediterranean and Aegean ships reported a “monochrome” eclipse.



A Convenient Transit of Mercury: November 8-9, 2006

By: John E. Westfall, ALPO Mercury/Venus Transit Section Coordinator

The 2006 transit will be Mercury’s last until 2016, but its first portion will be visible throughout the Americas. The entire event can be seen from western North America and the eastern and central Pacific, and the last part of the transit will be visible from East Asia and the western Pacific.

The ALPO Transit Section invites visual, film, and electronic observations of transit optical phenomena, such as the “black drop,” as well as timings of the transit contacts.



Mercury Highlights of 2005

By: Frank Melillo, ALPO Mercury Section Coordinator

There were more observers participating in 2005 with three evening and three morning apparitions. Many observers from around the world were able to fill in the gap where one hemisphere is more favorable than the other one. We have significant number of independent simultaneous observations. Due to the advanced technology such as optics, filters and the Internet communications, it is more of a pleasure to observe Mercury now than ever before.





Scaling the Earth Moon System and Lunar Topography: Model Approaches

By: Clyde Simpson, Observatory Coordinator,
Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Natural History

School age students generally have difficulty comprehending the relative sizes of the planet Earth and its Moon. Likewise, the Earth/Moon distance is usually greatly underestimated. The Education Department at the CMNH has developed several exact scale models of the Earth - Moon system using relatively simple and common materials.

The museum has also developed a hands-on activity whereby students construct clay models of the lunar surface using topographical and geologic maps. Also to be discussed are the wide variety of CMNH exhibits and displays highlighting lunar geology.



The 2005 Apparition of Mars: An International Event

By: Don Parker, ALPO Mars Section Coordinator

Between 2004 and 2006, the ALPO Mars Section received over 4,500 observations from 143 observers in 23 countries. In addition, several thousand observations were submitted to the International Marswatch and Japan-ALPO web sites. Thanks to improved instrumentation, proper use of color filters, and CCD/webcam technology, quality observations were made when Mars’s apparent diameter was less than 5 arc-seconds, permitting temporal coverage to extend over three full Martian seasons. The Internet and the worldwide placement of dedicated observers resulted in a nearly continuous monitoring the planet throughout much of its apparition.

Various aspects of the 2005 apparition will be presented. These include albedo feature changes, meteorology, and analyses of localized and regional dust storms.



Maps of Mars' South Polar Cap: 2003-2005

By: Richard Schmude, ALPO Mars Section Assistant Coordinator

Mars’ south polar cap shrinks and changes shape as it shrinks during the spring and summer. Presented here are 30 maps of the shrinking south polar cap during Martian spring and summer. The speaker used over 1,000 Mars images made in 2003 and 2005 from all over the world, along with grids showing Mars latitude to make the maps. This worldwide collaboration was necessary to make maps at all of Mars’ longitudes. In a real sense, this work is the result of C.F. Capen’s vision of worldwide Mars collaboration. The main conclusion in this work is the set of 30 maps of the shrinking South Polar Cap.



Topographic Features of Mars Observed by G.H. Hamilton and C.F. Capen

By: Gene Cross & Rodger W. Gordon (presented by Gene Cross)

Topographic features on Mars were observed by G. H. Hamiltion and C. F. Capen using groundbased telescopes. Features such as the craters Huygens, Copernicus, Newton, Tharis volcanoes, Olympus Mons, Valley Marinaris, and many others, were observed. Hamilton (1924) used an 11-inch refractor at 300X & 430X, Capen (1969) used an 82-inch reflector at 800X and with cameras. Images by the observers themselves, and one by Tom Cave, will be shown.






Jupiter: Recent Developments and Trends

By: Richard Schmude, ALPO Jupiter Section Coordinator

Since 1999, the speaker has measured the brightness and color of Jupiter. Presented here are results of this study and will also similar brightness data from 1963-65 collected by Irvine et al. One important conclusion from this work is that Jupiter had an almost constant albedo between 1999 and 2006. (Albedo is the fraction of light that an object reflects; coal has a low albedo and fresh snow has a high albedo.)



Saturn: Programs and Recent Observations

By: Julius L. Benton, Jr., ALPO Saturn Section Coordinator

With its truly magnificent rings, the planet Saturn exhibits many features that invite well-organized visual observations and imaging projects by amateur astronomers. Using instruments of moderate aperture in good seeing conditions, a series of bright zones and darker belts can be seen extending across the globe of Saturn roughly parallel to the equator, as on Jupiter, and the rings are subdivided into three main components, the outer two separated by Cassini’s division. Although Saturn requires about twice the magnification needed for studies of Jupiter, the planet is far from being a dull and unchanging world, and remarkable detail in the rings and on the globe is routinely revealed by amateurs who routinely image the planet using webcams and CCDs. A brief compilation of results gleaned from over half a century of ALPO studies of Saturn are cited, and a summary is given of current observing programs, including a continued appeal for more simultaneous visual observations, ideally concurrent with times when Saturn is being imaged. Several Professional-Amateur cooperative research programs are cited. Although the rings are slowing progressing toward their next edgewise orientation in 2009, with a current inclination of -19º, good views are still possible of the southern hemisphere of Saturn’s globe and the south face of the rings. Some of the more interesting observations of Saturn during the 2005-06 apparition are described, with prospects for the 2006-07 observing season.



A Review of Five Major Bright Outbursts on Saturn and
A Suggested 57-Year Period

By: Walter H. Haas, ALPO Director Emeritus

Five major eruptions have been observed on the normally tranquil surface of Saturn and are briefly described. A large and brilliant bright oval was observed in the Equatorial Zone in 1876, in 1933, and in 1990, thus every 57 years. Many bright and dark spots appeared near latitude 36 degrees north in 1903, and there were numerous white spots near latitude 60 degrees north in 1960. The separating time interval is again 57 years. Discussion includes the probability of the existence of unobserved similar events, the lack of observational evidence for the assumed sudden appearance of the 1933 and 1990 EZ features, a possible acceleration in the rotation of those two objects while they were visible, and an accompanying probable northward shift of North Hemisphere belts in 1990.



The Remote Planets: 1991-2006

By: Richard Schmude, ALPO Remote Planets Section Coordinator 

Almost 20 people contributed observations of the remote planets in 2005. The Planet Uranus has continued to get a bit darker while Neptune has maintained about the same brightness that it had during 2000-2004. Images of both planets failed to reveal definite albedo features in 2005. Ed Grafton measured the brightness of the moons of Uranus using unfiltered CCD images. The brightness values of the moons are close to literature values. These results may be useful for people wishing to record the mutual events of the moons of Uranus during 2007.



Extra-Solar Planet Measurements

By: Richard Schmude, ALPO Remote Planets Section Coordinator

Extra solar planets are those that orbit stars outside our solar system. In rare cases, extra-solar planets eclipse the stars that they orbit and these eclipses can be studied from the Earth. Jim Fox measured the brightness drop of HD 209458 by its companion planet (HD 209458b) as the planet transited the star. This star’s brightness fell by 0.01 magnitudes. Jim used an SSP-3 solid-state photometer along with a 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope to make his measurements. It is concluded that amateurs can make a contribution to our knowledge of at least the extra-solar planet orbiting HD 209458.


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