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Mississauga Astronomical Society
Twentyfourth Meeting
Members’ Night
Friday, July 23, 2004
Phil Mozel
Transit of Venus
Randy Attwood and Betty Robinson gave a presentation about their trip to Barcelona,
Spain in June for the Venus transit. During their 5 days in Barcelona, they visited various
landmarks in the city including the Sagrada Familia church, the Columbus statue and
others. They observed the entire transit from the roof of the Physics Astronomy
Meteorologic building of the University of Barcelona in the company of university staff
and students and a large media event. Using a Questar scope and digital camera setup
they took and showed images of the transit. Randy also showed images from various
websites and reminded us of the next transit on June 6, 2012.
John Boyd described the MAS Venus transit gathering at Saddington Park organized by
Kari. 22 people showed up with telescopes, CCD cameras, projection etc. He described
timings of 3rd and 4th contacts which were very close to those predicted by the ESO.
Phil Mozel also observed at the Port Credit site. Due to the natural hazy filter, he was
able to see Venus naked eye (unfiltered). He described 3rd contact as a short black arc
between the limb of the sun and Venus “coming and going” then spreading out as the Sun
sucked Venus in. He said that this was one of the most interesting observations he had
ever made, comparable to a total solar eclipse or to the occultation of a star by Saturn’s
rings. Phil observed with a C8 scope and full aperture solar filter.
Favourites – members were asked to describe their favourite astronomical equipment,
books, software etc.
Chris Malicki showed the new Uranometria 2000.0 star maps and catalogue and
described his new Portaball 14.5’ telescope which has enabled him to observe galaxies
fainter than he could with his previous C8. He also spoke about his trip to P.E.I where he
observed the transit of Venus from the shore of Malpeque Bay.
Ken Bokor described his new Celestron eyepieces for use with his 8” Dobsonian
telescope. These included the 32mm, 12.5mm and 9mm ultrawide and multicoated ones.
John Golia’s favourite book “Book of the Universe” by Ian Ridpath, written 13 years ago
is good for beginners and easy to read. The five chapters are about history, stars, planets,
moon and galaxies and origin of the universe.
Brian Gibson’s showed “The Sky for Pocket PC”, a portable software program with a 64
meg flashcard showing 250,000 stars and an ability to plug into a telescope.
Betty Robinson’s the copy editor of “Observer’s Handbook” described this venerable
publication with its wealth of astronomical information. Her favourite section is by Roy
Bishop on the tides.
Phil Mozel showed two books about the moon. “Apollo, The Race to the Moon” with its
behind the scenes history of the moon landings talks about the controllers, capcoms etc.
and is a riveting read. “Full Moon” shows digitized images from the moon missions with
large captivating images. Phil noted that the fullsized version, rather than the pocket book
was necessary to fully appreciate the images.
John Boyd demonstrated a flashing LED red light useful during observing sessions to
alert people of the proximity of a telescope.
Randy Attwood stated that “Apollo, The Race to the Moon” is the definitive book about
the Apollo project. If only one book is to be purchased it should be “Nightwatch” of
Terrence Dickinson. For constellations, “The Stars” of H.A. Roy (of “Curious George”
fame) teaches the sky month by month. Guy Ottowell’s “The Understanding of eclipses”
is the definitive explanation of eclipses.
35 Years of Amateur Astronomy
Randy Attwood described his 35 years as an amateur astronomer beginning in the
summer of 1969 during the Apollo missions. His interest was further encouraged by the
partial solar eclipse of March 7, 1970 in Toronto. Randy then joined the RASC in 1970
and attended meetings at the McLaughlin Planetarium, and learned about astronomy in
the Saturday study group. When at the University in London ON, he joined the London
RASC and attended the G.A. there in 1979. Further highlights were as editor of Scope
magazine 1980 to 1982, president of the Toronto Centre 1980 to 1986, marriage to the
Scope editor in 1984, Toronto centre rep 1091 to 1996, GA chairman in 1987, National
VP of the RASC and the President. He re-designed the cover of Scope in 1981. He was
very active in observing and public outreach citing specifically Comet Halley with
15,000 people observing in 3 nights. In 1986, Randy observed the comet from the
extremely dark sky of the Galapagos Islands. Among many eclipse expeditions he went
to Gaspe in June 1872, Gimli Manitoba in 1979, to Kenya in 1980 where he
photographed a coronal mass ejection, 1984 in North Carolina and later New Guinea,
1988 Mindanao Philippines, 1991 Mexico and others.
Finally, Randy described his great interest in manned space exploration. He showed John
Knoll’s reproduction of the flight of Apollo 11 and its landing on the Moon in 1969.
Submitted by Chris Malicki, Secretary