Presidents Message – November 1999

Posted On November 1, 1999

Broadcasting, Discovering, and Expanding

Those of you at the last club meeting got a special treat. Professor David Malin put on quite a show for us and left us some food for thought. If you weren't there, you really missed out. Or not.

I have the pleasure of announcing that OCA now presents what no other astronomy club offers, its meetings online via streaming video. If you indeed missed last month's meeting, simply go to the the report from the last meeting (written by Anna Kennedy). From there, if you have the Real Audio player installed on your browser, you can click on a video feed of the club meeting virtually from start to end. Only the boring stuff has been removed. If you don't have the Real Audio player you can download it and install it in a minute or two. Our thanks goes to OCA board member and webmaster Liam Kennedy who is making this service available.

As I said only the boring stuff has been removed. Therefore, of course, my dynamic delivery of the announcements has been included. I am particularly pleased with the first announcement I made at the October meeting, the ASROC group (see ) added five new asteroid discoveries to the previous 14 giving us 19 discoveries over the past year and growing.

The important thing to note about ASROC's current work is that most of our discoveries are in the 19th magnitude range. That is deeper than a lot of amateur search programs can go. John Hoot calculates that ASROC has discovered as much as nine percent of all non-automated discoveries (i.e. Spacewatch, LINEAR) of magnitude 18 or dimmer during the past 30 days. Considering the number of astronomers doing asteroid discovery work, nine percent is a big number. Congratulations to discoverers Myke Collins, Minor White, Marissa Gahran, Alan Ruud, and Russell Sipe.

Rumor has it that one of our discoveries, 2000 RR33 had been spotted on prior oppositions but lost. The correlations of the 47 observations form a 12 year arc, good enough that it won't be long before we should get to name our first asteroid. The asteroid in question was discovered by Myke and Minor. Although they probably don't need help coming up with a name, it makes me stop and wonder. What name would I want to give my first discovery, when the time comes? It's fun to think about. What would you name an asteroid if you had the opportunity? Think about it. Then go to the OCA Forum and post a message telling us what you would name your asteroid. Heck, maybe Myke and Minor will like your name and ask if they can use it.

If you read this newsletter on the web you may still have time to participate in the October 28th work day at Anza. If you are reading this in the Sirius Astronomer then I am pleased to announce that work has begun to expand the viewing pad and add electricity to the common viewing area known as the "football field". This is a project that has been a long time coming and will be of great value to many OCA members.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that initial construction has begun on Star Cruiser Observatory that will hold my 17" F/4 Cassegrain which will join with the 22" Kuhn telescope in searching the heavens for minor planet bodies. For more information see

"The goodness of the night upon you"
Othello Act 1 Scene 2

Russell Sipe