Stockton Astronomical Society
Valley Skies - November 2000 Issue
It's election time again!
It's time again to elect officers to keep this club running. Here's the report from the Nominating Committee (Jeff Baldwin and Vonnie Udall):
At the November 9 meeting, the Nominating Committee will nominate the following members for election to the Executive Committee for year 2001:
President: Neil Lark
Vice Pres./Program Director: Rick Mielbrecht
Secretary: Becky Greider
Treasurer: Vonnie Udall
Newsletter Editor: Trevor Atkinson
Members at Large: Linda Berensen and Christie Abbott
The floor will be open for additional nominations.
Jeff Baldwin, Chairperson, Nominating Committee
Everyone on the current Executive Committee has indicated a willingness to serve again. However, additional nominations can be made at the election meeting on November 9.
It would be refreshing to have some competition, to see some new faces willing to help keep the club moving onward and upward. It has been several years since we had two or more nominees for any position on the committee. We'll see what happen this year.
Web Administrator Change Underway
As you may recall, Pat Leman has developed and maintained the SAS web site over the last three years. His efforts have put the SAS on the cyberspace map, accessible for anyone with an interest in astronomy. However, time constraints have forced him to seek help.
There has been an enthusiastic response to the appeal in the October issue for someone to take over responsibility for the web site. Two members, Ray Lukaszewski and Jerald Smith, have offered to take on the job. The transfer is a work in progress as this goes to press. Neil has arranged for space on a server on the UOP campus. Files have already been transferred and should be accessible by the time you receive this newsletter.
The new address is: http://astro.sci.uop.edu/~sas
In the meantime, the web site can still be accessed through the old address, which will provide a link to the new server location.
SAS Observing Program
by Jeff Baldwin,
Observing Program Chairman
November Messier objects are M31, M32, M110, M33, M103, M76, M52 and M34.
M31 is the magnificent Andromeda Galaxy. This is the most distant object visible to the unaided eye at nearly 3 million light years, or 16,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles. When light that you see there now left the Andromeda Galaxy, australopithecine's were running around what is now Ethiopia. The far side of the galaxy appears 150,000 years younger than the near side of the galaxy because its light left earlier from our viewpoint.
Orbiting M31 are two satellite galaxies, M32 and M110. All three are visible in a small rich field telescope simultaneously. Also in Andromeda is M76, the Little Dumbbell, or the Bow-Tie.
In Triangulum is the face-on spiral galaxy M33, the Pinwheel. The giant HII region NGC604 can be see in M33. M103 and M52 are open clusters in Cassiopeia. M34 is an open cluster in Perseus.
For a complete list of the Messiers and Herschels, and rules for recording observations, contact Jeff Baldwin at 957-3331, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Certificates are available for members who observe all of the objects in each list.
Triangulum the Triangle
Dec: +25.4° to +37.0°
RA: 1h 29m to 2h 48m
Triangulum is not a Zodiac constellation, but it is home to a wonderful galaxy M33, also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy.
To the Greeks it was known as Deltoton, because of its resemblance to the Greek Letter Delta. The Romans called this area of the sky Sicilia, as it reminded them of their island of Sicily. It has also been described as the Nile Delta and as an Isosceles Triangle by many other early civilizations. There is another, smaller, group of three stars to the south of Triangulum that Hevelius tried to separate into another constellation, Triangulum Minor. This constellation was not universally accepted so the IAU dropped it from its official list of constellations in 1920.
Exploring in Triangulum
All of the deep sky objects this month are galaxies, with most being very faint. One object in particular is really worth looking at: NGC 598 (M33).
To start out, use your planisphere to locate the long point of the Triangle, Alpha (a) Tri. Also locate b And: (starting at the Great Square of Pegasus, the eastern corner star is Alpheratz (a And); count it as "one". Moving to the east to the 3rd star along the bottom of Andromeda, this is b And). Roughly halfway between a Tri and b And, you will find M33.
M33 is very large so its light is spread over a very large area, making it much fainter than its listed magnitude of 5.7 would suggest. Once you find it, take your time and look at it. At Peddler Hill, my 10" will make out the arms. It generally appears as a large sweeping "S" with a bright core. This galaxy has undergone a tremendous amount of study. The outer reaches of its four arms are dominated by hot, young, blue stars and over 80 HII emission nebulae. On the northeast edge, the largest nebula is NGC604. Several of the others also have NGC numbers but they are not listed in my books. Try using an OIII Filter to bring out these regions.
Return to Alpha Tri and travel a little over 2 degrees northeast; there are two 6th magnitude stars to point the way to NGC777, an E2 galaxy at magnitude 11.4. NGC777 is a large, round appearing galaxy in pair with a much fainter galaxy NGC778.
Continue moving northeast toward Beta Tri (the brightest star in the triangle). About 2/3 of the way from Alpha to Beta you will find Epsilon Tri. Epsilon is an Open Double with its companion located 129 arc sec away to the northwest. From Epsilon hop 1 degree west to NGC750 and NGC751. For those members with large scopes, these two galaxies sit in a cluster of very faint galaxies, including NGC733, 736, 738, 739 740, and NGC760; all are dimmer than 12th magnitude.
Return to Epsilon then move east to the fainter member of the Triangle, Gamma (g) Tri. From here move 2 degrees just south of east to NGC925. NGC925 is a spiral galaxy with a magnitude of 10.1 that sits in a field of 10th magnitude stars; it appears as an elongated patch of light compared to the stars.
That ends the tour of Triangulum. There are a few other galaxies in this area but they are extremely faint.
Copyrighted © 2000 by Stockton Astronomical Society
Lasted Updated: 11/8/2000