The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society will hold its annual sale,
swap and auction meeting on October 24. This year it will include
many items from the estate of Owen Durden, owner of The Odd
Assortment. Owen, a well known Bay Area amateur astronomer,
turned his hobby into a full time profession, widely recognized
for its odd assortment of just about everything. He died unexpectedly
at his telescope atop Mt. Diablo just over a year ago. His estate
is now inventoried and ready for sale.
You are welcome to bring other items for sale or trade.
Doors open: 7:00 pm. Sale begins: 7:30 pm
Location: Concord Police Training Facility on Avila Road. Avila
is off Willow Pass Road at the Route 4Willow Pass junction.
You can also take Willow Pass Road from Route 680.
Contact: Jim Scala (925) 283-2753
Asteroid Threat at Foothill
On Wednesday evening, October 11, at 7 pm, Dr. David Morrison,
of NASAs Ames Research Center, will give the first talk
in the 2000-2001 Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, at Foothill
College. Admission is free and the public is invited.
Dr. Morrison will discuss asteroids and comets that come close
to the Earth and occasionally can hit our planetsometimes
with disastrous consequences. Such an impact probably killed the
dinosaurs (and close to half of all living species) 65 million
years ago. Dr. Morrison will discuss the new efforts to catalog
all near-Earth asteroids and describe discussions
about what we can do if we see a large asteroid heading our way.
Several recent Hollywood films have dramatized such efforts, but
not always with sterling scientific accuracy. Come hear the real
story behind the science fiction, from the astronomer who has
received a medal from NASA for helping to protect the Earth from
the asteroid threat.
The lecture will be held at the Foothill College Smithwick Theater
in Los Altos Hills. From Interstate 280, exit El Monte Road and
travel west to the campus. Visitors must purchase a required campus
parking permit for $2. For directions and information, call the
series hotline at (650) 949-7888.
The nontechnical program is cosponsored by NASAs Ames Research
Center, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the SETI
Institute. Over 900 people attended several of the lectures in
this series last year. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served
basis. Children over 13 are most welcome.
A unit of Foothill College credit is available to people who attend
all six lectures over the course of the school year and write
a short paper. Registration materials will be available at the
Dr. Morrison is Chief of Space Science and Astrobiology at NASA
Ames Research Center and an internationally renowned space scientist.
He has served on the scientific teams of several planetary missions,
such as the Galileo spacecraft. Dr. Morrison, co-author of several
astronomy textbooks, including Voyages to the Universe,
has also written a number of popular books explaining astronomical
ideas for the public. The International Astronomical Union has
named Asteroid 2410 Asteroid Morrison to honor his many contributions
The Night Sky
Lectures on the constellations of autumn, their mythologies, their
cosmic wonders, and the tools we use to view them.
Cost: $10 per person each session.
Location: Ferguson Observatory in Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park
just east of Santa Rosa off Highway 12.
The presentations will begin promptly at 7:00 pm each Tuesday
noted below and will last approximately one hour. After the presentations
(sky conditions willing)until 10:00 pmthe constellations
and the objects within them will be viewed through binoculars
and various telescopes, including the Observatorys 40"
and 14" reflecting telescopes.
Planispheres and red-beam flashlights will be available for sale
at the Observatory. You will receive individual instruction on
the use and handling of planispheres.
For reservations or questions call 707-833-6979. Your call will
be returned within 24 hours.
October 3. Jack Welch discusses Cassiopeia, Lacerta, Cepheus and
October 10. Vince Stornaiuolo and Len Nelson tell all about Telescopes
and the Moon.
October 17. Jeff Payne and Mike Johnson explain Andromeda, Pegasus,
and sidereal time.
October 24. Nathan Miron expounds upon Pisces, Aquarius, Cetus
November 7. Coby Lafayette presents Perseus, Triangulum, and Aries
and speculates on star spectra.
The 2000 Starry Nights
will be held October 20-22 in Yucca Valley, California, and most
events will be at the community center.
David Levy and Carolyn Shoemaker will be the main guest speakers.
There will also be a meeting of the Western Region of the Astronomical
League on Saturday, an IDA session on dark skies on Friday afternoon,
and dark sky observing programs both Friday and Saturday nights.
For additional information, those interested in attending should
contact Frank Sheckler or Rae Packard in Yucca Valley at (760)
Tentatively, sessions will include the following:
Keynote Address, History of Astronomy, by Ashley McDermott
Meteor Hunting, by Gary Palmer
The History of Giant Rock and the Integretron, by Joanne
Native American Astronomy, by Dicken Everson
Protecting the Nighttime Environment, by Bob Gent
California IDA Update, by Jack Sales
Quality Lighting from Down Under, by Tim Hunter
Searching for Superanovas in the Sky and on the Web,
by Wayne Johnson
Photographing the Night Skies, by Wally Pacholka
Cassini Mission to Saturn, by Steve Edberg
The Shoemaker-Levy Comet,
by Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy
Also of interest will be a Starry Nights Festival Pancake Breakfast
hosted by the Hearts of Yucca Valley and the Yucca Valley Fire
Department. The Astronomical League Annual Meeting will include
a raffle drawing for a Meade telescope.