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Astronomical Equipment Sale

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 4–Willow Pass junction. You can also take Willow Pass Road from Route 680.

Contact: Jim Scala (925) 283-2753

Asteroid Threat at Foothill College

On Wednesday evening, October 11, at 7 pm, Dr. David Morrison, of NASA’s 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 planet—sometimes 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 NASA’s 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 door.

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 to science.

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 pm—the constellations and the objects within them will be viewed through binoculars and various telescopes, including the Observatory’s 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 the ecliptic.
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 and precession.
November 7. Coby Lafayette presents Perseus, Triangulum, and Aries and speculates on star spectra.

The 2000 Starry Nights Festival
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) 369-7212.

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 Karl, RN
• 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.

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