|Editor's News and Views
by Don Saito
And the results are final: Leah is installed and operational! <whew!>
The Leah Restoration Team (Carter Roberts, Ken Swagerty, Debbie Dyke,
Mike Hanley, and myself) finished and mounted Leah in her new dome up
at the new Chabot Space & Science Center on Sunday, June 3 with the
additional help of Fred Johnson (whose specialty is hyper-accurate alignment),
and Bob Schalk (who pretty much does all the cleaning and alignment of
the optics for Rachel and Leah). Alan Roche also helped a few weeks after
the installation by figuring out how the wiring for the motor drive and
auto-cutoff switch was supposed to go. First Light for Leah was that evening
- we saw Mars, and (of all things) the International Space Station. Since
then, Leah has been available for public viewing on Friday/Saturday nights,
and not a moment too soon. Apparently, there was a newspaper article and
a TV news spot mentioning the Mars opposition which could be viewed for
free through the telescopes at Chabot, and we had record numbers of visitors
the next several weekends, with lines sometimes going out to the road
behind the facility(!)
And speaking of the Mars opposition, which occurred on Summer Solstice,
it's been great. At a mere 42.3 million miles from Earth at its closest,
you could see all kinds of great detail on its surface. It will still
remain a good see for the rest of June and July; it hasn't been this close
since 1989. If you haven't yet done so, go take a look through Leah, now's
a perfect opportunity to see her and Mars!
And finally, Summer Solstice also saw the first total solar eclipse of
the new millenium. Carter and Dr. Mike Reynolds were both fortunate enough
to go to Africa to observe and photograph it, and as soon as Carter gets
his 50 rolls of film developed, you can be sure we will benefit vicariously
of his adventures to the Dark Continent. Or, in this particular case,
the "Even-Darker-Than-Normal" Continent.
Here are two rather spectacular images of Mars taken by Conrad Jung on
the morning of June 8 (13 days before opposition) through Chabot's 20"
refractor, Rachel. The first image to the left is a single image, and
the second image on the right is an enhanced version obtained by combining
three images to enhance the color, contrast, and detail, which it did
Fight the Light!
This is something we need to act on now. Don't delay - call Ron, check our web page, or contact me (Editor); we've got contact names and pre-composed letters you can use to help stop this stupidity.
I am an amateur astronomer and...I understand that [light pollution]
is an issue you are already battling at the Chabot Science Center.
As the Chair for the City of Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory
Committee, I have been asked to review and remark on the Broadway Renovation
Project. You may be aware of the type of lighting that is being used in
many of Oakland's downtown areas. They evoke the image of old time light
fixtures while using new bulbs to generate the lumens. The light fixtures
I am speaking of have no top reflector to direct the light to the pedestrian/street
surfaces and control the resulting light pollution. Instead the light
is allowed to indiscriminately spray its light in all directions. I am
waging an uphill battle to get the city to specify a different fixture
or to have a downward reflector added to the specified fixture. I also
would propose that Oakland set a standard for all lighting in the city
that considers the negative effect of light pollution and that they begin
a retrofit program to add elements to all existing fixtures that will
decrease the effect of the existing light pollution of those fixtures.
I am aware of some of the problems that you have encountered in the new
Chabot Science Center and want to let you know that you have my support
in finding ways to overcome them.
Please, let us join forces in fighting the problem of light pollution
together. I would appreciate your support in curtailing the negative effects
on our night sky.
EAS Board Action Minutes for May, 2001
by Bruce Skelly acting pro tem for Club Secretary, Linda Lazzeretti (draft version - to be approved)
Motion: The EAS Board recommends CSSC to set a definite policy for the
library to the effect that the collection will cover all sciences that
are involved at CSSC, as originally prescribed by the CSSC Executive Director,
and not just astronomy. Seconded and passed, 10-0-0.