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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 admirably.
My thanks to all contributors for this month's newsletter! And previous month's newsletters, as well. And, what the heck: for all those future newsletters, yet to be. Thank you! And keep those pictures and articles coming. I, and everyone else, really appreciate them.

 

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.

Best regards,
Ron Bishop - Architect
Chair, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
(510) 652-4667 ˜


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.
Motion: The minutes from last month to be accepted with minor corrections (e.g.: the board meeting was held on the 7th and not the 14th). Seconded and passed, 10-0-0.
Motion: At 9:30 Motion to adjourn. Seconded and passed, 7-3-0.


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