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Editor's News 'n Views

Yet another busy month (I had no idea astronomy was such an active science/hobby!) We had Members' Nights up at Chabot on July 17-19, each night projected to have something like 2,000 people up there taking in free planetarium shows, movies, exhibits, and of course, the observatories. I hear they missed their mark by a thousand, so out of three nights, there were only 5,000 participants. Tsk, tsk! We'll have to do better next time. Still, despite the poor showing, I've never seen so many people up there before. In fact, no one has since it opened. Unfortunately, Mum Nature totally fogged us out on two of the three days we were up there, but we did get one decent night of viewing, just barely getting everyone in before that good old summertime blanket rolled in and shut us down. Despite all that non-existent viewing going on, hundreds of people still came out to look at the telescopes and talk to the volunteers. Being one of them, myself, I can report unequivocally that we had fun no matter what was happening. If you've ever thought about becoming a volunteer for one of these little soireés, let me tell you: it's a lot of fun. It rekindles your own enthusiasm for the subject, helps others develop their own interest and enthusiasm for the subject, and besides, it makes you look good to the opposite sex. Of course, they have to be astro-geeks, too. (I told you when I took this job I had a quirky sense of humor!)

To sort of reiterate what's on the front page, we've got a new format for this month's meeting, and it takes place in the Tien MegaDome Theatre, of all places. If it works out well and everyone likes it, we'll try to do it this way from now on. It would certainly add a much nicer and more professional ambiance for our lecture speakers to work in.

Then there's the Perseid meteor shower on Aug 12 - 15, with best rates peaking at 60 per hour expected after midnight of the 12th. I haven't heard if anything is being organized to view them, but if I hear anything, I'll put a notice on our website.

Also this month, seven volunteers from EAS will go to San Francisco on August 7th and from 7:30pm - 10pm we'll help KQED rake in the dough for pledge night, manning the phones and taking down addresses and credit card numbers. That evening they will be airing The Best of Cosmos, so if you get a chance, give that channel surfing finger a rest, watch the show, look for us, and heck - give us a call.

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Yet another thing: The time has come to renew your membership to this fine club, the Eastbay Astronomical Society (established in 1924 - 77 years ago!). Your yearly dues are, well, due come the end of August, so do make a pause for the cause and let us know you still like us. Your money goes towards the newsletter, speakers' fees, special events, support for the Astronomical Association of Northern California (AANC), support for Chabot, and administrative expenses. But taken as a whole, what your hard earned cash really buys is the promotion of the art and science of astronomy to the public; a worthy cause, that reminds people how tiny and insignificant and rare and beautiful we and our planet are, so that we might be a little more appreciative of what we have, and perhaps take a little better care of our selves and our home. So cough it up!

Here are some nifty images from different sources of different local happenings for this last month. Enjoy, enjoy!

Volunteer extraordinaire Debbie Dyke using her own hand-made telescope to show CSSC members sunspots.

Mark Gingrich shows visitors the fog with Conrad's 6" Russian Maksutov.





Conrad got this series of Venus being occulted by the mid-morning moon by using his digital camera held against Leah's eyepiece.

Carter also captures Venus' occultation with just a telephoto lens on his digital camera.