By Carter Roberts
Barcroft - Begins Aug 16:
The annual low-oxygen star party at the Barcroft Lab in mid-August is
fully booked with a waiting list.
Bort Meadows - Aug 24:
The annual EAS star party for the Crab Cove unit of the Eastbay Regional
Park District will be held at Bort Meadows on Friday evening August 24.
We are starting at 7:30 p.m. and sunset is at 7:50 p.m. Please bring your
telescope and try to get there early. There will be a first quarter (44%)
Moon that should be visible from that site until about 10:30 p.m. To reach
Bort Meadows from Oakland, go up Redwood Road (like starting up to CSSC)
to the crest then continue straight ahead toward Castro Valley. After
passing Pinehurst it is about a mile to the sign, turnout, and road to
the right. Go through the gate then everyone bringing a telescope should
keep to the right at the fork. (Everyone else is directed to the left.)
Davis Star Show - Aug 24 & 25:
A "Festival of Science and Astronomy" in Davis, California with
speakers, workshops, trade show, solar viewing, and a star party on Saturday
night. Details available at
Chinatown StreetFest - Aug 25 & 26:
The Oakland Chinatown StreetFest will be held on Saturday and Sunday,
August 25th and 26th. We will be helping the Chabot Space & Science
Center by showing telescopic views of the Sun and could use more volunteers.
Bringing astronomy to the public is a fun and rewarding activity, but
beware: it's been known to be highly addictive. Contact Carter Roberts
at email@example.com or check the EAS web site for details www.eastbayastro.org.
Ticket sales cover only a portion of what it costs to operate the Chabot
Space & Science Center. We frequently have hundreds of people viewing
on a typical Friday or Saturday evening for which there is no charge.
I urge EAS members to consider joining me in donating the upcoming tax
rebate to CSSC to help cover operations. Be sure to mention that you are
an EAS member.
The EAS member year runs from Nov 1 to Oct 30. The schedule was set to
coincide with the start of Sky & Telescope 60 years ago this November.
Those who subscribe to either Sky & Telescope or Astronomy have probably
already received a renewal notice from the magazine even though subscriptions
are paid through the December issue. You don't need to worry about renewing
at Old Chabot Observatory
By Lewis Carroll Epstein
I remember Old Chabot Observatory in the final days of World War II and
in the early post war years. Dr. Lindsley was the Observatory director.
And among the Eastbay Astronomical Society's serious observers, water
and canals on Mars was the most debated topic. Objective lens masks were
made to alter the diffraction pattern of the 20 inch refractor so as to
better enable the detection of the canals. And wire models of Mars were
hung from the Campanili at the University of California, Berkeley, and
from Glacier Point in Yosemite, to test what could and could not be seen
by various observers and telescopes.
But as the post war years rolled on, interest in canals and in the planets
waned. Serious astronomers were concerned with astrophysics which meant
the stars and galaxies. I remember the day Otto Struve, the Berkeley Astronomy
Chairman, called John Westfall, a Berkeley astronomy student, into his
office and told him to forget his interest in the moon and planets if
he wanted to be an astronomer.
Then 1957 brought Sputnik. NASA tax dollars rekindled astronomers "professional"
interest in the moon and planets. Close up observations of the planets
pored in, and they seemingly put the final nail into the coffin of the
canals on Mars.
Alas, came a Fall day in the year 2000 when the Eastbay Astronomical
Society held its last meeting at the Old Chabot Observatory - in the shadow
of the old 20 inch refractor dome. That last evening, the topic of the
scientific talk was the latest photos from a spacecraft orbiting Mars.
And, there on the screen for all to see, were dozens of washout water
gully canals on Mars canyon walls.
Sorry, no planet-wide irrigation system, but nevertheless, I heard the
ghosts in the now empty 20 inch refractor dome laugh as the slides were