EAS LogoThe Refractor


Bulletin of the Eastbay Astronomical Society
Founded in 1924 at Chabot Observatory, Oakland, California
Volume 76, Number 12, August 2000

The photo of the domes for Leah (left) and Rachel signals the completion of a seemingly unending project to bring 21st-Century science to the lives of the children—and adults, too—of the Eastbay and Northern California. The new Zeiss projector in the Ask Jeeves Planetarium is the equal of any in the entire world. The Tien MegaDome Theater will present films that will knock your socks off, so please bring along an extra pair! And the murals and the exhibit galleries will delight you.
The Eastbay Astronomical Society congratulates Chabot Space & Science Center on the fulfillment of this worthy goal! Please also see Mike Reynolds’ column.

Front Page.
Constellation of the Month. Aquila

Roberts Rules. President Carter Roberts’ message.

Red, White and Blue Star Party Dave Rodrigues' Shangri La
Reynolds Wrap. News from Chabot Space & Science Center
Other Stuff.

How Amateurs Can Do Serious Planetary Astronomy

Dr. John Westfall
Former Director, ALPO

Saturday, 12 August, 2000
General Meeting 7:31 p.m.
Lecture 8:20 p.m.
Chabot Observatory, 4917 Mountain Boulevard, Oakland, California

Amateur astronomers can make serious contributions to Planetary Astronomy. No one is better able to tell us how than our own John Westfall, the former president of and now editor for the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers.

John will outline several useful programs at different levels of sophistication in which amateurs can participate. Beginners, for example, with minimal equipment can help in the timing of Jupiter’s satellite phenomena such as transits and eclipses. They can also participate in ALPO’s meteor program.

Another event that John will discuss is the coming “apparition” of Mars, which starts after its conjunction with the Sun this fall and “culminates” with opposition in June 2001. Amateurs can draw, photograph, video and CCD image Mars to provide professional astronomers with useful information, especially about transient events such as dust storms.

Similar programs exist for Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. One ALPO section specializes in the remote planets and does photometry of them. There is also a comet section and even a history of solar system studies section!

One of John’s special loves is the Moon and he will describe the lunar meteor search program. Finally, John will point out the tremendous benefits of being an ALPO member, participating in their training program being one of those benefits.

John Westfall has been a member of the EAS since he was seven years old in 1946. Semiretired from San Francisco State as Professor of Geography, his professional interests are planetary science, remote sensing, and historical geography. He received his BS from Berkeley in 1960 and his PhD from George Washington University in 1969.

He has held various positions in ALPO. He started as their Lunar Recorder in the 60s. His world famous “Luna Incognita” program used amateur observations of the Moon to map and name poorly known areas of the Moon’s South Polar Area, a program which has returned to prominence with the discovery of water in that area. He took over the Jupiter satellite eclipse program in 1980 and was director of ALPO from 1985 to 1995.

John is always an entertaining and informative speaker, particularly known for his mordant and dry humor, so join us for what should be a fun evening!

5:27 pm, Saturday, 12 August 2000
5498 College Avenue, Oakland (510) 420-8600
Please call Betty Neall at 510/533-2394 by Friday, 11 August to confirm your place. Note the time has been advanced to allow everyone to be able to get to the meeting promptly at 7:31 pm.

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