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AAAA News and Activities

4th Annual Lake Whitney 
Spring Star Party

March 29, 2003

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McDonald Observatory on Mt. Locke
McDonald Observatory Visitor Center

by Ed Flaspoehler, AAAA President

I was honored once again to be invited as guest lecturer for the Lake Whitney Spring 2003 Star Party event organized by Thomas Williamson. Thomas is  from North Richland Hills, TX, a suburb of Fort Worth. He has been doing regular public star parties at the state park through his Lake Whitney Astronomical Association for several of years. LWAA now has a lot of support from the park staff. Thomas' support both to the Lake Whitney Star Parties and his valuing of my presentations has made my trips to Lake Whitney very rewarding.

There were about 50 people present for my lecture, which was a 45 minute slide show Observing Spring Deep Sky Objects. This presentation highlights five major deep sky objects easily viewable by beginners during the late winter and early spring seasons. I was able to use my own photographs of the many beautiful nebulae, clusters and other objects in these constellations. About half of the audience was kids, and I am pleased to say that one mother came up to me afterwards and complimented me, saying that I was able to keep her son's attention for the entire time. It is gratifying to be able to share a passion for astronomy with a new generation.


Solar Viewing with Harry Bearman, FWAS

Ray Benge and his Telescope Farm

Girl Scout Group Photo

Ed Flaspoehler Wins a Door Prize

Trista Opperman Grinds a Mirror.

All images provided by Thomas Williamson


May 10, 2003

International Astronomy Day is dedicated to taking astronomy to the people. It is celebrated on the Saturday near the first quarter moon between mid-April and mid-May. Check out the night sky tonight!

Entry forms for the Sky & Telescope Astronomy Day award are available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Gary Tomlinson at the address below. Deadline for entries is June 13.

New Handbook

To receive your copy of the new Astronomy Day Handbook, 4th edition, revised and published by Sky and Telescope magazine, send a check made out to the Astronomical League for $3.00, $4.00 outside North America, to our new address:

Gary Tomlinson, 
Astronomy Day Headquarters, 
Public Museum of Grand Rapids, 
272 Pearl NW, 
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 USA
(616) 456-3532, 
(616) 456-3873 FAX 
gtomlins@triton.net
www.astroleague.org/
astroday.html

Featured Presentations

  • Galaxies and How to Observe Them
    by Raymond Benge, Associate Physics and Astronomy Professor, Tarrant County Community College
  • High School Remote Robotic Telescope Program for Students
    by Michael Gibbs, Tarleton State University and Texas A&M
  • Observing the Night Sky
    by AAAA President Ed Flaspoehler
  • Outdoor Talks by
    • Dr. Paul Derrick - Waco Tribune-Herald Columnist
    • Chris Miller - Grand Prairie ISD Science Teacher
    • Thomas Williamson - LWAA President
    • Mike Green - Founder of Central Texas Astronomical Society
    • Burl Hale - Professional Optician
    • Patricia Haley - Sign-in and Door Prize Drawing
    • Harry Bearman - FWAS President
  • Awards: Amateur Telescope Making
  • Observing Challenge
  • Door Prizes
  • TELESCOPE VIEWING: Explore the Universe

Touring the Sky

The skies were dark and clear this year, as a front had just moved through the area, sweeping out the clouds and haze from earlier in the day. Orion stood proudly overhead after the indoor presentations ended about 10:00  p.m., perfectly placed to help observers get acquainted with the sky. Dr. Paul Derrick gave his tour of the sky with his green-laser star pointer, and used the 8" scope that was worked on at the August star party last Summer to show  a wide range of deep-sky and other objects to the nearly 100 attendees. His presentation was especially popular with the troop of Girl Scouts camping in the park.

The Lake Whitney National Astronomy Day Star Party was a wonderful event, I met a lot of nice people, and we got the AAAA out in front of the public a bit more. I am invited back again in August. I hope to see you there!

The Stars at Night 
Are Big and Bright
Deep in the Heart of Texas!

The Lake Whitney Astronomy Spring 2003 Star Party is free and open to the public except for park fees of $2.00 per person. The organized presentations and speaker lectures are held at the Recreation Hall in the State Park. The Recreation Hall has recently been air conditioned. 

T-Shirts for the Lake Whitney Star Party were available. The shirts are black with a single face-on galaxy in silver printed with the slogan, " I Explored The Universe, Lake Whitney Summer Star Party." At the lower corner of the galaxy in small letters will be the phrase, "All men find that for which they seek- Arab proverb." 

Lake Whitney is a Texas State Park located near Hillsboro, TX, on State Highway 22, west of I-35.

Contact event organizer Thomas Williamson at 817-656-0901, or via e-mail at distglow@hotmail.com

Contact Lake Whitney State Park at lwsp@digitex.net

The park information web site is http://www.digitex.net/lakewhitneystatepark



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