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AAAA News and Activities

North Texas Skywatch Star Party
Cleburn State Park

September 26, 1998

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AAAA Vice-President Ed Flaspoehler stands by his 12-inch f/5 Big Foot Newtonian telescope, awaiting his turn as speaker at the North Texas Skywatch Star Party on September 26. Texas amateur Preston Starr can be seen in the background giving his talk on astrophotography. AAAA promotional material is on the table ready for distribution.

Local star parties and public observing sessions are a good way to get the word out about the AAAA. Become the Astronomy Expert in your local area. Please let us know if you need any materials or help on a presentation.

AAAA Attends North Texas Skywatch

The 2nd Annual North Texas Sky Watch was held on September 26, 1998, at Cleburn State Park, south of Ft. Worth, TX. Over 300 amateur astronomers and the general public attended this event, which is organized each year by Michael Hibbs of Ft. Worth. Michael is an astronomy instructor at Tarrant County Junior College.

The North Texas Skywatch's Amateur Astronomer's Star Party is designed for the amateur astronomers in the DFW area to get together and share ideas and experiences, learn new techniques, swap equipment, test out new equipment, and observe in a dark sky location, all within an easy drive from the Metroplex. The Star Party is also for those novices who are curious and want to learn more about astronomy, or want to have a chance to see the night time skies in a dark location through a wide variety of telescopes.

Starting at 4:00 PM, there was an open swap meet for amateur astronomers to sell and buy astronomical related goods, a new telescopes and accessories display, information on local college and university astronomical programs, and information on local astronomy and science clubs.

Local astrophotographer Preston Starr presented an astrophotography seminar entitled Backyard Tripod to Telescope and CCD: Affordable Applications for the Amateur Astronomer

At 7:30, AAAA Vice-President Ed Flaspoehler presented a 30 minute slide show, Introduction to Late Summer Deep Sky Objects. The talk discussed representative deep sky objects visible that night, including a globular cluster, M13 in Hercules, a planetary nebular, M57 in Lyra, open clusters M6 and M7 in Scorpius, emission nebulas M8 and M20 in agittarius, and a galaxy, M31 in Andromeda. The beautiful double star gamma Andromedae was also included. Edís talk covered not only pictures of the deep sky objects, but also showed how to find the objects on star charts handed out to audience members before the show. Ed also make a brief mention of the mythological background of each constellation.

To end the scheduled activities, organizer Michael Hibbs awarded a valuable door prize: Starry Night Deluxe Astronomy Software for Windows and Mac, donated by Sienna (value of $89.95). To close out the evening, Mike then made a presentation called Intro to Astronomy for the Novice and Curious.

Starting at 9:00 pm, the attendees were treated to open telescopic observations and given help with constellation identification. Due to the clear skies, pleasant temperatures, and steady seeing, the event lasted well past midnight.

Michael Hibbs - Organizer of North Texads SkywatchFor more information on future North Texas Skywatch events, contact: Michael Hibbs 817-238-9883 or e-mail Mikehibbs@aol.com

North Texas Skywatch is not an astronomy club. It is a homepage dedicated to astronomy education and informing the North Texas area of regional astronomical events. For more information, please refer to the North Texas Skywatch homepage: http://members.aol.com/Mikehibbs/Skywatch/skywatch.html.

The next North Texas Skywatch Star Show for 1998 will be at Fossil Rim Ranch, west of Ft. Worth, on November 21, 1998.



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