2011 Convention a great night

Photo: Sunset over the still lake at park. Photo by James Guilford.
The sun sets on a beautiful day, ushering in a clear night sky full of stars. Photo by James Guilford.

It was a great night at Letha House Park! CAA members and invited astronomy club members from the area gathered under gloriously clear skies for an evening of socializing and a night of excellent observing.

Many thanks to all those who attended this annual event, and to those who brought the good food for the pot luck and helped with its preparation!  Special thanks in this regard to Marianne Wadsworth, who helped VP Mike Williams with her grilling skills.

Board member Tim Campbell brought in all the great-tasting wieners, brats, and sausages for the event at an excellent price.  Our thanks to Bob Guttwein, president of Five Star Brand Meats in Cleveland, who offered the high-quality meat at a steep discount through Tim.

Photo: Lecturer with projected image of Saturn's moon Titan. Photo by James Guilford.
Featured speaker Jay Reynolds talks about the NASA Cassini mission, shown here with a projected image of Saturn's moon Titan. The new facilities at Letha House Park were much appreciated.Photo by James Guilford.

We had visitors from the Black River, Chagrin Valley, and Mahoning Valley clubs.  It was nice to host them!

Many thanks to our secretary, Steve Spears, who got a good supply of door prizes in spite of tight economic conditions. Caffeine kudos to Ray and Lynn Paul, who brought a large coffee pot and fixings for coffee lovers.

Special thanks to Gail Korylak, who helped with the clean-up.  Gail cleaned all the tables, moved all the tables and chairs, and then vacuumed the floor.  Earlier during the dinner, she also set up and arranged the food table.  She did a great job.

Our thanks also, of course, to Jay Reynolds, who gave an interesting talk about Saturn and the Cassini Mission.

Photo: Astronomers setting up telescopes in early twilight. Photo by James Guilford
2011 Convention attendees set up their telescopes under the clear skies of early twilight. Photo by James Guilford.

The recent improvements to the park gave telescope owners the opportunity to park on solid pavement and set up their instruments on earth. Adding to the pleasure was the fact that skies over the park were the best they have been in many a year for the CAA’s event. It was a great night, indeed!

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A summery triangle

Image: Map depicting summer's triangle of stars.
The Summer Triangle - by James Guilford using Stellarium and Adobe Photoshop

by William Murmann

During the summer months, stargazers can see the famous Summer Triangle almost directly overhead. The triangle is a giant asterism created by drawing imaginary lines between three bright stars — Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, Vega in the constellation Lyra, and Altair in the constellation Aquila.

Deneb
Deneb is a blue-white super-giant that is almost 200 times larger than the Sun and 60,000 times brighter. At 1,500 light years distant, it is one of the most luminous stars known and is the farthest first-magnitude star from Earth. It has a solar wind that is 100,000 times faster than the solar wind from the Sun.

Vega
Vega is a blue-tinged white star that is about 25 light years away. It is twice the mass of the Sun and about 37 times brighter. At 16,000-degrees F, its surface temperature is almost twice as hot as the surface of the Sun. With the exception of the Sun, Vega is the first star to have been photographed. In 14,000 years, it will replace Polaris as our north star.

Altair
Altair, at a distance of 16.9 light years is about 1.5 times larger than the Sun, and is one of the closest stars visible to the naked eye. Altair spins on its axis at about 640,000 mph and completes a full revolution every 6.5 hours. The Sun in comparison takes about 25 days to complete one revolution, as measured at its equator. Altair is spinning so fast that its north and south poles are pushed in, giving the star an oblate appearance.

The Summer Triangle was first described as a triangle by Austrian astronomer J.J. Littrow in his atlas in 1866. German astronomer Johann Bode connected the stars in a map in 1816, but did not label the asterism.