Home      Calendar      About OCA      E Zine      Resources      Image Gallery      Members
    www.ocastronomers.org/ e-zine/ presidents_message /
June 2017 President's Message

President’s Message
By Barbara Toy

Welcome to Pauline Acalin as Our New Editor for the Sirius Astronomer!

I’m happy to report that Pauline Acalin has volunteered to become the next editor for the Sirius Astronomer, and, as I write this, is working with Steve Condrey to make the transition go smoothly.

Among her other activities, Pauline writes on space and astronomy related topics, and you can find a number of her articles at http://now.space/posts/author/pauline-acalin/. She also has a lot of experience in page layout and other areas that would be helpful for putting the newsletter together and getting it out to the printer each month – all of which we hope will make the job easier for her. It is going to be interesting to see how the Sirius Astronomer develops with her as the editor, and I hope we’ll be seeing some of her articles in it, as well!

One constant challenge all of our editors have had is getting enough interesting content for each issue, and I expect that Pauline will have that challenge as well. We all would like to know about the astronomical activities and interests of our fellow club members, so do think about writing an article about something astronomical you are doing or that interests you for the Sirius Astronomer. That could include astronomy-related travels, viewing, imaging or research projects you are working on, pointers to help others, equipment reviews, experiences at RTMC, other regional star parties or astronomical events you may have gone to or participated in – amateur astronomy covers a wide range of interests, and I know a lot of you are involved in a lot of different types of astronomical activities, so please share them with us!

Many thanks to Steve Condrey for all of the hard work he’s put into the newsletter over the years he’s been our editor, and best wishes to him and his family in this new phase in their lives! And a warm welcome and many thanks to Pauline for volunteering to take on that position as our new editor!

Appreciating Our Southern California Latitude:

Alan and I spent the first two weeks of May in Northern Ireland, during a period when all the locals told us the weather was unusually clear, warm and dry. The last couple days we were there were overcast and rainy, much more typical of weather year round in those parts. Even though it was clear through most of our trip, we realized that, even if we’d been able to bring anything to view with, doing any viewing would have been difficult, as it didn’t get dark until after 11:00 p.m. – and that was over a month before the summer solstice. I was never awake early enough to see when morning twilight began there, but any period of true dark must have been quite short, and would be even shorter for most of the summer.

If you look at a map, you can see that Northern Ireland is around the same latitude as the southern tip of Alaska and central Canada – a long way north of Southern California. Actually, the British Isles, along with France and Germany and the countries alongside or north of them, are all quite a bit north of us, with France at about the level of the state of Washington. For countries where summer provides better weather for viewing (or imaging), the short nights make that more of a challenge, and the fact that they get much longer nights during the winter, when the weather is more severe, doesn’t seem to me to fully make up for it.

Our experience left me with even more respect for the challenges faced by European contributors to our body of astronomical knowledge (William and Caroline Herschel in England, Tycho Brahe in Denmark and Charles Messier in France are a few that come to mind). I always thought weather had to be a problem for them, but hadn’t really appreciated how much the lengthening days of summer would cut into the time they had for their work. It’s good to know that, despite the challenges of latitude and weather, both professional and amateur astronomy remain strong in Europe.

During our own summers, we grumble about our regular June Gloom (which hopefully won’t extend beyond June this year) and the thunderstorms that tend to show up in August and September, but generally our weather is pretty good and, most years, we can rely on having a lot of nights of clear skies, a benefit of living in a semi-arid environment. We may complain about how long it takes to get dark enough to see/image deep sky objects, particularly in June and July, but, thanks to our latitude, we do get several hours of darkness, even around the summer solstice. It’s not something most of us think about much, but is certainly a benefit of being an amateur astronomer in Southern California.

Weather permitting (we are, after all, coming out of an unusually wet year), I hope all of you will have many enjoyable nights under the stars this summer, taking full advantage of our latitude!

RTMC:

Last month I wrote a bit about RTMC but forgot to ask for comments from those of you who went on your assessment of it. The conference is attempting to evolve to meet the changing needs and interests of the amateur astronomy community, and I’d be interested in your comments on how you think they’re doing and what you think could be done to improve the experience for you. Please send any comments you have to me at btoy@cox.net.

In Closing…

Generally when I’ve done these columns in the past, I’ve had the impression that I’d write them, they’d go into the Sirius Astronomer as mostly club-related filler, and that would pretty much be the end of it – they’d go into a some kind of literary black hole. After returning from my long vacation from writing for the newsletter, I’ve been pleased and touched by comments from several people that they find the columns useful for keeping them informed on various things going on in the club and are actually glad to have them back. For those who read these columns and those who have sent me comments – thank you! And, if there’s any topic that any of you think I should address in one of these Messages, please let me know, preferably by email to btoy@cox.net.

© Barbara Toy, May 2017

Prior Presidents Messages
 July 2017 President's Message
 June 2017 President's Message
 May 2017 President's Message
 April 2017 President's Message
 March 2017 President's Message
 2012 OCA Board Election Results
 April 2010 President's Message
 February 2010 President's Message
 January 2010 President's Message
 November 2009 President's Message
 October 2009 President's Message
 September 2009 President's Message
 August 2009 President's Message
 July 2009 President's Message
 June 2009 President's Message
 March 2009 President's Message
 May 2008 President's Message
 June 2008 President's Message
 July 2008 President's Message
 August 2008 President's Message
 September 2008 President's Message
 October 2008 President's Message
 November 2008 President's Message
 December 2008 President's Message
 January 2009 President's Message
 February 2009 President's Message
 April 2008 President's Message
 March 2008 President's Message
 February 2008 President's Message
 January 2008 President's Message
 December 2007 President's Message
 November 2007 President's Message
 October 2007 President's Message
 September 2007 President's Message
 August 2007 President's Message
 July 2007 President's Message
 June 2007 President's Message
 May 2007 President's Message
 April 2007 President's Message
 March 2007 President's Message
 January 2007 President's Message
 December 2006 President's Message
 November 2006 President's Message
 October 2006 President's Message
 September 2006 President's Message
 August 2006 President's Message
 July 2006 President's Message
 June 2006 President's Message
 May 2006 President's Message
 April 2006 President's Message
 March 2006 President's Message
 Around OCA for February, 2006
 February 2005 President's Message
 January 2005 President's Message
 December 2004 President's Message
 November 2004 President's Message
 October 2004 President's Message
 August 2004 President's Message
 July 2004 President's Message
 June 2004 President's Message
 May 2004 President's Message
 April 2004 Presidents Message
 March 2004 President's Message
 February 2004 President's Message
 January 2004 President's Message
 November 2003 President's Message
 October 2003 President's Message
2003
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
Feb  
Jan  
2002
Dec  
Nov
Oct
Sep  
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
Feb  
Jan  
2001
Dec  
Nov  
Oct
Sep  
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
Feb  
Jan  
2000
Dec  
Nov  
Oct
Sep  
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
none
Feb  
Jan  
1999
Dec  
Nov  
Oct

Copyright © 2001 - 2017 Orange County Astronomers
Bringing the universe into focus since 1967
About Us | Site Map | Contacts
Calendar | Gallery | General Meetings

amazon Amazon | OCAstroShop OCAstroShop | youtube YouTube | google+ Google+
facebook Facebook | twitter Twitter | instagram Instagram