Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Meeting: Tuesday, May 1

Hey y'all, it's the last meeting of the spring semester and okay, I lied, there was not pizza and drinks. There was cookies and chips and drinks instead.

New equipment is on the way, including the Bluestar telescope adapter so we can control one of our telescopes wirelessly, a pair of 20x80 binoculars, and tripod and parallelogram mount for these binoculars. The book "99 Sights for Binocular Users" is already here, in Dr Fleisch's office. This has used up our student senate budget for the spring semester.

There was a new planet discovered which is Earthlike, the article we looked at is here.

There are over 220 planets that have been found orbiting other stars now. Most are large, jupiter-sized, very close to their star, and very hot, and Gleise 581c is the one which looks most like there could actually be water on it.

Seti@home is a neat use of your computer's offtime, so if you're interesting in learning more about it visit their website or talk to Dr Fleisch. Or both.

Speaking of radio telescopes, Witt's Society of Physics Students has restored the radio telescopes on the science building roof, which we took a brief field trip to see. There are two, they are very cool, and should definitely last longer than the last ones because they are weather-proofed and having nice covers made for them. If you have a chance take a look at them. Radio telescopes don't give pictures, like the observatory telescope; instead they pick up radio waves (hence the name), and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory has a page on how they work, although ours are not as large as the ones in the picture, nor do they have one of the dishes on them.

We also briefly discussed the WOW signal, a radio pickup from the 70s.

Summer observing sessions are on the Member Information page of the website. On the June 22 observing session, Keith, a club member who is also a music major, will be giving a talk about the music of the spheres before the observing session, something to keep in mind if you're in Springfield over the summer.

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