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Casual Observations
July 1, 2002


August 1, 2002
July 1, 2002

Here's the scoop...

Special Message

The election is over and I did not get elected president. Thanks to the 37 people who voted for me. Only 81 votes were cast out of a possible 500+. I guess that is the nature of our society. After the heated debate at the general meeting, I think Jerry Springer might make a better candidate. David Young has lots of experience and will be a capable referee. I wished him luck. That was a close call.

Another close call occurred June 14 when an asteroid came within 75,000 miles of the earth, well within the distance to the moon. 2002 MN is about the size of a soccer field. It will be back in 2068. Apparently this sort of near miss happens about 700 times a year, but only six have ever been detected. This one was spotted three days after it went by us. Can you pronounce Tunguska?

Back on Earth, a financial crisis at Tasco could make Celestron telescopes collectors items if the old owners can't buy back the company. Meade is suing them too for violating their GOTO patent. Meade's 2001 sales were down by about $30 million, mostly due to poor sales of LX200's. I was saddened to hear that C&J Photo is going out of business. I can recall going there decades ago for photographic supplies and more recently, an LX200. Lots of organizations are having a hard time making ends meet as people cut back on dues and donations.

David Nesvorný and Dan Durda determined that a group of 39 different asteroids, called the Karin family, were actually fragments from a big collision that happened about 6 million years ago. Looking at the orbits and orientations they have extrapolated back in time to the little bang. Maybe someone will do a similar analysis of the various astronomy organizations that are in the KC area now. Hindsight is always 20/20.



Larry Robinson

Image courtesy of Sky & Telescope



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