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Casual Observations
August 1, 2002


August 1, 2002
July 1, 2002

Here's the scoup:

Special message
The issue of whether Vic Winter and fellow past presidents get the cash has been settled by a vote of those members who were not disgusted enough to boycott the recent general meeting. Since the finely tuned bylaws prevent mail-in ballots, only the 92 members attending the meeting were allowed to vote. $5,600 cash will be handed over in addition to the approximately $6,000 in equipment the board has already given them. It was a close call for the Star Gardens group and their associates who run the Astronomical Society and soon the Astronomical League.

Another close call occurred almost simultaneously to all of this when asteroid 2002 NT7 was discovered by LINEAR and initially thought to be on a collision course with Earth on February 1, 2019. This prediction stood up for over two weeks until finally enough observations were gathered to rule out the 2019 collision solution. There are still future possibilities of impact, but there will be more data gathered as the asteroid passes by us in August. It will be observers in the southern hemisphere who make those observations, since it is now moving rapidly south.

Back on Earth the stock market rallied with the news that life on Earth would not be ended. Economists are predicting a return of the good old days in the economy. This might mean more spending on star parties and donations for the club. Now it will just take some coaxing to get some of the recently turned off members to show up for duty nights and volunteer to raise more money for a sorely depleted treasury with another deficit budget for 2002. Will it mean a return to the good old days for the society?

Louisburg Ford is moving ahead towards a grand opening in the fall less than a mile due south of Powell Observatory. It is a race to see which will be first, the grand opening with the new sky blaster lights or the renewal of the lease on the observatory. Does Star Gardens need a 30" Newtonian telescope?

For those wanting to actually see a near earth asteroid fly by, 2002 NY40 is sure to please. On Saturday night, August 17 it will fly by at an angular speed of 4 arc minutes per minute. It will be easy to see with binoculars or telescope at magnitude 9.5. It will be necessary to get an up to the minute finder chart during the day of August 17 to get an accurate track. By the next day it will be magnitude 21.9 and impossible to see. Astronomy and its many ventures are fleeting. Things can change in a heartbeat.



Current Ephemerides for 2002 NY40

Date Time UT R.A. Dec.

2002 08 18 02 18 53 22.9 +30 37 07

2002 08 18 03 18 31 19.1 +33 44 04

2002 08 18 04 18 04 22.2 +36 56 47

2002 08 18 05 17 31 44.7 +40 02 08

2002 08 18 06 16 53 12.7 +42 40 51

2002 08 18 07 16 09 44.3 +44 31 09

2002 08 18 08 15 23 51.1 +45 16 31

2002 08 18 09 14 39 02.5 +44 53 49


Larry Robinson

Be sure to let me know what you hear and I'll add it to this page!