The Celestial Observer – May, 2011

From the President

John Boudreau will give a presentation on planetary imaging at the May NSAAC meeting. John has taken some amazing images of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Neptune. Recently, he has focused on imaging Mercury and has obtained some of the best images for an amateur astronomer. The presentation will start at 8 PM at Veasey in Pingree Hall. As a warm-up to the presentation, visit John’s website: Detailed, clear and beautiful images!!

Since the first year the Young Astronomers Program (YAP) started the number of applications grew from one four years ago to twelve this year. Plus, five winners from 2010 have brought their telescopes to star parties and observation sessions at Veasey. All were able to easily find planets and some Messier objects, which clearly indicated they had spent time learning how to use the scope and exploring the night sky. One winner showed up at a ‘miniMessier session at Veasey on a full moon, partly cloudy night. In spite of these barriers, the father and son team was able to find about ten new Messier objects before the clouds completely filled the night sky. These examples show that the program is working. Youth and young families are getting involved in astronomy, which is the goal of this program.

The next stage for YAP is to find outside funding to support the program. NSAAC has sufficient funds to seed this program and establish it in our community. However, the club cannot support the program in the long term without additional funding. We have added options for people to donate to YAP while renewing their membership for 2011. The solution for funding is to find companies or foundations that are willing to provide grant money to support this program. I will discuss this at future NSAAC business meetings, write articles on our website and email notices with the hope of establishing a YAP committee responsible for finding grant money.

If you have questions or comments email me: jefoy at

James Foy,


Download PDF Version

NSAAC Welcomes Our New Members:

John Lescher of Wakefield, MA

Richard A. Luecke of Salem, MA

Jim Bastable,

Membership Director

Marblehead Community Charter School star party, April 7th. Ted Blank gave the presentation.

Outdoors during the observation session. Both photos by Bill Drown


2011 Membership Dues

At the time of this printing there are 58 members in good standing and 50 members who have not yet paid their 2011 dues and are now past due. Members who are not in good standing by the date of the June board of directors meeting will have there status changed to Former. Paying your dues is now easier than ever via PayPal. Click the link below to be taken to the PayPal payment page for NSAAC.

To pay your dues via PayPal click here:

Membership dues for 2011 are $20.00

If you joined the club after October 31, 2010, your dues are not due until March of 2012. If you are unsure of when you joined and whether you owe, check with me before paying.

If none of your information or club options have changed, you do not need to include a renewal form with payment. If your information has changed, please download a renewal form from our website.

If you pay with cash at a meeting, attach a note to your check with your name on it, or, write your name on the bill. Cash payments with no name attached will not be accepted.

If you send your payment via US Mail, the address is NSAAC, c/o Veasey Memorial Park, 201 Washington St., Groveland, MA 01834-2007

Questions about your dues can be sent to treasurer at

Kevin Ackert, Treasurer

Minutes of the NSAAC Business Meeting, April 1, 2011

President Foy called the April Business Meeting of the NSAAC to order at 8:10 PM. There were 5 members present plus 7 Board members. There was not an official quorum; meeting for information only.


No report


Kevin Ackert gave the year end Treasurer’s report.


Kevin announced 52 paid members in good standing.

Early Meeting Announcements:

Open forum on the agenda after New Business

Committee Reports:

Young Astronomers Program:

Kevin received 11 applications for the YAP program. Board members will decide on winners. Need to decide how many scopes to award and how to use donated telescopes in the program. At the April board meeting, the board will read the essays and determine the winners. On the morning of May 7th the scopes will be assembled and awarded to the winners that afternoon. We may be limited to award 4 scopes and 4 binoculars.

Merrimack College:

Merrimack was not open the month of March due to the bad weather.

Salem State:

Only open two days in March with 4 and 8 visitors. Dennis could use some help at the observatory. Contact Dennis Gudzevich or Jim Foy it you want to help with this observatory

Star Party Committee:

The upcoming star parties are:

Thursday April 7th, Marblehead Charter School

Saturday, May 7th, IRWS Spring Program, Gary Meehan, Stellar Evolution

Tuesday, August 9th, Wenham Public Library

Telescope Clinic:

Jim Foy, Jim Bastable, and John Hobbs assisted Rick Dunn at a clinic for his 70mm Celestron telescope.

News, Correspondence and Upcoming Activities:

No information

Old Business:

We now have keys to the two new lights at VMP and we have special keys for the switch boxes. See Jim Foy if you would like a key for the lights. Jim Foy has taken photos of how to use the keys and will make up a how to package which will be put on the list server. A key for the lights is in the NSAAC mailbox. The last person leaving must turn the lights back on; especially the walkway lights.

Bryan Stone gave an update on the Rob Tetter visit. He indicated that the date that he w ill suggest for the visit is Saturday, June 4th, at Merrimack College. Ralph Pass will make arrangements for the room and put out some local publicity for the event. Finances for the visit are set with the ATMoBs pledging $100, the New Hampshire Club $50, $150 from NSAAC, and $25 donations by Bryn Stone and Jim Bastable.

Veasey has installed 4 new lights and Jim Foy will find out more info on these lights. There was no communication with Veasey and we need to find out how to turn them off.

Jim Foy brought up the need for ideas for business meeting entertainment. He suggested that we have workshops. An example would be a collimation workshop, a star hopping workshop, eyepiece night, and a software night. John Boudreau is working on a talk on his planet imaging and would be willing to give it at a business meeting.

New Business:


There was no entertainment for the evening.

Board meeting set for Monday, April 11th at Veasey at 7:30 PM.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

Respectively submitted, John Hobbs, Secretary NSAAC

Young Astronomer Program

The mailing deadline is past and we have received ten essays. It is possible there are more essays in the mailbox. The board of directors will choose the winners at the board meeting on April 11. First tier awards will be 6Dobsonian mounted reflectors, and second tier awards will be 10 X 50 binoculars.

It took seven years to build this program into what it is today. I believe we have established an excellent public outreach program that meets all the goals of our mission; promoting astronomy to the public, educating the public, engaging youths in astronomy. In addition, we are building future NSAAC memberships. We have made it through the ‘growing painsperiod of developing the program. We no longer have to worry about how best to award telescopes to deserving youths. We now have to worry about how to fund the program to keep it going.

One of the goals of this program was to spend down the club’s assets. A few years back we had way too much money in the bank for a non-profit organization of our size. Seven years of the YAP program, combined with our 20th anniversary party in 2009, have spent down our assets to the point where we now have to worry about funding YAP and keeping it going in future years. It would be disheartening to allow the program to flounder due to funding after all the work of building it into what it is today. Raising dues and asking for dedicated YAP donations are being discussed. If you have any ideas to raise money for future YAP programs please present them to the board at a meeting.

We need a few volunteers to help with the program on YAP Awards day, which is Saturday, May 7th at Veasey Memorial Park. Please contact me if you are able and willing to help out.

Kevin Ackert

Star Party News

This month continues the star party season with only one star party scheduled. Please come out and get the season off to a rousing start.

Jim Foy gave a presentation for the Tilton School Star party on March 15th. There were about 25 students and scopes were provided by Jim Foy, Ted Blank, Ray Ferland, and Jim Bastable. Thanks Jim for your unending support.

On March 25, the presentation to 20 people for the Essex Heritage National Trust was given by Jim Foy. Outdoor observing followed with scopes provided by Jim Foy, Dave LeClerc, Ray Ferland, and Ted Blank. There was also a visit by about 25 boy scouts who were overnight camping at Veasey.

Scopes were provided by club members Jim Foy, Ginny Mills, and Jim Bastable for the IRWS Winter Star Party on March 26th where Gary Meehan gave the presentation.

For a list of upcoming star parties, see the Minutes.

The Star Party Committee would like to thank all the members who have supported our star party effort and look forward to your continued participation in the coming months.

John Hobbs,

Star Party Coordinator

AstroTalk: The Bridal Veil Nebula

by Barrie Sawyer

(reprinted from August 2007)

The Veil Nebula in Cygnus is my favorite summertime deep sky object. I first observed it with an 8scope many years ago. It is most likely a supernova remnant of a star that exploded 30 to 40 thousand years ago, although remains of the progenitor have never been identified. The Veil consists of three sections spanning about 2.6 degrees. The easiest to locate runs through the 4th magnitude foreground star 51 Cygni. There is a well defined pointed wisp on one side of the star and a gradually fading fan on the other. Either an ultrablock or O-III filter greatly improves the nebula’s definition though most sources suggest the O-III filter. The western section is actually the brightest portion of the nebula but is more difficult to locate due to a lack of bright stars in the area. Use low power and a filter to find it. I have seen it in my 10X70 binoculars (without filters) and I have spotted it in 7X50 binoculars as a faint glow from Starport by putting an ultrablock in one of the eyecups. This section responds well to magnification showing well defined filamentary structure. Once you have found both the eastern and western sections, try to follow the arc of one to the other and back. Between the outer arcs is the central portion known as Pickering’s Wisp about 1 degree NE of 51 Cygni. This is the most difficult section to locate and observe, but well worth the effort. I have been able to detect some filaments in my 10reflector. Burnham’s notes the source of the nebula’s glow is still somewhat of a mystery and remarks that its relative brightness may be due to our seeing the expanding cloud edge-on. Roaming around the Veil is one of my favorite activities. I’ve seen it from IRWS with a 6reflector. Has anyone seen from VMP? Try it. You will you be treated to one of summer’s best objects and get a chance to hone your hunting skills

Clear skies,




Getting to Veasey Memorial Park

From Interstate 95 north, take the Route 133 west (54B) exit, and follow it into Georgetown Center. Go straight through the light, now on Route 97N. Go about 1.5 miles and take a left onto Salem Street (Tea Garden Restaurant at this intersection). Stay on Salem Street and turn left onto Washington Street. VMP is down a bit on the right. Directions to all of the NSAAC observing sites in our web site’s “Observing” section:

E-Mail Listserve

If you have email access and are an NSAAC member in good standing, you may want to subscribe to the email notification system that Lew Gramer established for the Club in 1996. This is a “members only” system that places you in contact with other members for late breaking news concerning spontaneous observing activities, outings, tech talk, etc. You can subscribe by emailing your request to the address below. Your message should look like this:

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Body: subscribe NSAAC Full-Name <email-address>

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Contact Information

For more information about the club and its activities, contact Kevin Hocker, Membership Director, email: membership at or Bryan Stone, President, e-mail president at

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The Celestial Observer is edited by Leor Zolman.

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