Canopus, Opportunities and the July General Meeting

At the July 28 NEKAAL meeting I’ll talk about Canopus, the asteroid/variable star astrometry/photometry analysis software. Remember, these are meetings open to the public. NEKAAL members can find out more about Canopus and this meeting in our Yahoo groups files section. Visit the Canopus folder. A look at the most recent Minor Planet Bulletin will provide some insight into the purposes of this research. This is available at
Note the first light curve in that issue, that of 878 Mildred. That curve is indicative of a binary asteroid, or perhaps one with a dumbbell or bowling pin shape.
Hope to see you all on the 28th.
– Graham

SAS Notes

One view of the Northwoods
The Northwoods Duck Pond

Eric Dose and I attended the 2011 Society of Astronomical Sciences conference at the Northwoods Resort in Big Bear, CA May 24 through May 26. On the 24th we had workshops on Observatory Automation and on Eclipsing Binary Star analysis. The two days of paper presentations covered a myriad of astronomical topics, mostly geared toward the amateur.

Eric flew, but Jane and I drove, a little over 3000 miles round trip, with 4 nights on the road. Jane is always in a hurry to get home after a trip, so that was 3 nights to get there, then a lot of driving to get home with only one motel night to get home.

I Plan on summarizing some of the material in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps Eric will join in and also provide some comments.

Though not actually part of the conference, there were two significant developments. We have been bemoaning the lack of ASCOM compatibility with the Tombaugh.  ASCOM is a generalized interface to many devices and software packages related to astronomy.  Jerry Foote, builder of the Tombaugh, now has ASCOM drivers for his software and will ship them to me next month. We hope this will help in our efforts to automate the Tombaugh Telescope.


After the SAS dinner on Thursday a drawing was held for door prizes donated by the vendors who sponsored part of the conference. I commented to Eric that I seldom won anything at these drawings, but did pick up a copy of Guide at one such conference (remember that Gary?). Low and behold,  one of the last drawings of the evening was won(?) by yours truly. That prize included:
– A bottle of wine (quality unknown)
– $500
– oops, it was a $500 gift certificate
– oops again, a 10% discount, up to $500 on a QSI CCD camera.

So, if 9 of you want to match the $500 in some fashion, we can get a $5000 CCD camera, in which case I share the wine. Otherwise I enjoy the wine alone.

– Graham