December 2013 Newsletter
By Art Meyer

Welcome to the December 2013 STARS Newsletter

The purpose of the newsletter is to communicate information about the club and astronomical events and topics. It is also a place where members can contribute articles, comment on STARS activities and give suggestions for the club and for this newsletter. Email them to me at and a copy to the STARS president Alan Rifkin at If you don’t use email, then please talk with me at the next meeting. I’m the guy with a beard, probably sitting in the first row.
Looking for member contributions! What did you think of the last meeting? See anything special in the night sky recently? Get a new telescope? Share with your fellow members!
Remember: There is no meeting at the museum this month!
Here is one of Dr. Ethan Siegel’s recent blogs:
Index to this Newsletter:
1) Welcome
2) Some Upcoming Events and two more Mars articles
3) Future Speaker Lists for STARS and SOS (Stars Over Springfield)
4) Election of Board Members and Officers
5-7) NASA supplied astronomy club article

Upcoming Events
Dec. 17: Holiday Party.
Nippon Grill, near Kohl's at the Riverdale Shops in West Springfield at 6PM
More info at the web site
and there is a coupon at their web site

And Don’t Forget!
Amanda’s monthly astronomy articles (AKA “Reach for the Stars”):
Here is a link to “Reach for the Stars” columns posted by Masslive. It's in chronological order starting with the most recent, and going back as far as July, 2011. The columns before that date would still have to be accessed through the Stars Club website. If you want to see the more recent ones as they appeared in the paper and on Masslive, with photos and all, you can view the more recent ones through this link.

Looking back at Mars: These articles were published after the November newsletter was published.

Speakers and Topics for Upcoming STARS and SOS Meetings

Dec. 17: Holiday Party. Nippon Grill, near Kohl's at the Riverdale Shops,
starting at 6pm.
More info at the web site
and there is a coupon at their web site

Jan. 28: Jack Megas and Rich Sanderson will present the planetarium show "Stars around the Campfire," and give a brief introduction to it.

Feb. 25: Kevin Collins - Report on Arunah Hill Solar Observatory and other Arunah Hill projects

March 25: David Wexler - Cosmology and Space Time

April 22: Jack Megas and Kevin Kopchynski - Star of your Birth (expanded version of prior talk)

May 27: To be decided: Alan Rifkin will try to get a well-known speaker such as Jay Pasachoff

SOS (Stars Over Springfield) Speakers:

Jan. 3 Ed Faits

Feb. 7: Alan Rifkin - A Beginner's Guide to the Telescope

March 7: Paul Cardone

April 4: Rich Sanderson

May 2: Jack Megas - Summer Observing

Election of Board Members and Officers at the November Meeting

President: Alan Rifkin 413-519-9393

Vice-President: Mike Kozicki

Secretary/Treasurer: Richard Sanderson

Website: Mike Kozicki


Dave Gallup

Amanda Jermyn 413-567-7425

Jack Megas

Crystal Mengele

Joan Presz Tel.

Dr. David Wexler

Jim Mell has left the board. From Alan Rifkin,” I am sad to see Jim Mell leaving the board of directors, he had many good ideas.”

Alan added,” I have room for new board members and board advisors. A board advisor is someone, not necessarily a club member, who is invited to Board of Directors’ meetings to help out.”

Article from NASA:

From NASA: ‘Ethan will keep contributing articles, but we have other writers who need a chance to be heard too.’

The Big Picture: GOES-R and the Advanced Baseline Imager
By Kieran Mulvaney
The ability to watch the development of storm systems – ideally in real time, or as close as possible – has been an invaluable benefit of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) system, now entering its fortieth year in service. But it has sometimes come with a trade-off: when the equipment on the satellite is focused on such storms, it isn’t always able to monitor weather elsewhere.
“Right now, we have this kind of conflict,” explains Tim Schmit of NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). “Should we look at the broad scale, or look at the storm scale?” That should change with the upcoming launch of the first of the latest generation of GOES satellites, dubbed the GOES-R series, which will carry aloft a piece of equipment called the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI).
According to Schmit, who has been working on its development since 1999, the ABI will provide images more frequently, at greater resolution and across more spectral bands (16, compared to five on existing GOES satellites). Perhaps most excitingly, it will also allow simultaneous scanning of both the broader view and not one but two concurrent storm systems or other small-scale patterns, such as wildfires, over areas of 1000km x 1000km.
Although the spatial resolution will not be any greater in the smaller areas than in the wider field of view, the significantly greater temporal resolution on the smaller scale (providing one image a minute) will allow meteorologists to see weather events unfold almost as if they were watching a movie.
So, for example, the ABI could be pointed at an area of Oklahoma where conditions seem primed for the formation of tornadoes. “And now you start getting one-minute data, so you can see small-scale clouds form, the convergence and growth,” says Schmit.
In August, Schmit and colleagues enjoyed a brief taste of how that might look when they turned on the GOES-14 satellite, which serves as an orbiting backup for the existing generation of satellites.
“We were allowed to do some experimental imaging with this one-minute imagery,” Schmit explains. “So we were able to simulate the temporal component of what we will get with ABI when it’s launched.”
The result was some imagery of cloud formation that, while not of the same resolution as the upcoming ABI images, unfolded on the same time scale. You can compare the difference between it and the existing GOES-13 imagery here:
Learn more about the GOES-R series of satellites here:

See photo on next page.

The Advanced Baseline Imager. Credit: NOAA/NASA.

Download photo at:

End of the December Newsletter