September 2013 Newsletter
By Art Meyer

Welcome to the September 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 donít use email, then please talk with me at the next meeting. Iím the guy with a beard, probably sitting in the first row.
No member contributions this month, but I am looking forward to them in the future.
Here is one of Dr. Ethan Siegelís recent blogs:
The blog entries are more technical than the astronomy club articles at the end of our newsletter.

Index to this Newsletter:
1) Welcome
2,3) Some Upcoming Events
4) Future Speaker Lists for STARS and SOS (Stars over Springfield)
5-7) Ethan Siegelís Article: How to hunt for your very own supernova!

Upcoming Events

Official announcement:
What a great way to enjoy an evening under the stars. Members of
The Springfield Stars Club will be at the School Street Park to educate
us about light pollution, the stars, the moon, the planets, and everything in the night sky. Binoculars and telescopes will be available for
star gazing. Wheelchair accessible telescopes will be available. Call
the Parks & Recreation Department for inclement weather plans.
Date: Friday 9/20 cloud date is Oct 11 Times: 8:00PM to ???
Cost: $5.00 per family donation to The Springfield Stars
From our President Alan Rifkin:I need more volunteers
I will be supplying hot coffee and hot chocolate for volunteers and if you want donuts or pizza, let me know and I will bring it.
I am bringing a table, a few telescopes and binoculars, Extra lunar filters, Ipad's to show off, a pile of paper stuff to give out
The location is the school street park entrance will be at the first entry bridge, but we are able to drive in at the last gate. Try to stay on the path, then park off the side. Please let me know if you can come. It is nice if you bring a scope to show off, but not necessary as there will extra stuff that will be need to be manned.


From our star writer, Amanda Jermyn, about the September meeting of STARS:
The next STARS meeting will be Tuesday, September 24th at 7:30pm at the Springfield Science Museum. There will be a slide show and an account of the clubís recent private tour of Harvard Universityís Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. The meeting will also include a report on the summerís star parties Ė Stellafane, The Conjunction, Arunah Hill Days and stargazing at the Wilco Music and Arts Festival held at Mass MoCA.
BTW: Amandaís monthly astronomy articles:

Speakers for upcoming STARS meetings:

Sept 24 There will be a slide show and an account of the clubís summer activities

Oct. 22: Rich Sanderson - The Integration of the Maksutov Telescope Design into the Realm of Amateur Telescope Making

Nov. 26: Mission to Mars Panel - 10 minutes per speaker. Moderator: Dave Gallup
1. Mars 101 - Introduction to Mars - Paul Cardone
2. How to get to Mars - orbital mechanics - Alan Rifkin
3. Report on findings of Curiosity Rover - Crystal Mengele
4. NASA 10 minute video of Curiosity landing - Crystal Mengele and Tim Connolly
5. Medical implications of sending people to Mars - David Wexler

Dec. 17: Holiday party. Venue still to be decided.

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

March 25: David Wexler - Cosmology and Space Time

SOS Speakers:

Oct. 4 Dave Gallup

Nov. 1 Rich Sanderson - Comets & Meteors, plus Comet ISON

Dec. 6 Paul Cardone

Jan. 3 Ed Faits

How to hunt for your very own supernova!
By Dr. Ethan Siegel
In our day-to-day lives, stars seem like the most fixed and unchanging of all the night sky objects. Shining relentlessly and constantly for billions of years, it's only the long-term motion of these individual nuclear furnaces and our own motion through the cosmos that results in the most minute, barely-perceptible changes.
Unless, that is, you're talking about a star reaching the end of its life. A star like our Sun will burn through all the hydrogen in its core after approximately 10 billion years, after which the core contracts and heats up, and the heavier element helium begins to fuse. About a quarter of all stars are massive enough that they'll reach this giant stage, but the most massive ones -- only about 0.1% of all stars -- will continue to fuse leaner elements past carbon, oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon, sulphur and all the way up to iron, cobalt, and, nickel in their core. For the rare ultra-massive stars that make it this far, their cores become so massive that they're unstable against gravitational collapse. When they run out of fuel, the core implodes.
The inrushing matter approaches the center of the star, then rebounds and bounces outwards, creating a shockwave that eventually causes what we see as a core-collapse supernova, the most common type of supernova in the Universe! These occur only a few times a century in most galaxies, but because it's the most massive, hottest, shortest-lived stars that create these core-collapse supernovae, we can increase our odds of finding one by watching the most actively star-forming galaxies very closely. Want to maximize your chances of finding one for yourself? Here's how.
Pick a galaxy in the process of a major merger, and get to know it. Learn where the foreground stars are, where the apparent bright spots are, what its distinctive features are. If a supernova occurs, it will appear first as a barely perceptible bright spot that wasn't there before, and it will quickly brighten over a few nights. If you find what appears to be a "new star" in one of these galaxies and it checks out, report it immediately; you just might have discovered a new supernova!

This is one of the few cutting-edge astronomical discoveries well-suited to amateurs; Australian Robert Evans holds the all-time record with 42 (and counting) original supernova discoveries. If you ever find one for yourself, you'll have seen an exploding star whose light traveled millions of light-years across the Universe right to you, and you'll be the very first person who's ever seen it!

SN 2013ai, via its discoverer, Emmanuel Conseil, taken with the robotic telescope just a few days after its emergence in NGC 2207 (top); NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI) of the same interacting galaxies prior to the supernova (bottom).

Read more about the evolution and ultimate fate of the stars in our universe:
While you are out looking for supernovas, kids can have a blast finding constellations using the Space Place star finder:

End of the September Newsletter