January 2014 Newsletter
By Art Meyer

Welcome to the January 2014 STARS Newsletter

From the Dec 17th STARS holiday party at the Nippon Grill
Photo by Richard Sanderson

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 myer70@charter.net and a copy to the STARS president Alan Rifkin at alan@rifkin.com. If you don’t use email, then please talk with me at a future meeting. I’m the guy with a beard, probably sitting near 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? Do you have a photo to grace our Welcome page? Please share with your fellow members!

Here is one of Dr. Ethan Siegel’s recent blogs: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/12/05/for-destruction-ice-is-also-great-and-would-suffice/

Index to this Newsletter:

1-2) Welcome

3) Some Upcoming Events

4) John Dobson September 14, 1915 – January 15, 2014

5) Future Speaker Lists for STARS and SOS (Stars Over Springfield)

6) Contact Info Supplied by Board Members and Officers

7-9) Ethan Siegel’s Article: Surprising Young Stars in the Oldest Places in the Universe by Dr. Ethan Siegel

Upcoming Events

STARS is doing a public demonstration on Saturday Feb. 8
at the Holyoke Winter Carnival and we need volunteers.


Because of the bad weather for the holiday party and the resulting reduced attendance, there is a make-up party on Saturday March 29th at Nippon Grill, near Kohl's at the Riverdale Shops in West Springfield at 6 PM.

More info at the web site


And Don’t Forget!

Amanda’s monthly astronomy articles (AKA “Reach for the Stars”): http://www.reflector.org/amanda/index.php

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.



John Dobson, astronomer & inventor of the Dobsonian telescope design died on January 15, 2014, at age 98.

Photo supplied by Alan Rifkin.

John Dobson was an old personal friend of Alan Rifkin and a friend to all amateur astronomers.

Here is the obituary from Sky and Telescope:


John Dobson’s biography from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dobson_(amateur_astronomer)

The Dobsonian telescope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobsonian_telescope

Speakers and Topics for Upcoming STARS Meetings

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

Speakers and Topics for Upcoming SOS (Stars Over Springfield)

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

Updated Contact Info for Board Members and Officers
(Attention Board Members: it's important for board members and club members to be able to communicate with one another, and we can't do this if we don't have contact info, at least email. Thanks to those that have provided information!)

President: Alan Rifkin alan@rifkin.com 413-519-9393

Vice-President: Mike Kozicki

Secretary/Treasurer: Richard Sanderson 413-263-6800 Ext 318

Website: Mike Kozicki


Dave Gallup

Amanda Jermyn astrogirl200@yahoo.com 413-567-7425

Jack Megas

Crystal Mengele

Joan Presz

Dr. David Wexler

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:

Surprising Young Stars in the Oldest Places in the Universe

By Dr. Ethan Siegel

Littered among the stars in our night sky are the famed deep-sky objects. These range from extended spiral and elliptical galaxies millions or even billions of light years away to the star clusters, nebulae, and stellar remnants strewn throughout our own galaxy. But there's an intermediate class of objects, too: the globular star clusters, self-contained clusters of stars found in spherically-distributed halos around each galaxy.

Back before there were any stars or galaxies in the universe, it was an expanding, cooling sea of matter and radiation containing regions where the matter was slightly more dense in some places than others. While gravity worked to pull more and more matter into these places, the pressure from radiation pushed back, preventing the gravitational collapse of gas clouds below a certain mass. In the young universe, this meant no clouds smaller than around a few hundred thousand times the mass of our Sun could collapse. This coincides with a globular cluster's typical mass, and their stars are some of the oldest in the universe!

These compact, spherical collections of stars are all less than 100 light-years in radius, but typically have around 100,000 stars inside them, making them nearly 100 times denser than our neighborhood of the Milky Way! The vast majority of globular clusters have extremely few heavy elements (heavier than helium), as little as 1% of what we find in our Sun. There's a good reason for this: our Sun is only 4.5 billion years old and has seen many generations of stars live-and-die, while globular clusters (and the stars inside of them) are often over 13 billion years old, or more than 90% the age of the universe! When you look inside one of these cosmic collections, you're looking at some of the oldest stellar swarms in the known universe.

Yet when you look at a high-resolution image of these relics from the early universe, you'll find a sprinkling of hot, massive, apparently young blue stars! Is there a stellar fountain of youth inside? Kind of! These massive stellar swarms are so dense -- especially towards the center -- that mergers, mass siphoning and collisions between stars are quite common. When two long-lived, low-mass stars interact in these ways, they produce a hotter, bluer star that will be much shorter lived, known as a blue straggler star. First discovered by Allan Sandage in 1953, these young-looking stars arise thanks to stellar cannibalism. So enjoy the brightest and bluest stars in these globular clusters, found right alongside the oldest known stars in the universe!

Learn about a recent globular cluster discovery here: http://www.nasa.gov/press/2013/september/hubble-uncovers-largest-known-group-of-star-clusters-clues-to-dark-matter.

Kids can learn more about how stars work by listening to The Space Place’s own Dr. Marc: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/podcasts/en/#stars.

See photo on next page!

Macintosh HD:Users:akasprak:Desktop:NGC6397_ESA[1].jpg

Globular Cluster NGC 6397. Credit: ESA & Francesco Ferraro (Bologna Astronomical Observatory) / NASA, Hubble Space Telescope, WFPC2.

End of the January 2014 Newsletter