April 2014 Newsletter
By Art Meyer

Welcome to the April 2014 STARS Newsletter

“We looked at the moon, and we found Jupiter and it's moons.......She is EXCITED !! ME TOO !!”, wrote photographer and father Donald Goulette. See the Members’ Page.

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: Don’t worry about understanding every detail – this is a topic of great importance to astronomy and physics and it’s been in the news in March.

https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/211a64441ddd All About Cosmic Inflation

Index to this Newsletter:

1-2) Welcome

3) The Members’ Page

4) Some Upcoming Events

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

6) Contact Info Supplied by Board Members and Officers

7-9) Astronomy Club Article from NASA: The Power of the Sun's Engines by Dr. Ethan Siegel

Members’ Page

Welcome to new members!

Donald Goulette and his seven year old daughter Kaitlynn shared their photo of her new telescope for our front page! Welcome to STARS! The new telescope was described by Donald as a Celestron Powerseeker 70 AZ Refractor: 70 mm Aperture, 700 mm focal length, f-10 with 20mm,10mm,4mm eyepieces and a 3X Barlow lens.


Crystal Mengele wrote, “I love the news letter and I wish I knew what to write about.”

Don't think of it as having to be earthshaking or long or funny.

Did you look up at the sky sometime during the month and notice how beautiful the moon was - the cloud formations around the moon, the reflection off the snow or water? Write it down. Send it in!

Did you read an article in a newspaper that caught your interest? Learn something new? Be reminded of something talked about in the last meeting? Make a note about it. If it can be found online, include the URL. Send it!

Did you like the last meeting's speaker? Was the topic interesting? Learn something new? Write down your thoughts and send them in!

Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or exact phrasing. We will edit and send your submission back to you for your approval.

We want to hear from you!

Upcoming Events

The Pioneer Valley Outdoor Festival is Saturday April 26 http://www.valleyplanning.com/
From Alan Rifkin:This is the second year we are doing the outdoor festival at Holyoke Community College. We are in a much nicer and bigger space this year
I am looking for volunteers to sit at the table and be outside baby-sitting scopes if it is sunny.


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.

Here is a link found by Amanda illustrating the relative sizes of planets and stars in the universe. Some have suggested turning off the sound – it’s up to you!


Speakers and Topics for Upcoming STARS Meetings

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)

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 davesuzy5@hotmail.com

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

Jack Megas jamira@mailaka.net

Crystal Mengele cmengele@hotmail.com

Joan Presz

Dr. David Wexler dwexler2012@gmail.com

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:

The Power of the Sun's Engines

By Dr. Ethan Siegel

Here on Earth, the sun provides us with the vast majority of our energy, striking the top of the atmosphere with up to 1,000 Watts of power per square meter, albeit highly dependent on the sunlight's angle-of-incidence. But remember that the sun is a whopping 150 million kilometers away, and sends an equal amount of radiation in all directions; the Earth-facing direction is nothing special. Even considering sunspots, solar flares, and long-and-short term variations in solar irradiance, the sun's energy output is always constant to about one-part-in-1,000. All told, our parent star consistently outputs an estimated 4 × 1026 Watts of power; one second of the sun's emissions could power all the world's energy needs for over 700,000 years.

That's a literally astronomical amount of energy, and it comes about thanks to the hugeness of the sun. With a radius of 700,000 kilometers, it would take 109 Earths, lined up from end-to-end, just to go across the diameter of the sun once. Unlike our Earth, however, the sun is made up of around 70% hydrogen by mass, and it's the individual protons ­— or the nuclei of hydrogen atoms — that fuse together, eventually becoming helium-4 and releasing a tremendous amount of energy. All told, for every four protons that wind up becoming helium-4, a tiny bit of mass — just 0.7% of the original amount — gets converted into energy by E=mc2, and that's where the sun's power originates.

You'd be correct in thinking that fusing ~4 × 1038 protons-per-second gives off a tremendous amount of energy, but remember that nuclear fusion occurs in a huge region of the sun: about the innermost quarter (in radius) is where 99% of it is actively taking place. So there might be 4 × 1026 Watts of power put out, but that's spread out over 2.2 × 1025 cubic meters, meaning the sun's energy output per-unit-volume is just 18 W / m3. Compare this to the average human being, whose basal metabolic rate is equivalent to around 100 Watts, yet takes up just 0.06 cubic meters of space. In other words, you emit 100 times as much energy-per-unit-volume as the sun! It's only because the sun is so large and massive that its power is so great.

It's this slow process, releasing huge amounts of energy per reaction over an incredibly large volume, that has powered life on our world throughout its entire history. It may not appear so impressive if you look at just a tiny region, but — at least for our sun — that huge size really adds up!

Check out these “10 Need-to-Know Things About the Sun”: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Sun.

See photo on next page!

Kids can learn more about an intriguing solar mystery at NASA’s Space Place: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/sun-corona.

Image credit: composite of 25 images of the sun, showing solar outburst/activity over a 365 day period; NASA / Solar Dynamics Observatory / Atmospheric Imaging Assembly / S. Wiessinger; post-processing by E. Siegel.

Editors download photo here: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/review/partners/2014-04/sun_sharp.jpg

End of the April 2014 Newsletter