Sam WHITBY #210

Letters to the Editor

from Sam WHITBY in CMO #210

@. . . . . I was up early this morning to observe Mars, but clouds moved in and ruined the plans.
  On the night when the Leonids were expected to peak I was with Tyler in the hospital, and it was cloudy anyway. David and I tried to catch some Leonids at other times, without much success. Some Richmond Astronomical Society members saw a few bright meteors. Maybe next year will be the big year. I do not know either how 66+33 came to be 98.
  When we heard about the hurricane damage in Honduras, American aid was said to be three million dollars. I off-handedly remarked that it ought to be ten times that much. The next day I heard that Clinton had ordered the aid raised to thirty million dollars. We had not known that I had such influence. The television news reported several times that Japan had sent much assistance to the victims in Central America.
  It has been unusually dry here this fall. Much wetland area has dried up, and many fish and other animals have died. I have not seen much media attention given to this situation. If it does not improve by the next planting season, we will have a lot more to worry about than Clinton's extra-curricular activities.
  I have been able to work at Poplar Springs on several evenings. The hospital census is down right now, so I have not worked as much as I expected. Still, it has been good to see some of my old co-workers and to be again in my more therapeutic mode.
  We have seen the updated CMO page. The gridded discs are very helpful. I enjoyed reading about NAKAJIMA's observation. You are right in stressing the importance of fine seeing in order to catch delicate planetary details.
  I have not been able to observe Don Parker's spot on Saturn.
(30 Nov 1998 email)

@. . . . . I want to add that I have never seen Canopus. By star maps and our latitude it should be right on the horizon, but we never have enjoyed the clear sky and unobstructed horizon to view it. On our trips as far south as Florida I have tried to see the star, again without success. The sky around Disney World is so light polluted that one can see only the very brightest stars. The laser show which seems obscene to me seems to please most other people, so there is not much chance that the situation will change in my favor. Also, there seems to be no such thing as an unobstructed (or un-destructed) horizon in that part of Florida. Perhaps if I could persuade my family to spend a night in the Everglades.   . . .
  Tyler has gotten completely well. He is laughing out loud at Sesame Street as I write.
  Yesterday Tyler and I visited a Civil War battle site, Drewry's Bluff. My ancestors placed large cannon there in order to prevent Union naval vessels from sailing all the way to the Confederate capitol in Richmond. The earthworks are still in good shape, and there is a convenient path for visitors.
  Day before yesterday at local noon I saw bright sun dogs, a solar halo, sun dogs to the secondary halo, a brilliant upper tangent arc, and a lower tangent arc. There was no film in our camera.
  Please give our regards to your cats. I tried to adopt one recently myself, but it sought to improve its condition and moved elsewhere.

(2 Dec 1998 email)

@. . . . . Just a brief note for now: the RAS page is down for an upgrade and should be back and better very soon. I will send you the new address, perhaps by this afternoon.
  As far as the ALPO link, I do not know what is going on, but I will find out and take steps to see that the CMO is appropriately linked.
  Thank you for your message and for the latest CMO.

(11 Dec 1998 email)

@. . . . . After considerable thought, I have written to Dan Troiani and Rik Hill and tried to fairly and respectfully express your and my concerns about the ALPO web page. As I too often have to say to my better half, I have done the best that I can do. I hope that they will agree and see to it that the CMO is listed among the links to the Mars Section page of ALPO. We will have to wait and see. There are one or two other moves that can be made, but I hope those will not be necessary. As I emphasized to them, it is in everyone's interest for us to cooperate and share observations. I think that, even if someone has to be forced to do the right thing, it is better if he believes that he chose to do it. If our friends in ALPO do the right thing, I will be happy not to have had to push too hard.
  I made a very poor and low resolution sketch of our Mars this morning and will send it to you soon.

(15 Dec 1998 email)

We are informed that the new URL of the RAS is:

Samuel WHITBY ( VA, USA ) :