Sam WHITBY #212

Letters to the Editor

from Sam WHITBY in CMO #212

@. . . . In case you have not already noticed, I will point out the ALPO Mars Section page now lists the OAA Mars Section among its links. I will try to express appreciation to Rik Hill and Dan Troiani in email messages later tonight.
  Our weather has not cooperated with Mars observation. At least there has been the rain that has been needed for wells and farming. There has been no more snow.
  David said that he has seen the cartoon that you mentioned and that he liked it. He has written a story with Japanese characters and situations, and the story won a first round prize at his school. The story will be judged later at a higher level. David is illustrating the story, working tonight on prints, using what he calls a Japanese painting set.
  Tyler has been sick again, but this time we were able to deal with his asthma without hospitalization. The illness did not last as long as the previous times.
  I will try to send more observations soon. Tomorrow the weather will probably be unfavorable, but it may surprise us. To save on dues I was sorely tempted to resign from the observatory but decided against doing so, at least for the current apparition. The 7 inch refractor at the observatory looks impressive, but it has been something of a disappointment, and the reflector that I built usually does at least as well. I learned well from the writings of Charles Capen and others that using filters adds a great deal to the value of one's observations, so the superiority of my scope on the blue end of the spectrum is important.
  Thank you for the information about the new Marswatch site. Dan sent me the latest Martian Chronicle.
  The URL that I sent you about the South Hill UFO was sent just as a cultural and historical curiosity, for your amusement. While trying in principle to keep an open mind, I will admit to being a UFO unbeliever who is merely sometimes amused by so-called ufology.
  I recently had a nice visit in the home of a former teacher, the one who introduced me to the Housman poem "Loveliest of trees the cherry . . ." and was pleased to show him your mention of the poem. He taught me more probably than he ever would have guessed.
  Please let me know if you continue to have trouble with emails from my address. The several people we have asked have so far been as puzzled by the problem as I have been.
(21 Jan 1999 email)

@. . . . This afternoon the mailman delivered an astronomical video from Japan, one that is just wonderful. Thank you and Higa for sharing these beautiful planetary images with me. I have not watched the whole cassette yet, but what I have seen is amazing, and I will watch the rest when the real bosses of the family have stopped using the VCR. I will try to share these images with planet observers in this area. The quality of this work deserves to be recognized. Randy Tatum, who has done some video recording, has expressed an interest, and others surely will also.
  It is especially impressive that the SSTB ovals and the stains in the STB show up so clearly. Very impressive! Can you tell me something about the telescope and recorder used for these images?
  Congratulations in regard to your recent birthday celebration. I will be fifty in May. Time does fly.
  I must now persuade Tyler to go to sleep. Tomorrow it may be clear enough to observe our Red Planet, so I may join him to get an early start.

(25 Jan 1999 email)

@. . . . There is only a brief time to write, but I want to tell you that I took HIGA's tape to work and played it for the class and used it as the beginning of a good discussion of the Solar System. Everyone seemed pleasantly impressed. Thank you again, very much.
  I sent birthday greetings to Don Parker yesterday, having been alerted by you. He in turn informed me that at 60 he was now officially "a dirty old man." That joke may not translate, but perhaps it will.
  I tried to observe Mars on both of my off mornings this week, with the seeing being terrible both times.

(29 Jan 1999 email)

@. . . . Thank you for your message and the news of CMO 211. I hope you will have a swift recovery from your bad cold. Mrs. Whitby and I have had colds, and, as you have worried about your mother, we have worried about Tyler. Probably we caught the cold from him, so he should not be in danger.
  Our weather, in typical Virginia fashion, has changed rapidly, sometimes cold and sometimes warm. Last Thursday the day was so warm that I worked outside for about five hours in short sleeves and even got a slight sun burn. Since then it has been very cold for awhile, but now it is relatively warm again and raining.
  I want to forward to you, with his permission, some email that was sent to me by Andrei Nikolai. He very kindly and generously did some research for me on Philipp Fauth, the -yes, I think so- great German selenographer. Fauth, in addition to observing the Moon, published observations of Mars and Jupiter. I had been curious about these for a long time. Mr. Nikolai scanned some of Fauth's drawings and sent them and a list of his publications. Unfortunately there are no Mars drawings here.
  The Jupiter drawings are very impressive. I cannot help believing that, if Fauth's works were more accessible, translated and re-published, they would add to our knowledge of the history of Jupiter "weather" and lead to a just appreciation of Fauth as a planet observer. I plan to forward Nikolai's letter to several Jupiter observers who may be interested.
  I intend to devote more time to studying Fauth when there is time. My wife wants to visit Germany, and we may eventually be able to do so. That may give an opportunity to see more of Fauth's works first hand. For the time being, out of necessity I will work a lot of hours, for at least a month, hopefully fewer hours after that. I hope there will be time to see Mars many times.
  Please let HIGA know that I treasure his tape and show it in his honor at every opportunity.

(2 Feb 1999 email)

@. . . . Thank you for CMO 212. It is an honor to have my drawing appear there. . . . .
  Maybe the Post Office's day is not quite over after all. Today we resumed our former early work schedule, so I should be able to observe Mars more often at the observatory soon.

(14 Feb 1999 email)

Samuel WHITBY ( VA, USA ) :