Sam WHITBY #225

Letters to the Editor

from Sam WHITBY in CMO #225

@. . . .   Thank you for your message and for continuing to send the CMO. We have had a busy month. First, Tyler fell into a pane of glass on a door and cut the back of his head, requiring five stitches. He has recovered without any lasting effects. About a week later, another driver hit my wife's car as she was stopped at a stop light, knocking our vehicle into the car in front of her. Luckily, my wife was not seriously injured, but the collision set off the air bags and caused so much damage to the car that it was not worth repairing. We have had to deal with the hospital emergency room and the insurance companies, and we had to shop for and buy another car. Within the same week that the car accident occurred, David fell at a church event and broke his right clavicle. He seems to be healing nicely. David is now about an inch taller than I am. As you can see, we have been very busy.
  On the fifteenth of November my sons and I saw the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. We took an old three inch reflector out to a park with an unobstructed western horizon, and we projected the image on a white card. The Sun was very low in the sky, about to set, but we could clearly see the little dot that was Mercury's image. Neither of my boys seemed very impressed. I hope that they will remember the experience and value it one day. Some Richmond Astronomical Society members observed the transit. One, named Dale Fortner, wrote me that he captured the whole transit on video.
  In spite of having worked on many evenings, I have observed Jupiter numerous times. It was interesting to watch Mars glide past Antares and pass by Sagittarius. It was my pleasure to point out the planet's movement to numerous non-astronomers.
  Our weather has been wonderful, with pellucid sky and pleasant temperatures, but I have yet to experience very good seeing. Our best seeing seems to come when the temperature is relatively stable, not dropping too fast, and there is a slight fog. Clear, cold nights are less likely to offer the still images that planet observers long for. Last night, when I returned from working at the hospital, I could see the Andromeda nebula without any optical aid from our home in the City of Hopewell. Last night was our coldest night so far, with our third and heaviest frost this year. Our first frost happened on October 21, but the weather has usually been fairly warm at night, sometimes warm enough to observe comfortably in short sleeves. The autumn was very colorfully beautiful. Most of the leaves have fallen by now.
  I have spent some effort in doing research to learn about my family's genealogy. One interesting discovery was the tombstone of Samuel Benjamin Whitby. He was my Great-grandfather's brother, and I had not known of him before my father took me to grave site about two weeks ago. Our naming of Tyler as Tyler Benjamin was an interesting coincidence, not something done to deliberately keep a name alive. Seeing my name, or at least two thirds of it (I am Samuel Ray, and my father is Arthur Ray) on a tombstone was an unusual experience.
(17 Nov 1999 email)

Samuel WHITBY ( VA, USA ) :