In Memory Of Edward P. Baillie, 1903-2000

by Wynn Wacker

On January 26th, the Society lost one of its founding members and guiding spirits, Edward Baillie.

Ed was one of that small group of individuals who, in 1930, created the Madison Astronomical Society as a place where individuals with an interest in astronomy could get together, share their interests, and learn from each other in an informal atmosphere.

Ed was a native Madisonian, born on July 13, 1903 in his childhood home at 114 E. Johnson St. It was a considerably smaller Madison, where wooden sidewalks offered enough room to hide beneath in childhood games. Ed played his share of games, and occasionally got into a bit of mischief as well. Once, after sneaking into a neighbor's barn, he managed to fall out of the hayloft! That mischievous streak could be discerned later in life by the merry twinkle in his eye when he was sharing a joke or participating in some minor prank with the junior astronomers. He attended St. Patrick's elementary and Central High School (then called Madison High School because it was the only one), where because of his size he was persuaded to play football.

It's not clear whether Ed managed to slip astronomy into the coursework he was taking at the UW but, as was customary for male students at the time he did take ROTC, and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Reserves in 1929 and became a first lieutenant in 1930. His unit was activated for World War II in 1942 making Ed, as he put it, "one of the oldest first lieutenants in the army." Because of medical problems (a chronic eye infection and a foot injured by having a radiator dropped on it), Ed was not shipped overseas with his unit but instead served as a Radar Officer with the coastal defense artillery. He rose to the rank of Captain and ended the war guarding Ukrainian prisoners in a POW camp in Louisiana (a number of ethnic groups joined the Germans in fighting the oppressive Stalinist regime). There wasn't much to do, since the prisoners were disciplined soldiers under control of their officers and there was no place to escape to. At the end of the war, when the prisoners found out they were to be returned to the Soviet Union, several of them committed suicide. This tragic waste of life deeply affected Ed, and I recall seeing several drawings done by one of those men, a talented artist, displayed in his home. After the war, he returned to Reserve status and retired with the rank of Major in 1963.

By trade, Ed was the water chemist heading up the Nine Springs water treatment plant, and he worked for the City of Madison for 40 years starting in 1932. As a UW undergraduate, I took a field trip out to the plant in one of my biology courses and watched as Ed carefully took us through each of treatment steps by which city sewage becomes water pure enough to put back into the lake (if algae blooms in the summer, it's not from the treated sewage!). He had a real passion for his work and was always eager to see what new surprises would be found beneath the microscope or in the results of the chemical analyses. His only disappointment was that most of the subordinates who he trained did not share his enthusiasm and looked on it as a job rather than an adventure. He finally did encounter a kindred spirit, and when that young man was called away to service in Vietnam, Ed fought to hold his position open until he returned from the war (Ed recalled the obstacles he faced regaining his job after WWII and was determined not to see the injustice repeated). That man now holds the chief chemist position Ed retired from. Ed was mechanically inclined, and constructed gauges and instruments for use in his work at the treatment plant. In his younger days he took up gunsmithing and had a wide variety of tools, many of his own creation, which he used to restore old firearms. After the War, perhaps because of increasing vision problems, which interfered with the fine work required, he let that interest slide.

Ed enjoyed all aspects of astronomy. In the 1950's he built a homemade 6" reflector which he would take out into the driveway of his home at 2700 Regent St. and spend hours watching the heavens, oblivious to the cold which drove his wife and daughter back inside. If he needed a wider scope than provided on the tree-lined avenue, he would haul his telescope across the street into Forest Hill cemetery and occasionally up the hill to the reservoir to get a better view. Nothing delighted him more than when a neighbor or passerby, who may have never looked through a telescope before, would stop and ask to take a peek. He even enjoyed going out during the daytime to look at sunspots, since there were more people about and he could draw a larger audience. That became more of a necessity when city lights began to drown out the stars around his home, which had been outside the city limits when he bought it in 1932.

Besides helping to found the Madison Astronomical Society, Ed was an active force in its important projects. He was instrumental in the effort to obtain land off of Fish Hatchery Rd. in what is now Fitchburg to use for observing away from city lights, and in constructing a small roll-off roof observatory on that land. Along with Morris Huffer of the UW Astronomy Department (another founding member), he was active in procuring the student observatory building which stood next to the Washburn Observatory and obtaining funds from the Oscar Meyer Foundation to move it to the Fitchburg site to serve as the MAS Oscar Meyer Observatory. When the Society was eventually forced to abandon the encroaching lights of Fitchburg for the current Yanna Research Station, Ed helped out with a $1000 donation at a crucial time in the process. He even, in his 80s, was out at YRS physically assisting to lift the dome for the AKO 11" in place.

Ed recognized the importance of young people to the growth and continuance of the Society. He played an important role in the creation of the Junior Astronomical Society of Madison Wisconsin (JASMW) in the early 60's and continued as an advisor to this group into the 70's (when it was replaced by an Explorer Post), and it was in this capacity that I met him as a JASMW member. He always insisted that the juniors receive every possible consideration from the MAS, and managed to guide and encourage without controlling. In 1978, the MAS awarded Ed a plaque in a special ceremony to recognize his years of service to the Society.

Age and declining health kept Ed absent from meetings in recent years, so many of the current members have not met him. He kept his interest in us, and in matters scientific, right up to the end. When problems with his lungs and vision kept him away from the telescope, he continued to diligently read Sky & Telescope and Scientific American. And every year he would donate his back issues to the Society. He was one of the rare individuals to have seen Halley's comet twice, a fact that gave him simple pleasure, as did all his astronomical endeavors.

At the general meeting on February 11th, the Madison Astronomical Society observed a moment of silence in recognition of Ed's passing. A more fitting tribute will be to insure Ed's vision of the Society as a place where people from all backgrounds and with all levels of skill and knowledge can meet together as equals and share their enthusiasm for astronomy. The next time you give a child his first look through a telescope, or participate in the public lunar viewing night at the Monona Terrace, or volunteer at Space Place, remember Ed - and know that he would approve.

Thanks to Rebecca Baillie, Eric Thiede, and Dave Weir for sharing their memories of Ed.


April 8 Space Place Family Workshop, 10:00 am, 1605 S. Park St.

April 11 Space Place guest speaker: Dr. Bob Benjamin, UW Physics Dept., "How Things End: Stars, Life, the Universe, etc." 7:00 pm at Space Place, 1605 S. Park St.

April 14 MAS Banquet, see article at right

April 22 Space Place Family Workshop, 10:00 am, 1605 S. Park St.

April 25 "Eyes on the Skies" presentation at Space Place, 7:00 pm, 1605 S. Park St.

April 26: MMSD Planetarium (Memorial High School), Planetary Alignment Special! Join us for this special night to celebrate an "alignment of planets", and get the truth about what's causing some doomsayers to say the sky is falling. Special activities include the planetarium programs (1 hour, 6:30 & 7:45), a guided walking tour through a 1 km. scale model of the Solar System (1 hour, 5:30 & 6:45 PM), and walk through a top-down model of the planets. Model activities are free: planetarium show $1 for students, $2 for adults. Come and stroll through the scale model before the planetarium program, and explore the top-down model after the program.

May 9 Space Place: Dr. Bart Wakker, UW Astronomy Dept., "Large-scale Circulation and Evolution of Matter in the Galaxy" At Space Place, 1605 S. Park St.

May 14 Space Place Family Workshop, 10:00 am, 1605 S. Park St.

May 17: MMSD Planetarium (Memorial High School) Summer Skywatching. Explore the current night sky, get a preview of summer celestial sights, and get some tips on ways to enhance your observing experience. Shows: 1 hour, 6:30 & 7:45; $1 for students, $2 for adults.

May 23 "Eyes on the Skies" presentation at Space Place, 7:00 pm, 1605 S. Park St.

May 28 Space Place Family Workshop, 10:00 am, 1605 S. Park St.

Planetary Alignments Part I: The "Grand Conjunction?"

by John Rummel

The western sky has been putting on a wonderful planetary show this winter and spring. Have you been watching? If you haven't heard yet, you probably will soon, that the spring of 2000 will bring an amazing planetary alignment. Some even suggest that this alignment may be the disaster that Y2K wasn't.

None of this is new. Every few years, some pundit points to a supposed planetary alignment and predicts disaster for the earth due to some gravitation or magnetic effect. This is completely without foundation scientifically, which is why astronomers pay little attention to such claims. Even if the sun and other 8 planets were lined up on the same side of Earth, like beads on a string, the combined gravitational effect on Earth would be practically zero. Astronomer Chet Raymo, who has done the math, says you'd give the earth a bigger jolt if you tossed a 50 pound bag of sand out of a second story window of your house.

So no doomsday, but some very good doorstep astronomy­ if you're so inclined.

First, to clarify things a bit, there is not really a conjunction, but a series of conjunctions, and secondly, there's nothing comically significant about it­conjunctions happen all the time.

A conjunction occurs when two celestial bodies share the same celestial longitude. More interesting to us casual sky-watchers are simple planetary groupings­loosely defined as two or more objects sharing the same patch of sky. The conjunction and the closest approach of the objects might not occur at the same time, so we'll stick to simple planetary groupings for this article.

Since about February 1st, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars have been in the western sky in the evening. As the months pass, they're slowly moving closer and closer together. All three planets are actually drifting eastward against the starry background, but Jupiter is overtaking Saturn, and Mars is overtaking Jupiter. Jupiter and Saturn, being further away, move more slowly. Mars is the next planet out from earth, so it appears to move much more quickly. The following tables illustrate the motions of the planets relative to each other for the first few months of 2000:

Separations (in degrees)
Jupiter-Saturn Jupiter-Mars
 January 1 15 56
February 1 12 35
March 1 9 18
April 1 6 2
Movement (in degrees and arcminutes)
   January February March April
Jupiter  2 48'  4 47'  6 33'  7 0'
 Saturn  0 19'  1 48'  3 6'  3 40'
 Mars  23 52'  21 59'  23 0'  21 31'

So for instance, on January 1st, Jupiter and Saturn were 15 degrees apart, while Jupiter and Mars were 56 degrees apart (remember, a full circle around the sky and under your feet would be 360 degrees). By March 1st, Jupiter and Saturn have closed the gap to just 9 degrees, while Jupiter and Mars are now only 18 degrees apart. On April 1st, they are even closer, just 6 degrees and 2 degrees apart. The second table shows movement per month for each planet - clearly Mars gets the prize for haste.

By April 5th, Jupiter and Mars are just 1 degree apart. On April 6th, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the crescent moon all in a box just 8 degrees wide. The best time to watch is about 7:30 Madison time. This grouping gets my vote for the best of the spring. See what you think.

April 7-13, all three planets fit into a circle just 5 degrees in diameter, but getting very close to the sun (Jupiter closest at just 17 deg from the sun). By the end of April, they're all getting too close to the sun to be easily visible during dusk.

Culmination of the "grand conjunction" is May 16-17, when Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn are a few degrees west of the sun, and Mars and Mercury are a few degrees east. All six solar system bodies are within about 19 degrees of each other - an unusual occurrence indeed, but virtually unobservable due to the fact that all are so close to the sun. Most of the accounts you will read point to May 5th as the actual "event" but this is only because the moon is then included in the grouping. This makes no difference as to the visual appreciation of the event since it's still almost completely unobservable. However, there is something remarkable about having all seven solar system objects (5 planets plus the sun and moon) in such tight formation. Astrologers will have a field day (for a few hours on May 4, all except Mars are in the constellation Aries - Mars is in Taurus). I prefer to focus on the tightest grouping of the planets themselves, bringing me back to my May 16-17 2000 event.

Early on the morning of May 17th, there will be a super-close grouping of Venus and Jupiter. These two brilliant planets will actually come very close to touching each other (through line of sight only, they're obviously millions of miles apart). Sadly though, this event will take place only 6 degrees west of the sun so it will be almost completely unobservable. If you're very lucky that morning, just as the sun comes up, you may see a very bright star low in the east. The planets are less than 1/60th of a degree apart. They'll look like a single object to the unaided eye.

So May 2000 is somewhat anticlimactic since so few people will actually observe it. The real show is in March and April.

Part II of this article will look at some of the frequency of planetary groupings, and some remarkable visual events in the past and future.

For further reading, see the following excellent articles on the May 2000 conjunction:

Sky & Telescope (Jean Meeus)

"Bad Astronomy (Phil Plait)

Article by Truman Collins

Article by Brian Monson

Griffith Observatory - John Mosely

Planetary Alignments Part II: Past, Present and Future

Part I of this article, originally written for the MMSD Planetarium newsletter, got me thinking about great planetary displays of the past and future. I well remember the incredibly close grouping of Venus and Jupiter last February, and the nice morning trio of the crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter the April before that. As you might guess, planets have casual meetings in our skies all the time, but for these past few years, we're talking about two or three heavenly bodies meeting for an evening or two. What about groupings involving more than just two objects?

Just a few years back, June 15 of 1991, Jupiter, Venus and Mars, along with the crescent moon, were very tightly grouped on the western horizon just after sunset. How rare is such an event? A quick search with Voyager II software found 107 such occurrences between the year 1 and 2000. That's an average of about every 18 1/2 years with most of the events being far enough from the sun that they're easily observable. Other groupings of three naked-eye planets and the moon show similar frequencies with the exception that if Mercury is included in the group, the percentage of groupings being easily observable goes down. Mercury never strays more than about 28 degrees from the sun, so groupings including Mercury are much more likely to be too close to the sun for easy visibility.

What about even larger massings of naked eye objects? If we take all five naked eye planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, and throw in the moon, we have six of the seven classical solar system objects. We'll leave the sun out because we're looking for planetary groupings far enough from the sun that they're observable. Like this May, when the sun is included, it becomes pretty much a non-event for sky-watchers.

Voyager II found 51 such events in the 4000 year period between 2000 BC and AD 2000, an average of one occurrence every 78.4 years. However, the vast majority of these are unobservable due to the sun's intrusion. In fact, of these 51 events, only 14 were even marginally observable, bringing the average down to once every 285 years, so chances are good that none of us reading this will ever get to observe such an event.

Just out of curiosity, what is the best planetary grouping ever? My reading and research have turned up two remarkable events. On the morning of February 24th, 1953 BC, all five naked eye planets were within 4 degrees of each other just before dawn. By March 2nd, the grouping wasn't as tight, but the crescent moon joined the show. History doesn't contain any record of anyone having observed this remarkable grouping, but it must have been breathtaking for anyone who was paying attention.

The other "best ever" planetary grouping hasn't happened yet, but odds are at least better that you'll live to see it. On the evening of September 8th, 2040, all five naked eye planets and the crescent moon will be in a grouping just 9 degrees wide low in the western sky. While not quite as tight as the 1953 BC event, it will be quite memorable. I've got it marked on my calendar. How about you?

Deep Sky Notebook

by Tom Brissette

After an absence of several months, my column returns. Now, if this looks like gibberish to some of you, I'll restate my intentions: this is not designed for beginners, nor is it just another listing of the same old Messier objects (though many of those are included). These are recorded notes of deep sky objects that I have personally observed. I do not include every object in a given constellation, nor is that my intention. I only include what I have notes on. I also want to get other people to explore the objects in the New General Catalog (NGC), so you will find that the bulk of the column consists of those (as well as things from some oddball catalogs). Don't worry, many NGCs are easy to see. But I also try to include a challenge object (or objects); something that will push the limits of your small scope ­ or make you use a bigger scope, heh heh. I won't make those too ridiculously hard, though that may change once I get my 15" Obsession (yup, I have one on order).

This issue deals with the long constellation Hydra, though I concentrate mostly in the western part. Hydra has mostly galaxies, but it does have one big open cluster and a nice planetary nebula. Also, these are older observations--note the use of the 8" dob that I had a while ago.

Object type abbreviations: gx: galaxy; oc: open cluster; gc: globular cluster; pn: planetary nebula; en: emission nebula; rn: reflection nebula; snr: supernova remnant; ds: double star; vs: variable star

Object Name---Constellation---RA / Dec---Size---Magnitude---Uranometria Chart #

oc M48 Hya 08h 13m 44s -05deg 45' 00" Size: 54' Mag: 5.8 Ura 230 Distance: 1,500 l.y. Diameter: 24 l.y.

8" f/6: Large, bright pretty cluster. At 52x, body and outliers filled most of the field. Dozens of stars, mod. rich, but very loose. Body is arc of stars, open to south, denser on west. Close orange pair on west end. Bright orange on south. South end of body ends cleanly, with a chain of fainter stars zigging to SW and zagging to SE. Bright outliers extend loosely to N and W.

gc M68 Hya 12h 39m 28s -26deg 44' 36" Size: 11' Mag: 7.3 Ura 329 Distance: 40,000 l.y. Diameter: 140 l.y.

8" f/6: Small globular; 98x shows round core, moderately con; outer region resolved into faint stars, inner region very granular. Sparse outlier stars are faint.

pn NGC 3242 Hya 10h 24m 46s -18deg 38' 33" Size: 25" Mag: 8.6 Ura 325

8" f/6: The "Ghost of Jupiter". 52x shows a tiny, very bright round spot of even brightness. 165x shows a Jupiter-sized mostly round patch, high sb, even brightness, diffuse edges.

gx NGC 2713 Hya 08h 57m 20s +02deg 55' 21" Size: 3.6'x1.5' Mag: 12.7 Class: SBb Ura 232

8" f/6: Can be glimpsed with averted vision at 52x, but better at 98x. Halo very faint, but tiny core is mod. bright. 11" f/6.3: At 146x, halo is elongated oval oriented E-W, tiny and rather faint; core is bright and seems slightly elongated.

pn NGC 2610 Hya 08h 33m 23s -16deg 08' 57" Size: 38" Mag: 13.6 Ura 276

8" f/6: Not visible at 52x; 116x and averted vision shows a small, very faint puff extending SW from a mag 13 star. 17" f/4.5: 190x shows it without averted vision; irregular oval shape, even brightness.

gx NGC 2612 Hya 08h 33m 50s -13deg 10' 29" Size: 2.7'x0.5' Mag: 13.5 Class: ? Ura 276

8" f/6: Invisible at 52x; 116x and averted vision shows a very faint non-stellar spot between two stars (mags 12 + 13). 17" f/4.5: Easy to see at 85x; 190x shows a faint elongated oval halo with a brighter elongated core.

gx NGC 2962 Hya 09h 40m 54s +05deg 10' 00" Size: 2.6'x1.9' Mag: 13.0 Class: S0/Sa Ura 188

8" f/6: Invisible at 52x; 116x shows a faint tiny round spot; averted vision shows indefinite traces of an extremely faint halo. 17" f/4.5: Core easy to see at 85x; 190x shows a very faint tiny oval halo, brighter round core.

gx NGC 2855 Hya 09h 21m 27s -11deg 54' 35" Size: 2.4'x2.1' Mag: 12.6 Class: ? Ura 278

8" f/6: Rather small, faint galaxy just barely visible at 52x; core is all that is seen. averted vision helps. 98x and averted vision shows very faint, mostly round halo of very low surface brightness with a small faint core.

Deep Sky Challenge

This column's challenge is another galaxy in Hydra, the hardest one I have notes on.

gx NGC 3200 Hya 10h 18m 36s -17deg 58' 57" Size: 4.2'x1.2' Mag: 12.8 Class: SB Ura 279

8" f/6: Barely visible at 116x. Averted vision shows an indefinite elongated oval glow slightly brighter than background. 17" f/4.5: 190x and averted vision shows a very faint elongated oval patch with no bright core, slightly uneven brightness.

And now for something different: A long while ago I observed galaxy M83 in Hydra (way down south in Hydra--minus 30 degrees declination!) before I was recording notes on objects. I think I used the C-11 at YRS. I still have a vague memory of what it looked like (big and faint). Now, YOU go find it and tell me what it looks like. When I have the opportunity, I'll re-observe it myself. I'm not giving any data, it's part of the fun, heh heh.

Email List for MAS observers

Ben Senson has graciously agreed to host an electronic mailing list which MAS members can use to communicate with one another. Subscribing to the list is easy (instructions below) and any message sent to the list is automatically broadcast to all list members. How is this useful? Well, what if the forecast for the weekend is clear, and it's new moon, and you'd like to go out to YRS to observe. You wonder if any other MAS members will be there. Send a message to the list stating your intentions, and all other list members will now know of your plan and may plan to join you.

The list can work two ways: Regular or Digest. If you subscribe to the regular list, you'll receive a separate email message for each message posted to the list. If you subscribe to the digest, you'll just receive one email message per day that contains the text of all posted messages. If the list ends up being busy, you may be inconvenienced by having your email box full everyday and may prefer the digest version.

Here's how to subscribe to the...

a) Regular list... Send a message to

with "subscribe" as the only word in the BODY of the message, subject line is ignored, turn off any signatures.

b) Digest Version... Send a message to

with "subscribe" as the only word in the BODY of the message, subject line is ignored, turn off any signatures. You'll receive a message confirming your subscription, and then you'll receive either individual messages as they're sent, or a daily digest of the list.

Prof. Donald Cox speaks on "bubbles in space"

At the March 10 2000 meeting of the MAS, physics professor Donald Cox shared his research and personal observations on the presence of bubbles in the interstellar medium. According to Dr. Cox, the interstellar medium is never a perfect vacuum, but always a dusty, gaseous presence between the stars. "Interstellar gas is like the atmosphere of the galaxy," he said. A bubble happens whenever anything expands into the interstellar medium, pushing the dust and gas outward as it goes. Expansion candidates include solar wind, photo-ionization, radiation, supernova explosions, and, on a larger scale, Lyman-alpha pressure bubbles around quasars, and exploding galaxies.

Cox gave many examples of bubbles, using the above mentioned processes and others. He cited examples of bubbles that have unusual shapes due to the presence of differential motions or disks of denser material in the region of the bubble. For example, the well known Eta Carinae is a two lobed bubble formed in an explosion of the star during the last century.

Cox also gave several examples of his more controversial musings: the Lyman-Alpha pressure bubbles around quasars which have never been proven, though certain absorption lines in some quasar spectra are suggestive. Additionally, his model of the Local Bubble, in which the Solar System finds itself, as the remnant of a series of about three nearby supernova explosions in the last 10 million years or so. Such lines of research sometimes amuse his colleagues, but are always fascinating and rewarding.

Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks, and Cultures

Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, New York, 1989, Reviewed by Jane Bruen

I've always understood the need for precise timekeeping for scientific purposes, but I have never understood why a person would want to wear a watch that tells time to the nearest second. I don't care if it is 4:36:23 p.m. - just say "about half past four." So, when I found that the agricultural roots of our calendar involved keeping track of months for ten months and then ignoring the passage of time until the calendar restarted at the next equinox, I was intrigued.

Aveni's book is a history of the western world's calendar and a discussion of the calendars of various other cultures: Mayan, Aztec, Incan, and Chinese. Aveni refers to the western calendar as "our time" and the other culture's calendars as "their time." He connects the way the culture kept track of time to that culture's values.

The Maya had several interlocking calendars - a 260 day ritual calendar, a 365 day solar calendar, a linear count from an arbitrary starting point in the distant past called the Long Count, and finally a Venus calendar, based on the synodic period of Venus, which they knew very accurately.

The Chinese also had multiple calendars, but they treated time keeping in a very different way. The Chinese astronomer/time keeper was a bureaucrat with responsibility only to the Emperor. His job was to make sure events like eclipses and planetary conjugations were properly predicted in advance. There were to be no surprises about heavenly events. The Chinese used the synodic period of Jupiter as one of their calendars.

Aveni's book is full of information about cultures around the world and their calendars. The similarities of African tribes with Pacific Islanders was amazing. I used the discussion of "our time" as the basis for my talk in February. I find the story of humans creating calendars fascinating.

(Editors note: At the February 2000 meeting, Jane Breun led a discussion on calendars and their astronomical roots. Her presentation was informal and punctuated with frequent questions and comments from the assembled group, and ended up being a very enjoyable and stimulating discussion. Jane, more meetings like this would be fine by me!)

Privy Reserve Update

Thanks to the generosity of MAS members, we can look forward to having a new sanitary facility at YRS this summer. My sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to reaching our goal. If I missed you in my attempt to contact all members, there is still time and we would certainly appreciate your donation. If you haven't already, please send your check to Joe Keyes, or bring it to the April Banquet. Make checks payable to MAS and mark for the "privy reserve." Thanks again to all.

- Mary Ellestad.

From the Treasurer

MAS warmly welcomes new members Patrick Carey, William Jollie, Robert Hill, Andrew Gilboe and Dave Mindel.

Donations received in the past two months include: Doris Koster $50.00 (in memory of Ed Baillie), Mary Ellestad $20.00 (supplies for the new member packet), and the following donations to the "privy reserve" fund: Tom Jacobs $50.00, Dennis Fryback 50.00, Paul Marrione 30.00, Carl Baumann 25.00, Mark Wysocki 20.00, Tom Miskelly 20.00, Joe Keyes 10.00, and many others.

- Joe Keyes

From the Editor

As I put the final touches on this month's newsletter, the Vernal Equinox is just hours away, and it's snowing outside. By the time most of you read this, daylight savings time will almost be upon us, and the spring season is just around the corner.

This issue will be a meaningful one for longtime members of MAS. The passing of Ed Baillie in some ways indicates the passing of an age. Ed's contributions to the club, as outlined in Wynn Wacker's page one article, are numerous. Newer members of the Society (like myself) will appreciate the perspective brought by the look back at Ed's life, and the roots of the MAS.

The Spring banquet is coming up quickly (see article above). Make sure you get your checks to Jane quickly so she can get an accurate count to the chefs at C.J.'s. The banquet is a great chance to socialize with others in the Society. We also have an excellent presentation scheduled by Dr. Robert Morse of the UW physics department (see page 2).

For members who receive the newsletter in the mail, you'll also find our membership roster as in insert in this issue. Hopefully many of you will find this information useful.

This issue also marks the return of Tom Brissette's Deep Sky column. Make sure to take Tom up on his Deep Sky Challenge before he gets his 15" Obsession Dob.

- John

Back to Capitol Skies Main Page

Back to Madison Astronomical Society's Main Page