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Posts Made By: Howard Knytych

May 29, 2003 02:15 PM Forum: Star Parties

Prineville Star Party

Posted By Howard Knytych

Anybody else going to the Prineville Reservoir Star Party this weekend?

June 2, 2003 04:50 PM Forum: Solar System Observing


Posted By Howard Knytych

I tracked Pluto over 5/31 and 6/1 at 0030 each night, using an 18" f4.5 dob, using a paracorr and a 17mm Nagler at 140x. This was from Prineville Reservoir in Central Oregon. I'd hardcopied a page from Megastar indicating that over the weekend Pluto would pass west just below a little asterism that looks like a tadpole, located 3/4 of a telrad bullseye NE of Sabik in Scorpio. Appearance was yellowish compared to nearby field stars, and (of course) point-like. Had to use averted vision Friday night (Sat morning), but the conditions allowed direct vision at times the following night.

Anyone looking for it can probably find it tonight pretty close to the end of the tail of the tadpole asterism. It was a pretty handy group of six or seven field stars.

August 11, 2003 08:10 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Mars from Willapa Bay

Posted By Howard Knytych

Went camping Friday and Saturday night at Bey Center KOA on Willapa Bay north of Astoria and opposite Long Beach, WA. Weather looked pretty cloudy following a heavy rain we had in Scappoose before we left, and the purpose of the camping trip wasn't to feed my astronomy habit. But I still grabbed
my Chinese 80mm short tube refractor and some lenses "just in case". Friday night on the bay was crummy, with clouds coming in early. I did show the moon, and some double stars to a few friends. Saturday night was pretty clear, however. The KOA had several extremely glaring sodium vapor
streetlights. BUT the seeing was very steady! We started looking at Mars at about 0630 UTM, and it was rock solid. Sooo, I pushed the little refractor to just about its practical limit using a 3mm radian for 160x! Allowing for the obvious chromatic aberration, the image was otherwise very sharp, and surprisingly pleasing. Syris major, with the hook on the end, was quite evident, as was, of course, the south pole. Tried both orange and blue filters, which offered no improvement over the unfiltered image. Finally some high clouds came in, about 0800 UTM, and the show was over for the night.

I may have to start considering one of those 4" APOs!

Howard K

October 29, 2003 10:46 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Aurora Report

Posted By Howard Knytych

Not exactly solar system observing, but spectacular nonetheless:

Last night from about 0730 - 0830 UTM, location, 3 miles west of Scappoose, OR, (NW of Portland), behind the scattered clouds on the horizon was a bright green glow extending from the horizon to approx 30* elevation, in a 120* swath from NW to NE. At the height of the display, it extended nearly from Cygnus to Orion! The display instensified gradually to a dull red above the green, with multiple streamers emanating from 50* - 60* above the horizon that turned yellow-orangish. My wife described the color as "tangerine". The streamer action lasted maybe 5 minutes. Altogether, a thoroughly spectacular display for this location, and doubly appreciated, since we anticipated predicted overcast conditions would preclude seeing anything like this!

Howard Knytych

January 20, 2004 12:24 PM Forum: Religion

Parallels: Homeland Security & KGB

Posted By Howard Knytych


From your perspective as a former resident of the former USSR, what parallels do you see between the Office of Homeland Security and the KGB? Between the PNAC and the Politburo? Between the Fox News Service and Izvestia?

March 5, 2004 09:12 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Cosmic Distance Scales

Posted By Howard Knytych

I'm planning a class + observing session for a group of Civil Air Patrol cadets in June. For the class segment, I thought I'd use something I read within the past year in either S&T or Astronomy. Trouble is, I can't find the article now. I believe it was an editorial, but I'm not certain. The writer started with a distance scale of 1" = 1AU, demonstrated how that's inadequate once you get beyond the solar system, then finally ended up with 1" = 1000 LY, which as I recall made the Milky Way about 10' across and Andromeda nearly a football field length away.

Anybody recall which of these two magazines, and which month and year? I'm pretty certain it was in 2003.

Howard K

April 8, 2004 12:54 PM Forum: Politics

Election Predictions

Posted By Howard Knytych

1) As the Iraqi quagmire lengthens, the body count goea up, and the jobless economic recovery continues, the Bush administration will increase their spin rhetoric even more to put events in a positive light. CNN and Fox will profit greatly by money spent on the heightened media blitz.
2) Despite their efforts, the public will increasingly doubt the administration's credibility, and Bush's poll numbers will go down.
3) The price of gasoline will become the primary single factor negatively affecting public opinion. The public perception of the cause of high prices at the pump will be obscenely high profit margins by large oil companies which support the president.
4) As the election draws near, the administration will resort to pulling rabbits out of hats: Osama will be found. The price of gasoline will go down.
5) But it will be too late -- the poll numbers will continue to fall.
6) A week or so prior to November 6, the Bush administration will consider indefinitely postponing the election "in the interests of national security", based on intelligence of impending terrorist threats.

April 27, 2004 02:02 PM Forum: Politics

Connect the dots

Posted By Howard Knytych

There's been a lot of talk about "connecting the dots" since Condi's testimony before the 9/11 investigation committee. I submit there's another way to connect the dots. Here are some dots, along with a few speculations:

- The Bu$h administration is in thick with the Saudi royal family.
- Prince Bandar, a foreign national, knew of the Iraqi war plans even prior to cabinet member Colin Powell, a retired 4 star general.
- The Saudis are not really our friends and allies as the administration would have us believe they are.
- Family ties are very strong among Islamic people
- Immediately after 9/11, Saudis in the US, including 24 members of the Ben Laden family, were allowed to fly out of the country without being interrogated by law enforecement officials, at a time when all air traffic was grounded.
- Prior to the 9/11 attack, the administration ignored terrorist threats from Al-Queda.
- During the 9/11 attack, GWB was out of harm's way in a 2nd grade class, while Cheney was also safe in an "undisclosed location".
- NORAD had plans for dealing with airliners that deviate from flight plans, but those plans were not implemented on 9/11.
- During the invasion of Afganistan following 9/11, about the time the net was drawing in on OBL, $700 million of the money allocated by Congress was illegally diverted from Afganistan to Iraq.

- Osama is not really a pariah in the Ben Laden family.
- Al-Queda is an operation arm of the Saudi ruling family.
- Acquiring Iraqi oil and "finishing the job in Iraq" are higher priorities than catching OBL and the war on terrorism.
- OBL will be captured when it's politically convenient.
- Prior to 9/11, the administration knew an attack was imminent. There may be more here.
- The attack on the WTC succeeded beyond anyone's wildest imagination. (A light WWII bomber crashed into the Empire State Building 60 or 70 years ago, so the example was there. Perhaps they don't build skyscrapers like they used to. But then, that was only an unarmed light bomber).
- Planning and support for Al-Queda's terrorist activities is not limited to Al-Queda.

You connect the dots.

May 6, 2004 04:06 PM Forum: Politics

It's Logical: Fire Rumsfeld or Impeach Bush

Posted By Howard Knytych

The fact cannot be denied that higher-ups were not providing oversight for the six reservist grunts who tortured Iraqi captives. This has been going on for months, on Rumsfeld's watch. Last I've heard, he considers the Geneva convention out of date and irrelevant with regard to Iraqi prisoners, which is gross equivocation. He is accountable for doing nothing.

* If he was truly ignorant of what was going on, he is incompetent and needs to be canned.
* If he knew what was going on and chose not to report it to Cheney and Bush, he is derilect in his duty and should be canned.
* If he knew and reported it to Cheney and Bush, then BUSH should be impeached.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the GOP Congress to take action, although you may need to hold your breath to avoid the rotten smell.

July 14, 2004 12:04 PM Forum: Politics

Presidential Insults

Posted By Howard Knytych

I just heard a teenage caller to Al Franken (yes, LIBERAL radio, and what about it?) report that he and two of his activist friends attended a rally where the president appeared. They were holding signs contrary to his policies (sorry, I didn't get the details on what the signs read or the policy they were protesting). The caller reported that Bush flipped them off. Surely being flipped off by the President of the United States is a memory they will have for the rest of their lives.

My question: If it be true, is this presidential demeanor? Is this impulsive? What does an obscene insult directed toward kids say about the character of the man? And please, rightees, don't respond with a rehash of the Clinton/Monica show. We need to evaluate THIS president's fitness for re-election, not cloud the issue with a diversion to the LAST president. And it's not Bush bashing, hate, or unpatiotic if it's FACT. We need to wake up and evaluate this guy's personality realistically, not through the fog of patriotic idealism and slogans.