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NAAPO (North American
AstroPhysical Observatory)

"NAAPO News"
Volume 2 Number 10
(February 27, 1987)

NAAPO Coordinator -- Philip E. Barnhart, Department of Physics/Astronomy
Editorial Intern -- Beth Helwig; Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio 43081


From time to time important news reaches us over the electronic mail system. Often this news is not particularly pleasant nor good. This week, however, the following message was transmitted on the RADOBS Bulletin Board and I feel it should be reprinted in NAAPOnews in its entirety.


"The Delaware County Zoning Commission unanimously rejected the request from WRFD to rezone the land they wanted to use for moving their transmitting antenna. This means that WRFD will have to either stay where they are or find some another spot and try again.

"Local residents presented a petition with 286 signatures opposing the rezoning. Other opposition was from the Fire Dept and the Water Dept, both fearing radio interference. The Telephone Co. testified that interference might occur to telephones, and that it would be the responsibility of the residents to pay for any filters needed. I testified about the RO problem. The opposition was overwhelming. I suspected and had it confirmed later that the WRFD people had given up even before the meeting, and they made only a perfunctory presentation, and did not attempt to rebut any of the opposing testimony.

"The WRFD people did still persist in what I regard as an intimidation tactic. They bring in a court reporter who sits in front of the room and records all the testimony, even though the Zoning Commission secretary does this already. The WRFD recorder often asked loudly that people repeat their names for her. Their attorney wanted all those who testified to be sworn in, but he was over-ruled by the Chairman, who said their legal counsel says that is not necessary. These tactics tend to worry people who would testify, as they fear possible future retaliation or lawsuit.

"One thing we should take as very heartening is that several others spoke about the importance of protecting Big Ear, even before I got up to speak. And after the meeting, several people came up to me and said they were very glad we were on their side.

"I believe there is great local support for the R0.

        Bob Dixon"

On Thursday 19 Feb. Marc Abel and Phil Barnhart were enticed to Lancaster's Fluidtronics plant to inventory a supply of potentially excess electronics material. Carol Abbott of the Fluidtronics staff (and NAAPO) saw to it that they got in and had a tour of the facility before getting their hands dirty. She also treated them to the company dinner package, from which both counters in residence are still recovering. The diagnosis was thought originally to be 'terminal flatulence.'

A report of the status of the inventory and possible deal will have to await some high level cogitation on the part of the CEO and Board of Directors. We are patient.

21 FEB 1987

Those present at the meeting were: Dixon, Mitchell, Bolinger, Huck, Jensen, Abbott, Mikesell, Abel and Barnhart.

General Reports: In addition to the fire alarm, there were two false alarms transmitted to the Teamgarde Security Co. during the past month. The technicians came out and shortened the alarm system antenna and replaced the batteries. We seem now to be generally alarm quiet.

Huck removed the "hot" power supply that set off the smoke detector to try to find if it is an internal glitch or if the bug is somewhere else that caused the insulation to burn. A report is expected within a week or two.

The decision was made to boost the cart drive motor back up to the top of the priority list to try to have it operating by the next working session. Mikesell is taking this directive under advisement.

The fence is still not complete. Some talk was being bandied about in connection with the legal status of a barbed wire fence where people are involved. No mention of the inhumane vandal as a target for fence scratches.

The Horn Cart Project is off and running. Word has been received from Dwight Beery at Manchester College that he will be here 7 March with 7 students. It's a good thing he didn't plan to come the 31st with 31 students! The specific requirements of the cart control and movement mechanisms and circuits are now assembled and ready for implementation.

It was suggested to formally invite Herb James to coordinate the grounds and maintenance task. A list of potential tasks is included in this issue of NAAPOnews. Some members at the meeting quickly volunteered to jump in and assist in the jobs as they become scheduled.

The next meeting will consist of an abbreviated business meeting followed by a general survey of the maintenance jobs to be done and the digging in and doing of some of them. At the same time, the Cart Project will be spelled out for the visiting team members,

Following the meeting and a luncheon, visitors will be treated to the cook's tour of Perkins Observatory, the OSU Physics Department and the Dreese Lab Radio Observatory Office/Lab.

7 March 1987; 10-11 AM


1. Time Frame for Observation start-up
2. Task Priorities for the Spring Months


According to a National Optical Astronomy Observatories news release dated January 1987, among the 50 nearest stars, six show signs of circumstellar dust clouds that may be linked to the existence of planets, Although these should be stressed as "candidates and not definite discoveries of new circumstellar particle clouds", any search for nearby planetary systems should start with these stars.

Ross 128, a single M-dwarf 3.4 parsecs away. This star lies out of the galactic plane and is the best new case for infrared emissions from circumstellar particles.

61 Cygni, a binary system whose companions are separated by about 100 astronomical units.

Tau Ceti, a single G-dwarf 3.6 parsecs away, already a subject of Project Ozma, seems to have a dust shell.

Epsilon Eridani, Sirius and BD+43 4305 all show evidence of possible dust cloud involvement. Of the six only epsilon Eridani had an already identified dust cloud around it.

Sackman, Gillett and Low are planning to extend their IR excess measurement program to 20 parsecs to extend their catalog of 60 and 100 micron excess stars to a greater volume of the solar neighborhood.


I was not really shocked that no one mentioned that there was no Coordinator's Corner in the last NAAPOnews. I guess I did not really miss it myself. For those who wonder why there is one this time, I have a rather weak answer. I need one this time to explain why there was none last time. I know it does not make sense, but it does allow me to get a :ouple of things off my mind and you are a captive audience.

For the past month or so I have been troubled with an abcessed tooth. I did not know this was the trouble (at least my aversion to the chamber of horrors known as the 'dentist's office' allowed me to rationalize it away as being a fractured jaw obtained while brushing my teeth a bit too vigorously). I finally broke down and went to see my favorite practioner of the art of torture the day after returning from Kent State 29 January. I had difficulty eating their delightful lunch, although my ability to talk was not at all impaired.

My dentist recorded the upper and lower mandibles with his Roentgen Ray machine and pronounced the teeth in good shape, only the possibility that two of them were coming together before I was getting my mouth fully closed. He proceeded to grind away part of a $700 crown he had put in some years ago (easy come easy go) and by the end of the week the pain was GONE.

During the week following the 7 Feb working session the pain returned. By Friday I was again in the throes of jaw pain and swollen head parts. Diagnosis this time was a split tooth, which had been split for some weeks, apparently. Then it was off to the Chamber of Extractions where they have the unmitigated gall to inflict 15 minutes of struggle, battery and mayhem upon your anesthetized face and then hand you a bill for the job.

I fear that for the past several weeks I have been a real managerial grouch and things that I would have gladly and cheerfully done have been allowed to slide and what I did do was with a frown and a "Grump". Until I crack another tooth I will try to be close to my usual civil self.

Next issue, I will try to convey somewhat more cheerful tidings in this corner. Until that time you will have to take my grouching with grain of sand -- my surgical torture team has me off salt!


On 18 February NAAPO Coor. Barnhart spoke about Big Ear and NAAPO at the regular luncheon meeting of the Upper Arlington Chamber of Commerce. Since it was held at Da Vinci's Restaurant the temptation to speak on 17th Century Italian Astronomy was almost too much to overcome.

The audience was politely quiet and the only person to walk out did so before the speaker opened his mouth. Considerable interest was expressed in the work of the observatory and the possible outreach to the community implied in our education program. There was also considerable surprise that the fore-runner of Big Ear was assembled on the west side of Kenny Road, a part of Upper Arlington. There was great amusement over the contention that using the observing shed as a compost pile by the agriculture types might have something to do with relocation of the observatory to a more friendly site, such as the Perkins Hog Farm south of Delaware.

Both Dick Helwig and Bill and Jane Mook, were in attendance. They held conversation with C of C members during lunch (and probably during the talk as well). Some interesting ideas are beginning to hatch out of those conversations. Most notable is the suggestion that at future meetings of this sort it would be very profitable to have six or seven NAAPO representatives there to place one at each table during the meal to discuss the radio observatory and its mission quite apart from the formal presentation. Assurance has been forthcoming that this was not a reflection on the quality of the address, just an observation made during the lunch discussion. Even if we had to pay for to extra meals it would be a big bonus.


For months there has been agitation to get with the cleaning jobs around the radio observatory. We are finally getting organized with a plan in mind.

New Volunteer Herb James has agreed to take on the job of coordinating the various clean-up tasks. All volunteers showing up for the working sessions have hereby tendered their offer to pitch in as part of the Saturday morning session.

A long list of tasks has accumulated over the months and will be attacked in appropriate order as dictated by timing, weather and availability of supplies. Those having tools or specialty supplies are encouraged to bring them or make known their availability. From time to time we may request certain items be donated by business friends of he observatory.

The following task list represents the kinds of things you may volunteer to assist in carrying out:

Wash windows
Repair awnings
Paint buildings
Trim trees
Clean up branches, trash etc. from grounds
Replace light bulbs
Repair automatic switches
Do maintenance on outdoor security lights
Check all heaters for proper operation and repair as needed
Fix truck, paint, etc.
Paint crane (preventative maintenance)
Clean up garage parking lot
Clean up garage interior
Clean up office building interior (needs careful monitoring)
Clean up pod and trailer interiors
Fix holes in pod and trailer to keep out rain and critters
Paint telescope back structure (at least the west end of flat)
Clean and trim along all sidewalks
Apply Lewis herbicide to heavy weed and bramble growth

Herb will be looking for suggestions and offers to help so be ready to answer the call for an hour or so whenever you can make it to the radio observatory.

HERB JAMES PHONE: (614) 363 - 4337



Andy was director of publications here at Otterbein and had become a strong friend and supporter of NAAPO. In the fall he researched and wrote a fine article about Big Ear and the Otterbein connection for the 'Otterbein Towers', our alumni magazine. His interest in the project and the concept of a volunteer scientific and educational institution led him to plan a number of follow-up articles and news releases.

His interest was so stimulated that he chose to sign up for my evening class in astronomy this term. Andy's passing is a deep loss to NAAPO and Otterbein.

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