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CFAS is the Central FL Astronomical Society - SAS Florida Tech
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1  General Category / Meeting / Star Parties / Other Events / Sept 4th Apollo Moon Party - BCC P&O on: August 10, 2009, 01:28:32 PM
SAS/FIT Students are invited to the Sept.4th Apollo Moon Party! SAS, along with MAS and BAS will observe all 6 Apollo Landing Sites via member scopes + the BCC 24" scope. Observing will take place immediately following the NEW Space and Astronomy Public Lecture Series.

Date: Sept 4th '09
Set up Time: 7:30pm
Moon Party: 8:30-10:30
Location: BCC Cocoa P&O 3rd Floor, Upper Deck
Who will be there: BAS/MAS, local Space Industry Professionals
Dress: to impress / semi-formal
What to bring: scope if possible, binos, friends
Directions to BCC P&O from FIT: 33mi/40mins apx.
Website for Lecture Series:
Refreshments will be provided
2  General Category / Meeting / Star Parties / Other Events / Contact for info on: July 31, 2009, 04:30:11 PM
Point of Contact:

Ron Netzley  MAS
Tricia Smedley  MAS/BAS
3  General Category / Meeting / Star Parties / Other Events / Directions: FIT to Barrier Island Star Party via Google Maps on: July 31, 2009, 04:27:19 PM

4  General Category / Meeting / Star Parties / Other Events / Contact for info on: July 31, 2009, 04:22:10 PM
Points of Contact:

Dave Guilbert MAS/BAS
Tricia Smedley MAS/BAS
5  General Category / Meeting / Star Parties / Other Events / Directions: FIT to Erna Nixon via Google Maps on: July 31, 2009, 04:19:40 PM
6  News Updates / News / Updates / Re: NASA Review Committee to Hold Public Meeting on July 30 in Cocoa Beach on: July 31, 2009, 04:07:28 PM
I went to this meeting, and one thing I can say for sure is this, save for Bill Nelson, the politicians involved with this committee have NO idea what is going on. The actual scientists on this committee do though, so one of the tasks lies in getting these politicians to understand the scope of the plans laid out in the findings of the committee, as to get more funding, interest, etc.

So far from what I gather what they want to do is this: build for Mars, focus on Mars, put most money on Mars, and then TEST on Moon. The ISS might get the shaft, but realistically it has to happen. We would send out a few sorties to moon, then off to Mars. Obviously it is more complicated, and involved, but it seems that we will not be building anything permanent on the moon anytime soon. The time frame is all skewed because the realistic funding numbers are as unknown as the outcome of Schrodinger's cat. More on this to follow.
7  News Updates / News / Updates / NASA Review Committee info on: July 31, 2009, 03:53:51 PM
NASA website for Review of US Human Spaceflight Plans Committee:

MP3 of League City,TX Meeting#1:

Vid of Washington, DC Meeting#2:

Flickr Page for Huntsville,AL Meeting#3:

Transcript of Cocoa Beach,FL Meeting#4 via FLT:

Economist article:

Facebook Page:

8  News Updates / News / Updates / Re: NASA Review Committee to Hold Public Meeting on July 30 in Cocoa Beach on: July 31, 2009, 03:47:03 PM
Human Space Flight Review Committee Announces Meeting Agendas:

The Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee will hold public meetings July 28, 29, 30, Aug. 5 and 12. The meetings are open to news media representatives. No registration is required, but seating is limited to the location's capacity. Agenda times are approximate and subject to change.

The first meeting will be July 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd. in League City, Texas.
The agenda is:
10 a.m.:     Committee chairman Norm Augustine opening remarks
10:30 a.m.:     Mike Coats, director, NASA's Johnson Space Center
11 a.m.:     Congressional perspective (presenters TBD)
Noon:     Lunch break
12:30 p.m.:     NASA Constellation projects managed at Johnson
1:30 p.m.:     International Space Station/space shuttle subgroup (Sally Ride, moderator)
3:30 - 4: p.m.:     Public comment period

The second session will be July 29 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT at the Davidson/U.S. Space and Rocket Center, 1 Tranquility Base, in Huntsville, Ala.
The agenda is:
8 a.m.:     Robert Lightfoot, director, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
8:30 a.m.:     Low Earth Orbit Access subgroup briefing (Bo Bejmuk, moderator)
10 a.m.:     NASA Constellation projects managed at Marshall
11a.m.:     Congressional perspective (presenters TBD)
Noon:     Lunch break
1 p.m.:     NASA Constellation projects continued
2 p.m.:     Integration subgroup briefing (Lester Lyles, moderator)
3:30 - 4 p.m.:      Public comment period

The third public session will be July 30 from 8 a.m
. to 4 p.m. EDT at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Grand Ballroom, 1550 North Atlantic Ave., in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

The agenda is:
8 a.m.:      Bob Cabana, director, NASA's Kennedy Space Center
8:30 a.m.:      Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit subgroup (Ed Crawley, moderator)
11 a.m.:      Congressional perspective (presenters TBD)

Noon:      Lunch break
1 p.m.:      NASA Constellation projects managed at Kennedy
2:30 p.m.:      Public comment period
3 - 4 p.m.:      Committee public deliberations

Following each meeting, committee chairman Norman Augustine will be available to answer questions from reporters. NASA Television will carry the meetings and news conferences live on the agency's media channel. The events also can be viewed on NASA's Web site.

The committee is planning two public meetings in Washington on Aug. 5 and 12. The Aug. 5 meeting is planned from 8 a.m. to noon EDT at the Carnegie Institution for Science, 1530 P St. NW.

The Aug. 12 session is expected to be the committee's final public meeting. It is planned from 1 to 5 p.m. EDT at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Agendas will be released when finalized.

To watch the events online, select the NASA TV media channel at:

Viewers also can watch and participate in the meeting online via Ustream at:

For committee information, agendas, charter, biographies and schedules, visit:

For information about NASA and agency activities, visit:

9  Theories about the Universe / Theories about the universe / Michio Kaku vid on Multiverse on: July 29, 2009, 07:08:15 PM

Michio Kaku speaks about multiverse and parallel universes in 2005 on BBC.
10  Pictures / Airplanes / Janet planes+transformers+sphinx=wierd on: July 29, 2009, 07:04:56 PM
This is a pic from the Las Vegas Airport. In the background is the Luxor hotel, in the foreground are "Janet planes" these planes supposedly take workers to and from work out at "Area 51".
11  Deep Space Objects / Stars / Wow!Sharpest views of Betelgeuse reveal how supergiant stars lose mass on: July 29, 2009, 06:59:10 PM

(ESO) – Using different state-of-the-art techniques on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, two independent teams of astronomers have obtained the sharpest ever views of the supergiant star Betelgeuse. They show that the star has a vast plume of gas almost as large as our Solar System and a gigantic bubble boiling on its surface. These discoveries provide important clues to help explain how these mammoths shed material at such a tremendous rate.

Betelgeuse — the second brightest star in the constellation of Orion (the Hunter) — is a red supergiant, one of the biggest stars known, and almost 1000 times larger than our Sun. It is also one of the most luminous stars known, emitting more light than 100 000 Suns. Such extreme properties foretell the demise of a short-lived stellar king. With an age of only a few million years, Betelgeuse is already nearing the end of its life and is soon doomed to explode as a supernova. When it does, the supernova should be seen easily from Earth, even in broad daylight.

Red supergiants still hold several unsolved mysteries. One of them is just how these behemoths shed such tremendous quantities of material — about the mass of the Sun — in only 10 000 years. Two teams of astronomers have used ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the most advanced technologies to take a closer look at the gigantic star. Their combined work suggests that an answer to the long-open mass-loss question may well be at hand.

The first team used the adaptive optics instrument, NACO, combined with a so-called “lucky imaging” technique, to obtain the sharpest ever image of Betelgeuse, even with Earth’s turbulent, image-distorting atmosphere in the way. With lucky imaging, only the very sharpest exposures are chosen and then combined to form an image much sharper than a single, longer exposure would be.

The resulting NACO images almost reach the theoretical limit of sharpness attainable for an 8-metre telescope. The resolution is as fine as 37 milliarcseconds, which is roughly the size of a tennis ball on the International Space Station (ISS), as seen from the ground.

“Thanks to these outstanding images, we have detected a large plume of gas extending into space from the surface of Betelgeuse,” says Pierre Kervella from the Paris Observatory, who led the team. The plume extends to at least six times the diameter of the star, corresponding to the distance between the Sun and Neptune.

“This is a clear indication that the whole outer shell of the star is not shedding matter evenly in all directions,” adds Kervella. Two mechanisms could explain this asymmetry. One assumes that the mass loss occurs above the polar caps of the giant star, possibly because of its rotation. The other possibility is that such a plume is generated above large-scale gas motions inside the star, known as convection — similar to the circulation of water heated in a pot.

To arrive at a solution, astronomers needed to probe the behemoth in still finer detail. To do this Keiichi Ohnaka from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, and his colleagues used interferometry. With the AMBER instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer, which combines the light from three 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes of the VLT, the astronomers obtained observations as sharp as those of a giant, virtual 48-metre telescope. With such superb resolution, the astronomers were able to detect indirectly details four times finer still than the amazing NACO images had already allowed (in other words, the size of a marble on the ISS, as seen from the ground).

“Our AMBER observations are the sharpest observations of any kind ever made of Betelgeuse. Moreover, we detected how the gas is moving in different areas of Betelgeuse’s surface ― the first time this has been done for a star other than the Sun”, says Ohnaka.

The AMBER observations revealed that the gas in Betelgeuse’s atmosphere is moving vigorously up and down, and that these bubbles are as large as the supergiant star itself. Their unrivalled observations have led the astronomers to propose that these large-scale gas motions roiling under Betelgeuse’s red surface are behind the ejection of the massive plume into space.


If Betelgeuse were at the centre of our Solar System it would extend out almost to the orbit of Jupiter, engulfing Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and the main asteroid belt.
12  Pictures / Space Vehicles / ISS silhouetted against the Sun on: July 29, 2009, 06:47:21 PM
ISS silhouetted against the Sun. See the attached picture
13  General Category / Meeting / Star Parties / Other Events / Upcoming Astronomical Meetings on: July 29, 2009, 09:26:09 AM
Melbourne Astronomical Society
MAS meets the 4th Fri of every month at 6:30p on the 2nd Floor PSS Bldg.
Next Meeting: Fri Aug 28th 6:30pm
Location: FIT- 2nd floor PSS Conference rm. across from elevator
Distance from FIT: 0.8m
Topic: SAS involvement, upcoming star parties, amateur astrophotography, MAS logo, MAS banner,etc
Door Prize: last month they gave away a copy scope, so you never know
President: Ron Netzley
Contact: Ron Netzley

Brevard Astronomical Society
BAS meets the 3rd Wed of every month at 7p at the BCC Cocoa P&O
Next Meeting: Wed Aug 19th 7:00pm
Location: BCC Cocoa Planetarium & Observatory
Distance from FIT:40mins 33.9mi Map-
Lecturer: Harry Taylor
Topic: Climate Change (or the lack thereof rather)
President: Tricia Smedley
Contact: Tricia Smedley

14  General Category / Meeting / Star Parties / Other Events / Upcoming Star Parties on: July 29, 2009, 09:13:34 AM
Upcoming Local Star Parties

Calendar has been updated with these dates:

Sat. November 14 2009
Sat. December 5 2009

MAS is the Melbourne Astronomical Society
BAS is the Brevard Astronomical Society
CFAS is the Central FL Astronomical Society
15  Theories about the Universe / Time Travel / John Titor on: July 29, 2009, 08:35:11 AM
Titor is an interesting story (albeit one I do not believe). He claims to be a "time traveler"..... as impossible as it sounds, he claims he is from 2036!

From Wikipedia:

John Titor is the name used on several bulletin boards during 2000 and 2001 by a poster claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. In these posts he made numerous predictions (a number of them vague, some quite specific[1]) about events in the near future, starting with events in 2004. He described a drastically changed future in which the United States had broken into five smaller regions, the environment and infrastructure had been devastated by a nuclear attack, and most other world powers had been destroyed.

To date, the story has been retold on numerous web sites, in a book, and in a play. He has also been discussed occasionally on the radio show Coast to Coast AM.[2] In this respect, the Titor story may be unique in terms of broad appeal from an originally limited medium, an Internet discussion board.

Titor's posts

The first post appeared on the Time Travel Institute forums on November 2, 2000, under the name TimeTravel_0. At the time the posts had nothing to do with future events and the name "John Titor" was not being used. Instead, the posts discussed time travel in general, the first one being the "six parts" description of what a time machine would need to have to work (see below) and responses to questions about how such a machine would work. Early messages tended to be short.

Soon after, TimeTravel_0 claimed to be a time traveler from the future and began posting varying descriptions of his time. Gradually he began answering questions posted in the forum and started to reveal a more complex picture of the future. Although most of his posts concerned the condition of the world in the future, Titor also responded to questions both in the forums and in IRC,[3] and sometimes posted images purporting to be of the time travel device or its manual. He also sometimes talked about more current events; for instance, in an early post he stated that "The breakthrough that will allow for [time travel] technology will occur within a year or so [2001] when CERN brings their larger facility online".[4]

The name "John Titor" was not introduced until January 2001, when TimeTravel_0 began posting at the Art Bell BBS Forums (which required a name or pseudonym for every account). The Titor posts ended in late March 2001. Eventually, a number of the threads became corrupted; but Titor's posts had been saved on subscribers' hard drives and were copied to, along with new discussions of the science behind Titor's time travelling as well as his predictions.[5] Around 2003, various websites reproduced Titor's posts, re-arranging them into narratives. Not all refer to the original dates posted.[6]

[edit] Outline

In his online postings, Titor claimed to be an American soldier from the year 2036, based in Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida, who was assigned to a governmental time-travel project. Purportedly, Titor had been sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer which he said was needed to "debug" various legacy computer programs in 2036; a reference to the UNIX 2038 timeout error. The 5100 runs the APL and BASIC programming languages. Titor had been selected for this mission specifically, given that his paternal grandfather was directly involved with the assembly and programming of the 5100.

Titor claimed to be on a stopover in the year 2000 for "personal reasons"; i.e., to collect pictures lost in the (future) civil war and to visit his family, of whom he spoke often. Titor also said he had been, for a few months, trying to alert anyone that would listen about the threat of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease spread through beef products and about the possibility of civil war within the United States. When questioned about them by an online subscriber, Titor also expressed an interest in unexplained mysteries such as UFOs (which in his time were still as yet unexplained). Titor suggested that UFOs and alien visitors may well be time travelers from much further into the future than his own time, who possessed superior time machines to his own.

[edit] Time machine

Titor described the time machine on several occasions. In an early post, he described it as a "stationary mass, temporal displacement unit powered by two top-spin, dual positive singularities", producing a "standard off-set Tipler sinusoid". The earliest post was more explicit, saying it contained:

    * Two magnetic housing units for the dual micro singularities
    * An electron injection manifold to alter mass and gravity micro singularities
    * A cooling and X-ray venting system
    * Gravity sensors, or a variable gravity lock
    * Four main caesium clocks
    * Three main computer units

According to the posts, the device was installed in the rear of a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible and later moved to a 1987 truck having four-wheel drive.

Titor further claimed that the "Everett-Wheeler model of quantum physics" was correct. This model, better known as the many-worlds interpretation, posits that every possible outcome of a quantum decision actually occurs in a separate "universe". Titor stated that this was the reason the grandfather paradox would not occur; following the logic of the argument, Titor would be killing a different John Titor's grandfather in a timeline other than his own.

    "...The grandfather paradox is impossible. In fact, all paradox is impossible. The Everett-Wheeler-Graham or multiple world theory is correct. All possible quantum states, events, possibilities, and outcomes are real, eventual, and occurring. The chances of everything happening someplace at sometime in the superverse is 100%."[7]

[edit] Predictions

The most immediate of Titor's predictions was of an upcoming civil war in the United States having to do with "order and rights".[8] He described it as beginning in 2004,[9] with civil unrest surrounding the United States presidential election, 2004. This civil conflict that he characterizes as "having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets worse"[9] will be "pretty much at everyone's doorstep"[8] and erupts by 2008.

Titor claimed that as a 13-year old, in 2011, he fought with the "Fighting Diamondbacks", a shotgun infantry unit of Florida, for at least four years. However, in other posts he describes himself as hiding from the war. As a result of the war, the United States splits into five regions based on various factors and differing military objectives. This civil war, according to Titor, will then end in 2015 with a brief, but intense, World War III:

    "In 2015, Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States (which is the "other side" of the civil war from my perspective), China, and Europe. The United States counter attacks. The US cities are destroyed along with the AFE (American Federal Empire)...thus we (in the country) won. The European Union and China were also destroyed.[10]

Titor refers to the exchange as "N Day". Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, Florida are specifically mentioned as being hit. After the war, Omaha, Nebraska is the nation's new capital city.

Titor is vague as to the exact motivations and causes for World War III. At one point he characterized hostilities as being led by "border clashes and overpopulation"[11] but also points to the present conflict between Arabs and Jews as a harbinger of World War III:

[edit] Examination of the claims

[edit] Predictive failures

The posts were met with skepticism when they were being posted, but it was impossible to prove beforehand that they would not happen. Because Titor claimed the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics was correct, effectively meaning that his travel was from a parallel universe and that things could occur differently than he had predicted, his claims were unfalsifiable.

One of Titor's earliest claims was that CERN would discover the basis for time travel sometime around 2001, with the creation of miniature black holes about half a year after his departure. This event did not occur. An article occurring generally around the time he had predicted about miniature black holes being created by CERN (a recurring theme, also ascribed to Fermilab and Brookhaven at various times[12]) was taken by some to be evidence of this claim; but these events did not occur either. Civil war was not even remotely close to breaking out after the 2004 presidential election, with no further conflict in 2008 in the way Titor described.

A particularly obvious example involves the Olympics, whereof Titor claimed: "As a result of the many conflicts, no, there were no official Olympics after 2004."[13] The uneventful staging of the 2006 Winter Olympics refutes this claim; however, there were arguments as to whether or not Titor was referring exclusively to the Summer Olympics.[14] Though the successful realization of the 2008 Summer Olympics clearly refutes Titor's prediction, the website points to some of the controversies of the opening ceremonies, such as Lin Miaoke lip-synching and fireworks being computer simulated as suggestive that the entire Olympics were faked.

[edit] Problems with the technology

In the context of the demonstration image provided by John Titor, the laser pointer's beam being "bent" reveals the obvious inconsistency of objects near the beam not appearing to be bent as well. The framing of the window visible in the background, for instance, should appear distorted in proximity to a large gravity gradient, but it does not. Some have speculated the "beam" is an optical fiber.[15]

Titor claimed that he was sent back to obtain an IBM 5100 because it could translate several types of computer code. According to IBM engineer Bob Dubke, Titor's statements regarding the IBM 5100's little-known ability to emulate and debug mainframe systems were correct [16]. Supporters state that this information was not publicly available in 2000 or 2001 when Titor made his declaration,[17] and Titor himself stated that this feature was "discovered" as late as 2036 when Unix, as the underlying source behind all computer operating systems still running local infrastructures and other computational tasks, was only two years away from not being capable to function anymore due to 32-bit integer limitations (see Year 2038 problem).[18]

However, this emulation capability was widely known in the industry and commented on in depth in numerous publications dealing with both the 5100 and programmable microcode in general.[19] References to this fact were also available on the Internet as early as 1999 and therefore predated Titor's postings. This is a fairly obscure bit of trivia, however, which suggests that whoever was making the posts either was familiar with the machine specifically or else had at least a general interest in retrocomputing.[20]

    "Apparently, APL was a difficult task for IBM to accomplish with an interpreter in the 5100, so instead they wrote an emulation program so that the S/360 mainframe version of APL could be run instead -- The 5100 is like a desktop IBM S/360 mainframe computer which only runs APL."[21]

[edit] Problems with the story

Numerous commentators have pointed out the broad similarities between the Titor story and Pat Frank's classic post-apocalyptic science fiction novel Alas, Babylon.[22] Alas, Babylon takes place in a small town in Florida just before and after a nuclear war and describes the struggle to survive as a family in the aftermath. In the book, the protagonist lives in the mythical town of "Fort Repose", while Titor claimed to live in the "Fort", formerly the University of Florida (UF). An examination of the claims also suggests several inconsistencies within the story. For instance, in some posts Titor claims that money is widely used and people still have credit cards, despite his statement that centralized banking no longer exists (though that of course would not exclude the possibilitiy of private currencies being used). In another posting he speculated that today's dollar would be usable in his time, but that this would be after the reorganization of the federal government according to his own history, potentially making the currency worthless.[23] In most cases, he claims to have been given his basic education at UF, but in another post claims to be home-schooled [24].

Other problems with the story include inconsistencies relative to Titor's comments. His first appearance appears to have been, not in 2000, but in the summer of 1998 through two faxes to Art Bell's radio program Coast to Coast AM. When he began posting the online story Y2k (1-1-2000) had come and gone without any real problems. Yet in the 1998 faxes to Art Bell he said, "Y2K is a disaster. Many people freeze to death trying to get to warmer weather. The gov. tries to keep power by instituting marshall [sic] law..." [25]

In the online story he stated that a part of his mission was to prevent the coming world war by changing history. Yet during October 2000, a month before he began posting, he appeared in a UK IRC chatroom. In the chat log his response to Yariesa's question asking if we could change the future that he was predicting he answered, "It's too late. I just wish things didn't have to happen they way they will." [26]

[edit] Inquiry on the story

An Italian TV program (Voyager - Ai confini della conoscenza) aired an investigation of the John Titor story on May 19, 2008.[27] Mike Lynch, the private detective hired to investigate, found that there were no registry traces, even far in the past, of any John Titor or Titor family. In addition, the John Titor Foundation had no office and its address is a rented post box; no tapes, recordings, or evidence of Titor were found; and only Larry Haber (an advocate and owner of the commercial rights about all concerns involving John Titor) confirmed his existence. Lynch's conclusion is that John Titor may be John Rick Haber, a computer expert who is or was Larry Haber's brother.

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