Thursday, November 03, 2005

That time of the atlases

This is the time of the year where printed things labeled 2006 begin to appear. My wife is a regular with updating her Zagat guides, and I with my astronomy almanacs. The information within is easily found on the Internet, and can be more accessible than the books. That really doesn't matter for me because I'm the faithful consumer to books and brands that I like:

Guy Ottewell's Astronomical Almanac
RASC Observer's Handbook (OH)

At first glance, it doesn't appear that much changes signifcantly from year to year except the monthly events and empherides. But I find enough nuggets of changes that justify the expense of say an expensive magazine. This annual collecting marks the years of my interest and records events from scribbled notes in the OH. And so is the same for Junko whose Zagats go back much farther.

Meeting up with John Pazmino to pickup my new issue of OH is an event that I look forward to each year. Like last year, we met at the New York Public Library on 5th &42nd. We work not far from one another, so meeting from time to time should not be any inconvenience but so far it has been year to year with these one-on-ones. On these occasions, we sit outside on the chairs and chat of things astro and non-astro. After we part company, I wonder why we don't meet more often since I always leave with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Just a call or email away.

John holds a little celebrity~ism for me. Stock 23, an open cluster in Camelopardalis, is a.k.a. Pazmno's Cluster. It turns out he submitted a letter to Sky & Telescope (March 1978), Scotty Houston's column about finding this cluster. Apparently, Stock 23 was unknown to many so it took a while before (if I remember the story) a man from South America pointed out this object's original catalog name. So John's 'discovery' bagged him a name during this interval. It wasn't long ago where I showed this off to the public and described its significance as named after a New York amateur, It drives home the point that one can see the stars, in more ways than one, in New York City.