Editor’s note: The Sun Spots column that appears from Monday through Friday will be trimmed temporarily to accommodate the Sun Journal’s six-month “Tough People, Smart Money” thrifty cook recipes. Each Saturday, Sun Spots will be expanded to accommodate our readers’ contributions. We hope you enjoy our money-saving recipes. – Judith Meyer, managing editor/days.

Dear Sun Spots: First and most important, your column is the greatest. There is always useful information for day-to-day use. Keep up the good work.

I would like to know, when the world comes to an end on Feb. 17, at which time the television signals go digital, what happens to the radio signal for the TV stations? The early morning news, Today Show and the 5 p.m. WCSH 6 news and weather keep me informed and prepared. As I asked before, will my world come to an end on Feb. 17? Please tell me there is hope and drive time won’t be in silence!

Secondly, please tell me what the extra bright light is early evening low in the western sky. It is super bright and it appears to be an irregular shape. Is it the Space Lab? It would be nice to have a note weekly or monthly about what we are seeing in the night sky. My mother used to tell me the newest, bright star was a recently deceased relative smiling at me from heaven. Now, as I am basically the last and oldest member of my family and after all these years of those “bright stars are my relatives” they are now laughing hysterically at this old fool.

Again, thanks for your great column and your great work. – DFL, Monmouth.

Answer: Sun Spots is glad you asked this question as we also listen to the news on our commute home. WCSH 6 General Manager Steve Thaxton said that after the switch to digital, currently scheduled to be Feb. 17, the 87.7 FM signal will no longer be broadcast. He said this radio signal is actually the audio frequency for the analog channel six signal for all channel sixes in the country. They are working to find a local radio broadcaster to simulcast their newscasts on another frequency and hope to have that substitution before the switch to digital.

In response to your second inquiry, according to NASA, depending on your location, the orbit of the shuttle and station and lighting conditions, you might be able to see the shuttle and space station from the ground. However, it doesn’t sound like that’s what it is; “sightings” often last under one or two minutes.

Members of the Southern Maine Astronomers were also very helpful in answering your inquiry. They believe it is either the planet Venus or Jupiter. They said that Venus, due to its closeness to the sun and the high reflectivity of its atmosphere, becomes very bright as its orbit brings it closer to the Earth. Over several months it will rise higher in the sky at sunset and then lower and then do the same during the morning hours. Jupiter is low in the sky after sunset and sometimes, on clear nights, you can almost see the moons around the planet, making it look “irregular.” They also note that looking through a pair of binoculars will show the Jupiter moons quite clearly. Venus is higher in the sky than Jupiter.

If you’re interested in learning more about the group or what you see in the night sky, feel free to attend a meeting in Cumberland at the Congregational Church in the center of Cumberland, the third Friday of the month or join the group for one of their star parties; the next one is scheduled for Saturday, June 6. Check out their Web site for more information, www.southernmaineastronomers.org.

Dear Sun Spots: We are seeking Lewiston High School classmates for the classes of 1968 and 1969 for our upcoming combined class reunion. We are also in need of help finding and contacting some of our classmates. For more information for the class of 1969, contact Jil Dionne at 998-2043 or Carol (Giasson) White-St Pierre at 784-1635. For information for the class of 1968 contact Connie (Jacques) Chretien at 783-9809. Thank you. – Carol, Auburn.

Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for a relative or anyone who might know a relative of Winfield (Wimpy) Millett, a former race car driver who won the first three championships (1950-1952) at Oxford Plains Speedway. Please contact the Maine Vintage Race Car Assn., 51 Heath Lane, Auburn, ME 04210 or e-mail [email protected] Thank you. – Robert Morris, Auburn.

Dear Sun Spots: My family and I used to enjoy eating at Heartland Restaurant in the Lewiston Mall. On one of our trips there we found that they were closed because they were remodeling. Then, a while later we went there again and were surprised to see a sign that said “space for lease.” Could you please find out what happened to Heartland for me? – Ashley, Lewiston.

Answer: As reported in earlier Sun Spots columns, Heartland Restaurant has closed permanently. Unfortunately, Sun Spots was not able to find out the reason for the closing and we have not received information from the former owners.

Dear Sun Spots: I am an activity director at Auburn Residential Care Center, and I am hoping that you and fellow readers might be able to help us. Auburn Residential Care is a 35-bed facility with a very active clientele.

The residents are interested in and are in need of a couple of computers that they could use to play games on and do some searches on the Internet. We are hoping that maybe some readers may have upgraded their computers over the holiday season and would be willing to donate their old computer to the residents.

I may be reached at 786-0676 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thank you for all your help. – Rita Cote, Activity Director.

This column is for you, our readers. There are two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com or e-mailed to [email protected]

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