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Minutes from the September 2012 Monthly Meeting

What a great meeting and observing session we had this month!  Our September meeting started off with a fascinating program presented by special guest speaker Dr. Tony Hall, the chairperson of the UALR Physics and Astronomy Department.  His program was on gamma ray astronomy.  Gamma-rays are created by celestial events such as supernova explosions, destruction of positrons, creation of black holes, and even the decay of radioactive material (gamma decay) in space.  (Thanks to Jim Dixon, the CAAS webmaster, for this explanation from the CAAS  website.)  Dr. Hall explained the capabilities of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and ground based observatories.  The ground based observatories observe the light from the shower of subatomic particles sent flying by gamma rays striking the earth’s upper atmosphere.  He explained that a cosmic ray is usually a proton travelling at extremely high speed through space.  A gamma ray is a very short wavelength, very high energy photon.  Both cosmic rays and gamma rays create a shower of subatomic particles when they strike the upper atmosphere. Dr. Hall explained how the ground based gamma ray telescopes can tell the difference between a cosmic ray strike and a gamma ray strike.

Bruce McMath presented the constellation of the month.  The constellation this month was Cygnus.  He started his talk with some comments on how human knowledge of what stars are has progressed over centuries from nothing to the detailed knowledge we have now.  The remainder of his talk covered the stars and deep space objects of Cygnus.

After the meeting, the sky was clear and the temperature was very pleasant.  A telescope was set up on all but one pad.  Observing was enjoyed for hours afterwards!

Announcements

CAAS will assist with a public star party at the Pinnacle Mountain Visitors Center on Saturday, September 15 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

International Observe the Moon Night events will be held on Saturday, September 22 from 1 PM to 10:30 PM.  There will be activities at the Museum of Discovery, Arkansas Studies Institute, and the Clinton Presidential Library.  Please see the events schedule page on the CAAS website for additional details.

A work day has been scheduled for Saturday, September 29 to install a ramp for handicappedaccess.

 Twenty seven members and guests attended the September meeting.

 CAAS Members and Guests In Attendance

  •  Jackalyn Barton
  • Steve Block
  • William Bryden
  • Stephen Caldwell
  • Ella Colvin
  • T Colvin
  • TJ Colvin
  • Jack Dixon
  • Jim Dixon
  • Sanslea Fiser
  • Tom Fiser
  • Danny Flippo
  • Carl Freyaldenhoven
  • Roger Gudith
  • Charia Hall
  • Tony Hall
  • Darrell Heath
  • Jane Hurley
  • Nathan James
  • Pat Morris
  • Sandy Morris
  • Coy Scott
  • Madison Shaw
  • Carol Togni
  • Robert Togni
  • Eric Walker
  • Roger Woles

The next regular meeting will be at 7 pm on Saturday, October 13, 2012.

Respectfully Submitted,

Coy Scott

CAAS Secretary