Submitted by Jim Dixon
March 8, 2003
The March 8th meeting was preceded by the First Annual Spring is Back CAAS Potluck. Members started arriving around 5 with food and telescopes. I believe there were 7 scopes from members set up. The potluck was an indisputable success.
Don Lewis called the meeting to order about 7:30. There were 25 members and guests present. To the two new members, Andy Reed and Cindy Chambers, I am glad you made it and I hope to see you at the next meeting or sooner if the weather permits.
- Don talked about the “Night Sky Protection Act” which, unfortunately, did not make it through the Arkansas Legislature.
- We discussed the upcoming National Astronomy Day Star Party at the Pinnacle Mountain State Park Visitor’s Center. This event will occur on the same day that our May meeting would occur so if there is any CAAS business to be done, it will be done there. As this star party will be part of a national collaboration, it should a larger scale star party than most. In fact, it will be starting in the early afternoon for CAAS members who will be setting their scopes up to observe the Sun until dark.
- Treasurer’s report: Pat Morris reported that we have received $*** in dues since the February meeting and have had to pay $*** in expenses. Of course, once everyone has paid their dues the expenses will still be there.
- Terry Johnson brought up the subject of doing a Messier Marathon this year. A Messier Marathon is a night long project where the participants try to spot as many of 109 Messier objects as they can. March is generally considered to be the best time of year to hold such events due to the random placing of the objects.
- Election of new Vice President to fill out the term of the current Vice President. This was tabled until the next meeting.
- Kathey Farley from Mablevale Magnet Middle School was our guest Saturday night. Kathey and her colleague Jennifer, have collaborated to teach Space Science to Little Rock School District kids. They have worked with the Cooperative Extension Office to be part of a NASA Space Grant to assist them in this effort. She was able to use this grant to purchase a telescope for her class. Kathey and Jennifer recently attended an ISS Educator’s Conference in Houston which included workshops in rocketry, remote sensing, robotics, and biology. Her class will also be involved in the ISS Earthcam project where in April they will get to take images of the Earth from the ISS. Kathey is also working to get her class approved as a NASA Explorer School.
After the official meeting was over, the members and guests split into various groups. Some went to scopes to sneak a peek between the clouds while others gleaned Newtonian collimation tips from John Reed.
While it was mainly cloudy, we were able to catch some decent glimpses of Saturn and Jupiter. In fact, there was a transit of the shadow of Callisto across Jupiter Saturday night and we saw it. I personally have never seen that before.
Submitted by Jim Dixon
February 9, 2003
Don Lewis called the meeting to order. There were 14 members present.
- Business cards – I showed the group the proposed addition of the Cassiopeia constellation to the website logo. Everyone liked this change and the new vertical business cards using this were approved. The new logo is visible on the CAAS site. I will see about producing some new business cards before the next meeting.
- As it is now February, Don reminded the group that dues were due as of January. For all practical purposes, dues are this group’s only source of money to pay the bills so it is vital that all members pay their dues in a timely manner. These dues will pay the bills for an entire year. If you haven’t yet sent in your dues and are unsure of how much to send or where, please take a look at the “join” page. The dues structure can be found there and the mailing address of the treasurer can be on the membership application.
- John Reed talked about the progress on the East Observatory renovation. He is currently working on a cost estimate for raising the floor and waterproofing the building better. During the recent brush clearing some water damage was found on the back of the building.
- Don Lewis informed us of the new House Bill 1282 from the Arkansas General Assembly. This bill, if approved, will require the shielding of of certain outdoor lighting in order to reduce light pollution in Arkansas. Sandy Morris proposed a motion that CAAS compose a letter to the author, Representative Ledbetter, to show him how appreciative we are. Currently, this is just a bill, sitting on capitol hill, but maybe someday it will be a law.
- Sandy Morris talked about the upcoming Astronomy Day Star Party at Pinnacle Mountain. She has recently been in contact with a teacher at the Mablevale school who is teaching an astronomy class.
- Treasurer’s report: Pat Morris reported that we have received $*** in dues since the January meeting and have had an electric bill of about $**. A once a year land payment of about $*** will be due soon and that will take a lot out of our bank account unless members pay their dues for 2003.
- Don Lewis talked a little bit about the K12 grant application that he has been investigating. This is a NASA grant to organizations that help spread the word about space to the public. If we could get it, this would be a grant for as much as $5000 to buy or build equipment and facilities to house the equipment to be used for research that we would perform and report back to NASA and, of course, educate the public.
- John Reed delivered his presentation on “How to Find It”. He started with the use of planispheres to show what’s up. From there he moved to the Peterson Field Guides, then to magazines such as Sky & Telescope and Astronomy for their monthly sky charts. From there he moved up to official sky atlases such as the Skelnate Plaso Atlas of the Heavens and the current de facto standard Sky Atlas 2000 and Uranumetria 2000. After this he moved on to the ultimate, computer based star charts such as those listed on our “Links” page. Finally, he showed us the techniques used to star hop our way to the “Whirpool Galaxy” M51 using star charts generated from one of those computer planetarium programs.
- After the presentation, an impromptu discussion of eyepieces, mirrors, and their care and feeding ensued.
As it was very cold, cloudy, and there was snow and ice on the ground, the meeting let out.
Submitted by Jim Dixon
January 11, 2003
Don Lewis called the meeting to order. There were 18 attendees including, I think, 7 new members and 2 guests. Don welcomed the new members and guests.
Old business: Business cards – I presented some ideas that used the CAAS website logo seen at the left. Everybody seemed to like the vertical version but it was suggested that we incorporate the outline of the constellation of Cassiopiea into the design as it was a part of the old CAAS logo.
As it is the first month of the year, membership dues are due. The dues structure was discussed.
Don told us about the donation from the UALR planetarium of a number of videos. These cover a number astronomy related topics and will be available for member use.
Don outlined several presentations and topics for upcoming meetings. These included: Collimation, building digital setting circles, binocular astronomy, and CCD imaging for beginners.
Because large number of new members, Don provided a new member orientation including a tour of the facility.
Since the only thing of interest in the sky was a lunar halo, the meeting was informally adjourned after the facility tour.