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.