June CAAS Meeting Minutes

President Rocky Togni called the meeting to order at approximately 7:10 p.m. About 16 members and guests were in attendance. We were so pleased to have Jim and Kathy Fisher with us, and hope they will return again soon!
The floor was then turned over to Kyle for his presentation entitled: “Using Orbital Elements to Find the Position of Planets.” Kyle gave an overview of Johannes Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, and how the orbital elements can be used to determine planetary positions. He explained that the positions of asteroids and satellites can also be determined in this way (Kyle mentioned that this is how http://www.heavens-above.com does it.) Following Kyle’s topic, John Reed, Jim Fisher, Rocky Togni, and others contributed some very interesting historical information about Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, the times in which they lived, the data they were able to collect and the correct conclusions they were able to draw without the aid of the astronomical telescope (which had not yet been invented). Fascinating topic!
Following the presentation, the business meeting was opened by Rocky with a big THANK YOU to all who helped with the work party earlier in the day. Pat Morris picked up the new storage building (for which the finances were contributed by Allen Lee). Pat & Sandy Morris, John Reed, Jim and Samantha Dixon, Donald Ferren, Chris Lasley, and Thomas Baskins all helped with the ground prep and set-up & installation of the building. It looks very nice in its new home, and will serve the club well for many years to come.
The July meeting was discussed. CAAS will host the Perryville Methodist Couples Club at the property on July 14th – our regular meeting night. It was decided that the activity will be structured roughly as follows:
5:30 — solar viewing; a moon phase demonstration by Jim Dixon in the classroom; Bill Sanders will demonstrate how various types of telescopes work.
6:30 — supper (menu to be discussed and decided upon via the email list);
7:30 — John Reed will give an introduction to the evening sky using Stellarium; a very abbreviated business meeting will be held.
8:30 — the sky should be dark enough for some serious observing.
July will bring three weekends of CAAS activities in a row:
July 14 — Meeting / Host Couples Club
July 21 — Woolly Hollow Star Party
July 28 — Pinnacle Mtn Star Party
Sandy noted that Pinnacle Mountain State Park will be having their Stargazing Cruises soon, and Mr. Mullins has asked for volunteers to help with this. Please contact him at the Pinnacle Mountain Visitor Center if you would be willing to go along and help give a sky tour on beautiful Lake Maumelle. Mr. Mullins also has asked for ideas and input concerning 2008’s star party schedule.
Pat gave the Treasurer’s report, and noted that the Astronomical League dues may be going up this year, but we are not sure how much.
In the spirit of fundraising, Stacy Edwards mentioned that the excellent book reviews in the newsletter could be productive by simply linking to Amazon.com, and signing up to receive a portion of the proceeds for all who use our link to purchase materials. It was suggested that this be discussed at the next board meeting.
Rocky mentioned that our August meeting night – the weekend of Aug 11-12 – will be a meteor shower, and suggested that we might hold an all-night “Meteor Watch” at the property that evening.
Stacy presented Carl Freyaldenhoven and Bill Sanders with their beautiful, and well-deserved, 2006 Astronomical League Outreach Award pins and certificates. CAAS is very proud of the energy and effort put into outreach activities, and we were all encouraged to keep track of our participation this year in order to apply for the 2007 award. Bill showed us his “trophy hat” on which he has his many AL pins displayed – congratulations, Bill!
Jim Dixon noted that the locks at the property have been changed to be more effective. The lock on the outside of the bathroom building is now changed to match the lock on the external gate. The lock on the gate on the inside of the bathroom building is now the same combination that was on the outside of the building. With this in place, all members and guests can have access to the restroom facilities.
Carl Freyaldenhoven stumped us all with a scientific demonstration using a simple copper pipe, an aluminum cylinder, and a steel cylinder (which was a good bit heavier than the aluminum). Which one do YOU think would fall more quickly through the copper tubing?? We were amazed at the answer, and the reason behind it.
Rocky adjourned the meeting, and a group of folks went out to help Wade check out the cable tension on the roll-off roof of the east observatory. The sky was cloudy, and the members were weary from a long day’s work, so after a bit of snacking and visiting, everyone headed home.
Respectfully submitted by 2007 CAAS Secretary, Stacy Edwards

Leave a Reply