Minutes from the October 2008 Meeting

by Jim Fisher
Work day.  John Reed, Allen Lee, Linda and Lance Sorrows and Kathy and
Jim Fisher arrived early to do landscape and bathroom maintenance on
the observatory property.  Lance installed a new toilet – donated by
the Fishers – in the smaller restroom and repaired the sink and
vanity.  With a little more sprucing this restroom should provide the
ladies with a nice rest room. John, Allen and Linda mowed the entire
observing field and Jim trimmed around the observing pads and
observatory buildings and cut back the vegetation that overgrown
around the deck in front of Jim Dixon's observatory.  John's back and
power washer were both on the fritz, therefore the deck surfaces were
not cleaned.  However, John was able to scrap the top of the picnic

Pot  luck.  Linda and Sandy Morris feed hungry workers and early
meeting arrivers with outstanding soup and chili.  Carol Togni brought
a yummy coconut topped brownie desert.  Others brought drinks and
snacks and fun was had by all during the dinner hour.

Meeting.  The formal meeting was called to order by President John
Reed at 7 p.m.  In attendance were Pat and Sandy Morris, Carol and
Rocky Togni, Linda and Lance Sorrows and granddaughter Casey,
Caroliana and Don Ferren, Kathy and Jim Fisher, Jason Wallawine, Ernie
Shields, and Allen Stroman.

Old business:  John recapped the Burger Burn Star Party which was held
the weekend of September 27 near Nashville, Arkansas and hosted by the
Red River Astronomy Club.  Attending from CAAS included John, Jim and
Kathy, Linda, Lance, and Casey, Jason, Don Lewis and old friend Thomas
Baskins.  John reported that the weather and skies were outstanding
and the burgers were as tasty as ever.

John and Pat speculated that the previously scheduled star party at
Woolly Hollow S.P. on November 1st was now off due to the recent
departure of the naturalist who was trying to organize the event from
the park staff.

New business:  Jim Fisher gave an update on the efforts to start an
Arkansas Section for the International Dark-Sky Association.  Jim said
that the IDA-Arkansas Section "Kick-off" meeting held in conjunction
with the Burger Burn Star Party was a success.  Jim said that he had
been elected Section Leader by the meeting's attendees.  In addition,
CAAS members Wade van Arsdale was elected Vice-Section Chair, Linda
Sorrows was elected Secretary and Jason Wallawine received the nod as
the Central Arkansas Representative.   Jim said the application
requesting formal recognition as an IDA section would be filed this

Program:  Jim gave a fun and informative program on space toys and
collectables and he had many of his favorite pieces on hand.  Jim said
he began collecting toys 8 years ago and has purchased most of his
toys at yard sales.  He said he concentrates his collection on toys
from the "Star Wars" movies and one with pure astronomy and space
themes.   He had on hand the oldest versions of Star Wars action
figures of Darth Vader, C-3PO and Yoda.  He said that when the
original "Star Wars" movie premiere they producers had not planned to
market toys and due the unexpected popularity of the movie at the 1977
Christmas season they sold an empty box with a promise the toys would
be available in early 1978.  Other highlights included a gold plated
reproduction from the July 21, 1969 St. Louis Globe-Democrat
announcing in a banner headline "Man walks on Moon."  Jim said NASA
collectables are hot items especially if they relate to the Mercury,
Gemini and Apollo programs.  He recommended everyone visit the website
collectspace.com for more information about NASA collectibles.   John
Reed got a kick out of a French model which accurately displays the
positions of the planets in their orbits.  Jim also displayed a
planisphere "bowl" from the 1980's with the path of the last pass of
Halley' Comet, and an "antique" Edmund Scientifics 3" Newtonian
Reflector, which was a popular telescope for serious young astronomers
in the late 50's/early 60's. The white tube has the constellations
painted on it and the optics are in good shape for its age.  Jim said
he normally would not buy a telescope at yard sale, but the uniqueness
and $5 price tag made this hard to pass up.   Finally Jim showed off a
miniature model of a refractor carved out rosewood by artist Barry
Crist, a Christmas gift from Jim's wife Kathy.  Jim said Mr. Crist's
models, which include all types of telescopes, can be seen and
purchased on the SmartAstronomy web page.

Observing.   After the meeting was adjourned everyone hit the
observing field for views of a bright waxing gibbous moon and Jupiter.


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