Minutes from the October 2011 Monthly and Board Meetings

Monthly Meeting: International Observe the Moon Night

            The Moon took center stage for the October general meeting as Central Arkansas Astronomical Society celebrated International Observe the Moon Night at its October 8th meeting.   The meeting was called to order by President Jim Fisher shortly after 7 p.m.  There was no business meeting conducted during the general meeting since the Board met earlier in the evening.  Jim gave a Power Point presentation on observing the moon using the Astronomical League’s Lunar Club as the guide.  Jim also explained that InOMN is an astronomy outreach program sponsored by NASA and multiple astronomical organizations. The theme for this year’s celebration is “What does the Moon mean to you?” The goal of InOMN is to instill in the public a sense of wonderment and curiosity about our Moon.  This was the second annual InOMN and CAAS participated in the first 2010 event when it coincided with a Pinnacle Mountain State Park Star Party (PMSP).  So CAAS is now an “old hand” at InMON.

But the highlight of the meeting was after adjournment when everyone hit the observing filed under clear skies and bright gibbous moon as astronomers and sky lovers all around the world had eyes on the moon!

Participants in InOMN activities may download an official Certificate of Participation at the following link:  


CAAS members in attendance at the meeting:

Jim Dixon

Bill Engberg

Don & Carolaina Ferren

Carl Freyaldenhoven

Tim Hogue

Ray Jeter

Allen Lee

Pat & Sandy Morris

Coy Scott

Eric Walker

Jim Fisher

Amanda Poss, who has attended the last two star parties at PMSP, attended her first meeting at the River Ridge Observatory.  Amanda is a UALR Criminal Justice Major, a student this semester in an anthropology linguistics class for which she is working on a research paper on the linguistics of amateur astronomers using CAAS members as her Guinea Pigs, er subjects.   Welcome Amanda!  We can’t wait to see your research paper. We think.  J

The Constellation of the Month was Cassiopeia, the Queen.

The following upcoming CAAS events were briefed:

  • October 29th – Star Party at Woolly Hollow State Park, 8 – 10 p.m. Come early, bring candy for the Halloween themed event and costumes welcome (But no face paint!).
  • November 12th – CAAS General Meeting, River Ridge Observatory, 7 p.m. Bill Engberg will give what will surely be a fascinating and entertaining a program on “The Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar” at the November 10th meeting.   Jim Dixon will present the November Constellation.   
  • December 10th – CAAS Annual Meeting, River Ridge Observatory, 5 p.m.

Three door prizes were awarded.  Jim Dixon won TWO! The first was “Voyages Through the Universe” (Second Edition) by Franknoi, Morrison & Wolff, which was donated to CAAS by Larry Sessions and the second was one of two copies “The Heavens Proclaim His Glory: A Spectacular View of Creation Through the Lens of the NASA Hubble Telescope” compliments of Bill Engberg.  Coy Scott won the other issue “The Heavens Proclaim His Glory.”   Bill is donating 22 more copies of this book (2 per Meeting) over the next 11 months, which will be given away as door prizes.

Observing highlights.   Despite its brightness, the moon was absolutely gorgeous!  The terminator passed directly through Strickard crater creating dramatic shadows below the beautifully lit crater rim.  But the bright moon did not stop observations of Jupiter, the Ring Nebula, Alberio, various clusters and galaxies.  Most also witnessed a tumbling booster rocket through Allen Lee’s 11” Cassegain!  Bill Enberg brought his friend “Ardent”, his 24” Dobsonian which at one point trained on a star field that contained Pluto. Carbon stars were also on the observing agenda for Coy Scott and Tim Hogue.  A few meteors were spotted (perhaps way ward Draconids).  The observing even started early when Jim Fisher set up his refractor with a solar filter and early arrivers for the Board meeting got to see an impressive set of sun spots.  Bill Engberg gave a demonstration on mirror cleaning Class at 5:30 pm and people learned how to clean big or small mirrors “in the box” with alcohol.   For Bill Engberg, Tim Hogue and Coy Scott the observing went on all night!  New member Tom Walker arrived around 11 p.m. and stayed with the diehards Bill, Tim and Coy. Welcome, Tom!

Board of Director’s Meeting

            The CAAS Board of Director’s meeting was called to order by Board President Jim Fisher on October 8, 2011, 6 p.m.   In addition to Jim the following officers and board members were present: 

Vice President Eric Walker

Secretary Bill Engberg

Carolaina Ferren, Immediate Past President

Jim Dixon, Board Member 

Carl Freyaldenhoven, Board Member

Coy Scott, Board Member 

Absent were Treasurer Andy Reed and Board Member John Reed. However, a quorum was present.

Non Board members present:  Don Ferren, Pat Morris and Sandy Morris. 

Board Action. The Board voted unanimously to the following:

  • 2012 Arkansas Science Olympiad – April 14, 2012.  The Board voted to support the 2012 Science Olympiad by putting out a call for volunteers.  However, the volunteers for the 2011 said that it was a considerable amount of work and one volunteer said he would not volunteer for the upcoming event as a result.  Volunteers should expect 8 + hours of work prior to the event and a half day of proctoring exams the morning of the event.
  •  CAAS grounds & building cleanup and excess storage room contents.  Jim Fisher and Jim Dixon gave a report of the clean-up of the classroom and storage room in September.  Jim Dixon said that the following items were identified as excess:  a 15” CRT Monitor; a microfilm reader; a large carrying case, probably for a Celestron C-11; an Astro-Physics Portable Pier; and a broken homemade observing chair.   The board voted to put a notice out that if not claimed within 30 days, the items will be sold.  CAAS members have right of first refusal.  Any funds collected will be donated to the CAAS Treasury.  Note:  During the observing session Tim Hogue expressed an interest in taking the observing chair and repairing it.  Jim Fisher and Bill Engberg agreed to give it to Tim so that he could attempts repairs.  Tim later reported that his efforts were successful.
  • December Annual Meeting.  The Board voted to hold the December Annual Meeting at the River Ridge Observatory.  Social hour and observing starting at 5 p.m., pot-luck dinner starting at 6 p.m., and brief business meeting at 7 p.m.  weather permitting, observing will follow the meeting. 
  •  Formal policy establishing location, day of month, and time of CAAS monthly meetings.  The Board voted to formally create the policy that all monthly meetings (January – November) of CAAS occur only at the River Ridge Observatory, on the second Saturday of the month, at 7 p.m., unless inclement weather forces postponement or the Board grants an exception.  The December Annual Meeting will remain a “moveable feast” both in its location, date and time.  
  • CAAS Brochure.  The Board voted not to publish a re-designed CAAS Brochure.  The Board voted instead to publish new business cards which will contain the CAAS web-site of www.caasastro.org, , the info@ccaasastro.org email address, and the CAAS mission statement.  The web site will continue to serve as the electronic CAAS brochure.  Jim Fisher said he would contact Vista Print, who sell business cards at a reasonable rate and run a design past the Board before purchasing.  Jim said he will pay for the printing.  The Board thanks members Darrell Heath and Nathan James for their time and talents in re-designing the printed brochure.  
  • Berrington Trust.  The Board voted to authorize Jim Fisher to re-draft the Berrington Trust documents removing Chris Lasley’s name as trustee and replacing it with a current CAAS member and then writing Dr. Robert Berrington seeking his authorization for such an amendment to the Berrington Trust.    
  •  Insurance.   Jim Fisher gave a report on his liability concerns for activities at the River Ridge Observatory (RRO).   Jim said that based upon his legal research and speaking with other attorneys he was more comfortable that the CAAS’s status as registered non-profit corporation with the Arkansas Secretary of State and the Arkansas Recreational Use Statute provides adequate protection for the organization.   However, he recommended that the Board obtain insurance on the buildings and other property at the RRO and also price a liability umbrella to that policy.  The Board agreed.   The Board asks if a member recommends an insurance agent or agents to provide a quote for property insurance coverage for the RRO.
  • Tax exempt status.  The Board voted to contract with Certified Public Accountant Mark Rogers to assist in restoring the section 501-c-3 tax exempt status for CAAS.  We were referred to Mr. Rogers by Wade Van Arsdale.  Mr. Rogers told Jim Fisher that he said that for $200 he thought he could determine with the IRS what was needed to restore the tax exempt status.  Mr. Rogers said he needs the past 3 years of CAAS treasury.
  • Call for Officer and Board Nominations for 2012 term.  The Board discussed nominations for the officers and Board members for the 2012.  Bill Engberg was asked by Jim Fisher if was willing to be nominated for President.  Jim said that he had spoken to several members who all mentioned Bill would make an excellent president.  Bill said he would be willing to serve as president.  Jim said he was interested in filling the possible vacancy of secretary if Bill is nominated to be the 2012 president.   After serving both as the president in 2010 and on the Board this year, Carolaina Ferren said she did not wish to be nominated to a 2012 Board or officer position.  No formal action was taken.

The Board of Director’s meeting was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

Miscellaneous notes.    

Concrete work for “Ardent’s” pad.  Bill Engberg wants to know a CAAS friend or family member that does concrete work and would like to get hired by Bill to enlarge a 3ft square pad to 9ft diameter circle pad. Taking bids, contact Bill directly billengberg@hotmail.com

Lost and found.  A small motor belt was found on the observing field.  It looks like a vacuum cleaner belt, but we think it may be to a telescope motor drive or a large Crayford focuser.  Also found on the shelf next to the restrooms was the primary objective to an Orion 6 x 30 Correct Image, Right Angle focuser.  The optics, once cleaned of dust, are in good condition.   Jim Fisher has both items.  Write him at jrfiaher7@gmail.com to claim.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Fisher

President (acting as Secretary and using notes compiled by Secretary Bill Engberg)