Tonight, Rocky Togni presented a fascinating program entitled Space Race USSR: 1957-75. Rocky has collected many of the stamps issued by the USSR and the United States during the space race. Each stamp commemorates one of the space missions. The stamps reminded us of suborbital flights, the first orbital flights, and several space programs. There were stamps for such early satellites as Sputnik, Explorer, and Echo. There were stamps for Russian moon probes, and probes to Venus, and Mars. There were stamps for the United StatesPioneer probes to the planets. There were stamps for the United States Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs. We had a great time recounting memories we have of rockets, astronauts, satellites, and space probes during that time period.
There was a discussion of CAAS T-shirts. Until the pre-order is placed, small-XL sizes are $15. XXL and XXXL are $17. After the pre-order is placed, 2012 CAAS T-shirt prices increase to $20 and $22 respectively.
There will be a star party for the Japanese student group on April 26. Like last year, it will be located in the west field at Mt. Pinnacle State Park.
There will be a National Astronomy Day star party at the Mt. Pinnacle State Park Visitor Center on Saturday, April 28.
There was discussion of the May 20 solar eclipse.
The June 5 transit of Venus across the face of the sun was discussed. Rocky said this will be the last Venus transit in our lifetime. Although there was a Venus transit about 10 years ago, this is actually a rare event.
Bruce McMath gave us an update on the CAAS effort to get accepted again by the IRS as a tax exempt organization. Bruce called the IRS to ask for advice. He spent a long time on hold, and had to call again because of a bad connection. After another long wait on hold, he finally was able to speak to someone at the IRS. However, their comment was not very helpful.
Bruce McMath is now our Dark-Sky Night Observing Coordinator. Potential dark-sky outing dates for CAAS members will be posted on the CAAS web site. He will monitor the weather and communicate with those who are interested. If the weather is favorable, and at least two people indicate they will be at the CAAS observatory, Bruce will send an announcement to the CAAS email list.
Bruce brought us up-to-date on discussion about getting internet access for the observatory via TCWorks’ Mayflower transmitter. This connection would provide .75 million bits per second upload speed and 3 million bits per second download speed. Bruce and the others who are leasing buildings have offered to pay the $60/month for a wireless internet connection if CAAS will pay 1/5 of the cost of installing the equipment necessary for the connection. The four who are renting buildings would pay the other 4/5 of the equipment and installation cost. A person from the internet service provider company is going to come to the property soon to evaluate what equipment would be needed. It was estimated that the least installation cost would be $200. However, an additional $200 may be required for a 50 foot tower for the antenna.
We found out that Darrell Heath made another TV appearance for CAAS since the last meeting. He is scheduled for another TV appearance later this month. Darrell commented that on his next appearance, besides mentioning CAAS, he will probably also comment on what people can see in the sky at that time.
CAAS Members and Guests In Attendance
· William Bryden
- · Stephen Caldwell
- · Jack Dixon
- · Jim Dixon
- · Darrell Heath
- · Tim Hogue
- · Bruce McMath
- · Pat Morris
- · Sandy Morris
- · John Reed
- · Coy Scott
- · Bob Stepp
- · Edward Swaim
- · Jamo Swaim
- · John Swaim
- · Carol Togni
- · Rocky Togni
- · Eric Walker
The next regular meeting will be at 7 pm on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Darrell Heath will present a program on JPL/NASA. Weather permitting, there will be observing after the program.