All Are Invited: BBQ & Messier Marathon This Saturday!

Grab your telescope or binoculars, a pack of hot dogs, and the kids and come on out to River Ridge Observatory this Saturday evening (March 17) for an “informal” Messier Marathon & BBQ! This will be a great time for those who are new to astronomy or new to CAAS to come out, meet the club, and check out different types of equipment.
The weather forecast simply says: “CLEAR.” Now, if you’ve been involved with astronomy events very much, you know that this is a rare forecast for a pre-planned star party. We may be in for a VERY nice evening of observing!
If anyone would like a map/directions, please drop an email to: As far as a time, I expect folks will begin arriving as early as 5:30-6:00 p.m. to get the coals fired up for the BBQ and set up the ‘scopes. Hope to see you there!!

Boy Scout Outing Report

Boy Scout Troop 770 ( hosted a contingency of CAAS members last evening at their campout at Pinnacle Mountain’s Eco Pond. While the weather was cold and drizzly and not exactly what one would consider ideal for camping, we were welcomed very warmly by the group of scouts and leaders, and also greeted by the delicious aroma of homemade beef stew and biscuits cooking on the camp stove.
In attendance were Rocky Togni, Jim Dixon & daughter Samantha, Bill Sanders, Preston & Stacy Edwards, 6 scouts, 6 parents/Scout leaders, and Pinnacle Mountain State Park Superintendent, Ron Salley.
After visiting and enjoying the delicious meal, our presentation was opened by Rocky with information on the Scouts’ astronomy merit badge requirements, and tips on how to use astronomy for navigation.
Stacy followed with a short discussion of two of the newest merit badge requirements: knowing how to keep warm while observing in the cold, and also the up-and-coming hot topic of light pollution.
Jim provided the group with current star maps and gave a tour of the constellations, after which Rocky discussed preserving night vision. Rocky also provided handouts on finding the North Star, along with a diagram of the Winter Hexagon showing how to locate several major winter constellations – one of the requirements for the astronomy merit badge.
Samantha helped demonstrate the various moon phases, and Rocky also demonstrated how eclipses occur.
Bill explained the various types of telescopes. A Coulter Newtonian reflector and an ETX 90 were available for the scouts to check out.
The lack of actual observing was unfortunate, but with Rocky’s comprehensive and well-organized program, the scouts were given a good foundation for getting started in astronomy, and an excellent head start on earning their astronomy badge.
THANK YOU to troop 770 for your gracious hospitality! We look forward to hosting the troop later this year for an astronomy campout at the CAAS property.
Submitted by Stacy Edwards, Secretary

Work Party

Our original work party was postponed due to 2.6 inches or rain. Weather permitting, we’ll hold a work party on Saturday January 20 from around noon till 5 or so (if that long). We need to fight back the wilderness, as always, and install a new security gate in the front building to separate the storage room from the bathrooms. If you have tools to assist in these endeavors, please bring them. If there is any doubt about the weather, check via the email list before committing yourself.