by Michael Wright, Secretary
Director Jeff Bernardis opened the meeting by welcoming and recognizing new members.
Jeff announced that former Director Kirk Alexander recently passed away in his home in California after a battle with cancer. John Church remembered Kirk as one of the best AAAP Directors and noted that Kirk organized the 40th Anniversary Dinner. Rex Parker remembered Kirk had a 7-inch Questar on a Losmandy G11 mount that he brought to StarQuest.
Program Chair Kate Otto introduced the speaker for the evening, member Ken Kremer who gave an informative presentation entitled, “NASA’s LADEE and Cygnus Blast Off from Virginia” Ken presented eyewitness accounts of the recent historic rocket launches to the moon and the International Space Station from America’s newest spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. He updated us on the latest NASA missions including MAVEN and the government shutdown’s impact on NASA’s operations.
After a brief break, Rex Parker gave a preview of talk that he will give at next month’s Member’s Night about imaging Comet ISON at recent astroimaging workshop that he attended given by Adam Block of the University of Arizona.
Jeff convened the business portion of the meeting.
New Observatory Donation – Plans are in the works to pick up the equipment from the donor’s storage facility on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Dome pieces will be stored in John Giles’ shed. Jeff had hoped to coordinate the pickup at this meeting, but will email or call the volunteers who were not in attendance.
StarQuest – Jeff observed that StarQuest was a success this year and asked for volunteers to organize next year’s event. Mike Wright said that he is willing to organize the event if Ludy will cater it again. Rex Parker suggested that the club hold it in the summer time. Gene Ramsey said that StarQuest was held in the summertime for few years. It was moved to the fall in the hope that weather would be better. The results have been mixed. Michael pointed out that it does not get dark until late in the summer. He will check with the conference center about availability on new moon weekends.
Assistant Director’s Report – Larry Kane reported that there is a “Friends of Washington-Crossing Park” group forming to support the park. The park administration asked AAAP to participate so Larry will be representing the club.
Secretary’s Report – Mike reported that he is setting up email boxes for the officers and committee chairs so they do not have to publicize their private email addresses. Also, he is creating a mailing list that can be used to broadcast emails to the membership. This will avoid the need to download the roster or maintain address books. Mike will maintain the mail list. Jeff said he liked the idea of a mail list for keyholders also.
Program Chair’s Report – Kate reported that the November will be a member’s night. Derek Pitts of Franklin Institute’s Fells Planetarium has agreed to speak in December.
Simpson Observatory – Observatory Chair Gene Ramsey confirmed that the Gemini mount will be installed on Saturday October 26, 2013 by himself, Rex and John Church.
Gene reported that recently 50-80 students and parents from the Chapin School visited the observatory. He requested that members bring their scopes to the observatory on nights when large groups are expected. Large school and scout groups are expected on October 11 and October 19, 2013. Gene said that new member Dan Vorgity, a teacher at South Hunterdon HS, brought his students to the observatory on August 30, 2013. He thanked Bill Murray for helping collimate their telescope that night. Dan said the administration, parents and students are excited about the new astronomy course that he is teaching. He thanked Gene and the club for their help.
Gene said he would like to get rid of the microwave and cart in the observatory. No one objected so he will dispose of it. He suggested that the club sell or donate the 8-inch Dobsonian and solar scope stored in the observatory. Jeff said that it’s important to have scopes available for member’s use so we should keep them.
Outreach Report – Jeff reported that the only outreach event on the calendar so far is Science Night at the Newell Elementary School in Allentown, NJ on Friday, November 15, 2013.
Jenny Jump Observatory – Bill Murray reported that 200-300 people completed the repairs to the observatories at Jenny Jump, including AAAP’s observatory. The rotten wood was replaced and painted, and the electrical enclosure was repaired.
Jeff adjourned the meeting.