by Michael Wright, Secretary
Attendees: Director Jeff Bernardis, Assistant Director Larry Kane, Treasurer Michael Mitrano, Program Chair Kate Otto, Secretary Michael Wright, Observatory Co-chairs Jennifer and David Skitt, John Church, Kevin Mooney, Bill Murray and Gene Ramsey.
Director Jeff Bernardis opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. by stating the purpose of the meeting was to prepare the observatory for the 2014 Friday-night public sessions.
Jeff announced that Jennifer and David Skitt have agreed to serve as Observatory Committee Co-chairs.
Gene Ramsey announced that Lee Sandburg and Daniel Benjamin will be added to the keyholder roster and assigned to teams when they complete their keyholder training. He is also training Freddie Missel who will become a keyholder after also obtaining a driver’s license.
Gene and Jen & David Skitt presented the following list of projects completed at the observatory as of March 19, 2014:
- Toilet insides have been replaced.
- Rest room faucet ahs been replaced.
- Bathroom has been temporarily secured.
- Eyepieces and the C14 diagonal have been cleaned.
- The stereo system has been checked and is working except the CD player, which needs a power cord.
- Microwave and cart have been removed.
The attendees discussed the following list of 18 repair items compiled by Gene, David and Jen:
- Heaving under the computer room/restroom wall appears to be raising the roof of the computer room/restroom and preventing the rolling roof from opening. The roof over the computer room/restroom has bulges possibly due to two layers of shingle that are jamming the rolling roof.
- It appears heaving of the slab under the wall of the computer room/restroom is causing cracks in the walls of the restroom and computer room. This has also resulted in cracks in the floor of the computer room.
- Restroom door needs to be better secured.
- Wood is rotted in various places including the entrance door, the computer room and restroom.
- Stone is needed to widen the parking area, fill in the potholes and improve the gate area.
- It would be nice to have a storage shed where club items can be stored. A small shed could be built.
- Larger pulley is needed to make the flap easier to open.
- Paint interior of the observatory.
- Remove roof cement can and old paint cans, and dispose of properly at Mercer County Recycling.
- Ceiling panel in computer room.
- Put Gemini mount on refractor.
- Bench test the donated C14.
- Put a window in the computer room door. The Plexiglas for this project has been purchased.
- Put a reflector or two on the gate so people can see it coming in.
- Put a “restroom” sign on the restroom door.
- Get batteries for the telrads.
- Get a cord for the CD player.
- Remove tape player.
The consensus was that these repairs should be made except as follows:
John Church, Gene, David and Jen will meet at the observatory on Sunday, March 23 to look at items 1 through 4 and recommend appropriate repairs. If the weather forecast for Sunday is not fair, the meeting may be moved up to Saturday. “The simplest solution that solves the problem is the best one.”
David will turn on the water this weekend and secure the bathroom door. Michael Mitrano will de-nail the computer room roof and help with the bathroom door.
Gene volunteered to measure the driveway and parking area to be stoned so a quote can be obtained. A four-inch layer of stone would be needed. If the stone could be delivered, a work party could spread it. Also, he will speak to the Park Administration about this work and request that they repair the unpaved road that goes past the campsites.
The attendees reached the consensus that a storage shed was not necessary for the limited number of items at the observatory that could be stored in one. Sensitive and expensive scopes and accessories should remain secured inside the building. Also, ladders should be kept inside because thieves and vandals could use them to get on the roof. If equipment is in the way during public sessions, keyholders should move them outside temporarily and return them at the end of the evening.
A work party will be called to paint the interior of the observatory.
The group agreed that star-testing the donated C14 should be a priority to find out how it compares to the existing C14. A tripod is needed so the C14 can be set up at the observatory for the comparison. Michael Wright will send an email request to the membership. Michael Mitrano volunteered to build a wooden support if a suitable tripod could not be found. The goal is to do the test in May.
Jen asked that keyholders ask visitors to sign in. Michael W. said that he had created a “Friends of AAAP” mailing list and five of last year’s visitors have subscribed.
Michael W. suggested that if signs are going to be purchased, a “No White Lights Beyond This Point” sign at the driveway would be helpful on public nights
Michael W. agreed to scan and copy the blueprints of the observatory in John Church’s possession.
Bill Murray said that he is beginning to refurbish the 12.5-inch Newtonian at Jenny Jump. He has removed all the parts that he can work on at home, but he cannot find the analogue setting circle rings. Bill requested that anyone who knows where they are to contact him.
Larry Kane asked for volunteers to man AAAP’s table at Communiversity, to bring solar scopes and to prepare handouts. The event will be held in Princeton on Sunday, April 27 from noon to 6:00 p.m. He will contact Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines for handouts.
Larry announced that Friends of Washington Crossing Park will hold a clean-up at the park on April 27 also. Larry will write an announcement for the April Sidereal Times.
Jeff said he could probably provide a power cord for the CD player from his collection.