by James Poinsett, Secretary
• Rex called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm
• A brief overview of 2016’s accomplishments and 2017’s objectives was presented.
• The main topic of the evening was next, what to do about the Jenny Jump Observatory. Bill Murray updated us on the requirements to maintain the observatory, the club must participate in at least one Saturday evening viewing event per month along with the two special events during the year. The discussion centered on will we be able to staff it and is it worthwhile to fix and upgrade the observatory equipment? There was a lot of discussion on both sides but the final decision was that it would be very difficult to enlist enough members to staff the observatory as required this year and even less likely we would continue to staff it in the coming years. A motion was made, seconded and approved unanimously (albeit reluctantly) to give up the observatory at Jenny Jump but to remain a member of UACNJ.
• The next subject was the possible purchase of “The SkyX” software for all keyholders. There are two benefits, one would be increased familiarity with the program for users. The second is it would be a perk for keyholders, possibly increasing the number of new members becoming keyholders. The cost was estimated to be about $1000, Rex is discussing a club rate with Software Bisque and will update the club when more information is available.
• Observatory upgrades were discussed next with training on the new software being scheduled. A new viewfinder was installed on the refractor and the proper viewfinder for the Mewlon will be purchased and the current one sold when the new one arrives. The possibility of automating the rollback roof was discussed. It was decided the goal would be to get it done this year after finishing all of the computer upgrades.
• Upcoming club activities was the next topic.
o The site in Oregon for the solar eclipse is set, near the center line. All lodging reserved by Larry has been taken. John Church has the information on the site location, contact him if you plan on going out west and meeting up with other club members.
o More member nights at the observatory are planned, May 27th and June 24th.
o There will be solar observing at the Nature Center at WC Park on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Contact Dave Skitt if you can make it.
o The possibility of using full moon nights at the observatory for scope clinics was discussed. Members and the public could bring their scopes and more experienced members would try and help them learn to use them better.
o A night sky refresher will be held at the planetarium on May 13th at 10:00 am. This year we will go more in depth to find more than the usual objects.
o A social/observing night with Friends of WC Park is being planned at Gravity Hill. The date is still to be determined.
o Several field trip ideas were discussed, the Horn Antenna, Hayden Planetarium, Pittsburgh Planetarium were all listed as possibilities.
• The new member form along with PayPal payment is almost ready for the website. The roster will be returning to the website soon.
• With the success we have had by making the Program Chair position into a committee, the idea of making the Outreach Chair position a committee was discussed. This will be brought up at the next meeting.
• A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting, the time was 10:15 pm.