The meeting was convened on Zoom by Director Dr. Rex Parker at 1930 with the agenda for the evening.
At 1945 Program Chair Victor Davis introduced featured speaker Dr. Robert Williams who presented “Observing Galaxy Formation with the Hubble Space Telescope” from his home. His limited internet bandwidth restricted us to his voice, gave us some dropout issues, and Victor had to run a copy of his slide pack. Among lots of other interesting information, he too modestly described how he had risked his job as director of the Space Telescope Science Institute to point Hubble at an empty patch of sky for 400 orbits. In doing so he captured the momentous, game-changing Hubble Deep Field image. We broke for five minutes at 2101, then reconvened for a briefing on the James Webb Space Telescope and questions.
We transitioned directly to the business meeting at 2125, the Unjournal Club Presentation by member Surabhi Agarwal having been postponed to next month.
Rex briefed us on details about approaching Apollo Asteroid 7482 / Minor Planet 1994PC1, then challenged members to observe and capture images of it on or around its closest distance of 0.013 AU on January 18. Share your experience on Discord and in an article for the Sidereal Times. He encouraged us to watch the Netflix movie “Don’t Look Up” about an Earth-impacting asteroid for “extra credit.”
Rex presented an overview of the AAAP Discord Server, a restricted social media platform launched last month, noting that 45 members had signed on so far. He made an appeal for two or three members to step up to serve as monitors.
Rex announced that he had placed his first order at the AAAP Online Merchandise Shop, and some discussion followed.
Observatory Co Chair Dave Skitt announced that water has been turned off and the toilet winterized in the Observatory. It is not closed to use, but manual flushing, where you bring your own water and then use antifreeze, is now required. Check with Dave for the correct procedure before you go.
Rex reported that the January 7 Astrovideo Live Winter Zoom Session included views from the telescope cameras of members Bill Murray, Rich Sherman, and himself, while Dave and Jen Skitt fired up the C-14 in the Observatory. Members with camera capability are encouraged to join in and contribute to future sessions planned for February 4 and March 4. Other members are invited to enjoy the views and discussions from the warmth and comfort of your own home, as some 15 had done during this session.
Member Tim Gong shared that he has been engaged in photometry and agreed to offer an Unjournal Club Presentation about his effort at the March meeting.
Member Lee Sandberg was encouraged to inquire about the use of the auditorium at the Institute for Advanced Studies while Peyton Hall is denied to us due to both Covid and impending campus construction.
Member Surabhi Agarwal reminded us that 2022 is the Diamond (60th) anniversary of the AAAP. A suggestion was made that a logo be created for this event, and she offered to submit one for consideration. The logo could be applied to various merchandise items.
Discussion about the mechanics of posting images and files on Discord wound down and the meeting was adjourned promptly at 2200.
Between Zoom and the live YouTube feed, approximately 66 people attended the speaker’s presentation. The business meeting began a bit later than usual but 35 were still connected halfway through. Since the beginning of December, 11 new members have joined, bringing our total membership to 191.