by Gene Allen, Secretary
The meeting was convened on Zoom by Director Dr. Rex Parker at 1930 with the agenda for the evening. He reported that Some 21 members had participated in the latest “Astrovideo Live! Winter Session” involving half a dozen scopes on February 4. He reviewed his challenge to observe Apollo Asteroid 7482 / Minor Planet 1994PC1 on its closest approach on January 18. It appeared as a streak in his 10-second-exposure astrophoto, and he did a series of calculations to compute its speed based on the length of the streak, coming within 3% of professional estimates.
At 1943 Program Chair Victor Davis introduced featured speaker Dr. Christopher Spaulding who presented “Upside-down, Inside-out Solar Systems.” As the search for exoplanets has revealed increasing numbers of other planetary systems, some are found to be bizarrely organized, with planets orbiting opposite their host star’s rotation, planets at inappropriate distances, and planets with widely diverse axial tilt. He began with a historical review before getting into how these newly discovered systems are challenging our theories of planetary formation.
Following a 5 minute break at about 2100 we reconvened for an Unjournal Club Presentation on light pollution by member Surabhi Agarwal. She detailed the many deleterious effects of light pollution way beyond its effect on astronomy and offered guidance on how to attack it in your local community.
In the business meeting Rex reported that Treasurer Michael Mitrano had – at long last – been able to get a definitive answer from the state about what they needed to consider permitting us to repair the observatory columns. He has sent the engineering drawings, complete with raised-seal authentication, and we are hoping for a rational and prompt response.
Observatory Co Chair Dave Skitt announced that a pipe had frozen and split, causing minor leak. It was the result of a perpetually leaking valve in the water line that feeds out observatory from Nature Center. Steps had been taken to guard against further freezing and repairs were scheduled.
There was discussion about the AAAP Discord Server, the AAAP Online Merchandise Shop, and the Astrovideo Sessions.
The meeting was formally adjourned shortly after 2200 but informal discussions continued until nearly 2230.
The Apple TV+ television series For All Mankind was recommended to members. It is an alternate history drama imagining that the Soviets had achieved the first manned landing and the space race had never ended. According to Wikipedia, it has been renewed for its third season. The first episode is free, but the rest require a subscription @ $4.99/month.
Some 56-58 people attended the speaker’s presentation and 59 were Zoomed in at the start of the business meeting.
All membership renewal reminders have been caught up from the transition in dues policy and in manning the Secretary position. Current membership officially stands at 198, though 3 have failed to respond to multiple renewal reminders and are expected to be dropped at the end of February.