by Gene Allen, Secretary
The meeting was convened on Zoom by Director Dr. Rex Parker at 1930 with the agenda for the evening. Latest from NJDEP/WCSP is nothing further. Observatory carpet needs to be replaced and we are seeking someone with carpet experience to be liaison with a commercial installer. Zoom poll coming up in the meeting. He promoted the JPL Night Sky Network briefly and asked members to register there. Nearly 100 members have joined the AAAP Discord channel. Coming into spring galaxy season.
At 1942 Program Chair Victor Davis introduced featured speaker Dr. Rosanne Di Stefano, and her presentation “Planets in External Galaxies.” She led a group of researchers who used Chandra X-ray Observatory satellite data to find a planet that eclipses an x-ray binary star in the Whirlpool Galaxy, Messier 51, 28 million light years away. A question period followed from 2031 to 2100.
We reconvened at 2105 for a Zoom poll about member participation at in-person events, with 41 attending on Zoom.
The Night Sky Network will be holding a training session next week for conducting public events for the release of First Light images from the James Webb Space Telescope which are expected in June. Members are encouraged to attend. NSN also offers a Roster which will be considered for our use. One advantage of the NSN Roster is that members who are registered can contact each other unless they elect privacy.
Use of the AAAP Discord Server has been growing. This is another way for members to interact. The Board is considering whether adding a New Member channel would be more confusing or more helpful.
Member Debra Mayes has been working at revamping the AAAP Facebook pages and looking into securing admin rights
Observatory Co Chair Dave Skitt reported that:
- A number of Keyholders have resigned from their duties. In order to maintain reasonable manning levels, the Board approved that the number of teams be reduced from 6 to 5. Knowledge of telescopes and the night sky is not a prerequisite, so new members will be invited to begin Keyholder training as a way to learn about both.
- The Observatory Public Nights season will be delayed and begin on April 15. There is a tentative visit by 30 Scouts on April 2.
- We are still waiting for the state to respond to our proposed Observatory column repairs.
- The Loaner Program is getting close. Member Todd Reichart is working on verbiage.
Assistant Director Larry Kane announced that he would like to Pass on his role as AAAP Archivist and Editor Surabhi Agarwal volunteered on the spot.
Both Larry Kane and Dave Skitt shared that they are planning expeditions south to some location near Austin, Texas to try for better weather for the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Member David Owen added that he knows of an astronomy club with a dark sky sight that might be willing to host AAAP.
It was noted that NEAF 2022 has been cancelled due to continuing Covid issues and supply chain issues that have caused a number of vendors to withdraw for this year. NEAF 2023 will be on April 15 &16.
The meeting was formally adjourned shortly at about 2200.