by Gene Allen, Secretary
The meeting was opened in Peyton Hall at 1931 by Director Rex Parker. There were 27 attending in person and 18 logged in on Zoom. After a brief summary of his agenda items, Rex invited Program Chair Victor Davis to introduce our speaker, Member Ira Polans. His presentation centered on a film about the archeoastronomy of the ancient residents of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. He offered background on the Four Corners region and a thumbnail history of the early peoples. A DVD entitled The Sun Dagger was presented. Zooming of the in-person video was prohibited by copyright protections so home viewers were invited to rent a streaming version. The film ran from 1955 until 2055 and was followed by a ten minute break.
At 2105 we resumed with more comments then questions, with 16 attending and 14 on Zoom.
Rex convened the business meeting at 2125, opening with Nominations Chair Lee Sandberg reporting that all incumbent officers are willing to stand for reelection except Treasurer Michael Mitrano who has yet to respond. Nominations remain open until our May 9 meeting when the election will be held.
Assistant Director Larry Kane reported on Eclipse Trip April 8, 2024. We had a Zoom meeting of some 19 interested members but there was no consensus on going to any one location. From available climate data Texas will have the best prospect of cloudless skies. One member has a reservation in what is likely the best location at the cost of thousands just for accommodations. Three will search for accommodations and viewing opportunities and report back promptly. Since we may be scattered at different locations it was suggested that we set up a Zoom connection to share the experience in real time and afford those who get clouded out some idea of what they are missing.
Rex invited members to participate in observatory public nights and bring their scopes. He wants to set a record for the number of scopes on the field. He expressed appreciation for Debbie Mayes, newly designated our Promotions Chair, and her continuing work managing our social media presence and greeting the public at the observatory.
The current status of the threatened Holmdel Horn is unknown; maybe make it a field trip.
Visitor Pat Marcattilio read several vintage reports of UFOs seen in this area and noted that the US Navy has recently changed its policy and will start to take UFO reports seriously. Given the incredible number of planetary systems that exist in just our own galaxy, he recommends keeping an open mind.
Here is NASA’s ongoing accounting of the number of known exoplanets and planetary systems, and their wider estimates: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/beyond/overview/
The meeting was adjourned at 2209.
Membership currently numbers 202. For 2023, 26 have joined, 38 have renewed, and 17 have allowed their memberships to expire.