May 8, 2012 AAAP Meeting Minutes

by Michael Wright, Secretary

Director Ludy D’Angelo called the meeting to order.

  1. Ludy introduced Renee Hlozek, a post-doc in Princeton’s Astrophysics Department, who invited the club to join the Department’s Transit of Venus program on June 5. They plan to begin with a lecture in Peyton Hall, move to the Engineering Quad parking deck for observations and return to Peyton Hall to watch the conclusion of the transit via a live feed from Hawaii. Also, there will be activities for children. Ludy recommended that the club participate and suggested that it be discussed during the business meeting.
    Ludy asked for a show of hands from those in the audience who are club members and verified that a quorum was present for election of 2012-2013 officers. He asked for nominations from the floor. Receiving none, he announced the slate of candidates, which was presented by the nominating committee chair at the April 10, 2012 meeting and published in Sidereal Times:a.   Director                      Ludy D’Angelo
    b.   Assistant Director     Jeff Bernardis
    c.   Program Chair           Kathleen Otto
    d.   Treasurer                  Michael Mitrano
    e.   Secretary                   Michael WrightBy a show of hands, members voted unanimously for this slate of officers for 2012-2013.

    Ken Levy introduced the speaker, Dr. Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute, who presented an awe inspiring talk on the latest scientific achievements of the Hubble space telescope and answered many questions from the audience.

    Following an intermission, Assistant Dir. Jeff Bernardis conducted the business meeting.

  2. Transit of Venus (Part 1): The proposal to join with Princeton Astrophysics was discussed. Rex Parker questioned whether the club would get public exposure. Logistical questions were discussed. The consensus was to join with Princeton Astrophysics.
  3. Program Report:  Jeff announced that the next meeting will be the annual planetarium show by Bill Murray on May 12. Bill said that members may arrive at 7:30, and children are welcome.
    Jeff thanked Ken Levy for the outstanding line up of speakers that he arranged this season. Members showed appreciation with a round of applause.
  4. Observatory Report:  John Church reported that Rex Parker, Jeff Bernardes, Gene Ramsey, Bill Murray and he tested the Gemini GoTo mount by simulating the Hastings-Byrne with a weighted timber. The mount performed well except the power switch had to be repaired and a new power supply is needed. John Giles volunteered to contact Losmandy for a new supply. The cost should be about $70. When the supply is replaced, the new mount will be installed. The mount can be operated like the existing mount (i.e. manually or by remote control) or via GoTo using the computerized handbox.
    Chair Gene Ramsey reported that the observatory needs to be painted this year. The metal rails need to be thoroughly stripped before repainting. John and he recommend getting the advice of a professional painter on how to do it. Also, the water supply is weak, and we still have a health notice prohibiting drinking the water. Gene has provided bottled water in the bathroom.
  5. Outreach Report:  Chair David Letcher described the upcoming outreach events:
    May 29 – Millstone River School, Plainsboro
    June 9 (Sat) – Scout Troop 556 camping and visiting the observatory
    Hopewell Borough Camp Out – The town has requested astronomers to assist with naked eye stargazing (no scopes, green lasers only). Four hundred campers are expected on the St. Michael tract. Rich Armitage has agreed to front this event for the club.
  6. Website:  Rex Parker asked whether John Miller, who was not present, could post the duty roster to the web site.
  7. Sidereal Times:  Co-editor Michael Wright said that the deadline for the next issue is May 31. He thanked those that contributed the interesting articles over the past few months and encouraged them to continue. He pointed out that the blog, handled by Co-editor Surabhi Agarwal, is getting an average of 40 hits per day.
  8. Transit of Venus Event:  We should put information on our website and ask people to register if they intend to attend. Therefore we would have an accurate idea of how many to plan for. Ken Kramer stated that he can get observing glasses from NASA. The viewing site still has to be checked out before more planning can begin.
  9. Transit of Venus (Part 2):  John Church pointed out that PU’s commencement is on the same day, which caused concern about whether lack of parking and congestion in town would create logistical problems. Some felt we might get a crowd of parents and students, but others felt that this might discourage the locals from surrounding towns from participating. The merits of the Pole Farm site, a county park on Federal City Road in Lawrenceville, were discussed. Jeff agreed to discuss the concerns with Ludy and suggest that he discuss them with Renee Hlozek before making a commitment. Michael Wright agreed to prepare a press release once a decision was made and pointed out that it must be submitted to the media at least two weeks before the event.

Assistant Director Jeff Bernardis adjourned the meeting.

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