July 17, 2012 AAAP Board Meeting Minutes

by Michael Wright, Secretary

Board meeting was attended by:

  • Ludy D’Angelo, Director
  • Jeff Bernardis, Assistant Director
  • Michael Mitrano, Treasurer
  • Michael Wright, Secretary
  • William Murray
  • Ira Polans
  • John Church
  • Surabhi Agarwal
  • Saul Moroz
  • Program Chair, Kate Otto

Director Ludy D’Angelo called the meeting to order.

  1. Director’s Report: Ludy said that Friday night open houses at the observatory have been well attended considering the poor weather recently.
  2. Assistant Director: nothing to report.
  3. Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer’s report appears in another section of the Sidereal Times.
  4. Secretary’s Report: A membership application and dues were received today from Dr. Jerry Rosenberg on behalf of Dr. Robert Griggs. Dr. Rosenberg also made a $100 donation in appreciation of Ludy’s help selecting and setting up a telescope for Dr. Griggs. Michael confirmed that he is maintaining the roster; however, he is seeking a better way to update the email server’s address book. Surabhi offered to help.
  5. Outreach Report: David Letcher was not present because he was on vacation. Ludy reported on a successful Sidewalk Astronomy event on July 2 conducted in conjunction with the Princeton Public Library’s showing of The City Dark. Ludy, John Miller, John Giles and Michael Wright showed the Moon, Saturn and Mars to passersby in front of the library.
  6. Observatory Report:
    1. John Church, reporting for Gene Ramsey, said that the park administration had installed a lock on the new gate near the parking lot without notifying AAAP. Ludy said that when he was informed by Gene, he called the park superintendent and the lock was removed.
    2. The new Losmandy mount is ready for installing under the Hastings-Byrne when the pow-er supply is replaced. John Giles is contacting Losmandy for a replacement. Jeff and Michael M. volunteered to help John C. install the mount.
    3. John said that the observatory needs to be professionally painted. Ludy and John debated whether power washing is required, which would require trucking water to the building, and whether members could perform the work. They agreed that John C. would obtain a quote from a professional painter for consideration by the Board.
    4. Ludy said that the park had installed a gate at the parking lot. It is not locked. On public nights one keyholder still needs to direct visitors in the parking lot. If keyholders plan to visit the observatory any other night, they should notify the park by leaving a message on the park superintendent’s phone. Police will ticket visitors if they think they are not authorized to be at the observatory. Leaving the message will be proof that an attempt was made to contact the superintendent. The superintendent is still figuring out a workable system. The park has indicated that AAAP can use Brick Yard Road when reconstruction is complete. So far, they have paved it with gravel. We do not know whether the bridge approaches have been repaired. Michael M. stated emphatically that the current arrangement, particularly members policing the parking lot and access road, is unacceptable over the long-term. The lease agreement gives AAAP unrestricted access to the observatory. Bill suggested that AAAP have a lock on the parking lot gate. Ludy said that he requested the park to replace the latch so both the park and AAAP can have locks on the gate.
    5. Ludy asked for a volunteer to fill in as Observatory Chair for Gene while he is convalescing. Jeff agreed to fill in.
  7. Observatory Donation: Jeff explained that he spoke to Michael Niessner, who approached the club about donating an observatory that he has in storage. Mr. Niessner has a C14, a Paramount, digital cameras and the electronics to run them remotely, a 10’ diameter metal dome and about $6000 in cash that belongs to a non-profit organization. He would like to donate it to another non-profit that will use it. Ludy emphasized that AAAP would only accept the donation without conditions. The group discussed uses for the equipment including swapping out our C14 and installing the Paramount and remote equipment at Jenny Jump, which would require building a larger structure at Jenny Jump. Surabhi proposed donating the equipment to the South Brunswick School District. Ludy pointed out that many schools in the area have observatories, but do not use them anymore. Michael M. pointed out that a domed observatory would have to be well secured unless it is at Jenny Jump. A remotely accessible installation at Jenny Jump was favored. Ludy asked Jeff to tell Mr. Niessner that AAAP is interested and would like to see the equipment.
  8. Program Chair Report: Kate reported that she has arranged with David Spergel of Princeton Astrophysics for the September meeting and Renee Hlozek, a Princeton Astrophysics post-doc. for December. She has leads on some other speakers but is always looking for more suggestions. Meetings for the next season will be Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 13, Dec. 11, Jan. 8, Feb. 12, Mar. 12, Apr. 9, May 14, and Jun. 11.
  9. 50th Anniversary Ideas:Potential celebrations were discussed. The consensus was that the club will hold a dinner on November 4. The dinner would take the place of the usual monthly meeting in November. Prospect House was the first choice to hold it. Kate will contact Prospect House to find out if it is available. A local restaurant to be determined later was the second choice. John confirmed the first meeting of AAAP was on Nov. 5, 1962 and read the minutes of the meeting.
  10. Jenny Jump: The work party is on hold until a decision is made about the observatory donation.
  11. AAAP Picnic: Ludy asked whether the club should hold a picnic. The consensus was to hold a picnic after Labor Day so we have use of the canopy at Washington-Crossing Park. Saturday, September 15 was selected because it is the Saturday closest to the new moon. The observatory will be open for observing after the picnic.
  12. StarQuest: Ludy said that so far there are no plans yet for StarQuest this fall. The Hope Conference Center is not available over the summer; however, they like AAAP to hold our star party there. Possible dates are Oct. 13 or 20, or Nov. 10. The questions whether we should hire a caterer was briefly discussed. No clear consensus emerged whether to hold StarQuest.
  13. Board Meetings: The frequency of Board meetings was discussed, and it was decided to hold the next two Board meetings on October 10, 2012 and January 15, 2013.
  14. Calendar Sale: Mike M. will submit the order for 2013 Astronomy calendars.
  15. Other Business: Mike W. received a request from Member Dee Bosch for help getting her school’s telescope repaired. Bill Murray volunteered to help.

The meeting was adjourned by the Director.

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This entry was posted in August 2012, Sidereal Times and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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