September, 2012 AAAP Meeting Minutes

by Michael Wright, Secretary

The meeting was called to order by Director Ludy D’Angelo.

Ludy welcomed everyone to the first lecture and meeting of the 2012-2013 season and AAAP’s 50th year. Also, he reminded members that 2012-2013 dues are now due. He announced that AAAP would be holding our annual picnic on Saturday, September 15 at the pavilion at the Nature Center in Washington Crossing Park and a 50th anniversary dinner at Prospect House on the Princeton campus on Sunday, November 4.

Kate Otto, Program Chair introduced the speaker, Dr. David Spergel of Princeton’s Astrophysical Sciences Department. Prof, Spergel gave an absorbing talk on “Illuminating the Evolution of the Universe with the Cosmic Microwave Background” in which he explained recent discoveries based upon data collected by Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope.

After a brief break, Ludy reconvened the business portion of the meeting.

  1. Website:
    1. Kate Otto asked why Sidereal Times on the website is out of date. John Miller, webmaster, replied that after Michael Wright implemented the blog on WordPress, there was no need to post PDF’s of ST on the website. A notice and link on the website points users to the WordPress site.
    2. Victor Davis asked if there are plans to archive audio of the monthly lectures on the website. Ludy replied that Ken Levy did it while he was Program Chair and he has the files. Kate will contact Ken about them. Future lectures could be recorded if someone with the necessary skills and equipment would volunteer. Victor said that he might be able to do it and would look into it.
    3. Mary Hayes asked how to get to the roster. John said that he would provide instructions and the password to her.
  2. Secretary’s Report: no report. The deadline for the next Sidereal Times will be September 27.
  3. Treasurer’s Report: no report.
  4. Program Report: Kate Otto reported that she is still trying to get a speaker for the October meeting. Renee Hlozek of Princeton Astrophysics and Rachel Somerville of Rutgers are committed for December and February respectively. Kate is waiting for commitments from Michael Strauss of Princeton Astrophysics and Robert Wilson, co-discoverer of the CMB.
  5. Outreach Report: David Letcher reported that the school year is just beginning so no schools have contacted him yet. The Meteor Watch co-sponsored with the D&R Greenway was a success even though not many meteors were seen. Victor Davis and Brian Van View brought their telescopes. Dan Reynolds gave an introduction to meteors in general and the Perseid shower.
  6. Bill Murray said that he will be bringing visitors from the planetarium show on October 12 and 19 to the Friday night observatory open houses.
  7. Mary Hayes asked if keyholder could wear name tags when they are on duty so the public can identify them. Ludy said it could be done but someone would have to volunteer to make and distribute the name tags.
  8. Observatory Donation:
    1. Michael Wright reported that UACNJ is asking all clubs to paint their observatories at Jenny Jump. AAAP’s observatory has peeling paint, and some wood needs to be replaced. UACNJ endorsed AAAP’s proposal to place the donated observatory on AAAP’s site at Jenny Jump provided that it does not obstruct views from other observatories and AAAP submits plans to the park for review. They said that AAAP could use UACNJ’s wifi for data if it meets our needs. They recommended an emergency shutdown procedure. Gil Jeffer volunteered to work with AAAP and be our onsite contact in an emergency.
    2. Jeff Bernardes reported that he obtained a quote from Observadome of $11,000 for a ring to install the dome on, plus $6,000 for shipping. A section of the existing dome would have to shipped to Observadome so they cam match it to the ring. The consensus was that this option was too expensive so AAAP will investigate mounting the dome on the existing structure.
  9. Observatory Report: Gene Ramsey, Observatory Chair, thanked members for the cards and well wishes that he received during his convalescence after heart surgery. John Church reported that he received a quote of $900 from Bear Claw Exteriors to power wash and paint the exterior of the observatory, which he recommended that AAAP accept. This quote does not include repairing the stucco on the piers. After a brief discussion, Larry Kane made a motion to accept the quote and hire Bear Claw Exteriors. It was seconded by Bill Murray. The motion passed. Ludy announced that Brick Yard Road was paved but the park had not opened it for AAAP’s use yet. The park was considering how to lock the gates. John Church said that the plan is to install the new G-11 mount when the public observing season is over and asked whether the power supply was repaired. John Giles said that he would make the repair before then.
  10. Robert Vanderbei passed on a request from Gaspar Bakos of Princeton Astrophysics to borrow a 12-inch dob for his class until the one he ordered arrives. Michael Wright suggested lending the club’s 8-inch dob. He could contact Gaspar and make arrangements to transfer the scope. Jeff Bernardis made a motion, seconded by Michael, to loan the club’s dob. The motion passed.
  11. Bill Murray is starting an astronomy club at Trenton Catholic Academy and needs telescopes and books. Ludy asked members to consider donating unused books. Ludy said that he would support loaning the club’s three telescopes that are stored in his garage. They are in various sates of repair, but they be made usable if the students would like take them on as a project. Jeff Bernardis made a motion to loan the scopes to the school. It was seconded by David Letcher. The motion passed.
  12. Starquest: Ludy explained that Hope Conference Center is booked up for the rest of 2012 so we can-not hold Starquest there this year. All of 2013 is available. Ludy asked when members wanted to hold Starquest between June and November 2013. The choices were narrowed down to the weekends of June 8 or September 5. By a show of hands, the membership showed a preference for September 5, 2013
  13. 50th Anniversary Celebrations
    1. Kate announced that the anniversary dinner would be held on Sunday, November 4 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Prospect House on the Princeton campus. A speaker for the event was briefly dis-cussed. Kate and Surabhi Agarwal searched the archive and are working on a slide presentation. They asked John Church to help identify members and events in the pictures, to which he agreed. Surabhi asked for approval to purchase an external hard-drive to store scanned documents. Mi-chael suggested buying a second one for backup. The Board approved the purchase of two 1-TB drives for a total of $250 – $300.
    2. Michael said that he and Surabhi are planning a special edition of Sidereal Times for November. The theme will be “50 years past and 50 years to come”. He has asked Freeman Dyson to contrib-ute an article about how our understanding of the universe has changed over the past 50 years, but has not received a commitment yet. Ken Kremer has agreed to write an article about the past 50 years of space exploration. Michael asked for someone to write about how observing equipment has changed. He requested members write reminiscences and submit photos about the club mem-bers and events. Also, he needs help from a graphic artist to help produce a timeline. Arshad Jilani agreed to help with the timeline.
  14. Ludy announced that the next board meeting will be on October 3.

Ludy adjourned the meeting.

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