Minutes of the July 1, 2014 Board Meeting

by Jim Poinsett, Secretary

Attendees: Director Rex Parker, Program Chair Kate Otto, Secretary Jim Poinsett, Observatory Co-chairs Gene Ramsey, David Skitt and Jen Skitt, Outreach Coordinator David Letcher and ST Co-editor Michael Wright.

Director Rex Parker opened the meeting.

The meeting schedule for the next season will be as follows: Sep. 9, Oct. 14, Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Jan. 13, Feb. 10, Mar. 10, Apr. 14, May 12 and possibly Jun. 9.  Rex submitted a request to the Astrophysics Dept. to reserve Peyton Hall for these dates except Jun. 9, which would be at the planetarium. Rex proposed that the monthly lectures start at 7:30 PM instead of 8:00 PM.  Those present agreed that an earlier start would be better.

Rex proposed the following Board Meetings: Oct. 7, Jan. 7, Apr. 7 and Jul. 7 (1st Tuesday of month, quarterly).

Rex proposed the Mt. Lemmon trip be scheduled for early November 2014.  He will do more research on the costs and write a piece for Sidereal Times.  The amount of commitment to the trip was discussed.  The group agreed that it needs to be tested before making arrangements.

Rex initiated a discussion about the vision for AAAP over the next five years.  The group considered suggestions to maintain existing members and gain new members, continue the tradition of great monthly speakers and evolve public outreach such as:

  • Start interest groups such as astrophotography, observing and cosmology
  • Expand interaction among members, particularly new ones by:
    • Tracking and recognizing volunteer contributions
    • Setting up a “Telescope of the Month” in Peyton Hall
    • Begin each meeting with a 5 min. member talk on a book, recent observations, trip, software, etc.
    • Having more member nights
    • Having more hands-on astronomy talks
    • Holding an astrophotography workshop
    • Giving telescope lessons
    • Reinstitute the fall picnic

Rex had a suggestion to improve the viewing experience at the observatory.  He proposed that the club purchase and install a Mallincam video camera on the Paramount next to the C14 to capture live video that would be displayed on a monitor mounted on the observatory wall.  The monitor would allow keyholders to explain objects while visitor wait on line to look through the scope.  The board members present thought this was an idea worth exploring.  It will cost a couple of thousand dollars and will need to be approved by the membership.  More information will be presented at the September meeting.

If anyone has any ideas on topics for lectures or speakers let Kate Otto know. The subject of sponsors for StarQuest was brought up. Kate will look into it. Again if anyone has any ideas on that subject let Kate know. Gene had seen an ad for a clamp to use a smartphone to take pictures through a telescope. The board agreed to purchase one. Gene will order it. The topic of activities for StarQuest weekend was brought up. Mike had the following ideas:

  • Set up a display of the solar system to scale based on “Earth as a Peppercorn”
  • A fossil hunting trip to a nearby rock outcrop

If anyone has any other ideas please send them to Mike.

The Board agreed to give a free StarQuest weekend to the person with the best activity idea.

Gene had seen an ad for a clamp to use a smartphone to take pictures through a telescope. The board agreed to purchase one. Gene will order it.

David Lechter told the board that the club was invited to host a public viewing party at Unionville Vineyards. The board had some questions and David said he will get more details and let the club know.

David also reminded everyone that his series of classes/talks at the Nature Center in the park will be held the end of September, the exact dates will be announced shortly.

Gene told the board that the repairs to the observatory were expected to be done on July 15th.  He also noted that we will soon have 5 members per observing team and wanted the boards approval to start adding a 6th person should more members become interested.

Many of the items on the Observatory projects list were completed. The remaining ones were the roof repair (to be done July 15th), stone to widen the parking area and fill in potholes, larger pulley to make the flap on the roof easier to operate, painting the interior, cutting the nails in the computer room ceiling, replacing the wax ring on the toilet to stop the odor and bench testing the donated C14.

A decision needs to be made on the donated equipment. Rex will bring this up at the September meeting to get ideas from the membership.

The board agreed to purchase red glow sticks to mark the gates at the observatory entrance to the park to make it easier to give the public directions.

A storage shed/container was suggested for the observatory.

A green laser will be purchased for the observatory to be used by keyholders only to point out the constellations and such at public nights.

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