From the Director

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by Rex Parker, Director

Two proposals for vote at Feb 13 meeting. Last year we didn’t hold the Feb meeting because it would be on Valentine’s Day! This time around you have no such excuse (!) so we hope to see you at Peyton Hall on Feb 13. You are needed to vote on 2 proposals: (1) Amendment to the Constitution and By-Laws; (2) Expenditure authorization for a new astro video camera.

Amendment to Constitution and By-Laws. The amendment proposal is aimed at improving the organizational structure of AAAP by raising Observatory Chair and Outreach Coordinator to Board-level positions. We believe the prestige and recognition of the roles and the effectiveness of the positions would be enhanced by making them Board-level positions. They would be elected by the membership each year as are the other officers (Director, Assistant Director, Treasurer, Secretary, and Program Chair), comprising a 7 member Board of Trustees. Further rationale for this amendment is discussed in last month’s Sidereal times. The relevant sections are Constitution article 3, and By-Laws section 1. The current version is at this link, http://www.princetonastronomy.org/club_by_laws.html.

The proposed amendment also makes an additional change in the By-laws, Section 6.D.a (Finance). This would increase automatic expenditure authorization up to $500 (formerly $200) for astronomy equipment or observatory improvements at the discretion of the Officers. This is based on practicality for operating the Observatory.

Adoption of the Amendment requires a majority vote of the total membership, as provided in Article V of the Constitution.

Expenditure authorization: $2000 for astro video camera. This proposal is aimed at upgrading equipment and technology to improve observing capability for members and public outreach at the Observatory and in the field. The proposal is for $2000 from the treasury to be used to acquire a color CCD video camera and accessories for electronic assisted astronomy (EAA). To defray the cost, last month we sold some older unused astronomy equipment on Astromart, adding over $2000 to the treasury.

This Expenditure proposal must be approved by a majority of the votes cast at the meeting and not less than 30% of the paid membership, as provided in By-Laws section 6.D.c.

The club began its exploration of EAA a few years ago with the Mallincam video setup at the Observatory – with great success. More recently, EAA sessions by members at Starquest in October and at the Observatory in December demonstrated the improved sensitivity and very fast download rates of the latest generation of astro video cameras. Several models are eyepiece sized with low power requirements allowing field use with only a laptop-PC for power supply. Software has been developed allowing near-real-time color display of images on the laptop. Examples include cameras using the Sony EXview HAD CCD sensors such as the Sony ICX825. A short list of recommended cameras will be discussed at the Feb meeting.

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