Richmond Astronomical Society

February 2011 Board Meeting Minutes

May 16th, 2011 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting February 21, 2011

President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:01pm.

Attendees (9):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Laura Graham
  • Dave Walton


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • November’s board meeting minutes were distributed, discussed, corrected, and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers.

  • Balance Summary          (as of 11/15/2010)                      (as of 2/21/2011):
  • General Fund:                        5451.32                                     6089.27
  • Observatory Fund:                   168.86                                       213.62
  • TOTAL:                                 5620.18                                     6302.89
  • Checking Account:                  559.08                                     1241.43
  • Savings Account:                   2859.01                                     2859.37
  • Certificate of Deposit:            2202.09                                     2202.09
  • Pay Pal Acct:                                0.00                                           0.00
  • TOTAL:                                  5620.18                                     6302.89

NOTE: The February totals do not include 2 memberships received earlier on 2/21/11.

Treasurer’s report was approved by the board. 
Observatory Report given by Jim Browder

  • Randy Tatum is acting RAS Observatory Director.
  • The concrete apron at the observatory is crumbling and needs to be patched up.
  • Maintenance, such as exterior patching and painting, is needed when it gets warmer


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • John Raymond, original RAS Outreach coordinator, is still unavailable due to new work hours
  • Betty and Ken Wilson volunteered to assist in scheduling future outreach events.
  • Big events at Petersburg battlefield and Scotchtown are on the calendar.
  • continues to schedule and hold several public skywatches at various places.  There are several requests for skywatches in the near future. 
  • Comments were made about recent RAS skywatches at the Science Museum have been attended by ‘good-sized’ crowds.


Library Report (made by Jim Browder)

  • Virginia reported there was no change in status.


Other Reports:

Dark skies / light pollution initiatives: The letter from RAS to the Goochland County Board of Supervisors, on behalf of Laura Graham, is temporarily on hold.

Old Business:

  • Skywatch guidelines (drafted by Ken and Betty Wilson)

Final draft will be sent to Jim Browder and the remainder of the RAS board.  The intent of its use will be to have a link for it on the RAS website, and will also be sent to the organization prior to the Skywatch.

  • SMV joint outreach

RAS will attempt to combine some of the SMV ideas with our plans for Astronomy Day 2011.  A major difference between the RAS and SMV ideologies is that SMV is “less individual/low touch” while RAS finds importance on “individual/hi touch”.  RAS expects to speak with Conti soon.


New Business:

  • Astronomy Day – Saturday, May 7th

Prashant Reddy will be the coordinator of Astronomy Day.

Expected activities include : “Science on a Sphere”, various telescopes on display, solar observing, launching pressurized water rockets, a meteorite on display, solar systems made to scale, and our own ‘local astronaut’.

Since there is a prom at the SMV on the night of Astronomy Day, consideration will be made for an alternate site for that night’s Skywatch.

  • Ravencon participation – April 8-10

RAS has been asked to participate in a science fiction-based convention named Ravencon to discuss and support the perception of realistic Astronomy with the ideas used in science fiction fantasies (movies, comic books, etc).  Ideas discussed among us were to have a fan table, a discussion about RAS, and a possible Skywatch for the attendees.  We can also give away sky charts.

  • 501 (c)(3) filing – should be filed in May 2011.
  • SCC report was officially filed in November, 2010 and was filed with Phil Roberts.
  • Hospice building next to RAS observatory

A proposal has been made to Chesterfield County for a 25-bed proposed Hospice unit to be built on the land next to the RAS observatory.  Proposal also includes a lit sign and an access to the proposed site.  Jim Browder passed out copies of the proposal and proposed map changes of the area.  RAS discussed necessary actions to be performed, including contacting the builders about lighting and contacting Jim Petty about any lighting restrictions that have been created in the past concerning the observatory.  Will any barriers need to be constructed to block access and stray lighting from the facility? 

  • Proposed purchases:
    • Solar observing equipment (proposed by Prashant Reddy),
    • Color video camera and sale of existing black & white Stellacam (proposed by Jim Browder)
    • 6-inch Dob for outreach activities (proposed by John Raymond)

Discussion about issues involving future storage of new (and existing) equipment.  We also need to consider the affordability of these purchases and of any storage costs.  Do we have an issue tracking who has the RAS scopes? At this time, Prashant has possession of the PST.  What is the existing ‘check out’ process?  Upon purchase and use of new equipment, we need training on its use.

A motion was made to require purchase orders/quotes from different parties before purchases will be considered.  Motion passed.

Next Board meeting will be Monday, May 16, 2011 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:50pm

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