Richmond Astronomical Society

February 2014 Board Meeting minutes

May 13th, 2014 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting February 17, 2014


President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm.


Attendees (11):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • John Raymond, Observatory Director
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Bill Newman
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Dave Medici, Vice-President

 Missing (1):

  • David Walton


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • November’s board meeting minutes were discussed and accepted. The brief discussion pertained to having a skywatch at the “Center of the Universe”. The concerns were about light pollution and drunken people around the scopes. It was suggested that we have a few scopes (but not ‘from RAS’) and experiment with the situation.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary         (as of 11/18/2013):               (as of 2/17/2014):
  • General Fund:                       6606.56                               7566.09
  • Observatory Fund:                   191.43                                 216.08
  • TOTAL:                                 6797.99                               7782.17
  • Checking Account:               1672.53                             2683.84
  • Savings Account:                 2861.25                            2861.32
  • Certificate of Deposit:           2234.21                            2237.01
  • Pay Pal Acct:                               0.00                                   0.00
  • TOTAL:                                 6767.99                               7782.17


After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was accepted by the board. There was a suggestion during the discussion that RAS may need to put an end-of-year deadline on membership renewal.

There are 36 members who have paid dues, including 7 new members. Twelve (12) are observatory members.


Observatory Report given byJohn Raymond

  • There were ten (10) attendees at the recent open house. The weather started as cloudy, but cleared by sunset. Seeing was ‘absolutely good’ and became ‘sharp’ at other times.
  • Jupiter, the Moon, and M42 were visible.
  • Grass cutting volunteers are needed
  • Dumpster status: still there, but out of way of the gate. Mattresses were there recently, but were taken away.
  • There is a dead tree near the back fence – not in danger of falling.
  • Open house planned for Saturday, March 8. there should be a 1st quarter moon at that time.


Library Report given by Jim Browder (for Virginia)

  • There are no problems at the Richmond Alarm Company.
  • Cabinets are almost full. We need to consider purchasing another book case. Suggestions were made to check at places like Hull Street Outlet and on Craig’s list.
  • Another suggestion is to thin out the books such as older out-of-date textbooks, but not collector’s items. Virginia and a few others need to be consulted before this can be done.
  • Consider purchasing a digital version of Sky & Telescope to replace the collection of magazines. Randy needs to be included in this decision, due to books and magazines being kept in the observatory.


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • RAS Ragland Observatory open house scheduled for Saturday, March 8.
  • Thomas Jefferson High School Skywatch, Tuesday, March 18, 6:30 – 8:30 PM: Thomas Jefferson high school is having an astronomy night in conjunction with a PTSA meeting and RAS has been asked to help with a skywatch.
  • Skywatch at Caroline Middle School, scheduled for Wednesday, April 2. RAS attended it last time, but should we ask Rappahannock Astronomy Club to handle these requests going forwards?
  • Additional upcoming outreach — John Raymond
  • Powhatan State Park has skywatches scheduled for May 17, and June 28.
  • John is waiting to hear back from “Friends of Bryan Park” after suggesting dates to them.
  • Anna Julia Cooper School: There was a discussion about funding up to 25 students (and their immediate family) for admission into a LiveSky presentation. Motion passed.
  • Monthly SMV skywatches
  • Where are permits needed for public skywatches, for example, at state parks?
  • Does anyone still go to Saylor’s Creek, Twin Lakes, or Malvern Hill?



Old Business


New Business

  • Update on new digital projector / IMAX dome preview. RAS will be given a preview of the new projection system at the March 11 meeting. Public grand opening is planned for March 15.
  • Recent donations from Don McAfee (former RAS member who has moved to Washington state):
    • LXD-55 8-inch
    • LX-200 10-inch w/wedge
    • Meade eyepieces
    • Dobsonian — homemade 10-inch
    • Refractor — old — approx. 4-inch
    • Refractor — old dept. store scope
    • Video modules
    • Film cameras
    • Two telescope dollies
    • One hand truck telescope transport
    • Miscellaneous accessories
  • John Raymond suggested 3 options: selling some of the equipment, donating it, or allowing it to be used on a long term loan.
  • A suggestion was made to possibly store some of the equipment at Belmead – in pods, a storage shed, or in an interior room. Can we set up a pier at Belmead?
  • Jim Browder was going to discuss the options with the personnel at Belmead.


o       RAS also has the SMV-donated 8-inch Celestron SCT with wedge (no motors)


Equipment Storage Discussion

o       Storage is okay at Jim Browder’s house and RAS observatory (to the extent possible);

o       Equipment availability is an issue; storage is not highest and best use of equipment.



Next Board meeting will be Monday, May 19, 2014 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm. If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.  


  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:52 pm.

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