Richmond Astronomical Society

April 2014 Meeting Minutes

May 13th, 2014 | By | Category: Meetings



Richmond Astronomical Society

775th Consecutive Meeting

April 8, 2014


Greetings – approximately 24 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room.


Announcements / Share Table

Prashant offered his yard for early morning eclipse watching.

Monthly sky guides from 2007-2011

American Astronomical Catalog – Deep Sky Objects


Library Report – Virginia Eckert

Virginia brought in several books for perusal:

Seeing Stars (1935), The Night Sky, Making Friends with Stars (1948), Observational Astronomy for Amateurs, and Astronomy with the Naked Eye (1908)


Individual Observing

Jim was at a skywatch down in Yorktown and said the seeing was fabulous.


Recent Events:

Science Museum skywatch – due to a ‘robotic event’ in the SMV, there were over 300 viewers throughout the evening at the skywatch. Everyone was busy, but there were no long lines.

Thomas Jefferson – weathered out

Caroline County – cancelled due to sickness.


Welcome guests – none


Upcoming Events:

Yuri’s Night, Saturday April 12, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Westover Hills Library: RAS will be helping Westover Hills Library celebrate Yuri’s night with a short evening skywatch at the library. Given the timing of the event, this will be a Moon (and maybe Jupiter observing session). Please contact Jim Browder at if you can help with this skywatch. For those not familiar with Yuri’s night, it commemorates the first flight of a human into Earth orbit in 1961 by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Westover Hills Library will be celebrating Yuri’s night with pizza and Tang, space-related crafts and tattoos for children, door prizes, and books and documentaries about outer space. We need a couple of telescopes.


Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch, Friday, April 18, 6:30 PM: RAS will have its regular monthly skywatch at the Science Museum starting at 6:30 PM. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can. Please feel free to set up before sunset if you like. There will be time for a brief solar skywatch. Justin will be there to help out and answer questions.


Skywatch at Belmead on the James in Powhatan, Saturday, April 26, 7:00 PM: Belmead and RAS will host members of the public along with advanced observers for a night under the stars. We will have a presentation for the public in the Belmead mansion and observers may set up and observe as long as they like in the parking area adjacent to the mansion. Belmead is a convenient dark sky location in Powhatan County. The entrance is shown on the map at this link: Once you enter the property follow the signs to the mansion where the observing session will be held.


Astronomy Day, Saturday, May 10: Astronomy Day 2014 will be celebrated as in previous years at the Science Museum from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. We have reserved the Museum Rotunda and the rooms on either side. Please contact Prashant Reddy at if you can volunteer for this event. We need lots of 2 liter bottles for the bottle rocket launcher. If you have any, please bring them to the next meeting, or contact Prashant to arrange pick-up.


Open House in Haymarket, Bull Run Mountains, May 3rd


Powhatan State Park, Saturday, May 17, 9:00 PM: RAS has been working with the Powhatan State Park staff to develop several skywatch events for 2014. The first one will be held on May 17 starting at 9:00 PM. Please contact John Raymond if you can help with this event at Moon will be setting about 11:15. This site is comparable to Belmeade.


Astronomy Day 2014: Prashant Reddy is the coordinator of Astronomy Day again this year.

It will move back to Saturday this year, and will have the normal assortment of astronomical items. There will be meteorite information and samples, an assortment of telescopes to experiment with, a few telescopes outside for solar observing, water bottle rockets, Russ the Astronaut will be walking around, and other entertaining and educational exhibits.




Lunar Eclipse, April 14 – 15: Leslie Bochenski

Leslie gave us the details for viewing this lunar eclipse, and showed us diagrams of the Sun-Earth-Moon coordination.

She also showed us “`If the Moon were Only 1 Pixel”, a very interesting web display to show relative sizes of the planets and relative spacing between the planets.


Staunton River Star Party: John Raymond

John tool some time to show us the activities from the recent Staunton River Star Party. It was the last weekend in March in South Boston, and the sky was “beautiful”!! There was a small crowd because weather scared away most of the expected astronomers. The photos we saw showed several tents, binoculars, telescopes, RVs, and three (3) of our members were seen – Jim Browder, Jim Langley, and John Raymond. A humorous photo of the ‘Richmond Sienna Fleet’, showed the vehicles of the 3 RAS members.

Everyone there was polite and helpful. The “Deep Space Diner” was open till 4am, serving food, coffee. They even had red lights on inside.

Highly endorsed skywatch by many of our members!


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