Richmond Astronomical Society

August 2013 Meeting Minutes

Nov 5th, 2013 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
767th Consecutive Meeting
August 13, 2013

Greetings – approximately 26 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room.

Announcements / Share Table
• Request for help with Sept. 28-29 Camp Phoenix Event. This is a camping event in Hanover County for Cancer survivors from all around.
• John R brought in a pipe section that he plans to use as a dew shield on his telescope.
• Ken brought in information on Comet ISON.
• John R sold old RAS 13” telescope to Lawrence Johnson of Hampton.
• David S asked about the inventory list

Library Report – all is well at the RAC

Events and Individual Observing
Recent Events:
• Science Museum – great crowd and mostly clear skies, views of Saturn
• Saturn Wave – photo on Earth of RAS and photo of Earth are on the website
• ALCon – Henry Nebel attended in Atlanta; San Antonio hosts in July, 2014

Upcoming Events:
• Membership dues are due. 2014 calendars are also for sale
• Next RAS Meeting, Tuesday, September 10, 7:30 PM: Regular monthly meeting at the Science Museum of Virginia. Please join us for the meeting and for dinner before the meeting if you can at Arby’s across the street from the Museum.
• Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch, Friday, August 16, 8:30 PM: RAS will have its regular monthly skywatch at the Science Museum after the LiveSky planetarium show at 6:00 PM. The topic is “Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe”. Please join us for the skywatch and bring a telescope if you can.
• Scotchtown in Hanover on Friday, 8/16.
• RAS Board of Directors Meeting, Monday August 19, 7:00 PM: The RAS Board of Directors will meet at Extra Billy’s restaurant on West Broad Street. Reservations will be made for 6:00 PM for those that wish to eat dinner.
• Skywatch at Petersburg National Battlefield — Hopewell, Saturday August 24, 8:00 PM: Please contact Ray Moody at (804) 943-8318 if you can help with this event. The location is in Hopewell at Grant’s Headquarter’s at City Point, 1001 Pecan Avenue, Hopewell, VA.
• Belmead on the James Skywatch, Saturday Sept. 7, 7:00 PM: Skywatch at Belmead on the James Thomas Berry Educational Center, Powhatan. This special event will be for beginners and more experience observers alike. RAS will deploy astronomers to assist beginning astronomers with their telescopes and the moon will set early to provide a dark night at a dark site for all night observing. Belmead is an easily accessible dark sky location with plenty of parking adjacent to the observing site. Please contact Jim Browder at for more information or if you can help with this event. More info about Belmead and the Thomas Berry Educational Center is at p://fraicirnor/.
• East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous (ECVAR), Sept. 29 — Oct. 6, Galax, VA: Video astronomers — mark your calendars. The next ECVAR event will be held at a site near Galax, VA, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near the NC line, Grayson Highlands State Park and Mt. Rogers. There are great facilities, dark skies and lots to see and do during the day as well. More information is at
• Staunton River Star Party, Oct. 1-6: The Fall Star Party in Staunton River State Park, hosted by the Chapel Hill Club, will be held October 1-6. The park has been supportive of the event and Camera Concepts will be in attendance this year as well as several presenters. More information is at http://www.chaosastro.comjary/. Dark sky site with low horizons. East of South Boston on rt 360 2-2.5 hours away from Richmond.
• Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies, Annual Meeting, Oct. 5, C. M. Crockett Park, 8:30 AM through the night:
• This year’s annual meeting and stargazing event of VAAS will be hosted by the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club at Crockett Park, near Warrenton, VA. More information is at . After a light breakfast for attendees, there will be several presentations running up to a catered lunch around noon. During the daylight hours there will be safe solar viewing and at night observing equipment can be set up by your cars on the large observing field. Public observation site.
• East Coast Star Party, Oct. 31 — Nov. 2, Hampton Lodge Campground, Coinjock, NC: Casual astronomy in a coastal environment. Please contact Kent Blackwell at for more information.

Recap of the Green Bank Star Quest
JohnR and Bill Jeffries (and his grandson) showed a video of their trip and activities. Examples of using Farraday cages to protect electronics, pre-cautions taken at PC lab, and a microwave oven in a lead lined box.


Presentation: “Update from Mars,” – Chris McCann
Chris discussed a brief history of Mars exploration by starting with historical facts of the 1st Mariner mission and progressed through time until the present time of the Curiosity rover. Throughout the talk, he explained how photography, research, and spaceship controlling has improved over the past 50 years.
Missions were divided into categories of fly-by missions, orbiters, landers, and rovers. Attempts and some successes of Japan, Russia, and other foreign countries were discussed. Charts, photos, and videos were included in the presentation. A video of the recent successful landing of Curiosity was shown.
A good handful of these missions are still operating.
Future exploration goals were also listed, including a launch for later in 2013.

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