Richmond Astronomical Society

August Meeting Minutes

Oct 9th, 2012 | By | Category: Meetings

RichmondAstronomical Society

755th Consecutive Meeting

August 14, 2012



Greetings – approximately 31 in attendance at the meeting.


Share Table

A copy of Eric Douglass’s book: 1964 “Mars Project” Report

Ken displayed a new useful red/white flashlight that he bought from Target.

Jim Blowers announced that the observatory had a temporary visitor – a little kitten.


Library Report

Virginiareported all is OK, and the library is in good shape.  She had a meteor, meteorite, and Mars connection with most of her books.  She had Meteor (1925), Stars from Stars, Understanding Mysteries from Meteorites, Comets and Meteor Streams (1952), Mars (from 1954 and 1936), and Pluto And Beyond.


Events and Individual Observing

Recent Events:

  • Perseids – Prashant saw a few bright ones, Jim Blowers saw remains of an old Soviet satellite around 4am
  • Curiosity Rover Landing Parties – most of us saw them on TV and internet
  • 2 nights of Jupiter sightings for Bill Newman’s project.  Both involved a little guessing on the timing.


Upcoming Events:

  • Science Museum Skywatch, August 17: Please sign up and bring a telescope if you can. More information is at The RAS skywatch will start at dusk after the LiveSky planetarium show.
  • RAS Board of Directors Meeting, August 20, 7:00 PM: Board of Directors meeting at Extra Billy’s Restaurant,5205 West Broad Street. Reservations will be made for 6:00 PM for those that wish to eat dinner before the meeting.
  • Beimead on James Skywatch, August 25, 7:30 PM: Skywatch at Belmead on the James / Thomas Berry Educational Center, Powhatan. RAS will deploy astronomers and telescopes for the event and there will be an indoor introductory session prior to the observing session. This is an easily accessible dark sky location with plenty of parking adjacent to the observing site. Please contact Jim Browder at if you can help with this event. More info about Belmead and the ThomasBerryEducationalCenteris at  This is near the 23rd anniversary of an earthquake which caused serious damage at Belmead.
  • Petersburg National Battlefield,HopewellAugust 25: Skywatch starts at 8:00 PM. Please contact Ray Moody at if you can help with this event.
  • Next RAS meeting, September 11, 7:30 PM: Please join us if you can. A number of us also gather before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the Museum about 6:00 PM.
  • Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies Annual Meeting, September 15: Save the date – This year’s VAAS meeting will be held at the Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation which has dark skies, convenient location and great facilities. If you can help with this event or if you have suggestions for speakers, please contact Betty Wilson at


Visitor Welcome:



Short Talk:

“Preview of the Annual Meeting of theVirginiaAssociation of Astronomical Societies”

September 15: This year’s VAAS meeting will be held at the Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation which has dark skies, convenient location and great facilities.  Besides camping facilities, bunkhouses are available for overnight stays.  Presentations, solar observing, displays, lunch, dinner and door prizes are scheduled during the day on September 15 with nighttime observing on Friday night, September, 14 and Saturday night, September 15. At this time, some of the expected speakers are Eric Douglas, Ed Murphy, Michelle Shin, and John Stook.  Admission fee will be $20 which will include 2 meals.  If you can help with this event, please contact Betty Wilson at




Major Presentation:

“Lunar Geology – Continued,” Eric Douglass

This was a continuation of a talk from 2 months ago.  Eric began by talking about “Basins on the Moon” and spoke of many crater formations that may exist.  Of course, the craters are mostly created by collisions of objects being pulled into the moon by its gravity.  Under such large pressure, the solid moon surface behaves like sand, re-forming into circular patterns around the point of impact.  Based upon the size of the impact and the angle of the impact, the new crater can take on different physical characteristics.  Many times, the crater wall collapses to form a flat crater floor with sloping side walls.  An impact coming from an angle can form a elliptic or oblong shape to the wall structure.  The energy released by the collision can, not only form the crater wall, but create concentric rings/ridges farther out from the crater’s center.  Eric had several photographs to display this phenomenon.  Many of the photos showed ridges that were quite old and ‘weathered’ and some that were recently made (in the past few thousand years).

While comparing the formations on the Moon, Eric compared the similaririties of the volcanic fissures found in Hawaii and lava flows from different volcanoes here on Earth.





The next RAS meeting will be Tuesday, September 11th at the SMV.

The next board meeting will be Monday, August 20th at Extra Billy’s at 7:00 PM (arrive earlier for dinner). Meeting is open to all members.


Check out the web site at

RAS Café Press store.  Please take a look at the online store where you can purchase items embossed with the RAS label. The site can be found at .


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