Richmond Astronomical Society

August Meeting minutes

Aug 17th, 2009 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
719th Consecutive Meeting
August 11, 2009
Jim Browder called our meeting to order, in the Eureka Room.
Greeting & Announcements – approximately 34 in attendance at the meeting.

Share table:
There were free books and magazines donated to anyone who wants them.  An agreement was made to save and donate the star atlas to Tim Streagle and his scouts.
There were also eclipse books and photos, in line with tonight’s presentation.

Observing and Events
Thanks to those who helped with the skywatch at Brandermill on August 3rd.  There was a great turnout.  Someone mentioned that a kid was announcing “Jupiter is here”.  Jim Blowers read an appreciation letter at the meeting, and also stated that a $100 donation was made to RAS from the Brandermill Association.
There were many observers and telescopes at the Science Museum Skywatch, but was quickly clouded out.
Perseid meteor showers peaking tonight, but the weather did not cooperate.

Mini Star party at the Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation in Goochland on Friday, August 14.
RAS Board of Direstors meeting at 7pm on August 17th at Extra Billy’s. Open to all memebers.  Come early at 6pm if you wish to eat, too.
SMV Skywatch & Livesky is Friday (August 21) at the Science Museum.  According to Leslie, the special topic of the Livesky is Jupiter.
Bryan Park skywatches:
Wed August 26 (Rain date is Mon August 31)
Thurs September 24 (Rain date is Mon September 28)
Thurs October 22 (Rain date is Mon October 26)

60th anniversary RAS dinner: Date TBD
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson will be the opening speaker of the 2009-2010 season for the Richmond Forum, on November 14, 2009.   For more information, go to
The Cafe Press Shop is functional.  Check it out and and let us know what items you would like to add.
VAAS 2009 will be on Saturday, September 12, starting at 9am at National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) auditorium, 520 Edgemont Road in Charlottesville.
Astronomical League report:
Information about Stellafane Star party in Springfield, Vermont on August 13-16
Updated information and photos about an impact near Jupiter’s south pole on July 19, 2009.
Updated viewing times have been displayed for each time zone.
Updated weekly explanations about what to see in the night sky.
All above can be found at
Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch on August 25, 2009 at 1:36 am.
Astronomical League sponsors and evaluates many observing clubs.  Aaron Clevenson, one of the AL National Observing
Program Coordinators, has created two tools designed to help Astronomical League members manage their progress with
the AL observing programs.  One is a monthly publication (in Microsoft Word) that highlights objects by observing
club that are visible in the evening sky that month.  It is called “What’s Up Doc?”.�
The other is a large spreadsheet (in Microsoft Excel 2000) that lets you set your observing Latitude and Longitude
as well as the Universal Time of your observation session and it will tell you information on which object for the
various AL observing clubs are visible.  It has information on over 2100 objects and all of the AL Observing Clubs.
It is called “What’s Up Tonight, Doc?”.  To access the latest versions of these documents, please go to the
What’s Up Doc? website ( ).   ‘
Observatory Report
Another open house is being planned around the next 1st-quarter moon, weather permitting.  John  Barnett will notify the list server when plans are more solid.
Library Report
Virginia Eckert placed a few books on display, about Comets, 2 books by Isaac Asimov, and a 1929 book about Energy.  The Energy book happened to be a gift to Beauford Ragland.
Remember that only members may check out books.

We had 6 visitors:
Steve Cates, Warren Ragsdale, Jim & Joann Calpin (Jim became a new member tonight), Kristi Orcutt, Tom & Sandi McNinch, and Anders Karlsson.  A few of the visitors said they were attending to hear the big Solar Eclipse presentation.
Welcome to all of you!!

Short Talk:
<<John Raymond discussed the “Regional Observing and Outreach Events” that he is in charge of.  John announced that we are having a few skywatches invovling Bryan Park.
Rain dates are included in the planning.  The dates were listed earlier in this report, and are marked on the website calendar.He also reminded us about the Almost Heaven star party (Spruce Knob, WV) and East Coast star party in Coinjock, NC.
<<After our break, Ken & Betty Wilson were our presenters of the evening.  They gave a very interesting talk about SOlar eclipses and their July trip to China to observe the recent total solar eclipse.
There were wonderful photographs, a lot of information, and interesting stories about the entire trip.  Not only were there many photographs, but also a video from the time around totality, and Bailey’s Beads.
Another interesting fact was that the ship’s crew had the idea to sail along the path of totality to increase the length of totality by 3 seconds.
Betty had a big announcement that involved Ken.  Within the past few days, an asteroid was named after Ken since he discovered it during a research study in the SW portion of the US.  The asteroid is named 84951 kenwilson.

<<The next RAS meeting will be on Tuesday, September 8 at the SMV.
<<The next board meeting will be Monday, August 17th at Extra Billy’s at 7:00 PM (arrive earlier for dinner). Meeting is open to all members.

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