Richmond Astronomical Society

December 2013 Meeting Minutes

Mar 11th, 2014 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond (G)Astronomical Society

771st Consecutive Meeting

December 10, 2013


Greetings – approximately 33 in attendance at the meeting.


Announcements / Share Table

John Raymond showed solar filters and solar films that he was using.

He also had a few plastic eyepiece cases to give away.  He said he purchased them from Ben Franklin (now Hobby Lobby).

Jim Browder announced the elected officers and the remaining board members.

Jim also introduced Justin Bartell, who started working as an Astronomical Educator at SMV today.  Yes, it was his 1st day on the job.


Dues are due! Annual dues for Richmond Astronomical Society membership are due at this time of year. Please pay our treasurer, Jim Blowers, in person at a monthly meeting, by US Mail or by PayPal. Mailing address and PayPal information is at Dues for regular membership are $30 per year. If you wish to be on the Observatory staff, please add $10 extra. If you joined RAS after July 1 of this year, your dues payment will be credited toward next year’s membership. Thanks!


Library Report — Virginia Eckert


Events and Individual Observing — RAS members

Jim Blowers announced he happened to see ISS by accident – unaware it was going to fly over

Betty Wilson announced a launch will occur on December 17 at 10:07pm from WallopsIsland.  It will be the 1st contracted mission to ISS.

Nice impromptu skywatch at Belmead.


Recent Events:

  • ISON, we hardly knew ya! Comet SON, which many of us had hoped would be a fine observing target in December, was apparently gobbled up by our Sun for the most part. As it passed by the Sun during perihelion, very little of the comet emerged on the other side. According to the latest information available, there has been little success in viewing remains of the comet. If anyone captures an image of the remaining debris cloud, please pass it along.   Video of the perihelion at
  • More info at


Upcoming Events:

  • Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch, Friday, December 20, 6:30 PM: RAS will have its regular monthly skywatch at 6:30 PM at the ScienceMuseum after the 6:00 PM LiveSky planetarium show. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can. We’ll plan to have some telescopes available during and after the planetarium show, but it will begin to get dark shortly after 5:00 PM, so please feel free to set up before sunset if you like. Note corrected date — the previous e-mail showed an incorrect date for this event.
  • Belmead on the James, Powhatan, Saturday, December 14, 6:30 PM: Belmead on the James will be hosting a public star gazing event starting at 6:30 PM on December 14 at the Belmead mansion. We will have an indoor session where we explore possibilities regarding the Christmas star and then have an observing session afterwards. Belmead is a convenient dark sky location. The entrance to Belmead is at 5004 Cartersville Road. After you enter Belmead, follow the road a mile or so to the mansion. A Google map to the entrance at this link Please join us and bring a scope if you can.
  • Powhatan County Library Skywatch, Monday, December 16, 6:30 PM: A skywatch at the Powhatan Library located at 2270 Mann Road, Powhatan, VA. A Google map showing the location is here: The skywatch will last from 6:30 to 7:30 PM. Please bring a scope if you can and be sure to arrive before 6:30 to set up. Also, please let Jim Browder know if you plan to bring a scope (e-mail Last year’s event was well attended, so we will likely need a few scopes for this year’s skywatch.  Leslie will be making the indoor presentation.
  • Comet Lovejoy: Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) is a nice early morning target (2 – 6am). It is not a spectacular object, but was displaying a visible coma and a faint tail in late November. If you have a chance to get out and see it (assuming the weather cooperates), it is a worthy telescopic object. The full moon will interfere with a view of the comet after about midmonth and it will reach perihelion on December 22. More info at Sky and Telescope:

Comet-Lovejoy-234492641. html

  • Science Pub RVA, January 14 or 21: Look for the next Science Pub RVA event on January 14 or 21, date to be announced later — updates at



Presentation: “Gastronomical delights,” RAS members

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