Richmond Astronomical Society

February Meeting Minutes

Mar 7th, 2011 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

737th Consecutive Meeting

February 8, 2011


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

Greeting & Announcements – approximately 28 in attendance at the meeting.

  • Roger Brubaker has a Meade 102ED/APO EMC refractor telescope for sale with a TeleVue 2″ diagonal, re-worked CG-5 mount with Bob’s Knobs and an all wood finish Sokkia tripod.  The price for the package is $1500 which also includes 4 eyepieces, an O III and moon filter along with 2 Orion metal accessory cases. Roger advises that everything is in excellent condition and all eyepieces are essentially unused. If you are interested, please see the Richastro Yahoo group for additional details or contact Roger at 804-272-1672 or


Past Events:

  • Observing session at Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation, February 5
  • Individual observing

Upcoming Events:

  • Science Museum Skywatch, February 18:  Science on a Sphere and other exhibits for Cabin Fever Night at the museum, which will be promoted as the SMV’s quarterly evening event.  Please add your name to the sign-up sheet if you can bring a scope.  More information at
  • RAS Board of Directors meeting, February 21:  7:00 PM, Extra Billy’s Restaurant, 5205 W Broad St, Richmond, VA.  Please arrive earlier if you plan to eat dinner.  Meetings are open to all members, but please advise if you plan to attend in order to ensure sufficient space.
  • Skywatch at City Point, March 19:  Public observing session at the City Point Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield.  Please let John Raymond (at know if you can help out by bringing a scope and your expertise.  More information about the Park’s Skywatch program and the City Point location is available at: and
  • Ravencon, April 8-10:  Holiday Inn Koger Center, 1021 Koger Center Blvd, Richmond, VA. Thanks to the encouragement of member Mike Lewis, RAS will be participating in this year’s Ravencon which is a science fiction and fantasy festival held annually in Richmond.  RAS will be supporting the science track of the conference; additional details will be forthcoming.  Please join the fun if you can.  More information is at:

Short talk  –  “Sydney’s Telescope” Sydney and Mark Mabry

Sydney Mabry, one of our younger members, also described her adventure in building a Dobsonian telescope (with a little help from her dad, Mark). Sydney gave a nice presentation and she now has a telescope that should provide her with a lot of fun. Her dad might end up using it once in a while.

For more details, including an interesting blog and photos, access the following site:

Break – –

February’s Presentation:

“Desert Environments as Analogs for Mars,” by Dr. Amy Treonis, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Richmond

“Martian Mysteries and Desert Soils”

Dr. Amy Treonis gave us a great overview of her work and research interests, specifically desert environments as analogs for Mars.  The results of her studies of soil ecology here on Earth can be used to aid us in achieving future goals to visit Mars.  Soil ecology is the study of the organisms that live below ground, interacting with plants, each other, and their environment. Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes are all microscopic soil organisms that play important roles in decomposition and nutrient cycling. These organisms also are incredibly diverse, and a handful of soil can contain hundreds of different species. The use of molecular, microscopic, and stable isotope techniques allows soil ecologists to study the unseen life in the soil and understand the world beneath our feet. 

Dr. Treonis’s work at the University of Richmond involves astrobiology and extreme environments.



The next RAS meeting will be Tuesday, March 8th at the SMV.

The next board meeting will be Monday, February 21st at Extra Billy’s at 7:00 PM (arrive earlier for dinner). Meeting is open to all members.

Check out the web site at

Virginia Skylines: Be sure to check out the latest version of Virginia Skylines on our web site.  Virginia Skylines is a weekly podcast written by Leslie Bochenski, astronomy educator with the Science Museum and Thomas Jefferson High School.

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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