Richmond Astronomical Society

January 2013 Meeting Minutes

Feb 11th, 2013 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

760th Consecutive Meeting

January 8, 2013



Greetings – approximately 30 in attendance at the meeting.

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


Announcements / Share Table

  • Annual dues are due: This is the time of year when we ask our members to make sure their dues are paid for this year. Dues are $30 per year for regular membership, $10 additional for observatory operators. If you joined RAS after July 1 of this year, your dues payment will be credited to next year. You can give your dues payment to our Treasurer, Jim Blowers, in person at a meeting or you can pay online with PayPal or by mail. Information on PayPal and mail payments are on the RAS web site under the “Membership” link.
  • Dan S brought 3 books for display:
    • Glance at the Sciences (1844)
    • Stars in their Courses
    • Pamphlet – History of Xerxes Observatory (Chicago)
  • Leslie brought in an Albert Einstein bobble head.
  • Prashant brought in a Moon Atlas (Lunar Picture of the Day)
  • John R brought in “The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide”
  • Jim Blowers brought in the 2013 version of the Guy Ottewell Astronomical Calendar
  • Ken Wilson brought in another gadget, a defroster fan for your telescope.  He bought it at Harbour Freight.
  • Scientific Astrophotography: Local astronomer, accomplished astrophotographer and president of the Rappahannock Astronomical Society, Jerry Hubbell, has authored a book called,

“Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data.”

The book is available at and has received some great reviews.  Recommended by Jim Browder.


Library Report – Virginia said that all is great and orderly at the library!

She brought 7 books in for us to look at and check out:

  • Blackholes and 100 other questions
  • Life on Other Worlds (1940)
  • Minding the Heavens
  • Amateur Astronomy (1957, by Patrick Moore, who just recently died)
  • Mysterious Universe
  • Out of This World Space Photography
  • Hubble Vision



  •  Maja White
  • Jess Rice


Events and Individual Observing

Recent Events:

  • ScienceMuseum Skywatch – cloudy, winded out
  • PowhatanCounty Library – nice, people there served hot chocolate.  Covered by members JimBr, Mark, John, Prashant, Madhu, David Hagen.
  • Belmead on the James Skywatch – best attendance ever, interest is picking up.
  • Courthouse – new doublestack and solar observing
  • Powhatan – Madhu said about 40-50 young orderly young kids arrived to see the Geminids.
  • Geminid status:  JohnR in Powhatan watched from 9pm-12mid, saw 1 per minute; several others observed in many places at different times and saw different rates.  Many reported bright fireballs.



Upcoming Events:

  • Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, January 18, at dusk. The LiveSky program preceding that at 6pm is named “The Whole Universe is in a HotDenseState”
  • Belmead on the James Skywatch, Saturday, February 16, 7:00 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 ThomasBerryEducationalCenter is at

StauntonRiverState Park on March 7-10.  It is sponsored by the Chapel Hill Astronomy Club.  The Fall event was great and this event comes highly recommended.

NorthEast Astronomy Forum on April 20-21.  JohnR is “required” to be there.



Short talk: Ken Wilson found a 5-minute informative video on how Orion UK telescopes are made.  It’s on the web and part of the series “How’s It Made?”.




Long Talk: Skylights of 2013, by Ken Wilson

Ken started off showing photos from the Solar eclipse expedition that he and Betty recently went on in Australia.  Wow!!!!!

For the past couple years, Ken has provided us during the January talk with a calendar of many things to look for during the entire year.  These are predictable naked-eye objects in the mid-northern atmosphere.  It does not include the unpredictable events like sunspot activity, auroras, fireballs, novas, supernovas, . . .

Here is his list.  Thanks Ken!!


Skylights of 2013 — Ken Wilson



3          Quadrantid Meteor Shower peaks (8 a.m.LQ 5)

21        Moon visits Jupiter

29        Zodiacal Light (evening) for next two weeks



8          Mercury 0.3° N. of Mars

11-13   Crescent Moon + Mercury + Mars

16        Mercury greatest E. elongation (18°)

27        Look for evening Zodiacal Light for next two weeks



12 – Apr 5        Comet Panstarrs

15 – 18             Moon+Jupiter

27 – 29            Moon+ Saturn

31                    Mercury at greatest W. elongation (38°)



11-14   Moon + Jupiter

20        Astronomy Day

22        Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks 7 a.m. (FM 25)

23-25   Moon + Saturn

25        Partial Lunar Eclipse (not vis. In U.S.)

28        Saturn at opposition



5          Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower peaks at I a.m. (LQ 2)

9-10     Annular Solar Eclipse

10-12   Moon + Venus + Jupiter

24-25   Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

24-28   Jupiter + Venus + Mercury



10-11   Moon + Venus + Mercury

12        Mercury greatest E. elongation (24°)

15        Mercury + Venus + Castor + Pollux

16-19   Moon + Saturn

21        Mercury + Venus + Castor + Pollux



2          Pluto reaches opposition!

10-26   Venus + Regulus

28        S. Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower peaks 11 p.m. (LQ 29)

30        Mercury at greatest W. elongation (20°)



3 – 4     Mercury + Mars + Jupiter + Moon

12        Perseid Meteor Shower peaks at 2 p.m. (FQ 14)



3          Look for morning Zodiacal Light for next two weeks

7-9       Moon + Venus + Saturn

13        Venus+ Saturn

20        Venus + Saturn + Mercury



3          Look for morning Zodiacal Light for next two weeks

4          Mercury at greatest E elongation (25°)

18        Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (7:38 p.m.)

21        Orionid Meteor Shower peaks at 7 am. (FM 18)



1          Venus greatest E. elongation (47°)

3          Hybrid Solar Eclipse

5-7       Moon + Venus

15        Jupiter + Castor/Pollux

17        Leonid Meteor Shower peaks at 11 p.m.

18        Mercury at greatest W. elongation (19°)



1-17     COMET ISON !!!!!????

4-7       Moon + Venus

14        Geminid Meteor Shower peaks at I a.m. (FM 17)

17-18   Moon + Jupiter





The next RAS meeting will be Tuesday, February 12th at the SMV.

The next board meeting will be next Monday, February 18th 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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