Richmond Astronomical Society

June Meeting Minutes

Aug 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

729th Consecutive Meeting

June  8, 2010


Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka room.  This meeting was going to have a different format – business first, the main presentation, and then after the break, the short talk.

Greeting & Announcements – approximately 43 in attendance at the meeting.

Please check the link to our RAS blog:

Share table:

Jim Browder is a celebrity.  Jim displayed an ad for Astronomy Technology, and showed us a photo of him, but it’s a small photo in the lower corner of the ad. 

There were several items for sale, including a few eyepieces by John Raymond.

There were a few photos for anyone to look at.

A license plate holder that goes on the back of a car was on the table.  It was a recent purchase from the RAS Café Press store.  The shop can be found at .

Past Events:

Science Museum Skywatch was a success on May 21.

Ken Wilson talked about sighting Comet McNaught in the SE sky.

Terry Barker and others mentioned the pairing of Mars and Venus close to each other.

Upcoming Events:

The next Science Museum Skywatch/LiveSky show is June 18.  Please sign-up if you are available to attend and bring a scope.
Skywatch at Willow Oaks Country Club on Friday June 11. Rain date is July 9. 

Cub Scout Twilight Camp at Fairfield Prebyterian Church on Tuesday June 22.  Rain date is June 25.

ECVAR (East Coast Video Astronomy Rendevous) in Luray, Virginia on June 10-13.  Please see  for more information.

Green Bank StarQuest in Green Bank, WV on July 7-10.  Please see  for more information.

Dues announcement:

Annual dues are due and should be given to Jim Blowers.  Membership is $30.  Observatory memberships and magazine subscriptions increase the amount.

Payment can be made by PayPal at

Observatory Report (John Barnett)

John Barnett will be hosting an open house for members and guests on Wednesday, June 16th at 8:30pm.  On the 15th, he will email a weather advisory and a reminder to all members. Contact Jim Blowers to update your email address if it has changed.

Library Report was not given.  The RAS library was moved out of the RAS recently.  At this time, it is in public storage with controlled atmospheric conditions.  An effort is in progress to find a long-term location where RAS members can easily access the library contents.

June’s Presentation: “News in the World of Weather Forecasting” by John Bernier

John Bernier spoke about many aspects of the weather affecting our lives and environment.  He started off his presentation by asking about a very active political topic:  “Climate Change – Fact? Fiction? Fantasy?”  He used the beliefs of Al Gore to take the side of there is global warming, Ken Cuchinelli to side with no global warming, and Sargent Schultz (from Hogan’s Heroes) to take the middle ground using Schultz’s well-known line of “I know nothing!”.  Very effective!

Since the dawn of time, we have had 7 ice ages, where the warmer periods have lasted longer than the colder periods.  Sometime during the warmer periods, it has been warm enough for the dinosaurs to venture up to the Arctic. 

He discussed how the upcoming hurricane season will affect the oil spill in the gulf.  There is no telling what is going to happen.  It could spread it around and carry it onto the land, or it could break it up, depending upon the strength and track of the storms.

Many countries do not have tornadoes.  US and Canada happen to be 2 of the countries that have them.  Much of it has to do with geological and geographical conditions.  For example, the lack of mountains along the central parts of US and Canada helps to cause and intensify the tornadoes.

Time was spent discussing the sun spots (or lack thereof) and their influence of the weather.

An interesting fact that I learned this evening:  All of Ohio’s lakes are manmade – there are NO natural lakes.

There were many other topics and ideas discussed during John Bernier’s talk, including a lengthy Q&A session afterwards.  As expected, this was an outstanding talk with plenty of information.  Well done!

Break – –

Short talk

“East Coast Star Party” by Jim Browder

In a smaller, more informal setting, Jim showed the remaining group of 22, photos taken at the ECSP in Coinjock, NC.  The photos contained many of the regulars who usually attend the star party, and several of the telescope setups that were used.  It was interesting to hear the stories of the camaraderie during the day and the observing opportunities in the sky that occurred during the night.



<<The next RAS meeting will be Tuesday, July 13th at the SMV.

<<The next board meeting will be Monday, August 16 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.

Comments are closed.