Richmond Astronomical Society

March Meeting Minutes

May 16th, 2011 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

738th Consecutive Meeting

March 8, 2011


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

Greeting & Announcements – approximately 37 in attendance at the meeting.


Share Table

A member brought in a few photos taken through his telescope.  Star maps.

One member jokingly announced he brought in “invisible dark matter”.


Library Report (Virginia Eckert):

No issues.  She brought in 5 books that fits into a Meteor theme.  They were Stones from Stars;  Meteors, Comets, and Meteorites; Cosmic Debris; Meteorite Handbook; Rocks from Space; Comet and Meteor Streams (collector’s item).


Due to the Meteor theme, Leslie thought it was an excellent time to announce that the SMV had a new exhibit on meteors, cosmic debris, and meteorites.


A “pretty cool” comment was made when the Science on a Sphere was mentioned. 

Recent Events

  • SMV Skywatch – well attended, good group in February.  A “cabin fever night” and the Children’s Museum had an event the same night.
  • Individual observing – Just prior to the meeting, the RAS members were treated to a view of the Space Shuttle followed moments later by the International Space Station.  For a few moments, both were within view simulataneously. 

Upcoming Events:

  • Science Museum Skywatch, March 18:  Please add your name to the sign-up sheet if you can bring a scope.  More information at
  • Skywatch at City Point, March 19:  Public observing session at the City Point Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield.  Please let Jim Browder (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:


  • Yuri’s Night at Westover Hills, April 8: 7:00pm, Westover Hills Library at 1408 Westover Hills Blvd.  Please let Jim Browder (at know if you can help out by bringing a scope.


Visitors:  We had 5 visitors:  Deanna Remmich, Daniel Feagans, Ben Bare, Eli Doxtator, and James Parkes.  Thanks for coming to our meeting, and please come again.

Short Talk:

“SpaceX and Dragon, the Next Step in Science”

— Break —

March’s Presentation:

“Stargaze with the Night Sky Network” by Betty Wilson

Betty Wilson is one of RAS’s club coordinators for the Night Sky Network. 

The content of the presentation was very interesting and sounded like a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in Astronomy and associated areas.  Knowing that my own explanation would not completely describe its activities, I have chosen select passages from the Night Sky Network webpage to explain this very interesting and supportive program.

“The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA’s missions to the general public. 

We share our time and telescopes to provide you with unique astronomy experiences at science museums, observatories, classrooms, and under the real night sky

The Night Sky Network is sponsored and supported by:

  • NASA/JPL’s Exoplanet Exploration public engagement program, publicly known as PlanetQuest. The Exoplanet Exploration Program encompasses several of NASA’s extra-solar planet-finding missions, including the Keck Interferometer, the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), Kepler, and the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute. Learn more about PlanetQuest:
  • The NASA Education Forum on the Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU), based at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, is a national center for teaching and learning about NASA’s SEU theme.
  • The Origins Education Forum, based at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, is an association of the education and public outreach programs of the NASA missions seeking to understand and characterize the origins of the universe, planets, and life.
  • NASA’s Kepler Discovery Mission, NASA Grant NAG 2-6066 to SETI Institute.
  • NASA Education Forum on Solar System Exploration:
  • NASA Education and Public Outreach at Sonoma State University: GLAST, Swift and XMM-Newton missions
  • Suzaku Mission E/PO Program at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
  • The non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the nation’s leading organizations devoted to astronomy and space science education, developed and is managing the Night Sky Network in cooperation with NASA. Learn more about the ASP:

Betty asked for RAS to increase its participation in Night Sky Network.  Many of the activities that we already do for the community are considered events that the NSN endorses.  Some of our activities include skywatches, handouts at skywatches, emails to members, meetings, and presentations of astronomical topics.  The NSN newsletter offers much information that can be used in meetings, community events, and in classrooms.  Everyone is encouraged to access the links listed above.



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

The next board meeting will be Monday, May 16, 2011 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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