Richmond Astronomical Society

October 2013 Meeting Minutes

Jul 10th, 2013 | By | Category: Meetings


October 2013 Meeting Minutes

September 2013 Meeting Minutes

August 2013 Meeting Minutes

July 2013 Meeting Minutes

June 2013 Meeting Minutes

May 2013 Meeting Minutes

April 2013 Meeting Minutes

March 2013 Meeting Minutes

February 2013 Meeting Minutes

January 2013 Meeting Minutes

December 2012 Meeting Minutes

November 2012 Meeting Minutes


Richmond Astronomical Society

769th Consecutive Meeting

October 8, 2013



Announcements / Share Table

Jim Browder recorded activities at the Staunton River Star Party and showed us the 8 minute video.

Membership dues are due.  Consider getting magazines, observatory membership, and calendars.

Jim Blowers brought in the book, “End of Night”.  This book will be discussed on Sunday October 20, at Ellwood Thompson’s.

JohnR was selling eyepieces.  He, also, brought in information about purchasing the 2014 version of the Canada Observer’s Handbook.


Board of Directors Nominations — David Medici

Board responsibilities were discussed.  Election will be during November meeting.  Officer elections will be done at November’s board meeting.


Library Report — Virginia Eckert


Events and Individual Observing — RAS members


Recent Events:

  • Science Museum skywatch – good decent crowd; Ed Murphy visited from UVa.
  • VAAS – good speakers; meetings were in tents;
  • Star parties – this has been a stellar month for star parties.


Upcoming Events:

  • RAS Fall Picnic at Belmead on the James, Saturday, October 12, 4:30 PM: This year’s Fall Picnic will be at Belmead on the James in Powhatan starting at 4:30 PM with observing afterward. The picnic will be at the mansion with the observing session in the adjacent parking lot. Belmead is a convenient dark sky location at 5004 Cartersville Road in Powhatan. A Google map showing the entrance to Belmead is at this link .     Please bring a dish to share with the group and please send an e-mail to to let us know what you plan to bring. This helps us to make sure we have a variety of items. Right now we need side dishes and maybe another dessert. The club will provide drinks, plates, cups, utensils, hamburgers and hot dogs. The mansion has a kitchen where food can be refrigerated and crock pots can be deployed. We also need a couple volunteers to help with the grilling.


  • Skywatch at Petersburg National Battlefield — Hopewell, October 12 (tentative): Please contact Ray Moody at if you can help with this event. The location is in Hopewell at Grant’s Headquarter’s at City Point 1001 Pecan Avenue, Hopewell, VA.  CANCELLED, due to government shutdown.


  • Science Pub RVA, Monday, October 14, 5:30 PM: Jason Bulluck will be discussing “Bigger Thinking on Biodiversity” at Keagan’s Irish Pub. Science Pub RVA hosts informal discussions on science topics of general interest. More info is at


  • Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch, Friday, October 18, 7:00 PM: RAS will have its regular monthly skywatch at the Science Museum after the LiveSky planetarium show at 6:30 PM. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can.


  • End of Night event with author Paul Bogard, Sunday October 20: (“The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light”) on Sunday, October 20 at Ellwood Thompson’s.  Please register online with Ellwood Thompson’s if you plan to attend


  • East Coast Star Party, Oct. 31 – Nov. 2, Hampton Lodge Campground, Coinjock, NC: Casual astronomy in a coastal environment. Please contact Kent Blackwell at for more information.


  • L. C. Bird High School Skywatch, Wednesday, November 6: David Medici (member of RAS and instructor at L. C. Bird) needs some astronomers to help with a skywatch at his school on November 6. If you can help with this event, please contact David directly at A map to L. C. Bird is at .


  • Woodlake Skywatch, Saturday, November 9, 6:00 PM: A skywatch at the Woodlake community. Please contact John Raymond at if you can help with this event.


  • RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, November 12, 7:30 PM: The next meeting of the Richmond Astronomical Society will be on Tuesday, October 8, 7:30 PM at the Science Museum of Virginia in the Thalhimer Theater. Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the Museum about 6:00 PM.  Depending upon the internet bandwidth available, we will broadcast the meeting live on Ustream at


  • RAS Board of Directors Meeting, November 18, 7:00 PM: The next RAS Board meeting will be on November 18 at Extra Billy’s restaurant on Broad St. Reservations will be made for 6:00 PM for those that will be joining us for dinner.



  • Charlise Prestwood
  • Conner Sauter
  • J. E. Madison
  • Alex Hsain
  • Anna-Claire Bousquet




Presentation: “Reproducing History: Flying the Wright Brothers’ 1902 Glider,” Rick Young, member of the Quest Lyceum Project development team.

Rick Young began his talk by discussing why he has such a great interest in flying.  He told us that was truly inspired by his father, who passed away last year at the age of 91.  Rick grew up in Orlando and spent lots of time at Cape Canaveral, including playing touch football with astronauts on the beach.

A lot of his interest in flight involved how the Wright Brothers continued to design and re-design their attempts at flight.  Rick had a good understanding of the history that led up to their successful flights at Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk.  The designing of hang-gliders contributed to many of the experimental versions of the early plane.  Many engineering experts came in the early 1900’s to help Orville and Wilbur improve their control system, enabling them to be successful in flight.  Starting with the basic shape, the Wright Brothers made structural changes to the wing shape by changing its curvature, dimensions, adding pulleys, and adding different styles of struts at different angles.

The 1903 glider does not exist anymore.  During one of the hard crashes, it blew into pieces and was taken away by the wind.  This model was rebuilt much later and is now hanging in the Smithsonian Museum.  Some of the planes were built using used parts from earlier versions.  The Wright Brothers eventually ended up with a fully controllable 3-axis flying machine. 

Many of the photos taken back in the early 1900’s were so remarkably clear, it allowed Rick to expand the photo to an extremely big size and still have remarkable clarity.  From the large photos, measurements could be taken and used to re-build the experimental versions of the plane.  In fact, the remarkable version in the rotunda of the Science Museum of Virginia was built by Rick Young!!! 

Rick’s family flew another re-built version in a NOVA special about the Wright Brothers and their accomplishments.


Rick described the Wright Brothers as ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things, which is his definition of a ‘genius’.


This was a very interesting and enjoyable presentation.


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