Richmond Astronomical Society

October Meeting Minutes

Oct 21st, 2009 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
721th Consecutive Meeting
October 13, 2009
Jim Browder called our meeting to order, in the Eureka Room.
Greeting & Announcements – approximately 36 in attendance at the meeting.
This will be a very special meeting!

Share table:
John brought some books for anyone interested in having them.  He also brought a telescope for looking at (maybe for sale).
Ken & Betty Wilson were cleaning out their garage and brought in extra pictures, maps, and handouts that they did not need anymore.
Bill Jeffries brought in some articles about our speaker, Anne Verbiscer, and her amazing discovery (see presentation).

RAS Board nominees will be announced through e-mail to the members very soon.  There are a few more openings that need to be filed.
If interested, please notify Jeff Pike ASAP at

Upcoming Events:
Science museum LiveSky and skywatch will be October 16.
Next Bryan Park skywatch is Thurs October 22 (Rain date is Mon October 26)
Mini star party at Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation in Goochland on October 17
East Coast Star Party will be in Coinjock, NC on October 23-24.
Woodlake skywatch on October 25
60th anniversary RAS dinner: Date Friday December 4th.  Place: Holiday Inn on Staples Mill Road, near Staples Mill and West Broad Street.
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson will be the opening speaker of the 2009-2010 season for the Richmond Forum, on November 14, 2009.   For more information, go to
The Cafe Press Shop is functional.  Check it out and and let us know what items you would like to add.

Astronomical League report (
Announcement of special offer:  The 2010 edition of Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Calendar is specially priced at $19.95 through the website , or call 800-533-5083.
Check updated topics on Astronomical League homepage to see updated weekly explanations about what to see in the night sky.
NOVA is showing the acclaimed “Hubble’s Amazing Rescue” on PBS at several times during the next couple of weeks.
The AL homepage has a link to the LCROSS Post-Impact News Conference.
It also has updated photos of Saturn and the Bug Nebula from Hubble.
There is a link to LRO photos of Apollo moon landing sites and booster rocket impacts on the homepage.
Observatory Report – none

Library Report
Virginia Eckert let us know that there was no electrical power to the library and several cabinets were blocking our library cabinets.

We had 2 visitors:
Ronnie, a college student interested in joining RAS, and Anne Verbiscer, our speaker for the evening!
Welcome to both of you!!

Presentation: “Discovery of Saturn’s Largest Ring” by Anne Verbiscer, University of Virginia
Anne Verbiscer presented amazing information about an outstanding discovery that she, Michael Skrutskie, and Douglas Hamilton made.  With help from the Spitzer satellite, they discovered the largest ring ever found around Saturn.  They were investigating the area around the orbit of Phoebe, a moon with an extremely large orbital radius and tilt that orbits in the opposite direction of other moons.  Along the path, a ring of widely scattered ice, dust, and debris was discovered, that is not dense enough to reflect or block visible light.  The height of the ring is equivalent to 10 Saturn diameters.  This is a quite a difference from the known rings that are easily visible and thin, as compared to the size of the planet Saturn.
This was actually the first public presentation of her discovery since the announcement was made on October 7th.
More information, associated links, and an artist’s drawing about the discovery can be found on the RAS home page.

<<The next RAS meeting will be on Tuesday, November 10 at the SMV.
<<The next board meeting will be Monday, November 16th at Extra Billy’s at 7:00 PM (arrive earlier for dinner). Meeting is open to all members.

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