RAS Presentation Guidelines

Updated 2009 June 10

Main Presentations, Short Talks, Software Reviews

Each of the twelve RAS Board members is responsible for one of the monthly main presentations.   In addition, we encourage our members and guests to present Short Talks, Book Reports, and Software Reviews on astronomy-related items.   Our meetings are usually held at the Science Museum of Virginia (SMV) and these guidelines are intended to ensure that your presentation will run as smoothly as possible.

The RAS Vice President is responsible for scheduling and coordinating all main presentations for the regular monthly meetings.   This includes the main presentations, short talks, book reports, and software reviews.   Please feel free to contact us if you'd like to make a presentation!

Presentation Resources

In general, each presenter is responsible for his/her own presentation resources.   If an RAS member is hosting a guest speaker, then the hosting member is responsible for coordinating any requirements for our guest.   Leslie Bochenski, the RAS contact at the SMV, and the RAS Vice President will be happy to help you with special requirements.   These primary contacts are shown below.   Note that all museum facilities are coordinated by Leslie.   Therefore, if your inquiry is museum-related, please contact her directly.


The guidelines below are intended to ensure that your presentation will run as smoothly as possible.
  1. Facilities

    1. If you need special facilities (slide projector, data projector, audio, etc.), you must contact Lelsie no less than one week in advance to determine if those facilities exist and if they will be available on your meeting night.
    2. If your presentation includes computer presentations (PowerPoint, software demo, movie, etc.), you must provide your own computer, with all necessary software already loaded.   Points of caution:
      • Projecting with screen resolutions over 800x600 are risky, and might not display well with the current equipment.
      • You should use PC laptops wherever possible, as we are not sure how compatible all of the MACs are with the SMV projection equipment.
      • Note:   We’ve had problems in the past with imbedded movies in PowerPoint, wherein the movie content does not project to the screen.   You should test your configuration before the meeting.
    3. If you plan to show 35mm slides as part of your presentation, please bring them pre-loaded in Kodak-style Carousel trays.
    4. Plan on arriving 30 minutes early on your presentation night to setup and test the media.   You should also stay afterwards to help with any cleanup.
    5. RAS meetings are normally held in the Eureka Theater of the SMV, although some are held in the Planetarium.   This is dependent on scheduled activities at the museum, and our room assignments might change.   If you have special requirements for which this might be an issue, please contact Leslie.

  2. Presentation Resources

    1. You are responsible for copying and bringing any handouts.
    2. If the room will be darkened during your presentation and you will be referring to notes, bring your own light.
    3. If you need one, bring your own laser pointer.

  3. Presentation Announcement

    1. At the monthly meeting preceding your scheduled presentation, please advise both the RAS president and secretary of the presenter's name and presentation title.  
      For example: "February main presentation: 'The Andromeda Galaxy', by David Thomas."  
      This will enable us to announce and promote your presentation at the previous meeting, in the RAS newsletter, and in the meeting agenda handout.

  4. Topic Guidelines

    1. Naturally, the presentation should be on an "astronomical" topic.
    2. Main presentations typically run 30 to 45 minutes, including responding to audience questions.   Short Talks and Software Reviews should last 10 minutes or under, including questions.
    3. Personal and interactive presentations by RAS members or guests are preferred over movies or other canned presentations.
    4. Board members do not have to give the presentation him/herself;   they can get another society member, a speaker from NASA, a speaker from a local college/university, a speaker from an astronomy related business, etc., to make the presentation.   However, the Board member is expected to introduce the guest speaker during the meeting.
    5. Jim Blowers (Treasurer@richastro.org) has an archive listing of past Presentations.
    6. Interesting topics usually inspire questions from the audience.   You may wish to tell the audience whether questions should be held until the end of the presentation or brought up immediately.

  5. Emergencies

    1. If an emergency will prevent you or your guest from making the presentation, it is extremely important that you notify the RAS Vice President ASAP, so that we'll have sufficient time to arrange a substitute.   Also, your help in arranging an alternative program would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions.
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