September 2016 Meeting Minutes

Richmond Astronomical Society

804th Consecutive Meeting

September 12, 2016


Greetings – approximately 29 in attendance at the meeting.

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


Announcements / Share Table


Recognition of the recipient of the Walter Haas Award for Excellence in Solar System Observing — RAS member Randy Tatum     Congratulations Randy!!!!!


We need some shelves: We could use some shelves at our Belmead outreach facility if someone has an old set they could donate. Thanks!


Library Report: Virginia Eckert


Welcome Visitors:


Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

Science Museum

Belmead impromptu observing

loaner telescopes available


Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, September 16, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can. Sunset is about 7:15 PM with a full moon.


Powhatan State Park skywatch, Saturday, September 17, 8:00 PM: Please join us at the trail head parking area for a skywatch under the dark skies of Powhatan. Once you enter the park drive to the end of the state road maintenance and turn left into the trail head parking area. A Google map to the skywatch location is at


Camp Hanover Skywatch, Hanover County, Saturday, September 24, 6:00 PM: Skywatch at camp Hanover for members of the Camp Phoenix cancer Survivor’s group. Please join us if you can.  Contact Jim Browder at if you can bring a telescope. The location of camp Hanover is here:


RAS Fall Picnic, date to be announced — expect October 1 or October 8. Stay tuned for details by e-mail and on Facebook


NOVAC Star Gaze, C. M. Crockett Park, Fauquier County,

Saturday, October 1, 3:00 PM —11:00 PM:

Learn about astronomy while enjoying the night sky with hundreds of telescopes, binoculars and homemade projects. Many experienced astronomers will be on hand to answer questions and share their knowledge. More info at


Central Virginia Star Party,

Saturday, October 1, 6:00 PM — 10:00 PM, near Charlottesville:

The 6th Annual Central Virginia Star Party will be held on October 1st at the Albermarle Cider Works in North Garden, Virginia with hands-on astronomy activities aimed at elementary school age children along with planetarium shows, and cider tastings. Volunteer astronomers help with the skywatching activities. More information about the Dark Skies, Bright Kids project is at


East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC, October 20-22:

Kent Blackwell is kindly hosting his East coast Star Party again this Fall at the Hampton Lodge campground which offers casual stargazing in a coastal environment.

Pre-registration is not required. Fees are $20 for star party registration, $20 per night camping fee (additional fee for RN sites). Contact Kent for more information at


Bays Mountain Starfest, October 21-23,

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Kingsport, TN:

The event is a three-day astronomical convention hosted by the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club and Bays Mountain Planetarium. Registration closes on September 30, 2016— no walk-in registration allowed. More information at:


Staunton River Star Party, October 24-30, Staunton River State Park:

Registration is now open for the October installment of the Staunton River Star Party. For those that have not attended, this is an excellent star party with dark skies, convenient amenities and a state park staff that is very welcoming to astronomers and second to none in their dedication to making this a successful event.


Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies (VAAS),

Saturday, October 29, 8:30 AM — 4:00 PM Roanoke College, Salem, VA:

VAAS 2016 will be hosted by the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society, of Roanoke, Virginia, and the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics of Roanoke College at the Roanoke College Colket Center in Salem, Virginia, with a possible observing session afterward.  More info at

Please let us know if you are going by dropping a message to


Belmead in Peril! An update on the anticipated sale of Belmead is available on our web site at

A petition has been created to request reconsideration of the decision to sell. Please consider signing the petition to support efforts to preserve Belmead. Hopefully there will be a positive outcome.



Update on gravitational waves,” Mike Lico




Presentation: “The as-yet unexplained dimming of Tabby’s Star,’ Jim Blowers