March Meeting Minutes

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.
  • Read moreMarch Meeting Minutes

February 2011 Board Meeting Minutes

RAS Board Meeting February 21, 2011 President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:01pm. Attendees (9): Jim Browder, President Jim Blowers, Treasurer Chris McCann, Secretary Ken Wilson Betty Wilson Prashant Reddy Gary Cowardin Laura Graham Dave Walton   Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann November’s board meeting minutes were distributed, discussed, corrected, and … Read more

Astronomy Day, Kent Blackwell in S&T and Goodbye to a Friend

Astronomy Day 2011: Many many thanks to all who helped out with this year’s Astronomy Day at the Science Museum. We had a steady flow of interested and engaged visitors. The activities included our traditional water rockets, solar viewing, telescopes on display, telescope construction, video astronomy, “Touch-a-meteorite,” indoor air pressure rockets and our roving astronaut. … Read more