Dear ACA Members, 20121013


Recently several groups have asked us to present an astronomy program at their events.  This is quite a compliment.


First, let's review.  The purpose of our club is to develop astronomy observing expertise, particularly in our members.   As a public service organization, we also want to bring astronomy awareness to as many people as possible. Please consider volunteering next year so we can all enjoy the experience.    

We presented the same program last year at SEED with more volunteers.  This year, five people who  committed to help were no-shows.  That puts us in an embarrassing position, costing the RPSEC unused T-shirts and lunches.  It makes it harder for those who do come to carry out the planned program.  Eight volunteers are retired.   Eight volunteers are new members on the team this year.  They did a great job and learned sooo much, but our club, with 50 families, is big enough to have backup volunteers.  I know several of us who never had a chance for a bathroom break.  We need YOU!


In the distant past, we were able to present astronomy programs at malls and parking lots, but they don't want the liability any more.  School programs were often combined with open house, with diluted attention, or with too many babies.  We have gradually found that SEED brings in a great crowd for our effort.   Gary Senn has been very supportive and helped publicize National Astronomy Night in the spring at RPSEC, which also brings in a good crowd.  Gary also wants us to do IOMN (International Observe the Moon Night) in September.  We are still working out the logistics for that, but it worked out pretty well this year.  Having Lunar observing after our meetings has also been convenient and pleasant for us and the public who come - at least when we have clear skies.  ASU has been very helpful by turning off their parking lot lights on our meeting nights.  We know that ASU would like to develop their astronomy observing opportunities for the public.  We think this would be a good venue and would like to help them.  However, they have changed their astronomy professor 3 times in the past 3 years, and have had trouble getting it off the ground.  This has even caused competing dates, which we certainly don't want.  Last year we got a date worked out, and it rained!   We will try again this year.  We are off to a good start with a nice new professor who has already joined our club.  

One of our concerns is that we haul a lot of our equipment, information boards, and materials around with us.  Doing this 2-3 times a year is fine enough, but more than that will take more people, more expertise, and more volunteer effort.

For our current short-notice invitations, we have selected small teams of more experienced members to scope out these new possibilities.  They will report back to us. If you are an experienced astronomer, and feel that you can also volunteer for a public outreach program, please let me know what opportunities interest you most.

Most importantly, we do not want to forego the time needed to develop our member observing skills.

Please put all our meeting and observing dates for this year on your calendar and plan to attend to develop your personal astronomy skills. That is two activities per month. Astronomy expertise, even a moderate ability, is a joyous lifetime development process. It takes some time and attention, and is not a one night or one year project.

During the coming year our experienced members will try to help develop astronomy skills in each member that will enable us all to better share with the wider public. They are generous and always come. To our newer members, we hope you will come and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to learn and then share with others.


I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at our meetings and observing.

Clear skies,



and your ACA Officers

Tedda, Stan, Kenneth, John, and Dot