The Astronomy Club of Augusta held an Officers' and Committee's Planning Meeting on June 8, Saturday, 7PM at NMR-DSO. All officers and 3 other members were present.  <Tedda, Stan, Kenneth, Dot, John W., Mark Moffatt, Ray Owens, Mike McCoy>


Tedda emailed an update to all members, summarizing the results of the meeting, as given below:


Dear ACA Members,

Your recently elected officers and volunteers have been quite busy recently preparing for the coming July-July 2013-14 Club year. 


1.  New Member Ray Owens volunteered to complete the dates for meetings and observing with moonrise and set times.  This is not an easy task, and we certainly appreciate his effort.  Tedda then translated this into a summary calendar for the year.  We will be working to expand this calendar and put it on the website soon.  You will see great plans confirmed and many opportunities open for you to participate.  The summary draft is attached.  Adjustments were made at the officers' meeting, and now is the best time for you to check out the summary and offer comments, suggestions, and corrections, before we go further. We look forward to hearing from you. 


2.  20130608 Officers' Meeting was very productive.  Here is what we discussed and decided.

a.  Calendar review and adjustments. The summary draft is attached.

b.  Volunteers for refreshments, now covered through January, more needed for this spring.   

c.  IOMN International Observe the Moon Night slated for Sept. 14, Sat.  will include a number of  club member 2-minute talks on the moon at our meeting, highlighting lunar objects that we will be able to see through telescopes from 7-10PM.  We will repeat 2-3 of those 2-minute talks or present additional topics periodically during the 7-10PM evening on the lawn. 

We encourage you to get involved in lunar observing.  We now have three members with their AL Lunar Award, and 4 members who are actively checking off their list of 100 observed lunar objects for the award.  We hope to have a large number of "Lunatics" in our club soon.  With this in mind, Mark Moffatt agreed to make 2-min Lunar talks focused on what we can observe that night, to assist all interested lunar speakers with their 2-min. talks, and to encourage and assist all lunar observers.  We can all learn from this help.

d.  We would like to repeat our SEED presentation again this year, Oct.12, including Solar Observing, DAWN Mission, and Stepping off the Planets, even better.  We are asking for a volunteer to take charge of preparing and organizing SEED for us this year.  Now is the time to start preparing.   Tedda will be happy to work with anyone who volunteers.  Remember we get free lunch and t-shirts.

e.  We would like to present the Astronomy Basic Challenge again next May 10, for National Astronomy Night.  We are asking for a volunteer to take charge of preparing and organizing this event.  We will not have a speaker before the program.  It will involve some adjustment to our topics and activities, as it will not get dark until the last 1/2 to 1 hour.  Stan and Tedda will be glad to help.

f. To assist us with our own dark sky observing,  Mike Bush has agreed to continue to help us overall and for the Messier Marathon in March.  John White volunteered for a new 1/2 hour program:  He will prepare us ahead each month with a list of objects, and assist us in finding them when we observe, all in 1/2 hour.  Most often these will all be objects in one constellation or a particular part of the sky.  It should be fun.

g.  We discussed our plan to attend ALCon ( the annual national Astronomical League  Conference) in Atlanta in July.  Some of our members will be going on their own, but most of us decided that we would forego this trip. 

Instead, we found lots of enthusiasm for going to 2014 Winter Star in Key West next Feb.24-Mar.2, registration limited to late August - early September.  Read all about it here:  http://www.scas.org/wsp.html

h.  Attached is a recent article that Stan found about the Aiken Robotics Club.  It should give us some good ideas for our own club.  Please share your interests and ideas while we continue to plan our activities for the coming year. 

i.  Several people indicated an interest to get ACA Polo shirts.  We will start a list with names, size, color, and when we get 10 or more people, we will collect $12/shirt and make the order. 


3. 20130611 Tuesday, Tedda and Kenneth met with the ACPS (Aiken County Public Schools), Associate Superintendent for Instruction and Accountability and an Area Science Teacher.  They were very gracious, interested, and willing to pursue our three focus items. 

a.  We encouraged them to teach more about large numbers, powers of 10 with terminology.  I have attached an article I found on the topic and am sending it to them as well. 

b.  We asked them to provide leadership in encouraging teachers and parents to attend our events and meetings.  Together we decided that preparing to bring in adults and students for OMN (Observe the Moon Night) on Sept 14 would be a good way to get the year started.  We will pursue a plan for this.

c.  We offered to present a great speaker for a big crowd.  They indicated that they have schools that could accommodate up to 500+, dark enough for jpgs and video during the day.  Availability depends somewhat on the enthusiasm of the schools themselves, but we are confident that with the Superintendent's encouragement and support, it can be worked out.

I spoke with our NASA Russell Romanella before and after our meeting, and he is interested to do this, probably in the late October- early November time frame.   We will follow-up with the Superintendent to see if we can confirm a date.  This will require some adjustment to our schedule at that time.  Most importantly we will want to have every member possible there.  Please put this on your calendar now.  We hope to be able to talk with attendees before and after the presentation, and encourage you to come to our meetings and observing over the next few months as we develop this plan.


4.  At the end of our Officers' meeting it was requested that we schedule a cloud/rain date for Lunar Observing, so June 15 was selected.


All in attendance agreed that the ACPS project is good, and would support this initiative.  Several people volunteered to bring refreshments and give 2-minute talks during the year, and we began to fill in the calendar accordingly.  We all agreed that we would call members and others to encourage attendance and membership. 

Tedda announced that she would not be President next year, that both she and Stan would continue to be active in the club, just not as president.  She encouraged all officers and members to step up to the plate themselves, and try to grow a younger generation of leaders during this year.







The Astronomy Club of Augusta met on June 22, 2013 at NMR-DSO for a movie and lunar observing.   Nine members and three guests were present.

<Stan, Tedda, Dot, Kenneth, John W., Mark M., Ray Owens, Mike McCoy, Ervin Davenport, and Johan & Katie Lohman, friends of Dot, Jessica (Jessie) Messer, John's granddaughter.>


We started the evening at 7pm with a double feature:  Mark M. brought Man on the Moon with Walter Cronkite, and Kenneth brought our main feature, a blu-ray with Stephen Hawking, Part 3,  The Theory of Everything.


The Walter Cronkite movie took us back through the Apollo Missions and gave us background into the training and the personalities of the astronauts.  Viewing again the live videos of man setting foot on the moon and seeing the earth from the moon brought back the excitement of that era.  Hearing the familiar voice of Walter Cronkite reminded us that, for us, he was as much a part of the space missions as the astronauts.


In the Theory of Everything theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking explores recent progress towards a unified theory about the nature of the universe. Hawking shares his thoughts on black holes, supersummetry, string theory and the M force.  He challenged us to look forward millions of years and consider our role in protecting the precious gift of life.  In addition, Hawking also discusses his lifelong battle with Lou Gehrig's disease and the challenges of being locked in a ravaged body as your brain struggles with some of the most complex questions in the universe.


During the viewings we enjoyed Stan's Melon Slushy, popcorn, chips and veggies with Ray's Guacamole dip, and chocolate cookies from John – many thanks guys!!!


Club business included:  Installation of the Officers:  Tedda – President, Stan - VP Observation, Ken – VP Programs, John – Treasurer, and Dot – Secretary.  Tedda indicated that “dues are due” and John said he would provide a list of those members who have already paid for 2014. Please support astronomy and your local Astronomy Club of Augusta. Bring your dues to the next meeting or mail to John White, ACA Treasurer, 4254 Woodland Drive, Martinez, GA 30907.  If you would like to order ACA logo Polo Shirts please check the link on the club website.

The weather was cloudy and lunar observation was not possible.  We did catch a brief glimpse of Saturn between the clouds.  Stan set up his telescope and Dot set up her binoculars.  Sadly checking out the rays of Tycho, and other lunar sites will need to wait for another time.   The meeting was adjourned at 11pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Dot Valentine