Dear ACA Members,


Now that we have mostly recovered with a satisfied feeling of accomplishment, we want to congratulate the ACA SEED Volunteer Team 2013 for great participation and a  job well done!


We hope the following review gives you the sense of cooperation we put toward the effort.  If I left something out or a correction is needed, please let me know, and I'll be glad to provide an update at the top of our Calendar of events page.


Make your plans to volunteer for SEED next October 2014.  We think we can present a similar program and set up, with even more experienced  volunteers!  If you would like to add a station about the New Horizons mission to Pluto (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php), please tell Stan.



ACA Teamwork SEED 2013


Between the sun and our alien asteroids, there is a small planet with a great team called the Astronomy Club of Augusta, that is sending out beautiful signals to all of Aiken and the CSRA and way beyond.  Yesterday proved the benefits of having a great team, and there is no doubt:  We have a great team!  Our program of some years, ACA Solar Observing on the Lawn, expanded to a Walk of the  Planets and the DAWN Mission to the Asteroids celebrated its second year.  Before crediting the background hum, we should thank our team on the ground at SEED.  Twenty-four 24 ACA members spent a hot day in the sun inspiring, motivating, showing, demonstrating, and teaching hundreds of middle school students, siblings, parents and grandparents how to focus on astronomy and space technology.  You represented our club at its finest.  You were enthusiastic and dedicated.  Many thanks to all of you!


After registering and donning our SEED T-shirts, Stan, Wes and Ray, led the Planet team with Dylan, Cayden and several other boys helping to  paced out the relative distances from the sun at the obelisk, driving in fence posts and placing our year old and still beautiful planets on top.  When they got back, Mike H, Mike M, Kenneth, Cassel, Brenden, Brandon and Tedda put up our astronomy information boards, as well as our DDAWN Mission boards.  Lisa welcomed all comers with John's blue ACA banner in front of the registration table, collecting over 100 names during the day and contact info of those who were interested in astronomy and our program.  SEED reported a record 4100 attendees this year, and this translates into 600-700 people who came through our presentation.  Wow!


We had a record number of three (3) Coronado telescopes this year.  Mike B, Jay, and Lalit  all provided great views of solar flares and prominences.  Jay brought Hayden and Christin, Presidents of their local Perimeter College student astronomy club, to help, and so they were! They also passed out  solar sunglasses which were a big hit. Lalit also managed the ACA Televue with the new mylar filter that John W. made for us. Mark M. and  Ray helped with solar observing through the Coronados and solar scopes as well.  Eddie was tickled to see the interest of many kids checking out the sun indirectly through our DH solar scope (sometimes backwards at first).  JohnW. and Rocky spent patient one-on-one time with young students, explaining the 4 great sun spots in their solar scopes.  Eddie and Ray O. showed them yet another indirect view using the Darth Vader bucket head viewers.  The girls also showed them how they could safely view the sun through #14 welder glasses.   New Member Brandon O. did a great job teaching  the electromagnetic spectrum and rainbow colors, while Harley showed them the diffraction of solar light into rainbow colors and kept them busy saying and coloring rainbows in correct order with the crayons.  Elisabeth, Dylan and Cayden taught little kids to look for rainbow colors on the surface of bubbles.


Kenneth gathered many passengers for the DAWN mission to the Asteroids.  He presented them with the reasons for going, clarified the location of the asteroids, why Vesta and Ceres were chosen, the distances involved, and how we escaped Earth's gravity in the first place.  He then sent them through one of the real sized Delta II rocket booster hoops where Stan continued to lead their DAWN mission.  He distinguished the huge Saturn V needed to take astronauts to the ISS to the moon versus the small Delta II rocket that was enough to carry our little DAWN spacecraft beyond Earth's gravity.  They had kids raising  their arms to simulate the solar panels, speeding up by Mars with gravity assist, and controlling direction into orbit around Vesta with ion propulsion.  Dot took over at Vesta, letting the kids hold and examine her model, finding the "snowman" and Rheasilvia, explaining that the DAWN spacecraft was able to photograph over 99% of Vesta and gather other information about the asteroid during its orbital year there.  As this new, close up information about the brightest asteroid is processed, it will be made available, so keep tuned.  Dot then sent our DAWN mission passengers on to Ceres.  During the 3 year trip, Brenden had the opportunity to answer questions about the planets beyond the asteroid belt, particularly Pluto and its dwarf status. Michelle reminded her incoming passengers that we have never been very close to Ceres, and we don't know much about it yet.  Yes, we know it is a watery type planet, versus rocky Vesta, and that it may provide a very good stopping station for future pioneers.  She pointed out that DAWN would study Ceres for a year, and then remain in orbit for another 50 years until it runs out of power.  She gave the passengers mementos of their trip with NASA stickers, temporary tattoos, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and beautiful 8x10 photos of an artist's rendition of the DAWN Mission and other space objects.  Karen couldn't come this year but sent some lovely planetary placemats that were passed out to some of our SEED volunteers. Thanks you all!


As to background hum, we can be very proud of our prior preparation, making big papier mache planets the year before, Kenneth and Tedda picking up new boards, piping, and T-posts, and Lalit, Stan, and Tedda renewing our information boards.  Gary S. came out early on this lovely, sunny day and helped us get our space music started.  John Hutchens and his RPSEC team provided  tables, chairs, electricity, t-shirts, donuts, and great lunches.  Brenden and Cassel lead the planet pick up team, and  almost everyone helped pack and clean up. 


We were complimented by many on our program.  We can all be proud of our  ACA SEED TEAM effort. 


Clear skies,




Dear ACA,

Eleven 11 of our members were able to take off from work or school to represent our ACA as we hosted NASA's Russell Romanella this past Friday morning at North Augusta High School Auditorium. As ever, he gave an inspiring presentation, NASA - At the Crossroads. We had over 400 high school students, who were impressed by the facts, the implications for their future, truthful sharing, and the opportunities available with preparation.

This is our first major engagement, hosted by our ACA with the Aiken County Public Schools. We appreciate their time and effort. It went well, and opens the door to future opportunities like this.

There should be articles in the newspapers this week. We would appreciate it if you bring copies to show at the Star Gaze on Saturday or at the November 15 Meeting.

Many thanks to all who participated and contributed. Our members enjoyed a one-on-one with Russell at BJ's Buffet afterwards. That was lots of fun, and the food was great.

Russell gave a gift to both North Augusta High School and to our Astronomy Club of Augusta: a large framed and signed print of the ISS. Our print is currently hanging in the breezeway space gallery at NMR-DSO. Please be sure to take a good look at it when you come on Saturday.

Our NAHS event coordinator, Astronomy Teacher Beth Moyer is planning to attend on Saturday. Please welcome her and other new guests.


Tedda and Kenneth

Follow-up: Articles in the newspaper reported the event:
1. Photo: http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-10-25/where-you-live
2. http://natoday.augusta.com/schools/2013-10-29/nasa-director-shares-love-of-job-future-of-space


Dear ACA Members,

John White, our treasurer, has taken loving and affectionate care of his wife Judy for many years. Early this morning, Judy went peacefully to heaven. We are saddened for this separation of a caring and devoted husband and wife, and want to provide support and understanding to John in this time of sadness.

We plan to order flowers, signed: "Dear John, Judy always answered the phone with a light and happy voice, giving strength and encouragement to us all. We understand this will be a time of adjustment for you and yours. Please know that you can count on us as needed. With all our love and prayers, The Astronomy Club of Augusta."

We appreciate donations for the flowers. You can contribute at our Star Gaze on Nov. 2, or whenever convenient.
Condolences can be sent online at McNeill Funeral Home, http://www.mcneillfuneralhome.com
Cards and condolences can also be sent to John White and Family, 4254 Woodland Drive, Martinez, GA 30907
There should be an article in the Augusta Chronicle on Sunday.
We are welcome at a mass at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, 4921 Columbia Road, Grovetown, GA 30813. The family hopes it will be on Tuesday, but the date and time have not yet been confirmed. I will let you know when I find out.

20131028 The mass is confirmed for October 29, Tuesday 11AM.
20131029 Eleven members represented our club at the mass. We took a photo of the white and blue flower spray.

Your officers,
Tedda Howard
Stan Howard
Kenneth Beard
Dot Valentine