20140110 The Astronomy Club of Augusta met on Friday, 7:00PM at GRU, New Science Center Auditorium, W1008.  Attendance:  11 members, 2 guests.


To the background music of the TV Jeopardy show, Tedda welcomed members and guests.  Kenneth facetiously introduced Tedda as our host for our annual Astronomy Jeopardy program, as if we didn't know her!   Tedda then got down to the business of selecting teams and conducting the choice of ringers, while Stan put Tedda's Astronomy Jeopardy board on the screen with column titles at the top and score board at the bottom.  She pointed out some differences in our version of Astronomy Jeopardy, such that we would take a more relaxed pace, with some time to discuss the Q&As.   

In the calendar announcement Tedda had already clued everyone that all the answers would be within our Solar System.  The column titles were: Distance, Time, Numbers of, Amounts, quantity, and Percentages & Ratios. Teamwork was a great advantage to most, and most questions were matched to the answers.  Michelle was a great mentor to Michael, encouraging him to shake the bottle, and so often he had the right answer for his Team 1.  When the score was becoming lopsided, Mike came to the rescue for his Team 2, and Team 3 was the epitome of reasoned collaboration.  Unfortunately, too much of the last doesn't pay points even in this game, and Team 1 won first prize and first selection of prizes from the table. 


As we moved to the conference room W1012 for refreshments, Tedda answered Lisa's questions about the club.  Lisa talked with as many of us as possible, and seemed to enjoy the evening herself.  She wrote a nice article about us in the Augusta Chronicle, dated January 15.  We talked about Kate's request for us to outreach to her school and students.   Many thanks to Stan and Tedda for the refreshments, including homemade constellation cookies.


Again, it was too cloudy for any (lunar) observing.


Respectfully submitted,

Tedda Howard




20140125  The Astronomy Club of Augusta held their first Dark Sky Star Gaze of the new year on Saturday , at NMR-DSO  Attendance:  11.


We started the evening early just after 5:00PM.  We were all looking forward  to greeting Becky and her girls and their gift to the club: J. Michael Sparks' Meade 12" LX200 telescope.   It has been a difficult year for the Sparks, with Michael's death in June of 2013. Becky's decision was difficult, but when she emailed and then when she arrived, we assured her that his scope would be used to share his enjoyment of the night sky.   It was packed carefully in its original carry case, with a bag of eyepieces, filters, and original description / directions. 

The guys loaded it into the pickup, and took it out to the Joe Bartee concrete pads.  Just before dark, we presented Becky with a framed Certificate of Appreciation for the scope.  Stan made a video of the informal ceremony.  The tripod fit perfectly and the view was lovely.  John noted that the eyepiece adjustment is a little sticky and the fine tuner is a little loose, both easy enough to correct.


It was a really cold and windy night.  At first it was a little cloudy with winds that kept different stars alternately hiding or in view.  It's hard to get the concept of the Winter Hexagon under these conditions, but we muddled through.  Stan focused in on the Orion Nebula with the Televue , the Sparks Meade 12", and the Meade 8" for us.  What a comparison.    He also guided us to the Andromeda Galaxy with the laser pointers.  It took Kate a bit to lift those big 15x70 binocs high enough, but she felt well rewarded when she saw the Galaxy.  She will make plans for lying down on the ground next time, to save her neck and enjoy a longer view!  Victor focused in on Jupiter with the 8" Meade.  Chaela really enjoyed seeing Jupiter WITH all four of its Galilean moons.  Tedda helped Kate and Lana name and locate the Winter Hexagon stars and constellations as they moved in and out beyond the clouds.


We went in about 8PM for Chili, veggies & dip, snacks, coffee, hot chocolate, and sodas. 

Kate's principal agreed, and we confirmed our plan to do an outreach at Byrd on March 26.  Stan, Tedda, Kenneth and John have volunteered to help.  Cathy said she is interested for another date, so we'll get a confirmation for Mar.26.  We need more volunteers.  Please sign up to help.


As we bundled up to go out again, we found that the clouds were gone, and the sky was dark, with a full complement of beautiful stars.  There were Ahhs and Ohhs when Newbies saw the entire Winter Hexagon filling so much of the sky above them.  Lana snuggled down into the padded recliner, and just enjoyed looking up!  We saw four of the five Circumpolar Constellations.  We focused in on everything through the scopes better than earlier in the evening.


Finally we packed up all the scopes with icy fingers.  Chaela and Savannah played ping pong with Stan and Kenneth early in the evening.  Victor and Lana stayed after we packed up and unloaded for another round of ping pong with Stan and Tedda, then just Victor and Stan. 


We all had a good evening.


Respectfully submitted,

Tedda Howard