From the President...

President's perspective June 2012

I want to keep this really short right now, as I am traveling for both vacation and a conference I am attending (and a lion outside is calling me for some love and attention!).

The solar eclipse event was fabulous! Thanks to all of you who attended this event, and I hope you enjoyed it. Although there were some cloud issues, we had about two minutes of annularity visible. We weren't the only ones unlucky. In talking to others, I know of only one other person who saw the whole thing.

I am guessing there were right around 500 people present at Redfield Campus to see this event. And wow! What an array of viewing devices. One thing I did learn from this event is that optical aids (other then viewing glasses) can make a definite difference in enjoying an event like this. (That said, a total eclipse is probably better without optical aid.)

I have some stunning pictures of the eclipse, taken with my film camera. I will post these as soon as I can get the images scanned in.

The folks from Stargazers were also very happy with how everything turned out. They came back for the Venus transit, but went down to Las Vegas yesterday due to a bad weather forecast in Reno.

I hope that the Venus transit viewing somehow works out for the members, however they plan to view it. Here in Bowling Green,  Kentucky, the local University has organized an event similar to our annular eclipse event. My friends here and I have blocked out the early evening to view this event (If we don't have clouds, too!). 

Now, on to some more serious matters. It seems that the new administration of the University has decided to clamp down on who can use the University's facilities. As a result, the ASN has lost use of much of the planetarium facilities. We can no longer use the star theater, and must hold our meetings in a classroom. We can also no longer use the building unless a planetarium employee is present, so that means for summer, our meetings MUST be totally over by 8 PM. For winter, we will not be able to use the facility at all unless we pay to have a staff member present. (For those who are registered and trained though, we can still use the McClean Observatory facilities pretty much as we have been. Anyone can still join us there for our monthly star parties and other special events.)

Please do not blame Dan Ruby or his people for this; it is not his doing, but he ends up with the short end of the stick along with us. We want to keep a good relationship with the Planetarium even if we have to stop using their facilities (which it is very likely we will).

So for the June meeting, we will still meet at the Planetarium. We will most likely be starting at 6:30 PM (watch for an official announcement), and be meeting in the classroom in the downstairs. Please plan on coming, as the topic will be dealing with this challenge, and about the future of the ASN in general. There will be no board meeting, as we no longer have time available to do this there. Above all, please plan to be constructive, as I know a lot of you will not find this to be good news. Let's keep the conversation in a positive sense, and see what we can work out. Not all hope is lost, and we do plan to sit down with Dan Ruby and/or other University officials, and see what we can work out.

Last, but not least, I am still planning to go to the Great Basin Astronomy Festival. Does anybody want to carpool with this and travel as a group? It should be a lot of fun, in a stunningly beautiful venue!

In the meanwhile, keep looking up (with optimism), and

keep looking down (into your eyepiece!)

Tim Stoffel

Category: President