The Santa Fe Stargazers convened for their regular February meeting on 19 February at the Vista Grande Public Library. The meeting began at 7:00 PM. Nine members were in attendance.
The meeting began with a presentation, “Observing Globular Clusters”, by Sam Finn. The presentation included a capsule summary of the history of globular cluster observations in modern astronomy, the observational properties of globular clusters relevant to amateur astronomers, things worth noting when observing globular clusters, and a short survey of interesting globular clusters readily visible from Santa Fe’s latitude.
Following refreshments the business meeting began with a presentation by Tom Aldern on the spring and summer SFS outreach calendar. The calendar includes events in every month from April through October, including two events initiated by the SFS (both in April).
Before Spring begins, however, the SFS will be supporting the kick-off of a new Astronomy Club at the Academy of Technology and the Classics (ATC), a local grade 7-12 public charter school. Mr. Gabriel Pendas, a teacher at the school and new SFS member, gave the SFS an overview of the school, its students, and the curricular goals of the event.
Before leaving the Outreach presentation, Jim Baker drew the SFS’s attention to a call for volunteers recently published by the Valles Caldera National Monument. The Valles Caldera is asking for groups or individuals wishing to volunteer in the creation of a new night-sky observing program at the Park. After a short discussion all agreed that Jim should contact the Valles Caldera staff to discuss SFS participation in their effort.
Following the Outreach group presentation, Robert Powers reviewed the SFS club observing program. Our club observing season will kick-off with a March 21 “Messier Party”, which will include refreshments. An e-mail with more details will be sent to the membership sometime within the next several days.
Following the SFS Observing planning group report, Robert and Sam discussed a reboot of the SFS Dark Sky Advocacy effort. This reboot opportunity is driven by a January visit to Santa Fe by Ruskin Hartley, the Executive Directory of the International Dark Sky Association, and a reception hosted for Hartley by Robin Martin, the owner and publisher of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Several members of the SFS were invited to and able to attend the reception and dinner hosted for Mr. Hartley. The connections made during this event suggest that there is a nucleus of community leaders with whom we can join forces to effect positive change in the Santa Fe night sky environment.
After the Advocacy discussion, Sam encouraged the SFS members to think about other activities that the club might engage in. To spur thinking he suggested several opportunities: a day-trip to the Astronomical League Convention, which will be held this July in Albuquerque, or group participation in a nearby star party (e.g., the Rocky Mountain Star Stare in June, Okie-Tex in September, or the Enchanted Skies Star Party in October).
The meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.