Meeting Minutes: 19 Jan 2022

The Santa Fe Stargazers convened for their regular monthly meeting – and, the first meeting of the new year –  at 7 PM MST on 19 Jan 2022.

Links to presentations:

This evening we had many new members joining us for the first time: we are glad to have you with us!

Following an introduction of new members, Robert Powers gave the Monthly Sky Report, focusing particularly on Cetus and the variable star Mira, the Seyfert galaxy M77, and comet 19P/Borrelly, which is currently traveling through Cetus. Comet 19P presents a good opportunity for telescopes and binoculars: it is currently at ~7.9 magnitude and displaying a nice tail.

Greg Marshall gave the evening’s feature presentation, describing how he got “From here to there in astrophotography.” In addition to talking about the construction and deconstruction of mounts, hardware and electronics that his Wa-Chur-Ed observatory cum business has produced, Greg’s presentation featured some truly stunning photography of dark nebulae, emission nebulae, and the Andromeda galaxy.

Following an extended discussion after Greg’s presentation we had a brief business meeting:

  • Outreach:
    • Through the industry of Robert Powers we are now members of the Night Sky Network. The NSN is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science and technology associated with NASA missions to the general public. Run out of JPL, the NSN makes available outreach materials & kits, and access to speakers, to member clubs.
    • A May 15-16 total lunar eclipse is begins at about 8:30 PM MDT, which is perfect for an evening outreach, covid permitting. Everyone is encouraged to mark the date on their calendar.
  • Observing:
    • Jim Eagle proposed the first of the year club observing event for the end-Mar, beginning-Apr new moon. Being the first of the year event, he suggested we make something of a party of it with members bringing refreshments to share.
  • Programming:
    • Robert & Sam are currently managing meeting programming. They would welcome help from additional members, longtime or new. If you are interested in helping drop either of us an email.
    • Featured speakers are in place for February, April, & May, and Monthly Sky Report presenters are in place for February. Robert & Sam would like to get further ahead and bring in some external speakers.
  • Other Business:
    • The Santa Fe Stargazers periodically receive inquiries from Santa Fe area residents for help in setting up and using new and old telescopes. These we have fielded on an ad hoc basis. Jim Baker suggested that the Santa Fe Stargazers make a more formal effort to assist area astronomers with telescope set-up and use.  Several ideas were discussed, from pre-outreach event telescope “clinics” to the devotion of 3-4 club meetings a year to set-up, etc. For club members, we could make this a part of our club observing events. Greg Marshall offered that the Rose City Astronomers do this monthly (not at their regular meetings) and have continued to do so with good success via zoom. (The Rose City Astronomers have several hundred members and serve a much larger metro area; if we were to start down this path we’d be doing this on a much smaller scale.) If assisting newcomers in the set-up and use of their scopes is something that interests you, drop Sam a line.
    • As highlighted late last year, Jim Baker is preparing to divest himself of his observatory dome, pier, and sundry related equipment. He has renewed his offer of this equipment to the Santa Fe Stargazers. To take advantage of this offer we need a sufficient number of club members who are interested and willing to do  the work necessary to identify a secure location to site the dome and manage its use. Since this is the second offering made by Jim, we will set a deadline of one month for interested club members to step-up by contacting SamIf there is no interest expressed before the next Santa Fe Stargazers meeting (16 Feb) than we will thank Jim for the offer and leave him to look into other options.

There being no other business we adjourned shortly after 9 PM.

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