The Santa Fe Stargazers met in-person at the Vista Grande Public Library and via Zoom. The meeting start was delayed until 7:10 PM by computer & zoom connection difficulties.
The Monthly Sky Report was presented by Michael Jacobs. Of special note is this year’s Jupiter opposition, which is the closest opposition since 1963. Saturns rings are also coming into alignment with the line-of-sight from Earth: this year they will be visible at a 14deg inclination, just half of the maximum of 27 deg. Over the next several years the inclination will decrease until they are edge-on in 2025. Visibility of the rings and their details will not be better than this year until 2028.
Instead lieu of a featured presentation the group then turned to a discussion of its activities over the last year and planning for next year:
- We reviewed the standard meeting program of Monthly Sky Report, Featured Presentation, Observing Reports, and Business Meeting (meeting planning, outreach activities, observing activities, and dark sky advocacy). It was noted that the MSR and featured presentations often ran long, leading us to skip or give short-shrift to the Business Meeting. Better time-keeping and better instruction to speakers were recommended. At the same time, it was agreed that the Business Meeting topics – meeting planning, outreach, observing, and dark sky advocacy – did not need to be discussed at every meeting and might be staggered. We will implement both these suggestions for future meetings.
- We reviewed the featured presentations that we heard this year and solicited recommendations for topics for next year.
- Volunteers are needed to help with identifying and soliciting speakers. This does not require special expertise: it is a team exercise. Volunteers should contact Sam.
- Volunteers are also required to sustain the Monthly Sky Report.
- This year we began to re-emerge from the shadow of covid. In spring we had a very successful lunar eclipse event at the Vista Grande Public Library. The combination of area fires and rain led to the cancellation of two late spring/summer events. We have two more events scheduled for the next few weeks.
- Next year there is one unique event: the annular (ring of fire) eclipse whose path of angularity passes immediately south of Santa Fe (Albuquerque and Chaco Canyon are both on the direct path.) If we are to do something in connection with this we need to form a dedicated team and get started on immediately. Volunteers to take the lead on organizing an activity are asked to contact Sam.
- Next year also there will be a new Pecos Ranger, with whom we will need to establish a relationship with. This will be eased by the good relationship we had with the existing ranger.
- Advocacy: A new development – “Cimarron Village” – will be going in a shallow strip along US 285 between Avenida Eldorado and The Dollar Store. This development will include significant commercial space and housing. An area group – 285All – is attempting to work with the County and the developer to insure that the development is done in a way that is sensitive to the general Eldorado area “ambiance,” including lighting. Members who are interested in being part of this effort should contact Cynthia Weehler at <moc.l1665079406iamg@1665079406ecnai1665079406lla58166507940621665079406>. Keep in mind that once lighting is installed it is all but impossible to get it changed; thus, participants whose particular concern is lighting need to become involved now to ensure that area lighting concerns are not lost in the shuffle.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.