March 9, 2006

Dave Brown called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM and asked visitors to introduce themselves. Bret Cadmus provided anecdotes of his medical care in India, after suffering a massive heart attack while on a business trip there. Bret, we’re glad you are back home and recovering.

Dave provided a handout of March sky events produced by Dave Mitsky. The Moon occults the Pleiades beginning at 7:00 on Saturday, April 1. We will have a Club star watch at the Flying Field that night. The stars will disappear behind the dark side of the moon.

Dave also reminded us of the Club star watch at Larry Citro’s home on March 25. He will give a lecture at Nolde Forest on Thursday, April 6 beginning at 7:30, with observing afterward. The overnight trip to Cherry Springs Park will be on April 22. Nolde Forest won’t be providing transportation, but carpool arrangements will be discussed at the April meeting.

Astro News: A meteor exploded in the air near Alberta, Canada, and scattering debris over some frozen lakes. Dave was surprised to learn that an average of two air blasts like this with the force of ½ megaton, occurs per week (meteor would be 6-7 feet around) around the world.  In October, a meteorite weighing 1400 pounds was found underground in Kansas.  It was recently announced that Pluto officially has 3 moons. Two moons were discovered in Hubble images.  The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft is to reach Mars on March 10. It will take about 6 months to reach its final orbit and start science imaging. Ron Kunkel noted that it was just announced that possible liquid water was found on Saturn’s small moon, Enceladus, by the Cassini spacecraft. Huge geysers are spewing liquid 100 miles into space. Most of the material lands back on the moon as snow, and the rest is going into Saturn’s E ring.

The Science Channel will be broadcasting a show, “Revealing Mars”, and also the updated version of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”. Mike Bashore will be judging the Science Fair at Albright College on March 22. Our April program will be the Planetarium show, “Point of No Return”. Mark will also give us an update on the Planetarium remodeling plans.

Linda Sensenig reported a balance of $$$$. Most of this year’s dues have been collected, but our regular expenses haven’t come due yet. She asked if we wanted to make a donation to the Museum this year. In the past, we gave $150 each year, but with the meeting room situation last year, we decided to pass on the donation. We will wait until after the April meeting to decide if we want to make a donation. As Linda won’t be at the April meeting, we will have to let her know what to do.  She also noted that the Pegasus is late going out this month as Melody had a hard time getting material to fill an issue.

Barb Geigle received the newest Night Sky Network outreach toolkit, “Telescopes – Eyes on the Universe. It includes materials to easily demonstrate the answers to some frequent questions from the public, such as: Can you see the flag on the moon? Why doesn’t it look like the pictures? Why is everything backwards/upside down in the telescope? She will bring the kit to the April meeting to give a short demonstration.  She also handed out a draft copy of a new brochure for the club. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, please let her know.

Our speaker tonight was Dr. Devon Mason, professor of physics at Albright College regarding the search for extraterrestrial life.

Respectfully submitted

Barbara Geigle, Secretary


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