April 8, 2004

The meeting was called to order by Ron Kunkel at 7:30 with 21 in attendance.

 Sky Report:  Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are aligned at sunset.  Two comets will be visible starting mid-April and May, C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) and C/2001 Q4 (NEAR). NEAR will be going through M44 on May 14/15.  Ron reminded us that the club has telescopes available for members to use. Michel Ramsey noted that there are sunspots visible.

 Old Business: Michel requested that members submit their Winter Observing reports to her, so that she can compile the data before sending them in.  The Star Party that was scheduled for the Pottstown School District was cancelled due to weather, as well as the Messier Marathon at Dave Brown’s farm. Ron discussed his and Ryan’s trip to the MERAL Officer’s Retreat at Greenbank, West Virginia. Approximately 20 clubs were represented with about 35 in attendance.  The facilities were terrific, but the program wasn’t.  Ryan Hannahoe presented the awards for this year’s Science Fair, which was judged by Mike Bashore and Melody Gardner. There were only 4 astronomy related projects.  Melody reported that the Great Outdoor Expo, which was held at RAAC this year, was not very good. Due to a foot race that was being held, parking was terrible, and attendance was low.  Melody Gardner, Mike Bashore and Ron Kunkel attended the organizational meeting for the Astronomy Co-Op of PA. Fourteen clubs were represented, and a charter was worked up and temporary officers chosen (Ted Nichols - Director, John O’Hara – Assistant Director, Scott Fowler – Treasurer, and Ron Kunkel – Secretary).  Each club will pay a $25 fee and will have one representative. The reps will elect the officers.  Business will be conducted mainly by e-mail and a web site will be established. The Co-Op will be a clearing house for information sharing. We will select a rep at the next Board meeting.

 Upcoming Events and New Business:  Michel and Barb noted that they will be presenting info on the Night Sky Network to the club. On April 9 (rd 10) there will be a club star party at the Flying Field. On Thursday, April 15, Dr. Trilling will be speaking at Bryn Mawr College – “Planetary Geology – Mars and Beyond.  NEAF will be April 17 and 18 in Suffern, NY.  There will be a Board meeting at 7:30 on April 22 at Barb Geigle’s house.  Earth Day is April 25 (rd May 2) from noon to 5. We will have Comet Watches at the Berks County Heritage Center on May 7 (rd 8) and May 14 (rd 15), starting at 7:00 pm.  Our program for the May 13 meeting will be Inge Heyer from the Space Telescope Science Institute. Her program will be “Mars: The New but Not Final Frontier”. The Mason-Dixon Star Party is May 20-24 at Codorus State Park. Registration is open for the Black Forest Star Party on September 10-12. Those wishing to attend should register as soon as possible.

 After the break, Mark Mazurkewicz from the Reading Museum presented the brand new planetarium program, “Ring World – Cassini-Huygens Mission”.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:00.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Geigle, Secretary


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