September 11, 2003

The meeting was called to order by President Ron Kunkel at 7:35 PM. There were 34 attendees. Ron noted that copies of the Secretary’s Minutes were available. Linda did not have a Treasurer’s Report.

Sky Report: Mars is still a prime viewing object. Even though the media focused only on August 27, Mars will be extremely close to Earth throughout September. Uranus and Neptune are both fairly close to Mars, and Saturn rises early in the morning.

Old Business: Our annual picnic was held at Dave Brown’s farm on August 8. Although the turnout was disappointing, there was a great selection of food, including Dave’s wonderful roasted corn. Our Mars Watch was held on August 15 at the Berks County Heritage Center, which was the first event we have been able to hold there this summer. There was a fair turnout, but not as many as expected with all the media hype about Mars. Our Mars Watch at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on August 23 had a tremendous crowd of over 100 people and viewing was great once Mars rose over the trees. Ron noted that several club members attended the Black Forest Star Party at Cherry Springs State Park, August 29-31. Due to rain, the only stars seen Friday were the stars of the movie "Chicago", using a laptop, the LCD projector, and Dave Brown’s tent as the movie screen. Fortunately, the viewing on Saturday night was terrific, although very dewy and cold. We were treated to a spectacular lime-green Bolide meteorite. There was also an impromptu Mars watch at the Flying Field on September 5.

Upcoming Events and New Business:

Friday, September 12 – Mars Watch at the Heritage Center (rain date is Saturday, Sept. 13)

Friday, September 19, 7:00 PM – Talk and Star Party at Blue Ball Elementary School. If Friday is rainy or cloudy, the event will be held, rain or shine, Saturday, Sept. 20, with a talk only if the weather is bad. As this event was well attended in the past, we need as many scopes as possible.

Monday, September 22, 8:00 PM – Talk and Star Party at Wyomissing Hills Elementary School on Woodland Road. Rain Date is Tuesday, Sept. 23. Keith Minnich will do the presentation, scopes are needed.

Thursday, September 25, 7:00 PM – Board meeting at Barb Geigle’s home.

Friday-Sunday, September 26-28 – LVAAS’s MegaMeet Star Party at Pulpit Rock.

Monday, September 29, and Wednesday, October 1 – Ron will be speaking at the Scout Camp for Schuylkill Valley Middle School 8th graders.

Friday, October 17 – Star Party at the Heritage Center with talk by John Dobson.

Saturday, October 18 – 30th Anniversary Banquet with John Dobson as keynote speaker. Please contact Linda Sensenig for tickets.

After visitors were introduced, the Gadget of the Month talk was presented by Tim Siminski, reviewing his Canon Image Stabilized Binoculars. Ted A. Nichols, II, President of the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg, was our main speaker. His talk was on the upcoming New Horizons Pluto Mission, which he has been involved with.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Geigle, Secretary


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