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Annual Report 2008

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President Secretary Auditor | Treasurer OAFTN
KAON Website Fall'N'Stars Awards
Equipment Loan Observatory Responsible Lighting Librarian


RASC-KC 2008 Annual General Meeting -- Friday, November 14, 2008


  1. Approval of the Agenda.
  2. Consideration and Adoption of the 2007 Annual General Meeting Minutes.
  3. Consideration and Approval of the Reports of Council.
  4. Presentation and Adoption of Financial Statements.
  5. Centre Elections - Slate proposed by Nomination Committee.
    • Secretary - 2 years for 2008-2010
    • National Council Rep - 2 years for 2008-2010
    • Editor - 2 years for 2008-2010
    • Librarian - 2 years for 2008-2010
  6. Election of Auditor
  7. Other Business
  8. Adjourn meeting


This report is also available as a PDF file (386kb).

2007-2008 was a very quiet year for us at The RASC-Kingston Centre. We managed, barely, to fill the Board of Directors slots at the November 2007 Annual General Meeting and elections but lost the services of our Treasurer John Pilon at the end of January 2008. In February 2008 we appointed Kim Hay (past president, past treasurer, past secretary, past National Council Rep). Typically the Centre has operated on a two out of three signatures for financial authority (President, Treasurer, Vice President) but since Kim & myself are not at a arms-length relationship, I withdrew from the signing authority list.

2008 Douglas Award Presentation We have been provincially incorporated for 3 years now and registered as a federal charity for 2 years and are starting to get into the swing or routine of government paperwork. One of our new initiatives was to log every volunteer hour performed by the Centre in 2007/2008. This includes all activities of Board members and any volunteer activity performed by a member. The number of hours logged from 2007 Oct to 2008 Sep was: 776.

We ran into some venue issues from low turnout for our annual awards banquet in 2007 and after looking at historical downward trends, have decided not to hold one in 2008. This will be replaced by some other event, to be announced shortly.

We ran our 4th Observational Astronomy for the Novice (OAFTN) course in the fall of 2007 with a low turnout (8 students) with Doug Angle and Brian Hunter. Again, looking at historical trends of enrolment, we decided to cancel the fall 2008 course and take another look at the concept for 2009 with a tie-in to the International Year of Astronomy.

Our Equipment Loan program activity has also declined. The Orbitor 3500 was withdrawn from service after its mount was unserviceable. Eyepieces, filters, SQM, data projector and the digital cameras were the most used items. All items were recalled in September and an eyeball inventory was conducted on all items. We have them all. Good news!

Walter MacDonald signed on as webmaster and did a site redesign. We continue to look for new features that will attract our own members and the public to visit and make use of the site. We acquired a new domain name to help in pointing out various features and links on our site: The older is an automatic forwarder and will remain in service. Oh.. And he won a prize... The Ken Chilton Prize (is awarded annually to an amateur astronomer resident in Canada, in recognition of a significant piece of astronomical work carried out or published recently) for being part of the Puckett Supernova Search Team, and finding a supernova!

Venor Telescope Our regular meetings showed continued decline in attendance. We attempted to combat this by eliminating for the first time the July and August meetings, and brought in more professional astronomy speakers (Terry Bridges (Queen's), Joseph Buckley (RMC), Kristine Spekkens (RMC) and an advanced amateur in Paul Mortfield (RASC Toronto). Since the Centre was in hiatus over the summer, we suspended publication of Regulus, the RASC-KC newsletter, for that time as well. My personal view is that astronomy information is continually easier to access through excellent internet resources and the ever expanding number of cable and satellite television channels. This in turn leads to a lesser need for a hobby group.

One thing that would counteract this issue is to provide that which the internet and tv cannot, a facility with equipment that is not readily available otherwise. One of those is to make the 60cm Venor dobsonian telescope easier to access and give it a home. The same goes for our Library collection, and our Equipment Loan items, e observing group and social events.

Which leads us to the Observatory Committee. Over the last two years members of the committee have visited, investigated, taken photos and asked questions at 16 observatories of RASC Centres and members. We have drawn up draft plans, published summaries and looked for sites and asked for any leads to potential sites. To date the effort has stalled. The ATM (Amateur Telescope Markers) Group started up long enough to make a lot of progress on a 16" mirror blank, right up to figuring, polishing and a few attempts at figuring. On hiatus at the moment, this is a work in progress.

The Roboscope project ran into a lot of fiddlin little problems with hardware and compatibility issues. The Centre's 20cm LX200GPS was replaced with a members donated use of a 20cm LX200 classic, which got us past some problems while more issues waited down the line. This is still a work in progress.

Some of our ongoing and regular successes in Public Outreach and Education include 12 public observing sessions of the Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON) bringing in about 1000 people to the eyepiece, International Astronomy Day (125 people), The March of Dimes The Sky Is the Limit Festival (475 people) and the Cancer Society Relay for Life events(small turnout due to location and bad weather).
We were unable to form up a volunteer team to assist with Fall'N'Stars Star Party this year and the RASC Belleville Centre organized it alone. It was a good event, albeit wet and cloudy. Congrats and thanks to Joanne Burns!

On the National front many things have been afoot. Executive Secretary Bonnie Bird retired at the 2008 General Assembly. The Centre contributed to a retirement gift and send our best wishes to her and Andreas. Jo Taylor has been named her replacement.

Membership Fees went up...wayyyy up. For ordinary members in Canada the membership fee is now $67 + $5 Kingston surcharge. Of the $67, we get $23 to fund our operations. For youth membership is now $44, or which we get $13.70. If you live in the United States, it gets worse. Fees are $83 + $5 for ordinary members, $57 for youth. Internationally they are $112+$5 for ordinary and $86 for youth.

The upshot of this is that we expect to lose many of our members in the coming year, especially US and overseas members. Part of the new reality I guess. This amount is NOW supposed to cover membership costs to the national society COMPLETELY. The Centre is not receiving any more of these higher fees then before, so we maintain our resources and programs on the same amount as in the past. To help maintain members levels, we can only look to adding resources and benefits that have little or no real ongoing costs to them. The image gallery is one of those attempts.

Member and past president Ian Levstein has stepped up to become the Editor of the RASC Bulletin, a monthly e-newsletter mailed out to every member with a registered email address. After many years of navel gazing, the RASC has gotten into public outreach and education with a Big Bang! Funding the International Year of Astronomy to the tune of over $30k Finally welcome the 29th Centre of the RASC, the Sunshine Coast Centre, based out of .. Where else? The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia! Aka Sechelt, B.C.

In 2009 we have a few things to look forward to. First is International Year of Astronomy. We are collaborating with the Physics & Astronomy Departments of the Royal Military College and Queen's University to hold some special astronomy events. We will continue to log events and count eyeballs to the eyepiece, as the IYA is looking for 1 million eyes to the eyepiece in 2009.

The General Assembly will be held at a Star Party for the first time ever.. What a concept! An astronomy conference that can actually observe! Check out* for the Summer Saskatchewan Star Party and RASC General Assembly, hosted by the Saskatoon and Regina Centres of the RASC in mid August.

I wish to express my thanks, gratitude and "WELL DONE!" to those members who have stepped up to assist in running the club. The volunteer pool continues to crumble and those left standing are showing definite signs of smoldering burnout. None of these duties and responsibilities are meant to be onerous but at times they can get that way. We've attempted to alter events and jobs and match them up with members who enjoy performing a particular activity anyway and that has met with some measure of success. Two examples have been Susan Gagnon's Binocular Observing session and my CCD Imaging session at the Ellis Hall Observatory. We hope for more in the future as well.

In closing, I'd like to leave with a little bit of a request to members. Feedback. That's it.

Feedback. If you have ideas, communicate them. You can reach us by:
telephone 613-377-6029
by email,
in person at meetings and events... or even on paper by sending a piece of mail to box 1793 kingston ontario canada K7L 5J6.

Thoughts, questions, or even better yet, articles for Regulus, project ideas, meeting thoughts for speakers and activities... the list is potentially endless.

Sincerely and in hopes of clear skies,

Kevin Kell, RASC-KC President

President's Report References

Current Benefits of Membership:

  • 12 months members RASC-KC;
  • 6 issues Skynews magazine,
  • 1 copy of the Observer's Handbook,
  • 1 years worth of Centre e-newsletters with half on paper and mailed to you,
  • one years worth of the RASC EJournal,
  • use of the Centre's Library,
  • use of the Centre's Equipment Loan program,
  • discounts to Sky&Telescope magazine subscriptions;
  • eligible for observing certificates (Messier, NGC, Williamson)

RASC-KC Volunteer Log Monthly Summaries

Oct 55 hours Nov 69 hours Dec 64 hours
Jan 61 hours Feb 60 hours Mar 68 hours
Apr 44 hours May 84 hours Jun 112 hours
Jul 70 hours Aug 27 hours Sep 62 hours

Total: 776 volunteer person hours for 2007-2008

RASC-KC Image Gallery*

IYA 2009*


We currently have a total of 105 Society members:

  • 95 Ordinary members,
  • 2 Youth members, and
  • 8 Life members

Except for July and August, Regular Meetings were held on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in Theatre A or D, Stirling Hall, Queen's University.

January 11 Doug Angle: "Relativity, Black Holes, and the Nature of Dark Matter"
February 8 Member's Night featuring short presentations by Susan Gagnon, Doug Angle, Kevin Kell
March 14 Dr. Joseph Buckley: "RadarSat 2"
April 11 Member's Night featuring short presentations by Susan Gagnon, Walter MacDonald
May 9 Dr. Kristine Spekkens "Shedding Light on Dark Matter in Nearby Galaxies"
June 13 Leo Enright: "Two 'Topical Time' Topics; sidereal time in 2008 and the date/time of this month's solstice"
September 12 Member's Night featuring short presentations by Kim Hay, Doug Angle, Leo Enright, Hank Bartlett, Leslie Roberts
October 10 Paul Mortfield "California Dreaming - Remote Controlled Astrophotography"

The Kingston Centre offered public observing for Astronomy Day. Displays and public observing were offered at two charity events; "The Sky is the Limit Festival" and the "Relay for Life". Members also gave presentations at several area schools and libraries, and offered public observing at the Charleston Lake Star Party. As well, an award and a prize were contributed to the area Science Fair.

Our monthly public observing sessions were held at the Queen's University Observatory, in partnership with the Queen's University Physics Department.

About halfway through the year, our ATM group went into hiatus, Work continues on a Remote Operated Telescope.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Hart
Secretary, RASC Kingston Centre


To: The executive and members of the
Kingston Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

Date: 2008 11 08

I have been presented with the Treasurer's 2007 Annual Report for the Kingston Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. It is signed by the treasurer, Kim Hay.

I have examined the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement and they appear to be an accurate reflection of the year's transactions and the current financial state of the Centre. The transactions detailed in the General Ledger are consistent with the activities of the Centre.

I note, in passing, that a charge of $27.93 has been entered as a 'cheque' to correct an error made late in the previous financial year. In my view this is entirely acceptable given the nature and documentation of the error.

The Net Income for the year of $748.67 is appropriate for a small Not-for-Profit organization.

Brian K. Hunter


Treasurer's Report

Profit & Loss

October 2007 through September 2008

11/01/08 Accrual Basis

  Oct'07 - Sep 08


01 memfee regular 1,676.19
02 memfee surcharge 367.41
03 memfee youth 27.40
04 memfee life 22.00
05 memfee associate 15.00
07 donations 425.81
09 fundraise raffles 236.50
12 interest & dividends 291.86
17 sales other  
    Baadar Film 5.00
    17 sales other - Other 25.00
Total 17 sales other 30.00
18 sub skytel 40.80
19 sub astronomy 1.95
20 RASCpromo
    13 RASC observers handbooks 55.98
    14 RASC calendars 525.00
    15 RASC BOGs 0.00
    Planispheres 75.00
    RASC Promo -Lapel Pins 5.00
Total 20 RASCpromo 660.98
21 Advertising 120.00
24 annual dinner -543.64
Misc Donations 0.50
RASC 0.00
Uncategorized Income 190.50
Total Income 3,563.26
Gross Profit 3,563.26


11 educational activities 382.69
25 observatory&equipment 208.44
27 Regulus newsletter 912.76
28 awards and donations 214.65
31 general expense and audit 589.79
34 education 109.39
35 ATM Group 5.91
50 admin president 46.45
51 admin VP 71.99
54 admin secretary 25.93
57 RASC Membership 64.00
RASC Inventory
    RASC-bogs 84.54
RASC Inventory - Other -7.80
Total RASC Inventory 76.74
sub-sky & Tel expense 41.85
Uncategorized Expenses 64.00
Total Expense 2,814.59
Net Income 748.67

Balance Sheet

As of September 30, 2008

Sep 30, 08
  Current Assets
          Cash on Hand 292.50
          Fall'N'Stars 927.75
          General Operating Account 5,847.48
          Observatory 12,851.05
          Reserve 500.00
          Special Projects 1,500.00
      Total Chequing/Savings 21,918.78
      Accounts Receivable
          Accounts Receivable 40.00
      Total Accounts Receivable 40.00
Other Current Assets
          Inventory Asset 94.28
          Undeposited Funds 40.00
      Total Other Current Assets 134.28
Total Current Assets 22,093.06
TOTAL ASSETS 22,093.06
      Opening Bal Equity 18,332.00
      Retained Earnings 3,012.39
      Net Income 748.67
  Total Equity 22,093.06

Observational Astronomy for the Novice (OAFTN)

Instructors: ??
Coordinator: ??

No report.

Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON)

Coordinator: ??

No report.

Web Operations

Chair: Kim Hay

No report.


Chair: ??

No report.

Awards Group

No report.

Equipment Loan Program

Coordinator: Kevin Kell

No report.


On 7 Jul 2008 at 12:37, Kevin Kell wrote:

No news since last July? Looks like this committee is toast.

We got some preliminary design work and spec work done but despite a widespread appeal to our own membership, no suitable offers to use, lease or buy, or donations of land came forth.

Time to shelve it for the time being and if the idea continues to have value to anyone, let them come forth and let fresh blood try it out.

Thanks for your time and thoughts.

This email list will be discontinued later today.

Members on the committee were:

Responsible Lighting

No report.

Editor's Report

Joseph Benderavage

With this coming election night, I shall be stepping down from the editorship position I have held for two years. I have enjoyed it. I have several comments about how things have transpired.

On the good side, there has been an agreement with Leading Edge Hobbies for an indefinite open-ended advertisement and that has worked well in the past year or more.

A greater amount of material has been accommodated by the online edition that occurs every other month. In fact, sometimes, when deadlines were missed, I was forced to bump articles to the online edition.

Deadlines were generally respected in principle, hut not always in practice. The amount of content could have been more copious and more varied, especially from a greater cross-section of the RASC-KC membership.

The technological aspect of the newsletter also posed a challenge as the editorial software recommended sometimes proved to be balky and updating new editions from the previous month was not always smooth. Overall, however, the process worked, and in the end there was a product.

A large amount of work also went into the physical distribution of the newsletter, which occurred every two months. One of the problems I faced was the updating of membership lists, which was less than consistent. Overall, I have been pleased to serve as Editor of the Regulus newsletter and hope that the content has been made more enjoyable with the increased amount of pictures and comprehensive and intelligent text. Thank-you.

Librarian's Report

November 14, 2008

The centre's library is kept at the home of the librarian. A listing of the books in the main collection can be found through the centre's web site. A selection of books is brought for the members' review and borrowing with the librarian to meetings. A sign out sheet is kept with the books. Members can contact the librarian between meetings if they wish to borrow a book.

Contact information is in the newsletters. The planned holding place for the library will be in the warm room of the centre's observatory when that project is completed.

A recent acquisition is the book The Black hole War by Leonard Susskind. Kim & Kevin this year donated book shelves to add to the centre's oak bookcase and helped set up the shelves & bookcase in their own room.

A donation of several books was made by Ian Levstein, a past president of this centre. They are entered into the listing of the centre's books.

Suggestions for books to be purchased are always gratefully received and have lead to many of the purchases in past years.

David Maguire, Librarian

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