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2014

KC Annual Report 2014

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President Vice-President Secretary Treasurer Auditor
Editor Ast. Day Equipment Loan Fall'N'Stars KAON
OAFTN Relay for Life Responsible Lighting Website NAC Rep
Library

Agenda

AGM - Kingston Centre RASC, November 13, 2014.

  1. Welcome
  2. Presentation of Agenda
  3. Approval of Agenda
  4. Approval of 2013 AGM minutes
  5. Reading of annual reports:
    • President
    • Secretary (report and approval to update at year end.)
    • Treasurer
    • Library
    • NAC Representative
    • Editor
  6. Centre Elections:
    • Secretary
    • Librarian
    • Editor
    • NAC Representative
  7. Appointment of Auditor
  8. Adjourn with thanks

President

AS A SUMMARY for the 2014 year as President, I don’t think I can state any more detailed report as our Secretary has presented in her report.

We have had some great opportunities this past year with the Torus project and the mirror re- coating. Also the RMC domes long term lease and dismantling project.

One or our biggest goals is to look for land, either purchased or leased for our future Centre activities.

We are accumulating equipment and it is not being accessed by our members; this is who the equipment is for.

We really need more involvement from our members in order to achieve our goals. Any help for any activity would be really appreciated. We have lost touch in our observing trips for members, and our outreach activities. Since we lost our Outreach with Queen’s in the form of KAON events, we may need to re-think our Outreach goals.

In 2015, I envision a couple of Astronomy related road trips, and the search for land to be moved up in the top five of our list.

The Torus telescope is a project that is so close to being operational. Our Executive has done a great job this year to keep our centre vibrant.

I want to personally thank them, and our members and volunteers who have helped in anyway this year.

Our membership remains steady at around 74 members. This includes Life, Regular, and Youth.

We are at all various stages in our lives and time is precious, but our love of Astronomy brings us together and we have camaraderie to share.

Let’s go out and enjoy the stars and build our Centre together.

Kim Hay, KC President

Reference:


Secretary

REGULAR MEETINGS of the RASC Kingston Centre from November 2013 to October 2014 were held in Room 324, Ellis Hall, Queen’s University.

November 14, 2013 Annual General Meeting followed by members' reports.
December 12, 2013 Holiday Banquet of RASC Kingston Centre held at Aunt Lucy’s Restaurant, Kingston, Ontario.
January 9, 2014 Brian Hunter gave a presentation on how to observe the March 20th occultation of Regulus as well as suggestions and discussion among membership for equipment and locations for observation.
February 13, 2014 Dr Bruce Macintosh spoke about “Pictures of Other Worlds: Directly Imaging Extrasolar Planets.”
March13, 2014 Dr. John Percy gave a talk “Understanding Variable Stars: How the AAVSO—and You —Can Help.”
April 10, 2014 Special Observing Social for Members and their Guests at Lake Ontario Park.
May 8, 2014 Video simulation of an Occultation and Members’ presentations.
June 12, 2014 Members’ Night. September 11, 2014: Members’ Night.
October 4, 2014 Randall Rosenfeld, RASC Archivist, gave a talk: “What's in the Constellation Crater, How Newton Got 500 Bottles of Cham-pagne, and when Halley Drank Brandy and Swore: The Surprising History of Astronomy and Alcohol.”

PROJECTS AND ONGOING OBSERVATIONS FOR THE YEAR INCLUDED:

Light Pollution Monitoring. The City of Kingston has been in the process of exchanging bulbs in night lighting fixtures with LED bulbs. Members were encouraged to see if this had an effect on the amount of light pollution coming from Kings- ton, and to photograph the night sky and compare with photos from past years.

Torus Telescope. Queen’s University has replaced the 16 inch Torus Telescope in the Ellis Hall Observatory with a 14 inch Celestron telescope. RASC Kingston Centre reached an agreement with Queen’s U. to get the 16 inch Torus telescope on loan for use by Kingston Astronomy Club members. Over the course of several months work parties were organized to build a shed to house the Torus telescope, to move the telescope, mount it, clean the mirror, recoat the mirror, set up the computerized operation, and collimate the mirror. The commissioning phase is almost complete.

RMC Domes. Royal Military College Physics Department was taking down two astronomy domes, one 16 ft in diameter and a smaller 7 ft diameter dome. RMC is providing these domes to Kingston Centre on a long term loan. A work party was organized in October to dismantle the domes and move them to where they will be stored at a member's house. Kingston Centre thanks members for storing various pieces of equipment.

Fall'N'Stars Annual Event. Members of RASC Kingston and RASC Belleville Centres cooperated in organizing the annual Fall'N'Stars star party event held at Vanderwater Conservation Area near Thomasburg, Ontario September 26th to 28th, several members attended this event.

KAON (Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network, Queen’s U. Observatory) RASC Kingston members volunteered to attend the KAON monthly Saturday public events at Ellis Hall, Queen’s U. Telescopes were set up on the observing deck after the talks for public viewing, these events provided an opportunity to advertise RASC Kingston Centre and introduce members of the public to astronomy. Unfortunately, due to renovations of the viewing deck the fire marshall has declared that only a limited number of people can be allowed on the deck; these events have now been cancelled. Kingston Centre is looking at possibilities for future outreach.

Website. The RASC Kingston Centre website administrators have upgraded the website to a new Drupal website and given it a more modern layout, more features, and made it more user friendly for members.

Awards. Two members received Awards this year: Brian Hunter received the Kingston Centre's A. Vibert Douglas Award, and Susan Gagnon received the Society’s Service Award, as put forth by the Council of the Kingston Centre.

Education. Susan Gagnon made a presentation to a local Brownies group, and Bruce Elliott acted as Judge in the annual Frontenac Lennox and Addington Science Fair; the Leo Enright Prize in Astronomy, consisting of $75.00 and a copy of The Beginner's Guide was awarded to the 2014 winners.

Observations. Members are encouraged to share their observations. Resources such as the library are made available for research and a Facebook page has been set up to publicize RASC Kingston Centre and share news and information, as well as an ongoing email list for sharing news and information among membership. The weather during the past year presented many challenges, many events such as the occultation of Regulus, two lunar eclipses, a partial solar eclipse, auroras and meteor showers were all obscured by thick clouds and rain or snow in the Kingston area. Although the April outdoor meeting was rained out and ended quickly, members used it as an opportunity to scout out the location for possible future gatherings. Clear weather was enjoyed during the Fall 'N'Stars event, and in spite of the trend of overcast throughout the year many members were able to share photos and reports of solar prom- inences and record large sunspots, meteors, ISS passes, lunar images, and time lapse sequences among other events.

Disappointment was felt when the much-publicized Comet ISON disintegrated on its passage around the sun, and although hopes were raised when predictions were made that the Camelopardalid meteor shower could possibly turn into a “meteor storm” this event only produced a weak meteor shower at best.

Rose-Marie Burke, Secretary


Treasurer

...

KC Pie Charts 2014

Kevin Kell, Treasurer 2013-14


Auditor

THE ROLE OF AN AUDITOR is not to check each financial transaction, but rather to check that there are sufficient procedures and controls to ensure the health of the system. I have per-formed such a check, as well as sampling several transactions for conformance to these controls.

I’m happy to report that the financial affairs of the RASC Kingston Centre are in fine shape. The profit and loss statement accurately reflects the business throughout the year, and the balance sheet balances. I did find a single transaction that was mis-categorized, which would not affect the totals presented.

For the most part, the budget forms the basis of the Centre finances. Where activities are bud- geted, expenses can be charged without further approval. Items exceeding budgeted amounts are specifically approved by the exec- utive. It could be made a little clearer who has responsibility for budget line items, and when further approval is required, although there is no evidence that this created any problems in the past year.

Finally, my compliments to the treasurer on the clarity and organization of the financial records. In fact, any difficulties arise from external sources: receipts often have cryptic descriptions, reports from national office can be confusing, and Quickbooks has some interesting quirks in how it presents information. Beside those, the records of the Centre are nothing short of stellar.

Doug Angle, KC Auditor 2013-14


Equipment Loan

No real activity this year... an eyepiece here, a filter set there. More and more of the equipment storage is being consolidated in the RASC-KC Storage Shed. With the closure of the Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON) monthly open houses, the 20cm Fitzgerald telescope returned from the Queens Eillis Hall Observatory in November.

Reference:

Kevin Kell, Loan Coordinator


Fall'n'Stars

References:


KAON

THE END OF 2014 has been made a little sadder with the end of our highly successful collaboration with Queen’s and RMC that was dubbed KAON (Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network). The local Fire Marshall has serious concerns with respect to 4th floor egress in the event of an emergency and this cannot be ignored. Given the financial hard line of most institutions these days it is difficult to imagine that the appropriate funds will be made available for upgrades needed. Of course we have no idea what the future brings but the Ellis Hall site for bringing astronomy to the public will be difficult if not impossible to replace. Listed here are the topics of some of the public lectures enjoyed in 2014:

  • Dr. Gregg Wade: Earth v2.0: Have We Already Discovered an Earth- Twin Orbiting a Nearby Star?
  • Mr. Nathan Deg: Our Galaxy, the Milky Way or why we think dark matter exists.
  • Mr. Matthew Chequers: Riding the Waves: Why We Think the Milky Way is Ringing like a Bell from a Recent Collision.
  • Dr. Larry Widrow: A beginner’s Guide to the Inflationary Universe.
  • Dr. James Silvester: Observatories of the world.
  • Ms. Nathalie Ouellete: The Life and Times of Galaxies.
  • Mr. Alexandre David-Uraz: Hot Massive Stars: Rock stars of the Universe.

I have always enjoyed doing public observing events and will miss these opportunities. The 4th floor observing deck was a great place for people to sample the night sky in comfort and safety. It could get a bit crowded with so many observers but this just seemed to enhance the experience. On those nights when we did have clear skies the atmos- phere would be quite festive with a lot of chat in the lines behind the eyepiece. Often people would pre- face questions with some sort of apology for not knowing about astronomy but the questions got asked none the less. It is hard to look stupid when you are all standing around in the dark!

I have made the case for science outreach but now I would like to mention that these monthly public events are probably underestimated in their ability to foster good town/ gown relations. Outreach events such as this are critical to the general population viewing the University as a resource open to them. A little ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ goes a long way!

A series of terrific Observatory Coordinators over the last 15 years has been essential. Without their efforts and their network of under- grad helpers the events would not have been the success they were.

Thanks to all who participated over the years.

Susan Gagnon, KAON Coordinator

References:


Editor

THE TABLE BELOW is a six-year summary of newsletter production.

Year Issues Pages Notes
2009 10 117  
2010 11 93  
2011 8 87 Nov. issue was produced by Kim & Kevin.
2012 8 78  
2013 11 111 One issue of Ridiculous (first in 20 years).
2014 6 76 Projected whole-year numbers.

2014 has seen a lower number of issues and pages than previous years. The nominal (monthly) cadence is a punishing one and has been a difficult one to try to meet over the long run. Superimposed on this are periods of low activity in the Centre. Some may think such low periods are a bad thing, but really they are only natural—even when not accentuated by a shortage of volunteers. While the past brutal winter (and cool spring) may have put a dent in the first half of the year, the Centre bounced back with a vengeance, just as it always does. Rather than fretting about the low part of these cycles, we should just enjoy the ride.

Your editor’s opinion has always been that quality (and relevance) are more important than quantity, and so we have sometimes had smaller issues or months with no issues. A combination of listing events in the newsletter a month or two ahead, combined with postings on the Centre’s website and email list ensure that nobody will miss out on any time-sensitive news or event announcements. Living in the Internet age has its benefits.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed material to Regulus, either directly or indirectly (via the email lists). Obviously, without these contributions the newsletter would not be possible.

[graphic]

Walter MacDonald, Editor


Website

IT TOOK A BIG 3-MONTH PUSH starting in the new year, but the Centre’s website was finally ported over to Drupal 7, going live on March 30th. There may be a tiny bit of content to still come over (such as a few private files) but the job is otherwise complete. Many hundreds of images were ported in a collection of image galleries. It is now possible for members to have their own galleries too. The only feature lacking is the ability to have nested galleries, but perhaps an easy fix for this may be ound in the future.

The old website has been archived for reference use, and information on how to access this is in the members-only area of the new (current) website.

As usual, thanks go to our servermeister Kevin Kell, who has managed the backups and replaced server hardware and software as required. Kevin was a little busier this year since he also did the Drupal install (and updates—we are now up to version 7.33) as well as the module installs.

Walter MacDonald, Webmaster

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NAC Rep

Note: Kingston Centre does not have a NAC representative.

Reference:

 

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