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2015

KC Annual Report 2015

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 NC Rep
Library

Agenda

AGM - Kingston Centre RASC, November 12, 2015.

  1. Welcome
  2. Presentation of Agenda
  3. Approval of Agenda
  4. Approval of 2014 AGM minutes
  5. Reading of annual reports:
    • President
    • Secretary (report and approval)
    • Treasurer (report an approval)
    • Librarian
    • NAC Representative
    • Editor
  6. Centre Elections:
    • President
    • Vice-President
    • Treasurer
    • NAC Representative
  7. Adjourn
  8. Regular Meeting follows the AGM from approx 7:15-9:00 p.m.

President

Kim Hay, KC President

The 2014-2015 year of the RASC-KC has seen many highs and lows.

At the beginning of the year we saw our Outreach nights with Queen’s University take a hiatus due to fire regulations. The fourth floor of Queen’s needed a second set of stairs for an emergency exit. Make it so and it was done. With the second exit and our Outreach with the Observatory started up again in October2015. We also have a new Observatory coordinator, Amanda Desouza. The outgoing Observatory Coordinator, Nathalie Ouellette was presented with a plaque, thanking her and all the Observatory Coordinator’s before her. Wow, we have been here a long time! Other outreach events had two of our members Susan Gagnon and Bruce Elliot did several presentations to the Guides to help with their understanding of the night sky, and help to earn their Astronomy Badge.

Meetings this year consisted of many members presenting content which created great discussions. Our meetings moved around this year, due to construction and exams at Queen’s but by September we were back to our Room 324 Ellis Hall.

A centre BBQ and observing session was held at Starlight Cascade Observatory, which also houses the Centre’s telescopes and equipment. Tours and observing took place, even though the mosquitoes were also having a feast. It was a great evening as new visitors were introduced to the night sky and tried out their camera equipment to do astrophotography. Though the RASC-KC took the summer off for meetings, some members were busy with observatory renovations, starparties and the GA in Halifax. Our shared Star party (Fall N Stars)with the Belleville Centre was in preparation for the September 11-13th date. Our guest speaker for the weekend was David MacCarter from the London Centre, who presented his talks on the Study of Meteors and Bolides. David had spoke to us several years ago, and at that time, we saw a bolide. This talk was inspired by that event. On Saturday we were also treated with a talk on his observing trip to Hawaii. He then presented the 2016 GA video to entice members of the RASC and public to attend the GA on May 19-23rd, 2016. Though the weather did not cooperate, we had cloud and rain, the talks , the Saturday dinner and socializing always makes the weekend a special time.

As we are in the midst of fall, our Annual Meeting is upon us again. President, Vice President, and Treasurer positions are open for election . The NAC position is still vacant, and any member can fulfill this position.

The RASC KC at this time has 68 members. We would like to see a stronger presence of members at our meetings. We are averaging 18 people that come out for presentations . We have our website, and a Facebook presence that reaches the public on local and international astronomy image and news.

It is an exciting time at the RASC-KC. We have many projects that are promising and that are being looked at. One executive member is doing a land search, for possible land or to work with other groups in hopefully getting an observatory or an observing area. We need to get the Centre’s equipment out of the shed and into the members’ hands so we can get back to centre social and observing nights. Our Bylaws are being worked on to make them simpler and easier to help new people come onto the Centre Board (which is covered by Directors Insurance), or to even help to volunteer. As part of our Outreach and Education program we have purchased a new Go-To telescope scope for the Queen’s Observing nights (which is on display tonight), so this will help volunteers to show the night sky.

As my term ends, I have enjoyed working with the current Executive and meeting our members. However, if I can leave you with one message,” Your Centre needs your help to grow and survive, please consider volunteering , many hands make light work and you can help shape to make this Centre yours.”


Secretary

The Kingston Centre was not as involved in public outreach to the extent it has been in previous years. This was due mainly to the closure of the Queen’s Observatory to the public while renovations brought the 4th floor of Ellis Hall up to code with respect to adequate fire exits. October 3rd saw the reopening of the observatory complete with a new Observatory Coordinator. The Centre took this opportunity to present a plaque thanking the Coordinators we have worked with over the years.

Other contact with the public this year involved the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Science Fair where Bruce Elliot found a suitable winner for the Leo Enright Prize in Astronomy, Justin MacKeigan. Susan Gagnon accompanied Bruce to a Girl Guide event in June where they did a talk and then a tour of the early evening planets. Susan was also at the K-Rock Center for Science Rendezvous. We shared a booth with RMC and added a scope to the solar observing line-up.

Another ongoing project has been the set up and function of the Torus scope that is on permanent loan from Queen’s University. Several members have taken time to work on this project and the main drivers have been Kevin Kell and friend of the Centre, Brian Hunter. This scope is now ready to take on a serious project.

A members BBQ in July was a great social event for humans and mosquitoes alike! Great food and lots of astronomy talk. Some uninitiated relatives found Hank Bartlett a one man sky tour! Thanks to Kim and Kevin for hosting this event.

September was another Fall’N’Stars camping event at the Vanderwater Conservation Area. It was quite enjoyable considering the constant rain! Thanks to Belleville Centre for sharing this event.

While the Centre continues to keep an eye open for a better meeting site, this search has failed to find an alternative that matches availability and services like Queen’s and as of Fall 2015 meetings will continue at Ellis Hall room 324. Meetings continue to be open to the public at no charge. Here is a list of the meetings held:

January 8 Low tech solutions to our Rotating Planet, Brian Hunter moderator of 7 demonstration models of barn door trackers including their use in the digital age.
February 12 Star Doctor, Taking a Star’s Temperature, Rick Wagner, keys to understanding variability.
March 12 Navajo Astronomy, Tim Sietz.
April 9 Member’s presentations at the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum.
May 14 Member's, home observatories.
June11 AAVSO Primer, Rick Wagner.
September 10 Member presentations.
October 8 Astrophotography focus, September 27th Lunar Eclipse, Lori Graham: Update on Pluto and the Deep Horizons Mission.
November 9 AGM 2015
December 10 Annual Christmas Banquet, Aunt Lucy’s Restaurant.

2015 was heavy on member participation at meetings. Interest in Astrophotography is very high and many members have much to share with regard to technique, hardware and software choices. Subject matter covers all things in the sky, from atmospheric effects like Sun pillars and Aurora, to Solar, Lunar, and planetary to deep sky. Along with these most photogenic we were treated to a nova, a comet, and several lovely conjunctions. Kingston members captured them all.

Susan Gagnon, Secretary


Treasurer

Summary: Interest rates continue to drop with our $20,075 in GICs returning only $258 this past year.

Income: $4,715       Expenses: $3,550       Net $1164         Total Assets: $28,200

Fund status:
Fall’N’Stars $500
Observatory $17,717
Reserve $500
Special Projects $1,500
General Operating $7,977
Total $28,200

Membership fees raised to $75 of which the Center portion is $23. We have a stable membership of 68. Donations dropped a lot from $1207 last year to $1068 this year. Our charitable expenditures were down a little this year, from $1022 to $851. We will need to ramp up charitable spending to at least match the donations, in the future, and to cover past year’s shortfalls.

Income notes: interest rates on GICs hit a new low, interested down to $266 from $404 last year Fall’N’Stars profit was minimal, only $88

Expense notes: Room bookings at Queens dropped due to lower charges, to $323 In the hopes of making Board membership more attractive to volunteers, we continue to purchase Directors and Officers Insurance for board members $486 for the next 12 months. The RMC dome project expenses out at $305 and we now have a potentially valuable asset for the future.

After year end, donations ($770+298.51) were transferred into the Observatory Fund (as undirected) and this is the number we must match for charitable receipt spending.

Kevin Kell, Treasurer 2013-14


Auditor

I have examined the financial records of the RASC Kingston Centre and find them to be in good order. As in previous years, Kevin and the executive has done a commendable job of setting up records and controls.

One area of particular interest is the leases with Queen's and RMC. These arrangements are more in the form of gentlemen's agreements than legal covenants. For example, there doesn't appear to be any descriptions of what our liability for loss or damage might be. Never the less, the agreements were done in good faith by all parties, and I don't forsee issues arising from them.

Doug Angle, KC Auditor 2013-14


Equipment Loan

The physical audit summary of the equipment of the Centre for 2015 is attached at the bottom of this page.

The vast majority of the RASC-KC's "stuff" is located in the RASC-KC 8x10 storage shed, currently located at the Starlight Cascade Gardens and Observatory. We attempt to do a hands-on inventory/audit annually and in fact, we have done this in 2014 November and 2015 November.

All items were found/seen/touched with the exception of:

  • #1 Douglas telescope 25cm (1979) - loaned to Ken Kingdon 2015 april - being returned this week
  • #2 Library bookcase (1992) - in the care of the Librarian David Maguire
  • #7 60cm Venor telescope - in the care of Doug Angle
  • #21 Equatorial tracking platform - with Brian Hunter being repaired
  • #29 Library collection - in the care of the Librarian David Maguire
  • #32 Sky Quality Meter (2006) - loaned out to Greg Latiak

Items that we do not know the location of:

  • #11 Binocular set B&L7x50 (1999) - this was not seen last year either when we thought it might be at KAON
  • #22 Starlight Express MX716 camera (2004) - relocated to a new non-cardboard box due to mice... haven't found it again since.

We will continue to search for the no-location items. A high probability exists for finding the camera, not so much the binoculars.

Equipment that is loanable has not been loaned very much at all. The biggest items this year were the Douglas 25cm telescope, SQ meter and data projector.

Each year some items are written off and removed from the summary, others are added on.

Kevin Kell, Loan Coordinator


Fall'n'Stars

References:


KAON

 No report.

Susan Gagnon, KAON Coordinator

References:


Editor

THE TABLE BELOW is a seven-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  
2015 5 54 Projected whole-year numbers; Oct. issue by Kim & Kevin.

Regulus continues on at a reduced but sustainable pace. Looking forward to 2016 I can't help but feel it might be a "bigger" year than the last two, given the pending comeback of KAON and all the observatory gear the Centre has.

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

Walter MacDonald, Editor


Website

The website was rebuilt again this year, overcoming some technical difficulties that arose. Going forward, the plan is to migrate the website from our current donated server to the commercial hosting service that the RASC is now using as a platform for Centre websites. This will relieve Kevin of all the work he does to keep our server going and should be more easily sustainable in the long run.

Walter MacDonald, Webmaster


NC Rep

Note: Kingston Centre does not have a NC representative. The National Advisory Council has been renamed National Council (the old moniker).

Reference:

  • No reports for 2015.

 

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