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1977

1977 Calendar of Events

Meetings were held in Room 222 of Ellis Hall on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m.
1977
January
18
A motion was passed that stated "That a committee be set up to formulate, by March 15, 1977, a detailed proposal to build or acquire a telescope and observing site of suitable quality for the members of this club to work on worthwhile projects..." for submission to the National Council in the event that funds became available to Centres as a result of the sale of the old national office.
[Reference: Newsletter, January 1977 #2]
February
1
Paul Brown, the National Council Representative, reported on the National Council Meeting that he had attended in Toronto on the previous Saturday, January 29. He had presented to Council the motion passed at the previous meeting in Kingston, but it would be some time before any substantive results were realized! New Kingston Centre T-shirts were also for sale at the meeting. Not too many members of the group complained of the cost, even though the price was $3.50 per T-shirt! [Reference: Regulus July 2002, pg.3]
February
12
Feb 12 Tobogganing/Observing party at Fort Henry Hill at 7:00pm [Reference: Newsletter, February 1977 #2]
1977
February
15

Slides obtained from national office were to be shown along with presentations from club members.
[Reference: Newsletter, February 1977 #1]

A small group of very dedicated...observers took to the dome and roof of Ellis Hall. ...The group saw such objects as Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Praesepe (M44), M42, and KGH...
[Reference: Newsletter, February 1977 #3, page 4]

March
1
Discussion of the upcoming G.A. - to be held in Toronto at the University of Toronto on the Canada Day Weekend. [Reference: Regulus July 2002, pg.3]
March
15
The ...second-last regular meeting for this [school] year. Nominations for next years' officers, and "Plans for our future" will be at issue... [Reference: Newsletter, March 1977 #1]
1977
March
29

Last meeting of the school year. Voting for a new executive was part of the agenda for this meeting. [Reference: Newsletter, March 1977 #2]

The following were elected: Leo Enright (President), Douglas Baker (VP), Sue McDougall (Secretary-Treasurer). It was decided to borrow a telescope from the Society. [Reference: Newsletter, April 1977 #1]

April
5
At this Telescope Committee meeting it was decided to buy a 6" mirror for the telescope making project. [Reference: Newsletter, April 1977 #1]
1977
June
5

June 5 Holleford Crater tour, picnic and water skiing at Sharbot Lake. [Reference: Newsletter, June 1977 #1]

The trip to Holleford Crater was poorly attended. However those who went were greeted with a beautiful warm sunny day. Fun was had by all exploring the crater, posing for pictures, falling down drill holes, sinking in the swamp, etc. [Reference: Newsletter, July 1977 #1]

1977
June
26

Solstice
Outing

Summer Solstice Outing at Leo's place.
[Reference: Newsletter, June 1977 #1]

The Summer Solstice Outing was also poorly attended. This enabled the participants to spend more time water-skiing, eating, and looking through telescopes, The only thing that marred this outing was the mosquitos. They were a bother, since they kept stealing the telescopes. [Reference: Newsletter, July 1977 #1]

It was interesting to see three telescopes and one pair of tripod-mounted binoculars set up all in a row. In the water-skiing competition, the team of E. and P. Brown took first place, and D. Baker took second. Let's hope the astrophotos of the moon turnout well. Finally, a hearty "No Thanks" to the mosquitoes that appeared late at night. You wouldn't believe......... [Reference: Newsletter July 1977 #2]

...The written record from the event shows that we had "three telescopes and one pair of tripod-mounted binoculars set up all in a row." The record also shows that while waiting for twilight and darkness, the participants engaged in a sporting event that is not generally a part of more recent star parties. The record says that "in the waterskiing competition, the team of Paul and Elwyn Brown took first place, and Doug Baker took second." Later the skies cooperated and even allowed some astrophotography. [Reference: Regulus Sep 2002, pg.5]

1977
June 30-
July 3

GA'77
Toronto

From June 30 to July 3rd, two members of our centre, Paul Brown and I, attended the annual Assembly of the R. A. S. C. in Toronto. It was most interesting, educational, and enjoyable - the sort of thing to inspire one with enthusiasm for his hobby because he gets to see what other members and centres are doing, and, believe me, what some of them are doing is nothing less than fantastic. I wish that all of you could have had the chance! A 16-page report prepared by the First Vice-president of the Society was accepted, and it is a report which has implications for all centres and all members, and which, I feel, proposes certain things which could be very helpful to our centre. [Reference: Newsletter July 1977 #2]

On the Canada Day Weekend, Paul Brown and I [Leo Enright] attended the General Assembly in Toronto. A highlight of the National Council Meeting was the tabling of the Report on the State of the Society, a comprehensive study of the membership, finances, achievements, and proposed directions for the Society, an important document that has, since then, been referred to as The Percy Report, after Dr. John Percy who has its principal author. The special invited speaker was Terence Dickinson. Trips included one to the David Dunlap Observatory and one to Jack Newton's observatory north of Toronto. In an era that was two years before the first G.A. Pyramid, attendees had an opportunity to participate in a touch football game - an east-west classic for something less than the Grey Cup! [Reference: Regulus July 2002, pg.4]

July
19
They [summer meetings] began at 9:00 p.m. in Room 222 in Ellis Hall. They were times for discussing recent observing projects, future plans for observing, and the results of the trips that had been organized. [Reference: Regulus Sep 2002, pg.4]
August
2
August
16
August
30
August
12 or 13
Perseid Session
August
28
45th parallel outing
1977
September
13

Agenda:
-Discussion of plane
-Report of Summer Activities, photos, etc...
-The membership campaign
-The A.A.F.T.J. project (Come and find out.)
-The newsletter: name, logo, etc....
[Reference: Newsletter, September 1977 #1]

An important decision taken at the meeting was to strive for fairly orderly meetings and to keep good records for the Centre. [Reference: Newsletter, September 1977 #2]

September
27

Amongst other things, there were a recap of summer events, eclipse reports, and discussions of the "Percy Report". For the full minutes of this meeting, see Newsletter, October 1977.

The second meeting, on Tuesday September 27, had five main items on the agenda. The minutes as recorded by the secretary, Sue McDougall, show that we had several new people who had not attended previously. As president, I was able to report having gone to two meetings of science teachers in Frontenac County with astronomy presentations that included giving them information about the existence of our group in the city. Three of the new attendees at this meeting were the result of those meetings that I had arranged with the science teachers. Notices of the meeting that had been posted in the Queen's Journal and had been aired on CFRC radio accounted for some other new faces at this meeting. The upcoming Queen's Clubs Night, on October 4 and now just one week away, was again discussed, and I promised to attend and bring some posters for display at that event.

Members were invited to submit articles for the newsletter, including reviews of some important astronomy books that had been recently published. One member, Chris Sargeant, volunteered to write a review. A motion was passed to subscribe to Astronomy magazine. A copy of the publication, Deep Sky Objects by Jack Newton, was purchased for the membership from the president. (We could now say that a Centre library had been established.) Two members, Denis Belanger and Doug Baker, volunteered to write a review of the book, The Whisper and The Vision. This fascinating new book by Dr. Donald Fernie, an astronomer at the David Dunlap Observatory, (whom I had known fifteen years earlier when he was the professor for an astronomy course I had taken at The University of Toronto) described the arduous journeys that many astronomers had undertaken in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in order to complete certain valuable observations in remote parts of the world.

The reports from the penumbral lunar eclipse of the previous night, September 26-27, were very short because only two members, Enrico Kindl and Chris Sargeant, had been able to see it amid the persistent clouds in the area.

A report from the vice-president, Doug Baker, about the National Council Meeting in Toronto on September 24, contained an item about the concern of the Society regarding the duty that Canadian amateur astronomers had to pay when importing telescopes and other astronomical equipment. In that regard, a motion, proposed by Enrico Kindle and seconded by Sue McDougall, called for Centre members to write individual letters to their MP's requesting the removal of, or the reduction in, those duties, and the time for completing this letter-writing project was to be added to the next meeting.

As a result of recent invitations issued by the president, there was an announcement that the guest speakers, who had agreed to talk to us at upcoming meetings,... [Reference: Regulus Nov 2002, pg.3]

1977
October
4

Club's Night: One week later was the Centre's next major event -- Queen's University Clubs Night which began at 8:00p.m. on Tuesday October 4 in Grant Hall. At first, the place was a massive scene of confusing comings and goings involving what seemed like hundreds of students transporting such things as canoes, kayaks, sailboards and posters and signs of every description imaginable. The scene was gradually sorted out into a semblance of order as the tables that were arranged around the perimeter of the large hall, were occupied by the various groups that put their organizations on display for the imminent influx of the students who would soon make their way around the building.

At the table assigned to the astronomy group, I set up some posters relating to astronomy and had, as a "handout" on our table, a page of information about the many benefits of membership in the RASC, a "handout" which, with a few revisions, has been used for almost 25 years. The executive represented the Kingston Centre: I was there as President for the 1977-1978 "school year", Doug Baker was there as the Vice-President, and Sue MacDougall as the secretary/treasurer.

A surprisingly good number of new students talked to us about their interest in astronomy. Among them was a person whose name I quickly recognized as an active member of the Montreal Centre, and I explained to Doug and Sue later that having him as a member of our growing group would be a genuine coup; they were unaware of his dedication to astronomy and of his accomplishments, even at that time. He told me his name was David Levy and he would be a graduate student in the English Department for the next two years. He wanted to join the Kingston group and hoped to be able to come to our upcoming meetings. I told him when and where they were held and expressed a sincere wish that he would attend our next meeting. I am sure that afterward Doug and Sue could detect my very real joy that our Centre would have, for at least two years, a member who, I knew, was passionate about astronomy and loved to observe the night sky. I was quite sure that he would be there at our next Centre meeting one week thence. [Reference: Regulus Nov 2002, pg.3]

1977
October
11

Highlights of this meeting were the announcement that the club's Mosquito Contest had been written up in "Sky & Telescope" and Leo's report on the 1977 GA. For the full minutes of this meeting, see Newsletter, October 1977 #2, page 2.

A special meeting to discuss the "Percy Report" and its application in our Centre was called for 6:30 p.m. on October 11, an hour and a half before the beginning of the next regular Centre meeting. [Reference: Regulus Nov 2002, pg.3]

The third regular meeting of the "school year" was on Tuesday, October 11. The agenda included several reports. One of them was on what appeared to have been a successful Queen's Clubs Night at Grant Hall one week previously. Another report was about the mention of our "Bad Mosquitoes" Contest in Sky and Telescope magazine. (Word travelled fast, especially if our vice-president made sure that a copy of the newsletter was sent to the major astronomy magazine!)

At the meeting, I gave a short talk reporting on the 1977 General Assembly in Toronto, mentioning the highlights of each of the papers given, and giving a brief outline of the Northcott Lecture by Terrence Dickinson, a talk about "Re-working The CETI Equation".

Then time was provided at the meeting for members to write their individual letters to MP's regarding the federal duties on imported telescopes and other astronomical equipment, and stating our request that such duties be removed on objects that were not otherwise available in Canada.

The secretary reported receiving a letter from RASC Edmonton Centre member, Mark Zalcik, requesting that meteor shower observers contact him to learn about a new method of recording meteor showers. (Members should know that Mark has remained at the forefront of this kind of observing for these many years!)

Announcements were made about events to be observed in the near future: (1) the total solar eclipse of the next day, October 12 which would be seen as a partial eclipse in Eastern Canada, (2) an eclipse of the Saturn's moon Iapetus by Saturn on October 19, and (3) the Orionid Meteor Shower on the night of October 20-21, for which plans were made that Kingston residents should meet at Ellis Hall at 10:00p.m. to go to Fort Henry Hill to observe it. Because of cloudy weather, the group did not go up to the dome, as was often done, in order to observe for a while after the meeting. [Reference: Regulus Nov 2002, pg.4]

1977
October
25

Main presentations at this meeting were by Leo Enright (solar eclipse slides from Sharbot Lake), David Levy (variable stars), and Denis Belanger (home-built photometer). For the full minutes of this meeting, see Newsletter, September 1977 #2, page 2.

The next regular meeting was on Tuesday, October 25. As the president, I [Leo Enright] reported on the executive meeting that had been held in order to discuss our Centre's written response to Dr. Percy's Report. The winner of the humorous "Bad Mosquitoes Contest" was announced; it was our Vice-President Doug Baker. His entry, and other entries as well, would be published in an upcoming newsletter.

There were five observing reports and two short talks. The reports were: (1) slides of the partial solar eclipse of October 12 taken by the President from his observing site at Sharbot Lake. Mike Kennedy also reported seeing the eclipse, in spite of many clouds in the Kingston area. Enrico Kindl and David Levy promised to bring their photographic efforts for the eclipse to a later meeting. (2) All members had missed seeing the eclipse of Saturn' moon, Iapetus. (3) The observing trip to Fort Henry Hill was extremely disappointing because of the weather; only one or two Orionids had been seen. The president's report of observing Orionids at Sharbot Lake was not much better. (4) However, there was a report of an Aurora, that was quite spectacular from Sharbot Lake at about moonset on October 18. (5) There had been good weather for the observing group that had met at the dome on October 18. Participants had observed a near-graze of a star by the moon, an event that would have been an occultation if seen from northern Ontario.

The first of the talks was by our new member, David Levy. He gave an interesting introduction to variable star observing, with the hope of starting a small variable star observing group within the Centre. David explained the different types of variables that exist and what is required to make a magnitude estimate of their current brightness. He told our Centre members about his membership in the AAVSO and the variable observing program that he was following.

The second short talk was by Denis Belanger who explained the operation of the photometer that he had built, and answered questions about its construction and operation. The observing reminders were about the upcoming Taurid Meteor Shower on November 4, the Leonids on November 16, and the Geminids on December 13, and about three upcoming dates that should be good for observing various phenomena of Jupiter's satellites.

For future plans, there were two announcements: one about buying RASC T-shirts from the Ottawa Centre, and one about obtaining from the Centre secretary the required entry forms for the Observing and Display Contest at the 1978 General Assembly which was to be held in Edmonton -- only eight months away and not too early to plan a photographic display!! [Reference: Regulus Nov 2002, pg.4]

[David Levy:] At the meeting of October 25, I delivered a talk on variable star observing. It was called, or started with, "How many variables did you get last night?" I explained how I liked to get interest going in variable stars. I talked about Eclipsing Variables, Cepheid Variables, and Long Period Variables (LPVs). [Reference: Regulus Nov 2002, pg.5]

November
8

Dr. Alan Bridle of the Astronomy Group in the Queen's University Physics Department who would speak to us on November 8 about his involvement in the Very Long baseline Array (VLA) of radio telescopes in New Mexico [Reference: Regulus Nov 2002, pg.3]

Beginning on Tuesday, November 8, 1977, Dr. Allen H. Bridle of the Queen's University Physics Department spoke on the topic: "The VLA in New Mexico". It outlined the operation of the newly-commissioned array of radio telescopes, the largest grouping of such instruments anywhere in the world and suitably named The Very Large Array. Spread out over the Plains of Saint Augustine near the town of Socorro in southern New Mexico, this collection of 27 enormous dishes stretched over several kilometres in three different directions, effectively giving an enormous aperture and greatly improving on the resolution of radio signals from remote parts of the universe.

I recall how intimately Dr. Bridle know the many details of the operation of this great array. It was very evident that he was, not only an authority on the science of radio astronomy, but also an unrivaled expert on this amazing new state-of-the-art instrument, which would vastly expand our knowledge of the universe. In fact, our Centre was extremely fortunate to be able to have him as a speaker at that time -- a fact that I did not fully appreciate until some time later. He had just returned from the site of the VLA, and before long he would be returning to Socorro.

I should explain that, a short time later, maybe a month or so later, I just happened to be changing television channels at the time of the supper-hour news. As I went past the Channel 7 - Watertown program, I immediately recognized someone being interviewed on the CBS Evening News. It was Dr. Bridle, spokesman for, and at the time I believe, one of the directors of operations at the VLA, the world's newest and largest radio telescope. He spoke about the capabilities of the most sophisticated radio telescope on the planet and its potential for answering some "ultimate questions" about our universe. It was then that I realized how especially fortunate our small group had been in having him as our speaker on November 8th. [Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.2]

1977
November
22

Dr. Alan H. Batten (RASC President) will speak on "Close Binary Systems" [Reference: Newsletter, November 1977 #2] Everyone who came enjoyed hearing Dr. A.H. Batten's talk at our last meeting. We all appreciated it and we wish him well in all his endeavours in the future.
[Reference: Newsletter, December 1977 #1]

on Tuesday November 22, our guest was someone whose initials were the same and whose reputation among Canadian astronomers was huge. Dr. Alan H. Batten, a scholar and recognized authority in stellar and galactic astrophysics, was at that time (i.e., for the years 1976 and 1977) the president of the R.A.S.C.. His topic was Close Binary Systems. His talk was most interesting, enlightening, and well-received. Most of the Centre members had never before seen or heard a national R.A.S.C. president, and so they eagerly received the information he shared about the state of the Society, as well as his explanation of a type of stellar system that is very common in our galaxy. [Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.2]

December
6

Dr. John R. Percy (RASC 1st VP) will speak on "Pulsating Stars"
[Reference: Newsletter, December 1977 #1]

the speaker was Dr. John R. Percy, then the First Vice-President of the R.A.S.C. and the editor of The Observer's Handbook. He would begin his two-year term as National President the following year, and his decade-long term as editor of The Observer's Handbook would last for two more years. Dr. Percy's topic was Pulsating Stars, a talk elucidating the forces that cause brightness variations in the large percentage of variable stars that belong to this category. Centre members realized our good fortune at having, for our third consecutive meeting, a recognized authority in his field of astronomy and also someone who had contributed enormously to our Society, as indeed he would continue to do for many more years. Our members had an opportunity to ask Dr. Percy about the response to the recent landmark report from a committee of the Society, the one that has ever since been termed "The Percy Report", which gave an assessment of the "state of the Society" and which made recommendations about the future course it should pursue. Dr. Percy, I recall, was pleased that ours was one Centre that had given a written response to "the Report". [Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.2]

December
20

"Thanks" for venturing through the weather on December 20th...
[Reference: Newsletter, January 1978 #1]

...there was a display of books and magazines by various members of the Centre. Astronomical slides were also shown. [Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.2]

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