The Celestial Observer – March, 2011

From the President

The March NSAAC business meeting will feature a work shop on how to collimate Newtonian and SCT types of telescopes. The collimation workshop will be from 8 to about 9 PM. A short business meeting will occur after the workshop. If you need help with collimation of your scope or you would like some experienced astronomers to check the collimation of your scope, then, bring your scope and mount to the collimation workshop. We will set-up indoors using a light source that simulates a star. Club members will bring laser collimators and provide advice on how to collimate a scope.

March is the month when NSAAC officers are elected for the business year of April 2011 to April 2012. The slate of NSAAC members running for election in 2011 to 2012 are:

President – James Foy

Vice President – Bill Drown Treasurer – Kevin Ackert Secretary – John Hobbs Membership Director – Jim Bastable Member @ Large – Dan Smoody Member @ Large – Ron Sampson

Bryan Stone – Position to be determined by

March business meeting.

I strongly urge NSAAC members to attend the March business meeting and vote. For the first time since I have been a NSAAC member (11 years) a quorum was not present at the March meeting. Elections were delayed until April.

NSAAC will sponsor a ‘miniMessier Marathon on the Friday and Saturday nights of March 11 & 12, 18 & 19, 25 & 26 and April 1 & 2 at the parking lot in Veasey. The best time for a Messier Marathon is as close to the Vernal Equinox as is possible, which is March 20th. A full moon occurs on March 18th, so we will have less than favorable viewing on the best weekend to observe all Messier objects in one night. The real NSAAC goal is to encourage members to observe as many objects as they choose – hence the ‘miniMessier Marathon. A Messier Marathon list that includes a plan of where to start and what sequence of objects to search for will be available on the NSAAC website and at Veasey.

If you have questions or comments email me: jefoy at

James Foy,


Download PDF Version

Minutes of the NSAAC Business Meeting, February 4th, 2011

President Foy called the February Business Meeting of the NSAAC to order at 8:08 PM. There were 6 members present plus 4 Board members. There was an official quorum.

Secretary: Minutes of the December and January business meeting were approved by acclamation.


No report.


Kevin announced 107 members in good standing.

Early Meeting Announcements:

Open forum on the agenda after New Business

Committee Reports:

Young Astronomers Program:

The YAP mailing packages were sent out after the last board meeting. Board Members will decide on winners. Need to decide how many scopes to award and how to use donated telescopes in the program. March 28th is the deadline for the packages from the schools. At the April board meeting, the board will read the essays and determine the six winners. On the morning of May 7th the scopes will be assembled and awarded to the winners that afternoon. Kevin was going to look at the finances for the YAP program and determine when we will have to find other sources for the program. We have the donation program, but haven’t gotten any response. We could propose to raise the dues by $5 and with 100 members this would produce around $500 which would pay for 2 telescopes.

Merrimack College:

No information as observatory closed due to weather and holidays. We need get a few more people for back-ups for the observatory. Contact Jim Foy if interested.

Salem State:

Because of bad weather the observatory was opened one day in January. Dennis could use some help at the observatory. Contact Dennis Gudzevich or Jim Foy it you want to help with this observatory

Star Party Committee:

The upcoming star parties are:

Thursday, March 10th, Salem Science program, Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, Salem, MA

Tuesday, March 15th, Tilton Elementary School, Haverhill, MA, rain date Wednesday, March 16th.

Friday, March 25th, friends of Essex National Heritage, rain date Friday, April 1st.

Saturday, March 26th, IRWS Winter Program, Michael Deneen, Exoplanets

Saturday, May 7th, IRWS Spring Program, Gary Meehan, Stellar Evolution

Tuesday, August 9th, Wenham Public Library

Telescope Clinic:

No activity

News, Correspondence and Upcoming Activities:

No information

Old Business:

We now have keys to the two new lights at VMP and we have special keys for the switch boxes. See Jim Foy if you would like a key for the lights. Jim Foy has taken photos of how to use the keys and will make up a how to package which will be put on the list server. A key for the lights is in the NSAAC mailbox. The last person leaving must turn the lights back on; especially the walkway lights.

New Business:

Veasey has installed 4 new lights and Jim Foy will find out more info on these lights. There was no communication with Veasey and we need to find out how to turn them off.

Kevin Hocker, the chairman of the nominating committee, announced that all the incumbent officers intend to run for their respective offices in the upcoming elections at the March business meeting. If anyone would like to run for an office see Kevin Hocker.

Bryan Stone asked if the club would be interested in a presentation by Bob Tetter on his line of standard and custom Dobsonian Telescopes. Bryan suggested that maybe we could have a joint meeting with the GAAC’s and ATMoBs. However, he comes from New Jersey, and would need to cover his travel expenses. Bryan will contact Tetter and see if he would be interested say in the May or June time frame and also contact members of both GAAC and the ATMoBs have interest.

Jim Foy brought up the need for ideas for business meeting entertainment. He suggested that we have workshops. An example would be a collimation workshop, a star hopping workshop, eyepiece night, and a software night. John Boudreau is working on a talk on his planet imaging and would be willing to give it at a business meeting.

Jim Foy asked if anyone would like to champion a Messier Marathon at the end of March first of April.

There was no entertainment for the evening

Board meeting set for Tuesday, February 15th at Veasey at 7:30 PM.

Meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM.

Respectively submitted, John Hobbs, Secretary NSAAC

Young Astronomer Program

The 2011 mailings have gone out to about one hundred schools throughout the Merrimack Valley. All submissions must be posted by March 28, 2011. The board will decide the awards at the board meeting on April 11. The awards date this year is Astronomy Day, May 7th, 2011 and will be held at Veasey Memorial Park.

Let me remind members again that the contest is open to ALL youths grades 5 through 8 and that YAP entry packages can be downloaded from our website at

Kevin Ackert

Star Party News

Next month starts the star party season with four star parties scheduled. Please come out and get the season off to a rousing start.

For a list of upcoming star parties, see the Minutes of the February Business Meeting above.

The Star Party Committee would like to thank all the members who have supported our star party effort and look forward to your continued participation in the coming months.

John Hobbs,

Star Party Coordinator

A Few Upcoming IRWS Events

We have the winter IRWS star party taking place on Saturday evening, March 26th. Mike Deneen will be giving a talk on exoplanets. Talk begins at 7:30pm with stargazing to follow, weather permitting. For more details and registration information, see the following link:

And I (Gary Meehan) will be leading the Astronomy Day program on May 7th, when I give a talk on stellar evolution. Again, the talk begins at 7:30 that evening. And as usual, telescopes will be nice to have if the weather cooperates. Thanks!

Gary Meehan




Getting to Veasey Memorial Park

From Interstate 95 north, take the Route 133 west (54B) exit, and follow it into Georgetown Center. Go straight through the light, now on Route 97N. Go about 1.5 miles and take a left onto Salem Street (Tea Garden Restaurant at this intersection). Stay on Salem Street and turn left onto Washington Street. VMP is down a bit on the right. Directions to all of the NSAAC observing sites in our web site’s “Observing” section:

E-Mail Listserve

If you have email access and are an NSAAC member in good standing, you may want to subscribe to the email notification system that Lew Gramer established for the Club in 1996. This is a “members only” system that places you in contact with other members for late breaking news concerning spontaneous observing activities, outings, tech talk, etc. You can subscribe by emailing your request to the address below. Your message should look like this:

To: majordomo at

Subject: Email list (you can put anything here)

Body: subscribe NSAAC Full-Name <email-address>

To remove yourself from the email list, or to temporarily suspend delivery from the list or access your other options, please use our “Subscriber Settings” Web page:
Contact Information

For more information about the club and its activities, contact Kevin Hocker, Membership Director, email: membership at or Bryan Stone, President, e-mail president at

Our club web site is:

The Celestial Observer is edited by Leor Zolman.

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