The Celestial Observer – June, 2011

From the President

Bryan Stone will give a talk on eyepieces at the June NSAAC monthly meeting, which starts at 8 PM at Veasey. Bring your eyepieces and questions to the meeting. Bryan will talk about which eye pieces are good value, which ones are top performers and how to select the appropriate set of eye pieces to match your scope and observations.

NSAAC does not have a business meeting in July, so the next business meeting after June’s will be in August.

On June 4, 2011, Rob Teeter will give a presentation on building a telescope. The presentation is from 3 to 4 PM at Merrimack College. Rob will talk about telescope optics and design and his experience with building them.

May 7th was the day that NSAAC volunteers assembled telescopes and awarded six young astronomers with telescopes. Separately, four young astronomers were mailed binoculars. This brings the total number of Young Astronomers Program winners to ten for 2011. It is a rewarding experience to give these instruments to young students that have shown a desire to learn more about astronomy. They were excited and enthusiastic to start learning how to use the telescopes and binoculars to find objects and learn more about the night sky. Families and relatives also attended the ceremony and no doubt will be actively involved as well. I look forward to helping these young astronomers (families) at future observation sessions at Veasey.

The use permit for Dark Park was renewed for 2011. If you are interested in observing at the site, you must make arrangements with a NSAAC Board member to open the gate, ensure that the gate is locked when the observation session ends and get a copy of the use permit. Look for announcements on the club email list server for people that are planning to observe at Dark Park.

Hope to see you at an observation session.

If you have questions or comments email me: jefoy at

James Foy,


Download PDF Version

NSAAC Welcomes Our New Members:

Kandasamy Rathinasamy of Winchester, MA

Having just concluded another successful YAP program, I’d like to explain how membership is handled with respect to our new Young Astronomers: The NSAAC constitution requires its members to be at least 16 years old. So each YAP winner is given a family membership that applies until their 16th birthday. A family membership is free, and has all the same rights as a regular membership, but the family membership does not have club voting rights.

The club sponsors two viewing nights (weather permitting) each month at Veasey. On these nights the club will have someone attending to help anyone who is new and might need help. This help includes: viewing lists, equipment setup and/or adjustments, or minor repairs. The youth nights are shown on our monthly calendar; they are typically the second and third Fridays of each month. But of course we welcome them on any night that were observing. Just let us know via the list server, and we will try to have some help available.

Jim Bastable,

Membership Director

Young Astronomer Program

The seventh Young Astronomer essay program was held at Veasey Memorial Park on May 7th. We had our most successful program to date, awarding six Dobsonian reflecting telescopes and three pair of binoculars to nine very deserving Young Astronomers.

Our new Young Astronomers and their families are also new Family Members in our club and will be on the list server by the time you read this. Please welcome:

Shawn Small, and his parents Kimberly and David from Salem. Shawn attends the Collins Middle School. Shawn became interested in astronomy early in elementary school. He feels that having a telescope will greatly enhance his ability to learn more about astronomy.

Robert Logue, and his parents Dianne and William from Lynn. Robert attends the Shoemaker Elementary School. His essay reflects a particular interest in the planets, and he intends to share the telescope with his younger brother.

Sophia Blake, and her parents Wendy and Douglas from Salem. Sophia also attends the Collins Middle School. Sophia’s interest in astronomy began young when she learned to identify a few constellations. Her interest flourished when they began covering astronomy in school and she had an opportunity to look through a telescope at a star party. Sophia received a telescope for her essay.

Victor Zhang, and his parents Fanmin and Wurong from Andover. Victor attends the Doherty Middle School. His essay reflects an interest in discovering exo-planets. Victor received a telescope for his essay.

Jonathan Basile from Bradford. Jonathan attends the Bradford Elementary School. In his essay he writes that he has been using a sky chart to identify constellations from a young age, and that he is mostly interested in ‘deep sky objects. His new telescope should help with this endeavor.

Ronald and Bryan Tam from Tewksbury, and their parents Jennifer and Gene. These twin brothers attend the John Wynn Middle School. Their essays reflect a combined interest in astronomy from a very young age. They were rewarded a telescope and a pair of binoculars.

Marta Siemieniaka from Salem, and her mother Ursula. Marta also attends the Collins Middle School. Marta received a pair of binoculars for her essay that reflected an interest in astronomy from a very young age. Marta is not yet on our list server as we are awaiting her permission form.

Marie Beckshaw from Haverhill, and her parents Michelle and Robert. Marie attends St. Joseph’s school. She has attended several observing sessions at Merrimack College and has a keen interest in astronomy. Her essay earned her a pair of binoculars, but I suspect Marie will be entering the contest again next year to try for a telescope.

The fourth binocular recipient is a 13 year old young man who attends the Doherty Middle School in Andover. At the time of this printing we do not yet have permission to print his name.

To all our participants, thank you for entering the contest! We all hope to be able to observe with you some night. If you have any problems or questions, please ask us. Be patient, and clear skies!

Let me also thank all the NSAAC members who have contributed both time and money to the success of this year’s program. As treasurer, I’ll be working this summer on proposals to allow us to continue the funding of this program.

Kevin Ackert

Members With Un-Paid Dues To Be Dropped

At the time of this printing, we still have forty-one members who have not yet paid their $20.00 dues for 2011, which were due March 1. The club will spend about $25.00 in the next thirty days appealing to these members to pay their dues. If we are successful in persuading these members to pay their dues we will take in an additional $820.00 in revenue, which represents about 40% of our gross each year. This is enough money to buy almost half of the YAP telescopes you see in this newsletter. Losing this revenue may prevent us from even putting on a program next year.

If you are one of the forty-one, please send your dues today. If you enjoyed reading about our new YAP members, please consider adding an extra few dollars earmarked for the program. If you can, please send your dues right away as it will save the club the cost of appealing to you personally via US Mail. Saving $25.00 in postage would buy an additional eyepiece for YAP.

The membership plug gets pulled following the June board of directors meeting that is scheduled for June 13th.

Kevin Ackert,


Minutes of the NSAAC Business Meeting, May 6th, 2011

Foy called the April Business Meeting of the NSAAC to order at 9:27 PM. There were 5 members present plus 5 Board members. There was not an official quorum; meeting for information only.


No report


Kevin Ackert gave the year end Treasurer’s report to the board via email. This will be presented to the board at the next board meeting for review and voted on to accept if no changes.


Kevin announced approximately 67 paid members in good standing. A personal email will be sent to the other 1/3 of the membership who have not renewed that the cutoff date for access to club email list server is June.

Early Meeting Announcements:

Open forum on the agenda after New Business

Committee Reports:

Young Astronomers Program:

Kevin received 10 applications for the YAP program. At the board meeting there were nine people who voted on who would win a telescope and who would be awarded binoculars. Each person read the essays and then voted either binoculars or telescope for each applicant. Those with the most votes were awarded a telescope or binoculars. Six telescopes and four pairs of binoculars were awarded. Cost for the program so far is well below the $2500 budget. On the morning of May 7th the scopes were assembled and awarded to the recipients in the afternoon.

Merrimack College:

Merrimack was not open the month of April due to the bad weather.

Salem State:

Dennis Gudzevich and Fred Sammartino entertained Brownie scouts on April 8th and on April 12th Dennis held a solar observing event for astronomy students from the college. 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:

May 9th, School for field studies, cancelled due to no response from school

Tentative, Monday or Tuesday, June 13th or 14th, Trahan School, Tewksbury, MA

Thursday, June 16th, Trustees of Reservations, Castle Hill, Ipswich Ma, rain date June 23rd

Saturday, June 18th, Astronomy campout, IRWS, rain date, Saturday, June 23rd

Possibly star party at Ryan Elementary School, Tewksbury, MA sometime in June

Tuesday, August 9th, Wenham Public Library

Telescope Clinic:

The telescope clinic time prior to the meeting was used to assemble and award a YAP telescope to a winner who could not attend Saturdays festivities.

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.

Bryan Stone gave an update on the Rob Teeter visit. The Teeter Seminar is June 4th, 2011, At Merrimack College at 3 PM. Ralph Pass has reserved a room for the event. The person purchasing the scope from Mr. Teeter will meet at Merrimack College and pick up his scope. Jim Foy will send ATMoB, GAAC, and NHASTRO clubs the detailed information.

John Tulick has renewed the Dark Park users permit. A PDF version of the permit is not available at this time. The dates for use need to be added to the permit.

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.

Starting in 2012 the club will not be able to sustain the YAP program at its current budget of $2500 without obtaining additional funding. Most of the clubs funds are in the Land Fund. Donations for the YAP program are accepted, however, this is not a reliable source of money. It was suggested by the President that a committee be formed that is responsible for getting about $1200 per year to support the YAP program. This will be further discussed at the upcoming board meeting.

New Business:


Entertainment for the evening was a talk by John Boudreau on his methods and results for taking photos and videos of the planets. As most of you know John is a renowned photographer of Venus and Uranus and his pictures have appeared in Sky and Telescope.

The Board meeting was set for Monday, May 16th at 7:30PM at Veasey.

Meeting adjourned at 10:15 PM.

Respectively submitted, John Hobbs, Secretary NSAAC

Star Party News

In April there was only one star party scheduled and two events at Salem College observatory (see reports in the Minutes.) Please come out and keep the star parties going.

Ted Blank gave the presentation at the Marblehead Charter School to about 50 attendees. Ted has put his PDF and PPT presentations on the club website. Others interested in doing star party presentations should download these and use them as an example of a presentation.

We acknowledge the work of Dennis Gudzevich and Fred Sammartino with the scouts at both Salem and Merrimack observatories.

For a list of upcoming star parties, see this issue’s Minutes section.

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

Contact Information

Pretty YAP scopes, all in a row…awaiting their new owners.




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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