The Celestial Observer – July, 2012

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From the President

Hi, everyone!

The collimation Doctor is in! Bryan Stone fine tunes Altiman Melindez’s 10-in. DOB

I’m glad that at least a few of us were able to see the Venus transit and I want to thank those who shared their observations.  Astronomy is kind of an ironic hobby in that, for example in order to be able to see the clouds on Jupiter and Saturn, we first have to see past the clouds of our own planet.  The lesson that I have learned from this experience is that we need to take advantage of clear skies whenever possible, since they are not a given, especially here in New England.

That being said, we had a successful June business meeting with yet another successful Scope Clinic and a fun time socializing with our fellow members.  Our club is now affiliated with the nation-wide Night Sky Network of astronomy clubs, and we are now on Facebook.  These new developments should help us in our outreach efforts and our efforts to attract more club members.

Right now there’s a thunder storm going on, and says the skies should be clear by 3AM.  I’m setting the alarm so that I might be able to get some observing time in before sunrise.
If you have questions or comments email me: president at

Clear skies,
Bryan Stone,

PDF Version

Star Party News

There were no star parties in May as the weather was terrible.

The club is having a difficult time getting enough speakers for star parties. There are only three people doing talks.  Most of these presenters also work and are often traveling in their jobs and not always available.

We need for at least two more people to help fill in when the major presenters are not available. Star party talks are usually to middle school students and the topics can be whatever one would like to talk about. Sometimes, the schools are studying a particular topic and would like a talk to augment the lessons.

The star party presenters will eventually place some of their star party PowerPoint presentations on the club’s website. They are willing to make these available to other members who might wish to use them.  The star party committee is planning on having the current presenters present their talks at a future business meeting so members can see what is involved.

If any member is interested in presenting at star parties please contact a member of the star party committee.

For a list of upcoming star parties, see this month’s minutes.

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


NSAAC Welcomes Our New Members:

  • Steven, an 8th grader of Methuen, MA
  • Budd & Grace Miller of Gardner, MA

Kevin Hocker,
Membership Director


Minutes of the NSAAC Business Meeting, June 1st, 2012

President Stone called the June Business Meeting of the NSAAC to order at 8:09 PM. There were 9 members present plus 7 Board members. There was a quorum.  Meeting was official.

Secretary: The minutes of the May business meeting were accepted by acclamation.

Treasurer: Kevin will have the official treasurer’s report done by the June Board Meeting.

Membership: Kevin Ackert announced that we have 99 paid members in good standing of which 17 are family and 2 are honorary. 24 members have yet to renew.

Early Meeting Announcements: Open forum on the agenda after New Business


Committee Reports:

Merrimack College: Kevin did open the observatory on May 23rd with one visitor. No information available on other dates.

Salem State: Salem state college observatory still has problems with its dome as indicated on its web page. Dennis indicated that it should be fixed in the next month. The gear box for the dome has been installed, but the cables are damaged and must be replaced.  When completed the observatory may be closed for the summer.

News, Correspondence, and Upcoming Activities: 

  • Ed Burke announced that the club has been accepted as a member of the Nasa Night Sky Network.
  • It appears that unless the weather changes, the transit of Venus is going to be a washout


Star Party Committee:

The upcoming star parties are:

  • Thursday, June 7th, Lane elementary School, Bedford
  • Wednesday, June 20th, Camp Nihan, Saugus, MA
  • Saturday, July 7th, Gulf of Maine Institute at the Adylenrood Retreat Center in Newbury, MA
  • Wednesday, July 11th,  Groveland Langley Library, at Veasey Park
  • Thursday, August 16th, Wenham Public Library
  • Thursday, September 13th, Rowley Public Library, rain date September 27

Telescope Clinic:

Altiman Melindez’s 10-in. DOB was collimated with help from Bryan Stone and Ron Sampson.  Kevin Ackert assisted 7th grader, Jon, a YAP binocular winner from Rockport, MA, with an introduction to using binoculars.

Old business: Kevin Ackert said the club is using Dark Park for the Venus transit.  He is working with John Tulick to arrange for us to use Dark Park from about 3 PM until the transit is over.

Dennis indicated that on June 5 he will open the Salem State roof for solar observing with help from members as yet unnamed.

Ed Burke said the new web page is now operational and he is now working on the member’s only page.


New Business:

A founding member has requested that founding members of the club should be exempt from paying dues.  This didn’t receive much interest from the other club members and was decided this was not something the club wanted to do.

The star party coordinator is looking for additional members to provide talks at Star parties.

Kevin is still interested in getting rid of the large mirror grinding apparatus and mirror blank.  It was suggested that he contact the Springfield Telescope Makers to see if they have any interest.  If they don’t want it, it suggested that the next step would be to list it on Astromart.

Board Meeting will be Monday June 11, at 7:30 PM at Veasey.

Meeting adjourned at 9:14 PM

Respectfully submitted,
John Hobbs, Secretary NSAAC


2012 Memberships and Treasurer Report

Members who have not paid their 2012 dues will be removed from the newsletter list and email list server by the end of June. If you pay your dues now, or have just paid them via snail mail, you must contact me at to be reinstated as a member in-good-standing. Snail mail may not be collected at the club too often over the summer, so it could go unnoticed if you pay via snail mail. Better is to use our PayPal feature on the website.

At this time, the club has 99 members in good standing. The number of members with unpaid dues is 24. To those members leaving the club, we thank you for the time spent with us and for supporting our cause.

On another note, I hope to see some of you at Starport this summer. Contact me if you have questions about Starport. Peace, good health, and clear skies over the summer!

Kevin Ackert,


Summer Thoughts

Just a few things on my mind as we enter the summer season; trying to fill in white space in the newsletter…

Have you checked out the new NSAAC website yet? We’re getting a lot of compliments on it. It’s so dynamic and the social networking aspect is great. We now have a Facebook page for NSAAC. Facebook users, try “liking” some of the articles on the new website; help spread the word!

The addition of three new “young” board members has brought the club a needed breath of fresh air and ideas. It’s exciting to me to see the club evolving and to feel new enthusiasm. If you’re getting bored with the board, get out the ax in March and elect some more saplings!

We’ve got twenty-one new members who’ve joined the club in 2011 and 2012. That’s about 20% of our total membership. I encourage these new members to take advantage of your club. Ask questions; attend a scope clinic or meeting; come to Starport this summer; support a star party; or just post a note to the list server. The more you get evolved the more you’ll get out of membership.

There are no club meetings in the month of July.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe summer with plenty of clear sky nights to enjoy. Hop to see some of you under those marvelously dark skies at Starport!

Kevin Ackert,


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: /about-the-club/observing

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.

Feedback, and member contributions are welcome. Contact: newsletter at

Suggestions regarding the content of the NSAAC web site are always welcome; please email webmaster at with your ideas or article submissions.


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