The Celestial Observer – January, 2013


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From the President

Although the temperatures are dropping, it gets darker earlier and the wonders of the winter sky are now ours to enjoy.  Jupiter is in prime observing position and there are deep sky delights galore in Gemini, Taurus, Leo and especially Orion.  The key to success is to dress warmly, i.e. in layers, and with boots that are rated good down to minus forty.  I just got a pair of Sorels, and I am ready for anything!

T’is the season for gift giving.  When buying for the astronomer in your life, keep a few things in mind.  First of all, remember that “Star Naming Companies” have no official validity and that only the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has the authority to name objects in space.  As an alternative, we can give you plenty of suggestions for astronomical gifts in any price range that would be greatly enjoyed and appreciated; just ask us.   I think that the ultimate stocking stuffer, other than a Zeiss Ortho, would probably be a membership to an active astronomy club…

I would like to thank the entire NSAAC membership for your continuing friendship and camaraderie, and a special thanks to those who helped out at star parties, scope clinics, ran observatory sessions, gave presentations at meetings, and those who stuck it out with me on the latest, coldest nights.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous holiday season!

Please email me with any questions or comments at

Clear skies,

Bryan Stone

Minutes of December Business Meeting

December 7, 2012 | Open meeting at 8:25pm

President Bryan Stone, VP Bill Drown, and Treasurer Kevin Ackert were present.

This was an official club meeting.

Last Months Minutes: Bryan asked for motion to accept last month’s minutes by acclamation – motion passed.

Treasurers Report: Books show $15,158 assets down from a year ago by $1,986.  This is due to Young Astronomer Program (YAP) purchases and our expenses during the year, such as cost of mailings etc.

New Business:  YAP purchases for this year. Vote will be held next month, as it must appear in newsletter to alert members.  Kevin would like $2,800 for this year: $2,084 for 5 scopes or $2,451 for 6 scopes also 4 bynocks at $49.50 each. We still have one set of binoculars in stock.

Committee Reports: 

Merrimack College: Ralph pass: said the observatory will be getting a new iMac computer in a few weeks.  Bill: had 12 visitors to the nov 14, viewing.

Salem State University: Dennis reports things going well. There were a few problems in the computer soft ware and controls. In January we will attempt to open Collins Observatory every Monday night, weather permitting, starting on January 7, 2013, except January 21, 2013, when we’re closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

Star Party Report: Sandborn School had seven volunteers with scope and approximately 100 students and parents attended this star party.  Thanks to all who helped with this star party. Brewster LaMacchia is replacing John Hobbs temporarily as Star Party coordinator.

Scope Clinic: None.

Old Business:

Kevin still trying to off load grinding machine and glass with limited success.

President Bryan Stone says he is looking into purchasing a 15” scope from Rob Teeter soon.

Meet adjourned at 9:15

Submitted by: Bill Drown

Sidewalk Astronomy:

Our friends as the New Hampshire Astronomical Society held one of their regular public Sidewalk Astronomy observing sessions on Nov. 24th. Ted Blank is a member of both NSAAC and NHAS and regularly leads the public sidewalk viewing events at the corner of Market Street and Congress Street in Portsmouth, NH.

Ted Blank was joined by Patrick Amoroso who brought his C6R.  On this occasion the Moon and Jupiter were the highlights of the evening. We had four scopes that night. Lots of people observed Jupiter and the Moon and had lots of questions.  The Portsmouth events are always on the Saturday night nearest first quarter moon, weather permitting.

Visit the New Hampshire Astronomical Society website to learn more about these events:

Young Astronomer Program

At the time of this writing the materials for the ninth Young Astronomer Program (YAP) are not yet prepared to be uploaded to the website or mailed. I expect to have the materials ready for distribution by the first week of January. This year we will attempt to save hundreds of dollars in mailing and printing costs by emailing the entry forms to those schools we have email addresses for. This is about 70% of the schools in our database.

The YAP budget for 2013 was discussed at the December meeting and we are asking membership to vote at the January meeting for a budget of $2,500.00. This amount would provide for six telescopes and six binoculars to be awarded. The bulk of the revenue for this budget comes in the form of membership renewals occurring during the month of March. We do not purchase the telescopes until April and the awards are given out in May, so if we approve the $2,500.00 budget and we do not have enough renewals in March to cover the expense we will have the option of not spending the money and giving out fewer awards. We are asking for the budget vote at this time so that we do not have our backs against the wall trying to get a quorum at the eleventh hour. Please plan on attending the January meeting so that we have a quorum of members to vote on this important issue.

It is not too late to have a school included in the YAP database. If you have a school you would like to be included please send me all the contact info for them.

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 are available on our web site’s “About” page at:

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 Ed Burke. 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.

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