The Celestial Observer – April, 2013

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From the President

I would like to thank all of the members who attended our recent March business meeting where a quorum of members enabled us to approve the slate of officers for the up coming year. As the reelected president, I would like to thank all of our newly appointed board members for volunteering their services to our fine organization for the upcoming year, which include our new Vice President Kevin Hocker, returning Treasurer Kevin Ackert, returning Secretary John Hobbs, Membership Director Edward Burke, returning Member-at-Large Ron “Refractor Guy” Sampson, and new Member-at-Large Dick Luecke who recently made a confirmed visual observation of the comet PanStarrs with binoculars.

At this time I would also like to express my extreme gratitude to outgoing Vice President and past President Bill Drown, and to thank Bill for his years of dedicated service to our organization and I’m sure that his contributions will continue in the future.

In the near future several members of our organization will be attending the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) which is always one of the highlight events of the year. If you have never been to NEAF, you should consider going. In the meantime, there are several upcoming Star Parties as well as free public observations from our two Observatories at Salem State University, Merrimack College, as well as exciting observing sessions at Veasey Memorial Park.

Dennis was a happy man at the recent business meeting.

Dennis was a happy man at the recent business meeting.

If you have never attended a StarParty I would like to ask you to do so. No specific knowledge is required. It is really a fun experience to be able to share our enthusiasm of astronomy with youngsters and their parents.

Our next business meeting will be on Friday, April 5. I am sure that it is particular meeting people will take me seriously when I say that I’m taking requests as far as refreshments are concerned. If you do not go to the previous meeting and are wondering what I am talking about, just ask Dennis Gudzevich!

Have fun with astronomy; I know I will. Please e-mail me with questions or comments at

Clear skies,
Bryan D Stone, MD, PhD,

Last Months Minutes: NSAAC Business Meeting – March 1, 2013

President Stone called the March Business Meeting of the NSAAC to order at 8:11 PM. There were 11 members present plus 7 Board members. There was a quorum. Meeting was official.

Secretary: Minutes of the February meeting were approved by acclamation.

Treasurer: Kevin gave a brief treasurer’s report. PayPal is now up and running and is now accepting payment for club dues, which are due in March.

Membership: Kevin Ackert announced that we have 45 paid members in good standing and 65 yet to renew.

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

Committee Reports:

Merrimack College: Kevin Ackert swapped days with Fred Sammartino. Fred opened the first week of February with 8 visitors. The third week Kevin didn’t open due to high winds. Fred Sammartino opened the observatory once for girl scouts from North Andover and another night for boy scouts from North Reading.

Salem State University: Dennis opened twice in February. The first was a clear night with 15 visitors and the second was for a group of scouts. Dennis provided a talk for the scouts and received a letter of appreciation form the scouts.

News, Correspondence, and Upcoming Activities:

Star Party Committee: Brewster LaMacchia asked for all members who signed up to provide scopes to let him know as soon as possible which events they can attend. He is working with Ed Burke to get the website calendar up and running so members can sign up online. Ed hopes to have it running the middle of March.

Upcoming star parties are:

  • Thursday, February 28th, Marblehead Charter School, Marblehead, MA, rescheduled to March 28th
  • Saturday, March 16th, Ipswich River Sanctuary for Gary Meehan, Topsfield, MA
  • Tuesday, March 19th, Chelmsford Land Trust, Chelmsford, MA
  • Thursday, March 21st, N. Andover Scouts
  • Sullivan Middle School in Lowell, date to be determined.

Telescope Clinic: Kevin Ackert brought in Chris McCarthy’s first telescope, a 3 inch Tasco that he got on his 10th birthday. There were no optics in this unit and it is going back into storage.

YAP Program: Kevin announced that the club has applied for a matching $1500 grant from the Essex National Heritage Foundation for application to the YAP program. He paid the $25 application fee and we should hear from the Foundation sometime in April. The grant award would be used for the 2014 YAP program.

Old business: The club still would like to find other volunteers to do star party presentations. If anyone is interested please contact Brewster LaMacchia.

The election of club officers was held. The slate of candidates read by Nominating Committee chairman Dick Luecke was:

  • President: Bryan Stone
  • Vice President: Kevin Hocker
  • Treasurer: Kevin Ackert
  • Secretary: John Hobbs
  • Member at Large: Ron Sampson
  • Member at Large: Dick Luecke

The chairman asked for Nominations from the floor. There were none. A vote for the slate of candidates was taken and it was unanimous. The vote was deemed by acclamation.

New Business: Bryan Stone gave a report on an observing session he, Ron Sampson, and Kevin Hocker had one cold night at Veasey Memorial Park.

Board Meeting date and time was set for 7:30 PM, Monday, March 11th, at Veasey Memorial Park.

Meeting adjourned at 8:58 PM

Respectively submitted
John Hobbs,
Secretary NSAAC


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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