The Celestial Observer – March, 2013


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From the President


The King of the Planets – Jupiter | Image Credit: John Boudreau

Greetings from the Not-So-Oval Office!

I had a chance to do some observing right after the blizzard, and the conditions were pristine. I was able to split some 1-second double stars and saw some nice detail on Jupiter.

This is a fun time of the year because temperatures are rising, star parties will be starting up shortly, our Young Astronomer’s Program is revving up, and NEAF is right around the corner.

I would like to ask members who might not have gone to a star party to consider going to one. No special knowledge is required; just a desire to have fun with astronomy and to share that fun with others.

Please attend our next monthly meeting on Friday March 1st to find out what the club is up to! If you have any questions or comments or comments please email me at

Clear skies,
Bryan Stone

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Last Months Minutes:

NSAAC Business Meeting February 1, 2013

President Stone called the February Business Meeting of the NSAAC to order at 8:11 PM. There were 7 members present plus 5 Board members. There was a quorum. Meeting was official.

Minutes of the January meeting were approved by acclamation.

Kevin Ackert gave a brief treasurer’s report. $690.10 was taken in for sale of calendars and handbooks, and a $50 donation for a star party in Amesbury was received from the Amesbury PTA. PayPal is now up and running and is now accepting payment for club dues, which are due in March. We have 104 paid members in good standing of which 17 are family and 2 are honorary.

Membership Director
On behalf of the club Kevin Hocker would like to welcome our new member Brian Carton from Pelham NH.

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

Committee Reports:

Merrimack College:

Merrimack was not open on Jan 28th due to weather; it was clear on the 21st but very cold. On Jan 9th it was clear, but not open and Fred Sammartino opened on Feb. 2nd.

Salem State:
Dennis opened on January 1st with only 2 people. On a different occasion he had 40 visitors, many of whom were students in the astronomy class at the University. He has had two requests for talks in February at the observatory, one of which is a scout group. The observatory will be open every Monday in March, weather permitting, with the exception of March 11, 2013 as the University is in Spring Recess.

News, Correspondence, and Upcoming Activities:

Star Party Committee:
Brewster indicated that he has had 12 members sign up for the advanced list of scope providers for the star parties. He has limited the geographical area for star parties to Essex County and west to Chelmsford and into limited southern New Hampshire. Star parties will be for 4th grade and up and there will be few star parties for 1st graders as they are hard to manage. He will limit sessions to 50 people so that 5 scopes will give all quick time for observing. If there are more than 50 people, there will be staggered sessions for the talk and observing at the scopes.

Upcoming star parties are:

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

Telescope Clinic:
Kevin Ackert brought in his 12.5in mirror to do a flashlight test on it to determine if it needs to be recoated as he plans to construct a new Dob using the mirror.

YAP Program:
YAP budget was approved at the January meeting. 70% of the mailing went out be email thus saving some money in mailing costs. This will be the last year that they will be mailed by surface mail. The schedule for the program is:

  • Essays due March 30th
  • Judging April 5th business meeting
  • Award day is Saturday May 4th

Club elections will be held at the March business meeting. Dues must be paid in order to cast a vote. The list of candidates is:
President – Bryan Stone
Vice President – Kevin Hocker
Secretary – John Hobbs
Treasurer – Kevin Ackert
Membership Director – Ed Burke
Members at Large (2) – Ron Sampson, TBD

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

New Business:
The Secretary received an invite from Veasey for Veasey Volunteer Appreciation Day to be held in Groveland on February 24th, details to be provided via the list server.

Bryan Stone gave a report on an observing session he and Kevin Hocker had one c old night at Veasey.

Board Meeting date and time will be set via email.

Meeting adjourned at 8:38 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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