Minutes of the NSAAC Business Meeting October 7, 2016


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Minutes of the NSAAC Business Meeting October 7, 2016

President Deneen called the October Business Meeting of the NSAAC to order at 7:35 PM.  There were seven board members present and 8 club members. There was a quorum. Meeting was official.  There were 5 guests.


Minutes of the September business meeting was approved by acclamation.


Treasurer is working on getting the books transferred from the outgoing treasurer Kevin Ackert.  Once the books are transferred the treasurer will transfer the accounts to a new bank.


There are currently 101 members in good standing. There were two new members present.

Committee Reports:

Merrimack College:

No Report

Salem University:

Dennis Gudzevich reported that the observatory opened on September 26th with 29 visitors and on Oct 3rd 30 guests all from the school and stayed until clouded out at 9 PM..

Star Party Committee: Brewster LaMacchia reported on  the last star party of the summer, the Essex Heritage star party at Battis Farms in Amesbury September 23rd-24th.  We had about 75 guests over the 7:30 – 9:30 period that we were there.  He had expected more since we hadn’t held the event on Friday, but with the shorter lines came more time to show more objects. Helping out with scopes were John Hobbs, Kevin Hocker, John Brucker, Mark Wagner and his daughter Erika, and Tom McDermott. Tom’s a new member and this was his first star party event.

We started off with Mars and Saturn and as it got darker moved on to other objects, all of the “big” early fall targets got shown: M13, M27, M57, Albireo, Epsilon Lyra, Alcor/Mizar, M31 (&32, 110), M81/82, Double cluster, NGC457 (ET cluster), M11, 61 Cygni, and more…

There was some high haze/moisture that made for less than ideal observing but the Milkway and the dust clouds in Cygus were visible.

Our next event is planned for Maudslay State Park in Newburyport for Saturday night, but at this point the forecasts are very doubtful

The Breakhart Reservation in Saugus held their first star party on what turned out to be a pretty clear Tuesday night despite the rather shifting forecasts of clear/clouds over the days leading up to it. A group of about 40 to 50 people came to look through telescopes set up by Michael Deneen and Brewster LaMacchia. The club’s loaner 10″ dob was also set up so with 3 scopes the wait wasn’t too bad.

Despite the proximity to RT 1 and the Boston light pollution attendees were able to view a number of objects, ranging from Mars, M31, M57, M13, M15, IC4665, Albireo, and Alcor/Mizar.

For this event we had set up in a small field adjacent to the driveway, but this location has some logistical issues and for future events the main parking lot will provide a better experience; the loss of view to the south (because of trees) isn’t a factor as no stars are seen in that direction due to the light pollution.

Our next event is Oct 25th (27th is the cloud date) at the North Reading Memorial Library (we set up on the hill across the street).

The following week (Nov 1/3rd) is a star party in Danvers at St John’s Prep.

So far none of the usual fall schools that hold events have been in touch, he suspects the organizing teacher/parents have moved on.

He has a request from Sean McCarthy at Newburyport High School to visit his astronomy class (Mon 6-9PM) and share experiences about amateur astronomy. He has 22 students in the class. Once some dates are worked out I’ll ask for anyone else to join that might like to speak for 10 minutes or so to his class, answer questions, etc.

Telescope Clinic:

No Report

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:

John Hobbs reminded members that wish to use either Battis Farms or Dark Park that at least one member have a copy of the permits which are available from Hobbs.  Members must call the telephone numbers listed on the permits.


Entertainment for the evening was a presentation by club member Dick Luecke, a National Park astronomy volunteer, for an image-enhanced recap of this year’s Acadia Festival (22-25 September).  Imagine an extended weekend of astronomy under one of the darkest skies on the eastern seaboard—a place where the Milky Way shines brightly from horizon to horizon. Add in daytime lectures, solar viewing, outdoor fun and you have the Acadia Dark Sky Festival–the largest astronomy event in North America–which culminates with a mountain-top star party involving 50+ telescopes and 2,000 eager visitors. He also talked about the National Park Service’s programs for amateur astronomers and other volunteers.

After the meeting several members went to the club’s observing site at Boy Scout Park for an evening of observing.

Meeting adjourned 8:50 PM.

Respectively submitted

John Hobbs, Secretary NSAAC

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