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The Webfooted Astronomer - January 2000

 

Randy's Ramblings:
My Vision for the SAS

by Randy Johnson, SAS President

Happy New Year! In the dozen or so years since I last served as SAS president a lot has happened. At that time we were being shuffled into various meeting rooms at the Seattle Center House. Later, we moved to the Mountaineer's Club. When the University of Washington agreed to make facilities in their new Physics and Astronomy building available for meetings of the SAS, it gave us the stability of a regular meeting place, with good audio and visual facilities, at a price that we could afford. Over and above this, an association with the UW staff has matured, allowing our club to benefit immensely from the talents of many professional astronomers.

The Northwest region has grown into one of the countryís hot beds of amateur astronomy despite a fairly harsh environment for practicing our art. The Table Mountain Star Party started as a small event drawing a 100 to 150 folks in the 1980s to a major astronomical shindig with attendance topping 1500 for the last several years. The Oregon and the Kah-nee-ta star parties are two other major star parties in our region. The Bellingham group, Whatcom Association of Celestial Observerís, puts on a major telescope optics making workshop each year that draws amateur telescope makers from around the world.

Looking ahead to 2000 I hope that we can make some inroads in our fight against light pollution. Iíd like see us continue to expand our participation in educational programs like Project ASTRO, the Greenlake Star party, and Astronomy Day at the Pacific Science Center. Also, I'd like to see us do some more group observing in dark sky locations near Seattle. A Messier Marathon a few months from now might be a good way to kick this off. I'm looking forward to my involvement with all of you over the course of the next year.

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