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The Webfooted Astronomer - January 2002


From the President’s Pen . . . SAS Annual Report

By Mary Ingersoll

A full year of SAS activities has come to an end, and another year is beginning. It will be hard to top this one! We started the year with our annual banquet at the Yankee Grill with speaker John Armstrong. An earthquake in February resulted in members displaying their observational reporting on the Webfootweb e-mail list. My favorites were Bruce Weertman running out to the hot tub to observe waves in the water and Sheldon Rosen bracing himself during surgery (he was doing the colonoscopy, not receiving one).

The first half of the year had Trustee George Melendez working on the requirements necessary to finally get access to Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain. After a “grand opening” picnic at the site, Steve Van Rompey was accidentally left behind (behind locked gates), which resulted in him becoming the official “keeper of the keys” and event organizer. Greg Donohue got us special access to the back of Rattlesnake Lake. June was the month we polled the membership to learn if you wanted a new emphasis for the club. You said you like things the way they are, emphasizing amateur telescope work over professional musings, and you’d love to have a club facility (observatory). After a few months of searching out ways to assemble a “mobile observatory,” I found that setting up a club scope on city property might give a more “solid” public presence. However, with the events of September 11, and the rainy season, I’ve decided to wait until spring to pursue the use of an ammunitions bunker at Magnuson Park (Sand Point). Also, the park is making plans to add more lighting to the playing fields in the park, which may impair our ability to see anything dimmer than -13! (A bad joke, yes, yet I am optimistic that the lighting will not be quite that bad.)

We put in over 260 hours of public service, teaching and demonstrating astronomy to young and old. Another public work began after receiving communications from the Astronomical Society of Nepal, Brian Allen has been giving assistance on behalf of the SAS to help them launch their own club. Astronomy Day at the Pacific Science Center (PSC) and at the Museum of Flight are two of our most popular outreach events. This year club participants at PSC received free passes to Titanic, and the IMAX theater (and free food with Darth Vader ).

The re-election of all of last year’s officers to a second year will give you another year of similar events and activities. However next November we’ll need to elect a completely new slate of officers (club bylaws restrict an officer from being elected to a position for more than two terms). If you are interested in becoming an officer for the year 2003, contact any of the acting officers for more information about the job and how much time you’ll need to commit. You’ll be surprised at how much we get done with a minimal amount of time because of the great people we have supporting us. This club operates as well as it does because of your participation in and love of amateur astronomy. Many “non-officers” give hours of time to the club without any desire for title or praise. They are the silent crew that makes my “job” a joy to do. My sincerest thanks to all who organized and participated in club events this year. I look forward to another fun year with you.

Following are individual reports from officers and non-officers.

First VP-Programs, George Best

I make sure that we have speakers for our monthly meeting and the annual banquet. Most of the time, I obtain the speakers through my contacts with the University of Washington Astronomy Department. I also make sure that a slide projector or overhead projector or other device is available if the speaker needs it. The speakers for last year included:
January 13: John Armstrong on astrobiology
February 21: Keith Allred on Astrophotography
March 21: Albert Linnell on the Evolution of Binary Stars
April 18: Chris Vancil on Mars
May 16: Guillermo Gonzales on finding life on the Moon from meteorites from Earth
June 20: John Randolph on Archeoastronomy
August 15: Bruce Balick on the Hubble Space Telescope
September 19: James Evans on Ancient Astronomical Practices
October 17: Scott Anderson on the Sloan Sky Survey
November 14: Bruce Weertman on light pollution
December 19: Mac Gardiner on an amateur telescope on the International Space Station

Third VP-Membership, Ron Leamon

We had 63 new members join the club this year.

Fourth VP-Publicity, Brian Allen

There was lots of building this year for publicity. I started the year by adding new contacts to the distribution list, and putting together a new-improved answering machine script. We also now have a new membership brochure template, plus star party, and meeting flyers that can now be quickly updated for next year.

This year I started working on a list of annual events, not just in the sky, or for SAS, but for other area clubs and institutions. The idea is to do a better job of getting out ahead of good publicity opportunities next year, get more folks in other clubs to participate in our activities, and SAS folks in other events around the area. Look for a higher flow of events and meeting notices from around the Puget Sound in 2002. I’m trying to tighten up the reliability of getting local papers to print our notices, and move more into Radio and TV/Cable to get the word out in those media as well.

Treasurer, Judy Schroeder

The Treasurer has two main duties: keeping up the member information database in order to send labels to the newsletter mailing crew, and handling the financial matters of the club.

The treasurer receives subscriptions, renewals, bills and new member sign ups from the mailing secretary (Ken Applegate) 2-4 times per month. After processing the above, the treasurer mails subscription information and payment to Sky & Telescope magazine and Astronomy magazine. Bills are marked on the face with a stamp that says “PAID, the date, and a line where I hand write the check number. Commercial invoices (printing, etc.) are copied, and then the invoice and check mailed to the company. All incoming checks and cash are processed, a deposit slip made, and the monies deposited into the Wells Fargo checking account.

The process is pretty well organized at this point. My main goal for 2002 is to get the incoming material processed in a more timely fashion. However, each envelope of “stuff” from Ken takes a minimum of two nights’ work, sometimes three nights if there is a lot of material to handle. My priority is to update the membership roll first, so that the newsletter labels are correct. After that I write checks to pay bills, then process the subscriptions, make a list of new members for Ron, etc.

Secretary, Greg Donohue

This was my first term as Secretary of the Board of the Seattle Astronomical Society. A brief summary of accomplishments for 2001 follows:
Board Meetings: I attended all but one of the board meetings for 2001. Took notes and published detailed minutes of all meetings for the board’s approval. Made board minutes and other sensitive SAS data available for secure online access by members of the board.
General Meetings: Attended all but one of the general meetings for 2001. Used notes and tape recordings (with presenters’ consent) of the meetings to write detailed (and hopefully interesting and entertaining) articles for the monthly newsletters.
Astronomical Viewing Sites: Negotiated with the authorities from both the Cedar River Watershed and the North Bend Sheriff’s department to open access to the gated area at the back side of Rattlesnake Lake for use as an astronomical viewing site by authorized SAS members. Provided online, downloadable/printable maps, directions, and use agreement information for both the Rattlesnake Lake and Tiger Mountain viewing sites. There are 26 SAS members authorized to use the Rattlesnake Lake site as of November 2001. Made maps and directions to several other astronomical viewing locations available online through my Web site.
Community Service: Documented community service hours performed by SAS members (a requirement of our use agreement with the Department of Natural Resources for the Tiger Mountain viewing site.) Personally performed some 35 hours of community service, including participation in: Project ASTRO at Eagle Rock K-5 Multi-Age School; Astronomy Day 2001 at the Pacific Science Center; Redmond High School Career Day activities; star party at Odle Middle School. Publicized SAS events and activities on the “It’s Over Your Head” radio program.
Internet development: Initiated action for the new (and hopefully easier to remember and maintain) name for the society’s Web site, and e-mail address. Combined with Ken Applegate’s plan for a backup copy of the Web site on another server, this allowed us to get through the SCN move with much less interruption in Web service to our members than would have otherwise been the case.
Use of SAS Funds: Annual $22 fee for registration and redirection of the domain name.

My plans for 2002 are to continue publishing useful and interesting minutes for both the board and general meetings. Expand existing Web-based resources for SAS members and develop new ones. Encourage members to participate in the Project ASTRO astronomy outreach education program. Coordinate SAS activities at the new Cedar River Watershed Education Center (part of our use agreement for Rattlesnake Lake viewing site). Investigate and develop other astronomical viewing sites for SAS and general public use. Increase publicity for SAS by expanding the “It’s Over Your Head” program into the Seattle radio market. Represent SAS as a NASA/JPL “Solar System Ambassador” (if application selected by NASA).

It has been my privilege to serve as Secretary for the SAS Board. I particularly valued the opportunity to get to know and work with the other quality, dedicated members of the board, as well as with many of the general members of the SAS. This is a terrific organization with committed, caring people, and I expect great things in the years ahead.

Editor. Laurie Moloney

My goal for the newsletter is to help build community among the very diverse membership of the SAS and keep them informed about their club. I have strived to make the Webfooted Astronomer full of content you can’t get anywhere else. This year, the newsletter featured a lot of first-hand accounts of our members’ astronomical adventures along with the necessary announcements and club business.

I get a lot of help, without which I couldn't publish it each month. Here are the people who made each issue possible:

    Greg Donohue: Wrote minutes each month
    Mary Ingersoll: Wrote President’s Pen each month
    George Best and Mary Ingersoll: Wrote meeting announcements
    Many other authors: wrote many great articles
    John Waters: Folded and stapled each issue
    Pat Lewis and Joanne Green: Mailed each issue
    Paul Walsh: Put information in online calendar
    Sheri Feld: Converted each issue to HTML for
    Ken Applegate: Helped prop each issue to and provided quality assurance

For the first 10 months of 2001, Lazerquick reproduced the newsletter via high-speed copier at a reasonable rate. In November when Lazerquick went out of business, we switched to Hot Off the Press, which gives us a non-profit rate. Total printing costs for 2001 were $1,778.07.

Editors Note: No report was submitted for Second VP-Education.

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