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Category: Meeting Minutes

CEA April 2015 Meeting

21 April, 2015 (12:51) | Meeting Minutes, Uncategorized | By: sdsiedentop

The April meeting conveyed at 5:00 PM EDT at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. Thirty-four members and guests were in attendance.  Steve Siedentop, Chapter Director, opened the meeting and announced the Board is proposing changes to the clubs By-laws as follows:
□ Clarify the roles of Club elected Officers.
□ Adding a new position to oversee the clubs Facilities and equipment.
□ Adoption of an annual operating planning process and budget.
□ Overhaul of the chapters Outreach program to better balance our commitments with volunteer capacity to support.

Steve invited all members to get involved and propose changes to the by-laws for consideration by the board.  Proposed By-laws will be finalized and communicated to chapter membership within the next 2 weeks for consideration. The new by-laws will be submitted for membership approval at the May club meeting.

Steve also reminded attendees that annual officer elections will occur at the May meeting and asked for nominations to be submitted to Steve. He also announced the existing officers have volunteered to serve another year.  Steve then reminded attendees that CE officials have elected to install a locked gate at the entrance to the observing field. The code to the lock will be provided to all paying members.  Lastly, Steve reminded that it is time to renew dues and urged all members to do so as soon as possible. An updated membership roster will be placed on the clubs web site before the May meeting.

John Towne, Observing Supervisor, delivered the ‘What’s Up’ presentation featuring the Constellation Virgo. John’s image of the Pleiades was featured as our image of the month. Johns presentation is available on the clubs website.

Up next was Jack Fitzmier, Chapter Astronomy League coordinator who presented AL observing awards to:
Dan Thoman – Basic Level Outreach
David Whalen – Basic and Stellar Level Outreach
Marie Lott – Binocular Messier Program
Congrats to all for their accomplishments and hard work!

The meetings keynote speaker was club member Tim Geib who delivered an informative and wide ranging talk on astrophotography including discussion of equipment, data collection (taking pictures) and post processing techniques to extract all the detail possible from the final image. His presentation is on the clubs website.
Unfortunately, our string of cloudy nights and bad weather precluded observing on Jon Wood Astronomy Field.
The next meeting will take place on May 16th at 6:30 pm.

The April meeting conveyed at 5:00 PM EDT at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. Thirty-four members and guests were in attendance.

CEA March 2015 Meeting & Potluck

5 April, 2015 (12:07) | Meeting Minutes | By: sdsiedentop

Steve Siedentop started the meeting promptly at 4:30 p.m.  Observing Supervisor John Towne was not in attendance due to work commitments, but made his presentation and target list available for download on  Jack Fitzmier extolled the virtues of the Astronomical League’s observing plans and presented awards.  Valerie Whalen gave an update on the state of outreach and asked for volunteers for two upcoming events.  Shortly thereafter, members and guests in attendance enjoyed good food and good company while Jack gave a book review.  Steve Siedentop announced that the next meeting would be April 18th, 2015 at 5 pm.  Thirty-four members and guests were in attendance.

Charlie Elliott Astronomy December Meeting & Potluck

9 January, 2015 (09:47) | Meeting Minutes | By: sdsiedentop

Steve Siedentop kicked off the Chapter’s final meeting of 2014 promptly at 3:30 PM with 42 members and guests in attendance.
After opening remarks, the meeting was turned over to Jack Fitzmier who is the chapter’s Astronomical League observing program coordinator.  Jack presented the Hydrogen Alpha observing award to Theo Ramakers and the Messier Binocular award to Steve Siedentop.
John Towne (Chapter Observing Supervisor) then presented ‘What’s Up’ for this month, which featured the constellation Auriga, and its binary pairs, open clusters and nebulas.   John also highlighted Comet Lovejoy and its winter trek through the skies.
After loading plates from the potluck diner table, Theo Ramakers then gave an excellent presentation covering tips and material to use at outreach events when it is cloudy. Theo will make his material available to anyone who is interested.  He also handed out newly crafted Pinhole cameras to all who wanted one.
The December meeting is home to our annual Raffle and fundraiser.  Generous vendors including Camera Bug, Explore Scientific, Orion, and Canon donated many fine prizes.
Unfortunately, the skies were cloudy so no observing after the meeting was cancelled.
The next chapter meeting will be on Jan 17, 2015 at 3:30 in the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center Banquet Hall.  As usual, observing afterwards – weather permitting.

July Meeting and Observing

29 July, 2014 (18:16) | Astronomy, Events, Meeting Minutes, Presentations | By: sdsiedentop

This month’s meeting was held at the Charlie Elliott Conference Center in Conference Room A.  Fifty-one members and visitors attended the meeting.

Steve Siedentop, Chapter Director, convened the gathering by introducing himself and John Towne (Chapter Observing Supervisor) began the monthly ‘What’s Up’ presentation.  After covering a few choice conjunctions and meteor showers, John discussed the Charlie Elliott July Target list, which the following targets in Sagittarius:  M17, M25, M20, M8, M54, and M70.  The Charlie Elliott Astronomy Challenge Object for this month was NGC6822, Barnard’s Galaxy.

Handouts were available to all attendees.  The What’s Up! presentation and handout are also available for download:

What’s Up! Presentation
Charlie Elliott Astronomy Target List

This month’s feature presenter, Dr. Rachel Kuzio de Naray from Georgia State University, was introduced by Steve.  Dr. Kuzio delivered an engaging presentation providing an overview of her research on dark matter.

Steve dismissed the meeting by inviting all to the Jon Wood Observing Field.

Approximately 75 members and visitors enjoyed observing and imaging on Jon Wood Astronomy Field under spectacularly clear skies until the last few diehards left the field just before 4 a.m.

Photos from the event can be viewed here.

June Potluck and Observing

29 July, 2014 (17:59) | Events, Meeting Minutes, Presentations | By: sdsiedentop

This months meeting was held at the Campbell Aquatic Activities Building, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield Georgia.  Thirty-three members and visitors attended the meeting.

Steve Siedentop, Chapter Director, convened the gathering by introducing himself and then adjourning us to enjoy the quarterly potluck meal.  These Potlucks have become a tradition and one of our most well attended events.  There was plenty of great food and desserts to pick from.

After eating, Steve brought us back to order and introduced John Towne (Chapter Observing Supervisor) for the monthly ‘What’s Up’ presentation.  After pointing out that we were meeting on the day of the Summer Solstice, John centered our mental telescopes on the constellation Hydra and the half dozen key objects it contains including Galaxy M48, Globular Cluster M68, Open Cluster M83, Planetary Nebula NGC 3242, Variable Star Epsilon Hydra and Binary Star Alphard.  John also made mention of the upcoming Conjunctions, Occultation’s and Meteor Showers that will occur in June/July.  This months Observing Challenge is M1-92 (Minkowski 92), AKA the Footprint Nebula.

Handouts were available to all attendees.  John’s presentation is available on the Club’s website.

This month’s feature presenter, Rich Jakiel, was introduced by Steve.  Rich delivered a great presentation on Lunar Geology.  Why observe the moon?  “It is close, unaffected by light pollution and it is up more than half the month”.  What followed was a complete run down of examples of different geological features on the moon.  Each was accompanied by photographic examples captured by Rich.   The presentation is posted on the clubs web site.

Steve dismissed the meeting by inviting all to the Jon Wood Observing Field.

Approximately 25 optimistic attendees and visitors continued to socialize and talk astronomy over the 9 set-up telescopes while waiting on the clouds to part.

Website updated #ceastro

19 July, 2010 (11:40) | Events, Meeting Minutes | By: tramakers

We’re back from upstate NY. We did have very limited access to the internet, but this morning I did update the website with the last meeting information. The Past Event page, Home page and Presentations page is updated. So now at least you can check what the next meeting will bring :-)
Clear Skies,

Reflections on Jonathan Wood

16 January, 2010 (21:00) | Meeting Minutes | By: tramakers

Today was the Memorial Service for Jonathan Wood, and below you will find my thoughts as I presented them during the service, on how I remember one of my dearest friends:

In Memoriam: Jonathan Wood

There’s probably someone who you’ve known for a while, but you really believe you have known him for a lifetime. Well, to me, Jon Wood was one of those people.

I joined the Charlie Elliott chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club in January of 2007. The chapter has monthly meetings at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield. When I went to my first meeting in the beginning of 2007, I walked nervously into the meeting room with the lights tempered low and wondered what everybody would say or think. As I scanned the room, I saw this fellow with a big smile on his face and guess what, the chair next to him was empty. I decided that’s where I wanted to sit, and it was Jon who immediately made me feel comfortable in this new club. This was the first time I met Jon, but that’s how many people who came to our meetings and observing sessions felt about him – a big, friendly fellow with a big smile and very big heart.

The friendly outreach did not stop at the meeting, but continued afterwards when we went to the nearby observing field. Jon kept impressing me and putting fuel on that fire that astronomers feel when they are outside in the dark and cold, looking through their telescopes and get connected with all that is “up there”. It was winter and Jon showed me that first night M42 (the Orion Nebula), the brightest nebula in the sky and some other night-time jewels. Well, Jon got me hooked and following this first night, there were many late evenings and nights we spent together on the field.

Because of his knowledge of the night sky, Jon became the chapter’s observing director. This was a natural for him. You know, Jon always had the answer if someone needed to know what this star or that star was, or needed to know which stars to align a scope onto. He would help newcomers or anyone who had trouble with their gear. If they needed an eyepiece for the night, Jon had it, if someone needed a Barlow eyepiece for the night, Jon had it; he had everything – even the hardware if you lost a screw somewhere on your gear.

And Jon did not only help people, but he also was a great astronomer. He participated in the chapter’s event to observe the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun, and he was the one who recorded the event into a short movie you really should not miss. That movie also won him the Charlie Elliott Chapter “Larry” Award for the Best Astronomy Movie Director……

Do you believe you need to go to Florida to observe the launch of the space shuttle? Not for Jon. In December 2006, as chapter members watched the night launch of the space shuttle on the Internet in the warm conference room at the Charlie Elliott visitors’ center, Jon was up the road with his telescope in the cold, taking images of the shuttle launch some 350 miles away, as it slowly rose over the tree line of the Charlie Elliott observing field!!! That was Jon, no challenge too big for him. And to prove it, please visit his photo gallery on the Charlie Elliott website and see the image. He did this not one just once, but twice!! I was also one of several other lucky chapter members with Jon at the observing field to witness the launch of another space shuttle launch in March 2008 at 2:30 A.M. in the morning as it took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida!

You think imaging something 350 miles away is great? Jon thought different, he loved to locate comets millions of miles away as well as galaxies, star clusters and nebulas millions of light years away and image them. Comets come in different sizes and the ones Jon liked were the really faint ones. I still remember the night when both of us were trying to identify a light spot seen through Jon’s scope that was not on star maps. Based on the star charts, we believed we did locate a comet, but it took us another day to ensure that the faint light dot we had identified as a comet was actually not there anymore and had moved a little way from its previous day’s location.

We had many laughs with Jon and I would like to share one of them. We were observing after the meeting in which I had made a presentation about observing the moon. Jon wanted to see Rupus Recta (the “Straight Wall”), a 68-mile-long straight ridge on the Moon. As I was guiding Jon in “crater-hopping” towards the feature, he interrupted me and said: “Hold on for a moment, I need to clean my eyepiece, I believe I have an eyelash on the eyepiece”. We burst out laughing as we both realized that the hair was not a hair, but actually the Straight Wall!

Jon’s greatest passion in astronomy was not astronomy itself but being able to reach out to people – especially youngsters – as illustrated by a comment made by one of our members who has small children. “Every time I made the 38-mile trip to Charlie Elliot, I always wondered if I would see Jon as I pulled up onto the observing field. Sometimes one of my boys would ask me ‘if the man with the big red truck was going to be there.’ My answer was, ‘I don’t know, but if the sky is clear tonight, I bet that we will see him.’ Jon had a way of making everyone feel comfortable and special.”

Jon had this special way to get the small ones interested. I remember last Jakes Day, Charlie Elliott’s outdoor festival in May of 2009 (named for its founder and benefactor Charlie Elliott). Jon had set up his scope inside the visitors’ center, and on a table next to it he was running a computer program called “Celestia” which allows you to simulate a flight through the solar system, enter orbits around the planets and their moons and look back at Earth. A little girl had made it to Jon and was looking at the scope and the monitor of his laptop. She got really comfortable with him and excited about the spaceflight and ended up on his lap while looking at the monitor as they were orbiting some moons and again the planet Saturn. I noticed her excitement and how she was involved in the flight and what she saw as she turned to Jon and said: “Can we turn around and fly back to the moon?”

Jon did touch the interest of many, both the old and the young. He was an extraordinary fellow and I am proud to have called him my best friend……

Finally, I feel so lucky to have gone out and imaged the red planet Mars on January 5th. It was 21 degrees with wind gusts up to 19 miles an hour, so you can imagine how it felt on the outside. But inside, I felt good, because I knew that I captured how Mars looked as Jonathan was passing by on his way into the Heavens Above!

Jonathan, you always will be remembered, and may you rest in peace.

Theo Ramakers
Director, Charlie Elliott Chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club.

Yesterday’s meeting

18 October, 2009 (13:06) | Meeting Minutes | By: tramakers

Our website has been updated with pictures, event descriptions and presentations of yesterday’s meeting including the minutes of the meeting. Also the Outreach page and Past Events pages have been updated.
Clear Skies
Theo Ramakers

Published Minutes of the September Meeting

4 October, 2009 (19:29) | Meeting Minutes | By: tramakers

The secretary has finished and published the minutes of the September meeting. Now all links on the site refering to this are live. Thanks Ken


Last Saturday’s Meeting

24 August, 2009 (13:25) | Meeting Minutes | By: tramakers

Wow!…. What a meeting and observing session last Saturday! 33 Members and guests for the meeting and 35 individuals at the observing field after the meeting, with a total of 14 telescopes!!
Even a group of childeren was bussed in from Madison by the Methodist Church. We heard a lot of Ohhs and WoWs that night. I’d like to thank Fred for his great presentation and everyone else for attending the meeting and/or the observing session. In addition it was great so see Latonia back, now with her daughter, Dan who brought his scope, and also a good number of new people, even some with their telescopes. It sure puts the pressior on to make sure we keep up the presentations and friendly explanations when we observe!