Outreach and other public events
You can also see our events calendar on the NASA's Night Sky Network!
SMA Monthly Club Meeting (ZOOM Only)
Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021, 7 p.m. Social "half-hour" starts at 6:30pm.
We have a great meeting lined up for April 1. Don’t be a fool, attend our meeting! Our guest speaker will be Prof. Chris Magri, Assistant Professor of Physics and Chair of the Natural Sciences Department at the University of Maine at Farmington. Prof. Magri is a radio astronomer who concentrates on asteroids. The topic for his talk is “A Radar Analysis of Asteroid Bennu.” This is especially timely considering that Bennu was recently explored by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission that grabbed samples from the asteroid’s surface and is returning them to Earth. The capsule containing materials is set to arrive in late September 2023.
Prof. Magri also spent considerable time in his career observing from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The facility recently had a catastrophic failure in its infrastructure rendering the telescope unsalvageable. It will be instructive to hear Prof. Magri’s assessment of radio astronomy without Arecibo and what might be being planned for its replacement.
Prof. Magri spoke to SMA several years ago about Asteroid Apophis and its potential as a threat to Earth. Apophis is back in the news this week with updated telemetry and a determination that the threat has abated – at least for the next century.
Prof. Magri obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and his MS and Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University. Known for his animated and humorous style, you’ll want to attend Prof. Magri’s talk.
The meeting will also feature short topics and member input. Russ Pinizzotto will then take us on another exciting tour – get your combs ready – of the constellation Coma Berenices – or Berenice’s hair. The meeting will conclude with the Annual Meeting of Members and the Annual Meeting of Directors in which we will elect two new directors to the Board, and the Board will elect club Officers. These are legally required meetings and we therefore ask members to stay tuned in so we can have good input and also meet our quorum requirements.
The meeting starts officially at 7 p.m. with Prof. Magri’s talk. Doors open at 6:30 for socializing. The link was sent out to our Google Group. Please attend if you can and we look forward to seeing you.
SMA Monthly Club Meeting (ZOOM Only)
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2020, 7pm. Social "half-hour" starts at 6:30pm.
Our speaker will be Dr. Neil Comins, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Maine at Orono. Professor Comins is the editor of one of the most widely used undergraduate textbooks on Astronomy in the country. From that perch he is in a perfect position to see the greatest misconceptions that exist in Astronomy and will test us over what we think we know or understand. In 2001 he published “Heavenly Errors: Misconceptions About the Real Nature of the Universe.” Some 20 years on we can learn if the human race has gotten better at scientific knowledge or If we are still suffering from ignorance. Come enjoy a discussion that will be sure to educate and entertain.
Also, Russ Pinozzotto will give us a tour or one of the lesser Known and fainter constellations – Monoceros – but still a trove of treasures.
Doors open at 6:30, meeting begins at 7. We will be enforcing stricter time limits so that we can conclude our formal meeting in about 90 minutes, and be done by 8:45.
SMA Monthly Club Meeting (ZOOM Only)
Thursday, Feb 4, 2021, 7pm. Social "half-hour" starts at 6:30pm.
We have a great program lined up for February. Our speaker is Chuck Allen, Vice President of the Astronomical League. The Astronomical League is the largest astronomical organization in the world: it has over 18,000 members and 304 participating societies of which we are one. The League is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Chuck has been part of the management structure of the organization for many years, having served as AL President from 1998-2002. He has spoken to hundreds of groups and clubs across the country and will have an excellent perspective on what’s happening in the amateur astronomy community, particularly in a time of COVID restrictions. In addition to producing the quarterly Reflector magazine that club members get the League also has over 80 Observing Clubs designed to challenge and educate stargazers. I’m sure we have a lot to learn from Chuck’s talk on making our club even better.
We will also have a few minutes of open mic for folks to share recent observations or information about places they have visited or articles or books they’ve read about Astronomy. A feature of club meetings we’ve been working on – short (5 minute) bios on famous and sometimes not-so-famous astronomers – will resume in February with a presentation on Mary Somerville. Who’s Mary Somerville? Well come and find out!
Finally, Russ Pinizzotto will take us on a tour of the constellation AURIGA. Come learn about some very cool objects to observe in this winter constellation, currently overhead.
The Zoom doors open at 6:30 pm for some socializing, with the formal meeting starting at 7. Hope you can join us!
Wish to donate to SMA?
Your donation will go to support the club including our outreach and educational efforts in the communities we serve.
We've got a top notch team! While each of these committees is staffed by Club Directors, any member can join and assist these committees in their club objectives. We welcome participation! Support your Club!
This committee is focused on increasing membership and improving member experience.
Purview includes club meetings, greeting members and guests, following up with new people, providing refreshments. It will be the point of contact for club clothing and such. This committee will coordinate with the Program Committee to ensure we are offering speakers and topics that square with the needs and desires of members. It will also liaise with other clubs, including student organizations, and encourage developments between clubs.
Director Members: Bob Dodge, Al DiSabatino, Scott Lovejoy
Acting as the point of contact for the public, for things like star parties, speakers, etc., and for coordinating the club’s response.
This committee responds to groups looking for star parties and such events; would determine if it’s a request the club can accommodate; would organize club members willing to attend/staff the event. This committee also provides formal notice to news organizations and public bulletin boards and other third parties of club meetings and events.
Director Members: Ron Thompson, Ara Jerahian, James Shields,
Planning for meetings, finding speakers, coordinating publicity.
This Committee seeks speakers in contemporary topics of astronomy and space exploration that are of interest to the membership. The Committee ensures other engaging content to appeal to beginners as well as seasoned amateurs to improve their knowledge of the night sky, telescope equipment, observing techniques and astrophotography.
Director Members: George Bokinsky, Rowan Goebel-Bain
Managing club equipment, purchased and donated, to fulfill the club's outreach and educational mission.
Club assets include purchased and donated equipment. This committee determines what best suits club needs and then seeks to sell or otherwise dispose of excess equipment with funds received used to support the club. This committee also manages the Club's Equipment Lending Program that makes more sophisticated equipment available to club members for use.
Director Members: Kirk Rogers, Forrest Sumner
Dark Sky Advocacy
Liaising with Dark Sky Maine, IDA, and other groups interested in controlling light pollution.
Advocating for dark sky-friendly zoning and other regulations to control and reduce light pollution. This Committee hope to develop a recognition program for organizations and municipalities who undertake improvements in light pollution control.
Director Member: Rob Burgess, Club Member: Paul Howell
This Committee is responsible for administration of club finances.
Responsibilities include management and reconcilement of club finances and bank statements, tax filings, club insurances, etc. Recently, the club decided to undertake fundraising. This new venture will examine club short and long term goals and then find sources and develop strategies to support those goals, including the establishment of an endowment fund.
Director Members: Ron Thompson, All Directors
Fundraising Subcommittee: Rob Burgess, Bob Dodge, Ron Thompson, Club Member Russ Pinozzotto