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Board Meeting Minutes Janurary 18th, 2024

SMADirectors’ Meeting Minutes

January18, 2024




In attendance: Directors BobDodge, Al DiSabatino, Carson Hanrahan, , Howie Marshall, Jeremy Wright and Rob
Burgess and club members Ron Thompson, Russell Clark and Anne Dobriko. A quorum
was present.


The minutes of the November 15, 2023 meeting were approved.


Follow-Up on ActionItems and Committee Reports:


Program Committee: Russand Maame

o    Rob reported that our December meeting had 42in attendance, one of our best.

o   Feb1 – McKenna Wood, post-doc at MIT Kavli Institute. She is currently working with the High-EnergyAstrophysics group at MIT studying young star in multiple wavelengths, She will
talk on how astronomers measure stellar age.Mar 7 – Ara Jerahian – unpacking
the data acquisition and post-processing of an astrophotograph

o   April4; Annual Meeting; Philippe Reekie, Harvard College Observatory, Center for
Astrophysics – “Could evidence of life exist within extraterrestrial salts?”

o   Futuremonths: 60 years of the Night Sky Network; Spirit Aero Systems (ME company
building heat shields); Dr. James Beletic, Teledyne Imaging for JWST; Harvard’s


Outreach Committee: Carson

·      Carson reported on the Membership survey thatgarnered 48 responses, a tremendous rate of return. Results were unsurprising in that weather anddistance were the two largest deterrents to attendance. A lesson for the Outreach Committee is to tryto hold events closer to the population centers of the club, in the greater
Portland area. Our list of stargazingsites will be shared with Carson as we schedule events for 2024. 75% of respondents said they hope to attendan event in 2024. Comments from thosesurveyed provided even more insight and suggestions with interest expressed in
astrophotography and hands-on help with equipment. Results will be forwarded to the Board and should be studied for discussionat the Feb 21st meeting.

·      Rob thanked Carson for his “Christmas shoppingsuggestions” sent to members and the forwarding of a number of video links on
what to expect at star parties and other observing tips.

·       ACTION ITEM: The Outreach Committee willcontact all organizations requesting star parties this year that we could not
accommodate to thank them and invite them to work with us in 2024 to conduct
joint star parties.

·      Other outreach events, sought by third partiesor scheduled by or through the club:

o  Adaptive Outdoor Education Center – lightpollution talk – mid Mar – Rob

o  Freeport Women’s Club – winter stargazing – Jan19, 2 pm – Russ

o  Maine Senior College Winter Wisdom program –Light Pollution – Feb 14 – Rob

o  Clare Harrington – MSAD 51 (Cumberland/No.Yarmouth) – fall 2024 for 180 students

o  Harrison, ME public library – talk in March onstars, planets and eclipse – for children and families

o  Space Day Maine, May 3, 2024 – Greeley Jr High –840 students – many SMA volunteers as speakers, demonstrators, sought.


Dark Sky Committee:  Rob, Howie,Jeremy and Paul Howell

·      The Club submitted a 3-page comment to the LandUse Planning Commission on the Pickett Mountain rezoning application. The applicant is seeking to rezone 700 acresto allow for metals mining within 6 miles of the KWW National Monument, an IDA
Dark Sky Sanctuary. There were more than1000 comments submitted to LUPC, most in the form of form letter to which
people could add their names. Most wereagainst allowing the mine.

·      The club plans to participate in aLUPC-initiated review of its lighting standards for the 10.4 million acres of
unorganized territory the Commission oversees. Its lighting standards have not been reviewed in twenty years. LUPC expects the review to take approximately10 months during 2024.

·      Howie reported both the Town and the HarpswellHeritage Land Trust enjoyed the club-supported star party at Mitchell Field. The Town is now preoccupied dealing with thecoastal damage from recent winter storms.

·      Jeremy offered to review Howie’slist of stargazing sites in our footprint to see how they might be integrated
into Google Sites and posted on our webpage. ACTION ITEM

·      Rob reported on a meeting earlierin the day with Dark Sky Maine, the purpose of which was to help the
organization reorganize to become more effective. One possibility is for DSM to become achapter of IDA, something Rob has suggested for a while. DSM wants to expand its board from 3 toperhaps 9 (17 are allowed under the bylaws) and to become more connected with
astronomy and environmental organizations who share its objectives of
preserving dark skies. Rob will keep theboard updated on further developments.

Membership Committee: Al and Kevin

·      Al reported that membership peaked at 105 atyear end. Al has sent a first reminderto the 44 who have yet to renew. Ofthose 44, 30 joined in either 2022 or 2023 who could be “COVID members.” With COVID waning it will be interesting tosee how many renew now that the social interaction limitations are gone. The other 14 members not yet renewed areolder, more longstanding members. It ishoped they will all renew. A secondreminder letter will go out shortly and efforts will be made to stem attrition.


Equipment Committee: Ara & Kevin

·      The club continues to receive donations ofequipment from various sources. Mostrecently Kevin retrieved a C-6 and a C-11 from a couple in Harpswell. Carson took over the process of upgrading thescopes’ firmware and software to bring these scopes up to current operating
standards. He was thanked for thosesignificant efforts.

·      Jeremy reported on the NH C-8 the club receivedin late fall. He reported that the scopeis fully operational to track but it has no go-to functionality. As an astrophotography system it is 20 yearsold and has been superseded by many advancements. It is recommended that it be sold as anoptical system. The many additionalaccessories of the donor, including filters, battery systems, cameras and
lenses, be sold separately. He believesthere is decent value in these accessories. Jeremy was also thanked for his
efforts in evaluating this donation.

·      The use of the EAA scope was discussed at the Octobermeeting with Russ cautioning that any decision to sell the equipment should be
carefully reviewed given it was acquired by donated funds. The better course may be to find creativeways to use the equipment at star parties and get club members trained in its
use. ACTION ITEM:The Equipment Committee should present its recommendations to the Board inthe next month or two.

·      ACTION ITEM: Photograph items available forthe club’s equipment lending program.

·      ACTION ITEM: Install the dew rings on the C-8 and C-11, perhaps before the 11/18star party.


Treasurer’s Report/Finance Committee: Bob

Bob reported that as of 1/18/24the club had $19,444.87 in its account, the highest we have ever had, recently
boosted by membership renewals. Bob andRob to discuss transferring some of these funds into our endowment fund.


Executive Committee: Rob, Ara, Bob, Russ

·      CARRY OVER ACTION ITEM: The pictures of all (but one) directors and bioshave been sent to Kevin for formatting and posting on the website.

·      Rob asked Bob and Howie to again serve asNominating Committee to develop a slate of directors seeking reelection and to
fill the two vacancies that will exist at the time of our Annual Meeting in


Other: Robsuggested the club hold another Open House in late April, starting with members
only, allowing time for meet and greet and showcasing club equipment and offering
excess equipment for sale. Later in theday the event would open to the public where any remaining unsold equipment
could be sold. Many details to be workedout on timing and scope. The idea wassupported by the board.

The meeting ended about 8:30 p.m.


Submitted by

Rob Burgess

Next Directors’ Meetings (allon Wednesdays at 7p.m. via Zoom):


·       Feb21

·       Mar20

·       ClubAnnual Meeting (April 4)

·       Apr17

·       May15

·       Jun19