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Board Meeting Minutes March 20th, 2024

SMADirectors’ Meeting Minutes

March20, 2024




In attendance: Directors BobDodge, Al DiSabatino, Carson Hanrahan, Russ Pinizzotto, Ara Jerahian, Howie
Marshall and Rob Burgess and club members David Gay, George Bokinsky, Paul
Howell, Mike Simmons and Anne Dobriko. A quorum was present.


The minutes of the February 21, 2024 meeting were approved.


Follow-Up on ActionItems and Committee Reports:


Program Committee: Russand Maame

·     Discussion ensued on dedicating two clubmeetings per year to new members, offering telescope and observing help. It was agreed that May and November would bethose months. Carson had previously circulateda list of possible topics to cover. Directors were asked to submit what they considered essential topics(see at end of minutes). Five topicswould be covered at each meeting. Theprogram committee would attempt to find knowledgeable club members to present
on each of these topics. It was furtheragreed that notices of these meetings should be posted on social media such as
FB and Instagram. Anne Dobriko offeredto help with such promotion.

·      The April meeting will feature Dr. PhilippeReekie of the Harvard College Observatory. Speakers for other meetings were actively being solicited by the ProgramCommittee. Many prospective speakerswere looking for dates in the fall, given academic commitments. We are still
seeking a NASA speaker on the Deep Space Network, on its 60thanniversary. We also hope to commit partof the May meeting to seeking members’ eclipse images, including a short talk
from Greg Shanos.

·      ACTION ITEM: Rob will reach out to Spirit Aero Systems inBiddeford to discuss their role in supplying heat resistant materials for
planetary missions.

·      ACTION ITEM: Decide if July meeting is moved to new date oris cancelled. Club meeting date falls onThursday, July 4.


Outreach Committee: Carson

·      Carson offered suggestions for upcoming events;each would have a rain date:

o  Club Open House Saturday, April 27

o  May star party – EAA and visual – Galaxies –Cumberland Fairgrounds?

o  June – Lunar Observing and Telescope Help –location TBD – Brunswick?

o  July – Globular Cluster Observing – Kettle Cove

o  August – Nebula observing, EAA and smart scopes– location TBD; coordinate around Maine State Star Party in Cobscook Bay

o  September – Clusters and planets – Bug Lightpark, So Portland

o  October – TBD – Brunswick

o  November – planets – Greater Portland location

·      It was again suggested that expanding our socialmedia exposure was needed to reach a younger audience: FB, Instagram, Reddit,
Cloudy Nights, NSN, TikTok. Anne againoffered to try to be of help in getting us onto these platforms.

·      Paul suggested meeting up with Bowdoin studentsand the new astronomy professor on campus for some stargazing.

·      Rob said he would reach out to the BrunswickTopsham Land Trust, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Maine’s First Ship, to
invite joint events in 2024. Theseorganizations all requested star parties in 2023 we couldn’t accommodate. This was an ACTION ITEM.

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

o  Patagonia Womens+ Outdoor Activities Mixer –March 15 – in Freeport, supported by Lisa Wilson, Joanne Sharpe and Rob – with
about 40 people who visited our table.

o  Adaptive Outdoor Education Center – lightpollution talk – TBD – Rob

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

o  Harrison, ME public library – talk in March,TBD, on stars, planets and eclipse – for children and families – Chris Parent

o  Falmouth and Cumberland Libraries – eclipsetalks, dates TBD – Ron Thompson

o  USM Garden Club, Sabattus – TBD – June – Robwill coordinate

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

·      Mitchell Field: Howie reported that decisionmaking is progressing on Mitchell Field with the plan being to renovate the building. It might present some opportunity to storeequipment there or to use it for indoor talks associated with star parties on
site. It’s also likely to have bathroomfacilities, but any renovations are probably a year or two out.

·      ACTION ITEM: Howie will work with Jeremy,Kevin and Ara to get the Google Map of our recommended star gazing sites up on
our webpage.

·      ACTION ITEM: Rob will put together some dark sky advicefrom the DSI website that can guide people on their choices for outdoor
lighting needs. We will also providelinks to DSI, Dark Sky Maine and other resources.

·      Rob reported that he attended ameeting of a new committee in Brunswick overseeing the plans for use of a new
large parcel of 231 acres dedicated to outdoor recreational use in East
Brunswick. He reinforced one suggesteduse presented at a prior town forum designed to elicit ideas from the public –
using the site for stargazing – and suggested that the site might qualify for
an Urban Night Sky Place designation by DSI. The Committee was very interested in the suggestion and Rob will workwith the committee as it moves ahead with its plans. Other members of the Dark Sky Committee, andother club members, are invited to join him in this effort.

·      Rob reported that a proposedgubernatorial Proclamation about International Dark Sky Week submitted to the
Governor’s Office on behalf of SMA and DSM has been issued. Plans are to issue a news release with DarkSky Maine announcing the week, the Governor’s support, and suggesting things
people can do at home to achieve better outdoor lighting.

·      Rob informed that the Town ofBrunswick is finally ready to take up amendments to its zoning ordinance. He has submitted some draft language thatwill appear before the Planning Board in a workshop session in April before
going to a public hearing and then being submitted to the Town Council for
consideration and adoption.

·      Efforts to modernize DSM’sorganizational structure, including to eventually seek chapter status by Dark
Sky International, continue. Rob isrepresenting SMA in those efforts but he welcomes others’ participation.

·      The Land Use Planning Commissionhas notified SMA and DSM that it ready to begin the re-write of its lighting
standards. Information will be shared asit emerges from the process so that we can collect member input.


Membership Committee: Al and Kevin

·      Al reported that the club’s year-end peak of 104has been reduced by 22 due to non-renewal. Eight of the non-renewers were women, reducing our female cohort to 19,but still representing about 20% of the membership. Two of the non-renewers were formerdirectors, and in one case a member died. With the membership at 82, a quorum of 21 is required for the AnnualMeeting in April.


Equipment Committee: Ara & Kevin

·      The Open House date will be April 27. ACTION ITEM: Rob will work with Carson, Ara and Kevin toconvene a work party at HQ to organize equipment for sale at the Open House,
including the surplus eyepieces, price it/them, install the due rings on the
C-8 and C-11, and photograph items available through the club lending program. With a list of items for sale publicity ofthe Open House can then begin.

·      Ara recommended that the EAA scope, acquiredthrough a grant, be offered for sale as a complete AP rig, or in component
pieces. In his view the landscape haschanged dramatically since that scope was acquired. So many more scopes have come on the marketthat provide similar technology, in a far easier-to-use format, that it has
made the system the club built, essentially obsolete. With COVID no longer an issue, remotedistancing through an EAA projection format, is no longer necessary. ACTION ITEM: Ara will provide recommendations on how best toconvert the EAA scope into cash or, if there is an alternative use for club
programs, what that might be.

·      The Celestron E-series zoom eyepieces will besold at the open house if not otherwise purchased by club members.

·      The club now owns two tents, 10x10 and 10x20, tobe used for club events.


Treasurer’s Report/Finance Committee: Bob

·      Bob reported that as of 3/20/24 the club had $10,715in its operating account, and $10,000 in a 15-month CD at Bangor Savings with a
yield of 3.82%. Recent expenses includedquarterly rent at $486/quarter, two new tents costing $541 and a $100 donation
to Dark Sky Maine in honor of Earl Raymond.

·      Rob (and Bob) reported that for the secondstraight year the club received a very generous donation of $1500 from the
Edgard and Geraldine Feder Foundation, Inc. of Bath. We are honored by the recognition andgrateful for the support this donation represents. The club has formally communicated its thankyou to the Feders.


Executive Committee: Rob, Ara, Bob, Russ

·      Bob and Howie, serving as a NominatingCommittee, have found three members willing to serve as directors for the
coming year: Dave Gay, Mike Simmons, and Paul Howell. The Annual Meeting was noticed on 3/8/24,more than 14 days in advance of 4/4/24.

·      ACTION ITEM: Post pictures and bios on webpage. Apologies to Russ for still having him in thedelinquent column – he did send in a photo! We now need to get the pictures and bios up.


The meeting ended about 9:00 p.m.

Submitted by

Rob Burgess


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

·       ClubAnnual Meeting (April 4)

·       Apr17

·       May15

·       Jun19

·       Jul17

·       Aug21

·       Sep18

·       Oct16

·       Nov20

·       Dec18

Caron’s suggested topics for beginnerastronomy topics. He has shown them astopics that might be covered monthly, but they also could be combined into
focused meetings in May and November, choosing five topics for each of those
meetings. Other ideas are encouraged.  

o   Starting in EAA -overview & equipment

o   Smart telescopes -overview & equip (Oct/Nov)

o   How to align &collimate your scope and mount (June?)

o   Star hopping (Aug/Sept)

o   Go-to telescopes intro(May)

o   All about eyepieces(June?)

o   Filters for visual?(Sept)

o   Where to find observingtargets/ideas (May)

o   Astro software - scopecontrol, planetarium, weather, etc.

o   AP beginner’s guide(done, courtesy Ara)