Return to site

Board Meeting Minutes November 15th, 2023


SMADirectors’ Meeting Minutes

November15, 2023

ViaZoom

7:00pm

 


In attendance: Directors BobDodge, Al DiSabatino, Carson Hanrahan, Russ Pinizzotto, Maame Andoh, Howie
Marshall, Ara Jerahian, Kevin Kane and Rob Burgess and club members David Gay
and George Bokinsky. A quorum was present.

 

The minutes of the October 25, 2023 meeting were approved.

Follow-Up on ActionItems and Committee Reports:

 


Program Committee: Russand Maame

o   Dec7 -Dr. James O’Brian, Springfield College, re Modifications to Newtonian
Dynamics

o   Jan4 – Dr. George Bokinsky continuing with Part 3 of his Astrobiology lectures.

o   Feb1 – McKenna Wood, Grad student at MIT– details TBD

o   Mar7 – Ara Jerahian – unpacking the data acquisition and post-processing of an
astrophotograph

o   April4 and beyond: Spirit Aero Systems (ME company building heat shields); Dr. James
Beletic, Teledyne Imaging for JWST; Harvard’s “Computers”

 


Outreach Committee: Carson

·      After discussion, and in light of poorattendance at prior club star parties under inclement weather, and the forecast
for Nov 18, it was decided to postpone the November star party to December 16,
at 6 pm.

·      The membership survey on attendance at starparties, developed by Carson, was discussed and approved for issuance in early
December. Survey Monkey will beutilized. The survey is short and willbe limited to attendance issues. Keepingit short and focused will ensure a much better response rate.

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

·      Rob reached out to Teens to Trails about the star party prize wonby the Greeley HS Outing Club to try to schedule a star party in November but
did not receive a response. Carson reachedout to the Portland HS astronomy teacherabout SMA’s making a presentation but has not heard back. It appears that a speaker at the Maine Space2030 Conference may have satisfied the request.

·      The club hosted an Exhibitor’s table at theMaine Space 2030 Conference in Portland, Nov 5-7, along with 16 other
exhibitors. More than 300 peopleattended the conference. Rob, Al and Bobmanaged the table over the two-day conference. Many contacts were made that may yield dividends in the future as theMaine Space Corporation program develops.

·      Other outreach events scheduled by or throughthe club:

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

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

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

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. Since there was nophotometric information on how the project might have been lit the club took a
neutral position on the application but urged the Commission to impose robust
dark sky lighting standards on any approval. The club plans to participate in a
LUPC-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 he will attend a HarspwellSelectboard meeting to stress that any electrification of a currently abandoned
building on the Mitchell Field complex observe dark sky lighting standards.

 

Membership Committee: Al and Kevin

·      Membership per the NSN roster is now at 98.

·      Renewal notices will be going out in earlyDecember. Rob will work with Al on thecontents of the notice.

·      Ara amended the membership form on Strikingly toinclude a question on the applicant’s home town so that the club could have
better demographic information on our membership.

·      There was discussion about a buddy system fornew members as a way to reduce membership attrition. There was reluctance to create a new, formalprogram that would require more volunteer input. There was discussion around an alternative ofholding club only star parties. Aconsensus emerged around inviting members to come to club-scheduled star
parties early to socialize and to again host an Open House in the spring to
which all members would be invited. Thiscould also be a venue for selling excess equipment.

·      Additional mailing lists – Rob sought advice onmanaging names of people just seeking “more information” about SMA but who were
neither members nor GG participants. Itwas suggested that all such persons would be invited to join GG and they would
be instructed to set their mail preferences if they were concerned about
excessive email.

·      Upon a motion and second the Board reviewed andapproved the proposed bylaws change that allows for proration of dues for new
members based on when they joined the club. The proposed changes were publicized to the entire membership more than14 days in advance of the Board’s consideration, as required by the bylaws.

 

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. He is in the process of testing theequipment. With this surfeit of usedequipment it was decided that if the club had no use of it (or insufficient
space to store it) that it would be offered for sale through channels like
Cloudy Nights or Astromart. It was alsorecommended that such equipment could be sold at an Open House in the spring of
2024. Equipment that could not be soldmight then be donated to area schools. It was suggested that the Challenger Learning Center in Bangor, or theMaine School for Math and Science in Limestone, be approached to see if they
could use the equipment.

·      The use of the EAA scope was discussed at thelast meeting 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 11/15/23 the club had $16,986.15in its account. Rent is paid throughyear end and no other major expenditures are expected. Dues from recent new memberships has not beenreceived from Strikingly yet. Funds on hand will increase as 2024 membership
renewals are received.

·      Rob reported that he learned of the PerloffFamily Foundation from an exhibitor at the Maine Space 2030 conference. Mr. Perloff is a successful businessman witha summer home in Kennebunkport who is fond of Maine, and science related
projects. It was suggested we approachthe foundation with any specific project we are seeking funding for.

Executive Committee: Rob, Ara, Bob, Russ

·      CARRY OVER ACTION ITEM: A picture of one director is awaited. We can then post a complete list of directorson our website.

·      Rob reported that Al has decided to step down asa director at the end of his term in April. This will leave the board with two vacancies. Rob encouraged directors to haveconversations with any members they think might be willing to serve so that we
can have a full complement of directors in April.

Other: Jeremyreported by email that the Astrobin page he created for SMA members has four
users. ACTION ITEM: Determine how this opportunity can be promoted withinthe club and linked to our webpage.  

The meeting ended about 8:50 p.m.

 

Submitted by

Rob Burgess

 

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

·       Dec20

·       Jan17

·       Feb21

·       Mar20

·       ClubAnnual Meeting (April 4)