Southern Maine Astronomers
The monthly meeting of SMA combines with the annual meeting for the purpose of election new members of the Board of Directors and election of officers. The meeting was held through the resource of Zoom to permit necessary social separation in the time of Pandemic.
Those in attendance include: Rob Burgess (President), Forrest Sumner (Vice President), Ron Thompson (Treasurer), Russell Pinizzotto, Paul Howell, James Shields, Earl Raymond, Dave Thibeault, Rowan Gobel-Bain, John Saucier, Scott Lovejoy, Dwight Lanpher, Kirk Rogers, Jon Wallace, Al DiSabatino, Greg Thorup, Robert Dodge, Ara Jerahian, Ray Riegel, David (tbi), Jack Gelfand, George Bokinsky, and guest speaker Ralph Pass.
Sufficient members were present to constitute a quorum required by by-laws to conduct business.
Rob Burgess called the meeting to order and began with opening remarks and with opportunity for those present to describe recent activities. Brief discussions of astrophotography, current potentially visible comets, and the newly created Space Force. Increasing numbers of satellites launches by Space X remain a concern.
Ralph Pass was introduced to the audience by Russell Pinizzotto describing his extensive background in multiple scientific fields including his work at NASA over the duration of the Apollo mission up to the initiation of the space shuttle.
The presentation included multiple aspects of the development and testing of the propulsion system with the launch vehicles progressing from C1 through C5 before reaching the final Saturn V. Details and analysis of features of the command module, service module, and lunar excursion vehicle focus of the essential contribution of John Houbolt to the ultimate successful design.
Crew selection and experience during preliminary missions to test each step in the process along with chance may have determined the choice of the first humans to land on the Moon. Each mission was intended to build on the preceding mission correcting problems that had been encountered. Ralph discussed each mission in detain from his perspective and illustrated each by by images and supporting data. Video of the return of lunar excursion vehicle to the orbiting command module added to the detail.
More detail was added during an extended question and answer session that followed and the presentation was enjoyed by all in attendance.
Constellation of the Month by Russell Pinizzotto
Russ continued his review of the constellations with Canes Venatici with its location in the night skies and showing how to locate the many interesting stellar objects and the numerous Messier, NGC, and Caldwell objects that can be seen with binoculars, small telescopes, and including those requiring large telescopes and imaging to be examined. Star hopping tips and images of each objects reveal the richness of the constellation ending with “the Supervoid” or emptiest spot in the sky.
Next month constellation will be Draco.
After a brief break, Rob Burgess described the purpose of the annual meeting to nominate and elect new members of the Board of Directors. Terms of directors last two years and, as the terms are stagers by one year, half of the board will need to be elected each year. Board members Joan Chamberlin, Greg Thorup, and Paul Howell will be leaving the board this year and Ara Jerahian, Scott Lovejoy, and Rowan Goebel-Bain have volunteered to join the board. The slate was nominated and seconded with approval by the membership attending the Zoom meeting. Rob Burgess expressed the thanks of the club for the years of service of those members leaving the Board of Directors. Along with former board member Bob Page, they will receive a framed posted featuring the new club logo.
Election of SMA club officers. The terms of President and Vice President are one year and can be extended on annual basis. President Rob Burgess and Vice President Forrest Sumner agree to continue in their roles. Both were nominated for another term in their current roles, seconded and approved by vote. The remaining two offices are not term limited. Treasurer Ron Thompson and Secretary George Bokinsky agree to continue in their respective duties.
Rone Thompson reports the Club has 42 active members and $5851.82 it the clubs bank account with $240.00 recently being sent to the Astronomical League for our membership as a club. Bob Dodge reminds members that there is $272.00 of club “swag” at his home for members to buy if desired. SMA logo hats will be provider to guest speakers.
President’s Report of Club Activities Over Last Year:
Rob Burgess reported activities by the club over the last years including topic presented at monthly meetings, outreach to other clubs, public gatherings for solar and night sky viewing at LL Bean, Portland Yacht Club, Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, Cornerstones of Science and other organizations.
George Bokinsky, Secretary