SMA Directors’ Meeting Minutes
November 6, 2021
In attendance: Directors Ara Jerahian, Al DiSabatino, Bob Dodge, Russ Pinizzotto, Rob Burgess and
James Shields and Club Members Jon Wallace and Howie Marshall. Kerry Kertes and Rowan Gobeil-
Bane, Forrest Sumner and George Bokinsky were unable to attend. A quorum was present.
The minutes of the August 21, 2021 meeting were approved. As a follow up item Rob asked James
Shields to report on his recommendations of star party directional materials at the registration table and
scope observing stations. James presented his ideas for LED illuminated marker boards and was
directed to purchase what he recommended. We still need to explore the use of QR codes to link to our
webpage to eliminate paper handouts at star parties.
Replacement Director for Scott. Rob reported that Howie Marshall offered to fill the currently vacant
director position. By unanimous vote of the directors Howie was elected to the board.
Star Party and Other Events –
- Proposed dates for star parties at Neptune Drive were discussed. The Board chose to eliminate
the proposed star party for Thanksgiving weekend and make the next event at Neptune Drive be
on December 11. The Lady Adventurers would be invited to make this their rescheduled star
party from Oct 29.
- The Cape Elizabeth library opened a month-long exhibit of Ara’s astrophotography on Oct 5,
with a virtual talk. About 50 people attended and it was a very successful event.
- Cape Elizabeth Library has scheduled an EAA star party on Tuesday, Nov. 9 with a rain date Nov
16. Ara will host this from his home observatory with Russ Pinizzotto offering a guided tour of
the constellations from which the evening’s targets are chosen.
- James reported that he successfully staged an International Observe the Moon star party on
Sun, Oct 17 at Fort Allen on Portland’s Eastern Prom. About 30 people attended.
- Windham Library is seeking a star party on Nov 10 and a speaker to talk about the James Webb
Space Telescope on Friday, Nov. 12. James will attend these events and will be soliciting
volunteers from the club.
- The Club has been asked to be part of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust winter speakers’ series
discussing astronomy, with programs running from November to April. Russ Pinizzotto has
offered to give the talk. Rob will follow up with the Land Trust as to time and dates.
- There was discussion on adopting a single “official” weather website for star party Go/No Go
decisions. It was agreed to use Astrospheric for that purpose. (Subsequently, Ara determined
that with 20 members signing up we could qualify as a club and obtain the Professional version
of the site.) The site now includes smoke forecasts. It was agreed that predicting coastal clear
skies can be tricky given localized, low-level clouds no matter which program was used. James
recommended Weather Underground for longer range forecasts.
EAA Project – Ara previously reported we purchased a used EQ6-R Pro mount on Cloudy Nights after
realizing the CGE-Pro mount was far in excess of our needs. It is being readied for sale.
Equipment – Ara has taken several items from the shed home to clean up, photograph and ready for
sale. We will keep the new C-8, the C-9.25 and one of the C-11’s. We will likely keep one or two of the
small Meade ETX’s for lending use. The 4” Celestron refractor needs evaluation, as well as the guide
scope recently donated with the C-11. Anything else can be sold, donated or scrapped. The new
Lumicon eyepieces donated with the C-11 will be retained with club equipment.
Program Committee and Club Meetings –
- December: Jon Wallace on micrometeorites
- January: a reprise of last January’s program with short topics covered by various members to help those new to astronomy with basic observing and equipment tips.
- February: tentative – Dr. Elizabeth McGrath on the James Webb telescope calibration process
- TBD: Fred Martin, former Apollo engineer
- TBD: Greg Shanos offered to return in 2022 for another talk