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SMA Board Minutes - Nov. 6, 2021


· Board Minutes

 SMA Directors’ Meeting Minutes

November 6, 2021

Via Zoom

9:30 am


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


Finance Report – Bob reported more than $9,000 in the club treasury with rent at Neptune Drive

prepaid through 12/31/21 and with the purchase of the new mount on Cloudy Nights for $1,695. These

dollars were provided by the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation grant.


Grant Submissions – Rob reported that there has been no news from the pending grant proposals out to

three foundations. No action would be taken, instead allowing grantors to complete their funding

deliberations as year-end approaches. Rob reported he would submit a one-page summary request to

Bowdoin College as part of their Common Good grant process administered by students.


Membership – A new member joined this past week, bring the membership total to about 57, the

highest in the club’s history. As we approach the membership renewal process Rob, Bob and Al will

discuss the communication letter to members to also encourage extra charitable giving to the club.


The meeting concluded about 11:10 am.

Submitted by

Rob Burgess