2003-04-16

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA
PRINCE GEORGE CENTRE
7365 Tedford Road
Prince George, BC
V2N 6S2

Executive Meeting Minutes

Date: April 16, 2003
Location: #30-1839 1st Ave.

Chairperson: Gil Self
Recording Secretary: Glen Harris
Executives Present: Rod, Gil, Bob, Glen
Members Present: Maurice
Guests Present:

Time Meeting Called to Order at 7:28 p.m.

1. Previous Meeting Minutes
Meeting minutes from March 12, 2003 were circulated
Motion to accept minutes as circulated by: Glen Seconded by: Maurice

2. Treasurer’s Report
Revenue: $3417.14
Net Income: $36.91
Gil gave Rod some money from the jars, and there were some outstanding bills
The RASC wants $200.63 for unsold calendars. Rod will pay them $100.63 now and $100 later.

3. Correspondence
RASC Reports: Member Information Changes, Centre Payments, Current Members List; GST Newsletters, BC Gas bill, Hydro bill, Telus bill.

4. Old Business

Garage Sale Fundraiser
Some people have dropped off a few items.

Scope Motor Drives
The first motor drive (RA) has been installed and is working well. The software to run it has been moved to a permanent computer donated by Maurice’s workplace (Bryan Chernoff Thompson) Further tracking improvements might be seen by more accurately balancing the scope. The power supply modification has been done. Wayne is working towards integrating the RA and DEC controls onto one hand paddle.

New gaming Grant Application
Gil has submitted the new gaming grant application.
The $7,500 from the last application that was “in the mail” has not shown up yet.

5. New Business

  • Maurice’s To Do list (see attached pages 3&4). To encourage discussion, this will be the last item of business at the general meeting. It was suggested that a White Board be set up in the classroom listing the work items and materials required
  • Wayne has expressed an interest in grinding mirrors. The basement could be reorganized and set up with the appropriate equipment. Bob stated that he might be able to source the grinding material.
  • Maurice provided detailed cost estimates to extend the sidewalk to the north ($520), construct an elevated observation deck ($11,032), add gravel to the existing driveway ($1429), add a new parking lot to the east of the existing parking area ($1959), paving costs for the existing driveway and parking lot ($4730), and paving costs for the new parking lot ($2198).
  • Maurice also presented a draft letter encouraging selected businesses associated with Dark Sky lighting products to have their website links on our web site. In return, a modest gesture of support from those businesses would be appreciated.
  • Maurice will come up with a cost estimate to deaden the sound in the classroom.

Volunteers for May events.
Members present at the general meeting will be encouraged to sign up for Open houses and Member’s nights on the following schedule.

Open houses
2
9
16
23  Brian
30

Members Nights
3 Brian
10 Brian (it is the BBQ)
17
24
31

Coming Events

April 26 Astronomy at the Mall (public event) 12:00 noon Parkwood Mall parking lot
April 30 General Meeting 7:30 pm Observatory
May 10 Year End BBQ / Members Night 5:00 pm Observatory
May 14 Executive Meeting 7:30 pm Gil’s Office
May 15 Lunar Eclipse (public event) 7:30 pm Observatory
May 24 & 25 Garage Sale fundraiser start @ 9:00 am 4556 Bauch Ave
May 28 General Meeting 7:30 pm Observatory
May 30 & 31 End of Open Houses & Members Nights for the spring season

June 14 GUEST 2003 in the North, Girl Guides 9:30 pm Observatory
June 27 – 30 2003 RASC General Assembly UBC Campus

Next general meeting:

Constellation of the month: by Bob Nelson
Additional topic: Maurice will talk about the International Dark Sky Association

6. Adjournment
Motion to adjourn by: Glen
Seconded by: Gil

Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Observatory improvements

I was talking with Gil after the one of the open houses, and I think we could make a number of small improvements to the Observatory. Our presentations to the public are very good, but our facility could be improved. I think we can express a more organized and professional impression to the public and make the observatory operate better. A few small changes would not cost much money; most are just spit and polish. The philosophy of the improvements we make should be: functional, practical, while improving safety, operation, security, reducing maintenance, all with a harmony of design.

Here are a few ideas that we could do for very little cost. If you think can help with materials or time let the club know, also if have some ideas. If we put our heads together we should be able to reach some good ideas.

The Dome

The dome rotation handle should be about 2” longer, making much easier on the hand, all we need is a longer bolt and piece of pipe, a new bent flat iron arm could be made and the new handle so it would not extend any further than the old one. We could also see to fitting a motor for rotation.
This summer, when the light is good, we should check and see where the dome sticks when in rotation.

The batt insulation that is stuck up around the south side of the dome should be replaced with a more finished looking sealing system.

The shutter steering wheel could be far better (I rapped my knuckles more than few times), how it is attached could also be improved. I think we should find large valve shut-off wheel, around 16” to 20” in diameter with a smooth rim approximately 1” dia. (maybe someone in the club could get a used one from one of the pulp mills). We should also install a steering wheel “speed ball” (used on large trucks) that we could install on one of the wheel spokes, it would far easier to turn.

The lower shutter works well, but the cable can easily jump off its pulley (it has groove only 5/8” deep) if we could get on that has a 1” to 1 ½” deep, the cable would stay in the groove.

The scope should be repainted, in any other colour than yellow; I would suggest medium dark blue.
We should build a wooden box to cover the tracking motor, to reduce noise and provide protection.
The scope covers need to be replaced with ones that fitted to seal to keep the dust out better. I think a washable material would work well; also a drawstring would work better than elastic to tighten over the bulky parts and would easier to fit.

The scope counter weights could be covered with upholstery foam with a light coloured fabric, then they would still easy to see and guests and members would not bump their heads.
The main mirror could be kept cleaner when not in use with pressurized filtered air, we have an electric motor that could be attached to a fan with filter intake, connected to the mirror cover at a high level with a dryer vent duct, and smaller outlet hole at low level.

Dome corridor

The east wall of the dome corridor (where the electrical panels are located) should be covered with ½” plywood and painted, so it can be removed for maintenance.

Darkroom

It is becoming less likely to be used since digital photography is replacing film. The darkroom could be used as a secure storage room for member’s telescopes and equipment. This would be very convenient for members that do most of their observing at the observatory. A member could get up to one extra hour of observe ring in an evening. The darkroom would have to be fitted with a more secure door and lock, and shelves for small items and the heating vent could be blocked off to keep the telescopes closer to outside temperature.

Small storage room

The small storage next to the darkroom is now used for storing construction materials. This room could be made into a repair room. If a piece of equipment needs a small repair it could be done on site. It could be fitted with a bench counter across the east wall, with abourite surface, with a raised edge so small parts cannot roll off. Some of the features I would suggest are: two lights on flexible arms for detail work, one with a built in magnifying glass, a couple power receptacles, soldering gun or pen, a selection of small tools.

Classroom

The sound system for the computer could be improved. I suggest a pair of speakers could be installed on the east wall, one in each side of the projection screen.

It would be useful to have a podium (on wheels so it can moved) to place notes when doing presentations, also a cordless mouse for the computer. A stool would also be nice.

Building exterior

We should complete the soffit around the dome roof. I have also found good light fixture (full cut-off) to install over the entrance door on the soffit.

Driveway and parking lot

We should haul a few truckloads of gravel to fill in the muddy areas and low spots, from a gravel pit 2km down the west lake road.

We could also get a few truckloads of topsoil and some grass seed to finish some of the dirt areas around the building.