President’s Message

Happy spring, everyone! Though I’m anxious to see spring come, lets face it . . . the
winter was pretty mild. Though, in saying that, I guess there was a tornado touch
down just west of my house this morning (Monday). Crazy. You can thank me for the
minimal amount of snow we’ve received. Why? Because I bought a new snow blower.
Naturally when you buy something like that, you don’t get a chance to use it. I’m not
As the weather warms, I’m hoping you can get out to the observatory. It’s pretty impressive now! We’re monitoring the new solar battery and the system is performing
wonderfully. I took a shop vac out there with an arc lap and spent a couple of hours
vacuuming dirt and sawdust under overcast skies (i.e. no sun). And, during that time,
the battery went from 92% to 84%. It was recharged back to 100% the next day.
Items have been put back against the walls, plus Jim Wehmer has put the shelving back
in the warm room and we now have some space to maneuver in the observing area.
For the new members (and we have quite a few), the club holds a couple of observing
events each month. On the Saturday closest to the first quarter Moon, we have a public open house or “Skywatch.” We advertise these and invite the public free of charge
to come look at Moon craters and the planets. I brought a mount where you can
attach a cell phone to a telescope so people can take home close-ups of the Moon. We
try to have 4-5 volunteers run these events and we’d love it if you were one of them.
Now the week before the open houses, is a New Moon Saturday or a “members-only”
night. We don’t advertise these and don’t require volunteers so you might find people
out there and sometimes not. And of course, all observing events are weatherpermitting. We encourage anyone to visit! On March 18, a few of us might go out early and fire up the telescopes to make sure we’re ready go for the March 25th first open
house of the year. Let’s make sure they work properly and then we can edit our open/
close procedures and proceed to train others!
Be thinking of something we might be able to do for Dark Sky Week next month. It’s a
time to raise awareness of proper exterior lighting. And remember, we don’t want to
evaluate outdoor lights just to improve skywatching! That’s a secondary benefit. But
it’s really for your own safety, security plus you can save a few bucks. On that same
topic, I’m anxious to get the Dark Sky Trail project underway at the Middle Fork River
Forest Preserve.
I hope you’ll join us at the March meeting. We have a few things to discuss that all appear in the “Club News” section, starting on the previous page. We’d love your opinions.
See you under the stars!

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