President’s Message

Ah, the month of July is upon us! It wasn’t that long ago that I got back from the Rocky
Mountain Star Stare. This is the star party that is scheduled during a New Moon weekend near the summer solstice. It is run by the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society on
their “starry meadow” where Gardiner, Colorado is the closest town. The skies are gorgeous there and I got to spend several nights with about 370 colleagues, photographing
the Milky Way. It’s fantastic observing from over 7600 feet up in the Rockies since
there are few bugs (a few flies, but no mosquitoes) and very little humidity. The problem was the weather pattern in Colorado at the time with frequent rain. I drove
through hail three times! Part of the fun is the people you meet there. After I set-up a
tent I found out my neighbors were from the Springs and Denver. Some not far from
me were from New Mexico. I raced back to Illinois over the weekend, trying to stay
ahead of severe weather, only to roll my window down in Missouri and nearly choke on
the humidity! Quite the adventure! I did get to see the supernova in M101!
My thanks to Jeff Kouzmanoff, John Richmann, Grant Williams, Erik Johnson, and Ken
Chapman for staffing our table at the Market. I hope I didn’t miss anyone! We sold a
few pairs of eclipse glasses and
showed the Sun in Hydrogen Alpha
light to passers-by. Grant said the
turnout was excellent! We’ll do
another Market date on October
14, which coincides with the partial
solar eclipse.
Speaking of eclipses, that will be
our meeting program in July. Yes,
we’ll talk about both solar eclipses
– the annular eclipse in October
and the total eclipse next April – but
the main purpose of the presentation will be to choose an “official” CUAS observing site. We have been invited to Camp
Ondessonk (where we observed the 2017 event), Olney, Illinois, and Terra Haute, Indiana. As I’ve said before, any CUAS member can go anywhere they want to see the
eclipse but it’s nice to have a spot where we can observe as a group. Jim Wehmer and I
did this presentation a few years ago, but we have lots of new members (which is a
great thing) so it’s probably good to repeat it. And people are asking. The TCAA are
curious what we’re going to do and folks at those three venues would like to know if
we’re coming or not for planning purposes. If you’re a new member interested in observing the eclipse, try to attend this meeting.
As this issue goes to press, we’re continuing work on our observatory. Hopefully RLD
Construction can begin their work this month. Their bid was approved at the last
meeting. We had 75 attend our June open house. Though we had far less than ideal
conditions, we were able to show people the Moon and Venus. Many took home their
own photos of the Moon. How about this atmospheric smoke? I haven’t seen it this
bad. When I was visiting my mother in Decatur, I read that Decatur had the third worst
air quality . . .on the planet! Wow! I love clear skies but I’d gladly trade it for some
Clear Skies,

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