President’s Message

Happy August, everyone. As I write this the heat indices are near triple digits.
Welcome to the “Dog Days of August.” At least we’re not in Phoenix, eh?
There’s quite a few sky events happening this month from the opposition of Saturn, an occultation of the bright star Antares and of course the Perseid Meteor
Shower. I’m looking forward to our event at the Middle Fork on the evening of
August 12th. I hope the weather is favorable! You can bring a telescope if you
wish but I find it fun just to kick back and watch a few “shooting stars” in the
sky. I don’t know how late I’ll stay but I have found, through experience, that
the rates tend to pick up around 2am. I hope you can attend!
I’m personally looking forward to our August speaker. Dr. John Martin is from
UI-Springfield where he teaches physics and astronomy. I saw him give the keynote at the NCRAL meeting near Starved Rock in May and he was excellent!
Very down to Earth! He’ll be with us in-person on August 10th. I hope you can
join us. His talk is entitled “Exploring the Skies from the U of I Springfield Barber Observatory.” I had no idea UIS had a research observatory! More appears
in the club news section.
The observatory project is coming along. As I write this, Bobby Davis of RLD
Construction is working on our moisture issues at Prairie Winds. He projects
he’ll be done with everything by July 31st. We are still having issues with a few
of the telescopes inside the building. The 8-inch SCT on the west pier appears to
be working now and Jim Wehmer did an alignment and parked it after the July
open house (which attracted about 60 people). There are still issues with the
14-inch SCT. In fact, the power kept cutting out during the session. More work
to be done.
We’ve added an Allerton date to the calendar. If you’ve never observed from
the park, it’s pretty cool! CUAS tried to get in there for years and we couldn’t
get permission (the park technically closes at sundown) but then a friend of the
club who used to be with the Urbana Park District took a job there and we got to
observe from the meadow. When she left for St. Louis, so did our opportunity!
But Olivia Bunting attended our July meeting and extended an invitation to observing from the Sunsinger statue. This makes for some very cool landscape
photography opportunities! I hope you can join us then (see the calendar).
The officers of the club met on July 31st to talk about club membership. We are
NOT raising dues but we’re looking at how they are processed. The by-laws
state that dues are prorated to January 1st so, by the book, if you joined in July,
it would be half-price ($10) which would take you to the end of the year, then
you would renew with everyone else. But our materials don’t say that. There
are a few issues with the way the Astronomical League dues are handled, too
(they are part of your club dues). The officers will discuss and come up with
something. I hope to publish that in our September newsletter.
Clear skies,  Dave