Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club

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1 Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club The Amateur s Perfect Machine: State-of-The Art Design & Outfitting of Dobsonian Telescopes The largest telescopes in use by Amateur Astronomers are mirror-based reflectors with a Dobsonian mounting. Called simply, Big Dobs, these telescope systems always garner the longest lines at star parties, and in most cases, bring the best views to the observer. Next Meeting: Friday July 15, 2011 Time: 7:00 PM Place: Masonic Temple Address: 500 N. Sharon Amity Rd. Join us in July to learn about this design and how to incorporate important accessories into your Dob. If you ve ever thought about going bigger with your telescope, or have considered adding this type of telescope to your arsenal in the future, don t miss this program. Our speaker, Charlie Starks, is a member of the CAAC, and founder of Markless Astronomics, an astronomy Internet business serving the Dobsonian community worldwide. He has designed tools, products, and services to outfit more than 550 high-end Dobs over the last nine years. He is primarily involved in outfitting and improving the setup and use of these systems for visual observers. This is a great opportunity to learn how you can create the amateur s perfect observing machine. Join us!

2 COME EAT WITH US: Several members will gather at the International House of Pancakes at Cotswold Friday evening at 5:30 PM before the meeting. We would love to have you come and join us. Visitors at the June Meeting: Chris Stockton New Members: -- THE PRESIDENTS CORNER Observing Safety I believe an expectation of all of our club members is that CAAC provides, to the best of its ability, a safe observing environment and that our operations are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. One growing area of concern is the use of green laser pointers which are an incredible astronomical tool for being able to point out night sky objects. Used carelessly or without awareness of others around them, green laser pointers can be dangerous. Malicious users can flashblind airplane pilots creating immediate peril for everyone onboard the aircraft. Laser pointers should NEVER be pointed toward any aircraft, vehicles, or people. Permanent retinal eye damage can be done with just a brief exposure. It is against federal FAA regulations to aim a laser at aircraft. In the USA, individuals have been arrested, gone to trial, and sentenced to jail for aiming laser pointers at aircraft. Some astronomy clubs have prohibited the use of laser pointers and others have prohibited use at major observing events (e.g. Winter Star Party). Two US cities have already restricted or banned their use. Two countries have banned them and others are considering bans. Your help is needed to preserve the legitimate use of green laser pointers. The CAAC officer team recently met and among other issues, approved the following rule as part of our Observatory Safety document: Green Laser Pointers: These laser pointers are a great astronomy instructional tool. WARNING: Be aware, it is extremely dangerous and against federal FAA regulations to aim a laser at aircraft. Permanent retinal eye damage can be done with just a brief exposure. Improper use of lasers is grounds for immediate dismissal from the club with no recourse or refunds. Your acceptance of this rule is part of your CAAC membership. Thank you for your help. Clear, dark skies. Mark 2

3 FROM THE OBSERVATORY DIRECTOR The club has several loaner telescopes for use by members. Contact the Observatory Director, Ken Steiner for details on the telescopes and how to check out one of them. CAAC Upcoming Monthly Star Parties: Saturday July 30, 2011 Saturday August 27, 2011 These star parties are held at the club s Gayle H. Riggsbee Observatory in Taxahaw, SC, weather permitting. Contact the Observatory Director, Ken Steiner, for directions to the observatory. All members and their guests are welcome. Training Session There will be an operator training session at 6:00 pm on July 30 prior to the next scheduled star party at the observatory. Anyone interested in attending should contact Ken Steiner. Cosmic Camporee The COSMIC CAMPOREE will NOT take place over Labor Day weekend as originally planned. A new date has not been established but we are currently considering moving the event to a weekend in October. We hope to have a specific date and more details about the event at the next meeting. CAAC Yahoo Group Consider signing on to the Charlotte Astronomers Yahoo Group site: This site is used to share information about local astronomical events, star parties, informal gatherings, and general information related to club activities among members. The group is open to all CAAC members. FROM THE SECRETARY Newsletter questions or announcements? Please contact Skip Copp via at or at (704) about newsletter-related matters. Also, if your address changes, please notify Skip. 3

4 FROM THE TREASURER Financial Status: Balance as of June 12, 2011 $46, CAAC Annual Dues and Fees $ Family or Individual membership. Dues are pro-rated for new members joining in the middle of the year. Membership renewals are due each year on October 1 st. $ Students up to 18 years of age. $ Observatory Fee. Payment of this fee allows the member unlimited access to and use of the club s observatory facilities and equipment after being checked out by the Observatory Director. $ Observatory Pad Fee. This fee is assessed to members that have a private observing pad or observatory on the club s property. Any member wanting to build a private pad or observatory should contact the Observatory Director. Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazine Subscriptions Discounted magazine subscriptions can be obtained through the club for the following price: Sky & Telescope: $32.95 per year Astronomy: $34.00 per year or $60.00 for two years Please make checks payable to CAAC and give them to Jim Gaiser, Treasurer, at a monthly meeting or mail to: Jim Gaiser 2164 Vardall Court Charlotte, NC Club members are now able to renew their own subscriptions to S&T magazine via mail or phone. Members may mail in the renewal notices with payment or renew via phone using a credit card. Indicate on the renewal notice that you are a member of the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club. This is only for renewals! The club treasurer must still process new subscriptions and must annually validate a subscriber s membership in the CAAC. This revised process only applies to S&T magazine. The club rate for S&T subscriptions is still $32.95 per year. Subscriptions to Astronomy Magazine, both new and renewals, must still go through the club treasurer to obtain the discounted club rate. 4

5 FOR SALE ITEMS Bring your items for sale to regular club meetings and display them if you wish. To include sale items in the newsletter, please contact Skip Copp at or call (704) no later than the second Friday of each month. Ads will run for three months or until the item(s) is sold and may be renewed as desired. CLUB CONTACTS President: Mark Hoecker Vice President: Phil Foust Secretary: Skip Copp Treasurer: Jim Gaiser Observatory Director: Ken Steiner Web Master: Ralph Oleski Public Outreach Coordinator: Rob Carl 5

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