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Annual Report 1985

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President Vice President Secretary Treasurer
Librarian Editor National Council Rep


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Vice President

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The passing of a year leaves its array of memories and events; here are a few from 1985. Our compliments to Warren Morrison, Kingston Centre member in Peterborough, for his detection
of a rare outburst of RS Ophiuchi in January 1985. This outburst is only the fifth recorded for this particular object.

Still commanding our attention early in the year was Comet Levy-Rudenko 1984t, its position recounted by many members of our Centre. David visited our Centre, from his home in Tucson, to give us a personal account of his comet discovery which delighted Kingston members.

Ushering in Comet Halley in the Kingston area was science writer Terence Dickinson and Kingston member Martyn McConnell with a viewing session of the comet on the night of September 12/13. Planned activities centered around the comet included arranged sky viewing for the public at Fort Henry Hill but poor viewing conditions reduced the enthusiasm and excitement of seeing such a famous comet that appeared so faint.

Hein van Asperen brought double honour to our centre from the 1985 Edmonton General Assembly
where he presented his paper, Determination of Sunspot Latitudes, and also won a prize in the Display Competition with his Solar Observing Project. A paper on comet-searching was also presented in Edmonton by our Vice-President David Levy.

A memorable event of the year was the unveiling and dedication of an historical plaque commemorating the first optical observatory in Ontario built in 1855 in Kingston City Park. All that is left of the original structure in the city park are four limestone cylindrical stones which upheld the six and one-quarter inch telescope. Among the guests at the ceremony were Queen�s Emeritus Professor Dr. A.V. Douglas described as "dean of all of us astronomers".

1986 marks the 25th year of our founding. In celebration of our 25th Anniversary, our Centre has created its first major award and named it in honour of our founder and present Honorary President, Dr. A.V. Douglas. The Dr. A. Vibert Douglas Award may be given annually to a Kingston Centre member for service and/or an astronomical achievement.

Various members of our Centre took part in our evening presentations, as follows:

Murray Anderson, Interplanetary Trajectories and the Rocket Equation; The Rocket Equation -- Part II.

Hein van Asperen, Determination of Sunspot Latitudes; Travelogue of GA. in Edmonton.

Jocelyn Boiley, Space Ships and Travel.

Leo Enright, Slides of Aurora and Zodiacal Light; Travelogue of G.A. in Edmonton; Stellafane 1985; Satellites of Saturn; The Recording of Observations; The Observer's Handbook 1986.

Robert Heaton, The Neutrino Problem.

Terry D. Hicks, The Astronomical Position-Marine Navigation Part II.

Martyn McConnell, S.E.T.I.

Special Guest Speakers:

Dr. Chau Wai-Yin, Mysteries of the Universe

Peter Jedicke, The Canadian Participation in the American Planned Space Station.

Rolf Meier, Galaxies and Supernovas.

David Levy, The Discovery of Comet Levy-Rudenko 1984t.

Dr. David Hanes, Globular Clusters and Intergalactic Distance Scale.

Peter Broughton, Historical Aspects of Comet Halley.



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National Council Rep


The first meeting in 1985 of the National Council took place at the National
Office on January 26, with ten of the Centres being represented by officers or
representatives. The agenda included reports from officers and committees and
a number of announcements.

The National Treasurer, Mrs. Fidler, presented a proposed budget for 1985
which was discussed by Council; an additional meeting of the Budget Committee
was also scheduled. An amount of $3,000.00 was allowed for possible Travel
Grants to the General Assembly in June, and a grant to the Québec Centre of
$350.00 from the Ruth Northcott Fund was approved in response to a request
for assistance in the production of the Almanach Graphique. Ms. Robinson,
representing the Property Committee, reported that the apartment above the
Society's headquarters had been repainted, some new equipment had been installed,
and it would be rented to new tenants for $100.00 more than previously
charged. As editor of the Observer's Handbook, Dr. Bishop announced
that 14,000 copies of the 1985 edition had been printed and over 10,000 had
been mailed as of late January. Mr. Enright, the Astronomy Day Coordinator,
presented a package of information to assist centres in celebrating International
Astronomy Day on April 27th. As a representative of the Edmonton
Centre, Mr. Loehde reported that plans were proceeding well for the General
Assembly in the Alberta capital in June. Dr. Bishop informed Council, that
as National President, he had made visits to four of the Centres, and had
received invitations from a number of others.

Seven regular members of the Society were elected to life membership,
and no less than seventy-two recent applications for unattached membership
in the Society were approved. Council also approved the Nominating Committee's
suggestion of inviting Dr. Stephen Hawking, a noted British Cosmologist,
to be an Honorary Member of the Society. Dr. Arthur Covington, a
pioneer in radio astronomy and solar activity studies, and member of the
Ottawa Centre, will be invited to serve a four-year term as our Honorary

More complete details of all of the items discussed at the meeting may
be found in the minutes of the meeting which have been distributed to all
Centre Presidents and National Council Representatives.


The National Council of the R.A.S.C. held two meetings on the occasion of the
1985 General Assembly in Edmonton, Alberta. Both were held on the campus of the
University of Alberta, the first on Friday, June 28, and the second on Sunday,
June 30, following the 1985 Annual Meeting of the Society. At both meetings,
the National President, Dr. Roy Bishop, presided and fourteen of the twenty
Centres of the Society were represented.

Meeting of Friday,June 28

The essential agenda items of the first meeting included reports from all the
officers and standing committees of the Society, and a number of other reports
and announcements. The Secretary read letters, one from Dr. Stephen Hawking
who had accepted his nomination as an Honorary Member of the Society, and one
from Mr. Arthur Covington who also had accepted Council's invitation to become
the Honorary President of the Society. Mr. Broughton reported that continued
efforts to obtain an Ontario government grant - discontinued in 1982 after being
in force for many years - had been unsuccessful, and the matter might be pursued
further with the Ministry of Culture and Recreation; it was left to the
discretion of Dr. Percy who was pursuing the matter. A notice was received from
the Victoria Centre that its offer to allow the historic Brydon Refractor to be
displayed at the National Office was being withdrawn and the famous instrument
(described in the Journal of the R.A.S.C., April, 1984, page 75) would be
displayed in the Victoria area where it has had a long and enduring association.
A committee of four members of Council was formed in order to study the awarding
of the Gold Medal of the Society.

The Treasurer, Dr. Chou, on behalf of the Budget Committee, presented a
budget for the current fiscal year and explained various items of expenditure;
after the inclusion of an item that would allow for a Speakers' Exchange Program
costing up to $700.00, the budget was approved. The Observer's Handbook editor,
Dr. Bishop, reported on the progress of the 1986 edition, and presented a
proposal for a five-per cent increase in the price of the 1986 edition; it was
approved by Council. As Astronomy Day Coordinator, Mr. Enright, reported on the
success in many of the Centres of International Astronomy Day 1985, and
announced that next year the occasion would be marked on Saturday, April 19.
Representing the Editing Committee, Dr. Batten, brought forth a motion, approved
by Council, that in future appointments to editorships of the Society's
publications be for a five-year period with renewals possible for terms
agreeable to the editors and Council. Mr. Loehde, the Awards Committee
chairman, announced that the Service Award would be presented to Mr. Cam Fahrner
of the Calgary Centre and the Simon Newcomb Award to Mr. Don Trombino, an
unattached member. As chairman of the Constitution Committee, an ad hoc
committee formed during the previous year to examine a proposed set of model
By-laws for Centres of the Society, Mr. Watson, presented an updated and revised
set of model Centre By-laws, along with a report of the committee and he asked
that the motion for approval be tabled until the September meeting of Council.
The president took note of the fact that Dr. Peter Millman, who had just
completed his four-year term as Honorary President of the Society, had been a
member of the Society for sixty years, and a vote of appreciation was extended
to him for his many years of service in numerous capacities. He continues to
serve as Chairman of the Historical Committee.

Meeting of Sunday, June 30

During the second meeting Council appointed its standing committees for
1985-1986. These were the Awards, Budget, Editing, Executive, Finance,
Historical, Library, National Newsletter, and Property Committees.
Council approved a motion to have the Constitution Committee continue its
work by examining and updating the By-laws of the Society for approval at a
later date. The Computer Utilization Committee is to continue to explore
possibilities for both replacing the typewriter at the Society's National Office
with a modern word-processor, and secondly, providing a communication service
between and among the National Office and the Centres of the Society.
During the discussion about the matter of unsold copies of the Observer's
Handbook left over at some of the Centres, it was agreed that, in order to save
money on postage, Centres would be allowed to return to National Office the
front cover of unsold copies of the Handbook instead of the whole book.
Council approved a motion that would allow at National Office the payment of
its bills on time on occasions when several of the cheque-signing authorities
were unavailable for extended periods of time; the motion provided for the
mechanical reproduction of one of the signatures necessary on cheques and
safeguards for its use were given.

Complete details of all the items discussed at both meetings may be found in
the Minutes of the meetings which have been distributed to our Centre President
and National Council Representative. Mr. Van Asperen, an alternate, acted as
our Kingston Centre Representative at both of the above meetings. The proposed
budget, referred to above, and the report of the Journal editor may be found in
the Appendices to these Minutes.

The Minutes of the 1985 Annual Meeting of the Society, are being published in
the October issue of the Journal.

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