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Annual Report 1986

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President Vice President Secretary Treasurer
Librarian Editor National Council Rep


The following is the text of the report read at our Annual Meeting on
November 27 by our outgoing president, David Stokes.

In looking back over the year now passing, I am impressed most by the variety of
subjects we touch on at these meetings. Of course, 1986 will best be remembered for the
visit by a distinguished celestial visitor, Comet Halley. Many members followed this
famous comet on each and every occasion, and they have shown their slides here. I noted
with some satisfaction that Comet Halley was found where it was calculated to be and
that it followed very exactly the course computed for it, based on Newton's Laws of
gravitation. The theoreticians seem to have got something right.

The Kingston Centre celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary this year with a visit by
the R.A.S.C. National President, Dr. Roy Bishop, in January. You will recall that Dr.
Bishop spoke on "SS433: A Stellar Spectacle." The twin stars seem to be waltzing around
at nearly the speed of light.

Early this year we had two interesting talks on the history of astronomy. One was
given by Leo on "Champlain's Astrolabe", and the second was by Margaret Cohoe on "The
Kingston Observatory." In April, Ruth and Terry Hicks gave us an excellent slide tour
of New Zealand and an account of Comet Halley as seen from down under." This year we
have also been privileged to receive four speakers from other Centres: Dr. Roy Bishop,
Peter Jedicke of the London Centre, Doug George of the Ottawa Centre, and Peter Cerevolo
of the Edmonton Centre.

During this memorable year of both Comet Halley and our twenty-fifth anniversary, our
active observer, Larry Manuel, has refurbished the Centre's Dr. A. Vibert Douglas
Telescope by building a Dobsonian mount for it. We now own an excellent telescope we
can be proud of and one that is a pleasure to use. In keeping with these heroic
efforts, Larry also gave an excellent talk on building his refractor "from scratch", so
to speak!

I have touched on only the highlights of the year, but I must not forget to mention
in passing that we represented "Astronomy to the Public" on Astronomy Day, displayed
Comet Halley to the public when the weather cooperated, and we have responded to
requests for talks and information on radio and television, even advising on UFO's. As
usual, the Kingston Centre was well represented at the General Assembly in Winnipeg
where once again Hein van Asperen made a distinguished presentation.

Throughout the year Leo has steadfastly worked hard to write and publish Regulus, our
newsletter, which everyone enjoys but which few contribute to. We are most grateful to
Leo for his tireless efforts but we should not take this hard work for granted. Leo
also puts in long hours as National Recorder.

Warren Morrison, our member at large living near Peterborough, was awarded the Chant
Medal for long sustained contributions to astronomy in the field of variable star
observations. A well-deserved reward, indeed! Nearer home, Leo received the Service
Award at the G.A. in Winnipeg, in well-deserved recognition of his long, continued
efforts here in the Kingston Centre.

It has been a pleasure to serve this Centre as President for two years because of the
support I have received from the Executive. I would like to thank our busy secretary,
Sue Knight Sorensen, for handling efficiently the correspondence, and Mark for preparing
membership lists and duplicating and mailing Regulus. Martyn McConnell, our Treasurer,
has worked efficiently and effectively balanced the budget. I am glad to thank Terry
Hicks for representing us at the National Council meetings in Toronto, and thank you,
Hein, for doing the same in Winnipeg.

In stepping down, I would urge you all to review why we meet here and what makes our
meetings a success. I feel that the present level of commitment by the small number of
members who attend regularly would best be focussed on one meeting per month here at
Queen's. Another monthly could be a gathering of the keenest observers at some mutually
agreeable time based on the lunar calendar. I would like to see that meeting open to
the public and by invitation to schools and clubs and others who want the "hands-on
experience" of observing. Lastly, I would urge you all to make a personal commitment
to contribute to the gatherings here, or outside, and to become involved in the
activities of this small but dynamic Centre.

(signed) David M. Stokes

Vice President

Report missing (web only).


Our 25th Anniversary Year of Founding (1961-1986) has been a year of service and celebration of commitment. Early expectations of Dr. A.V. Douglas when she wrote to National Office in January 1961, "We hope this may grow into a strong active Centre" are born out by the enthusiasm and contributions to amateur astronomy by the Kingston membership. At our anniversary banquet, National President Roy. L. Bishop presented the first Dr. A. Vibert Douglas Award to our President David M. Stokes for his leadership and promotion of interest in astronomy. In recognition and appreciation for the design and building of the Dobsonian mount for the Centre's 25 cm A. Vibert Douglas Newtonian telescope, Larry Manuel was awarded the Dr. A. Vibert Douglas Award for 1986 at our annual meeting in November. The Centre's telescope is more complete with the donation of three eyepieces by Martyn McConnell.

This year Leo Enright continued editing and writing excellent material for the Centre's newsletter REGULUS as well as traveling, giving talks, conducting tours and observing sessions. His dedication to amateur astronomy has earned him a myriad of awards and prizes this year. Most notably he received the Society's Service Award. We are delighted to congratulate Leo with this fine achievement. This year at our May meeting Leo reported viewing Pluto and now he is a member of the "Nine Planet Club."

Hein Van Asperen presented a paper, "The Astronomical Position Line", at the Winnipeg G.A. and won second prize in the Open Category for his solar project. Our Vice-President David Levy gave a talk at the GA. entitled, "In the Shadow of Kitt Peak."

Warren Morrison was awarded the National Chant Medal for his contributions to astronomical research. Congratulations to Warren!

Mark Sorensen received his Messier Certificate for observing the objects using his 11 X 80 binoculars with the indispensable aid of the Vehrenberg Falkauer Photographic Star Atlas.

Kingston Centre has been enhanced and welcomes the addition of Life Member and National Honorary President, Mr. Arthur E. Covington. Kingston now boasts nine life members.

Early year reports of Comet Halley by members continued with a special "view point" reported by Ruth and Terry Hicks who journeyed to New Zealand to see the fabled comet. The last sighting of Comet Halley reported to us by a Kingston member has been the November 29th and 30th observing sessions of Warren Morrison.

Our Library is flourishing with a donation of books by Dr. David Hanes of Queen's University and our purchase of David Levy's four books. Our Centre Librarian, David M. Stokes has printed a catalogue of the Centre's library holdings.

For the annual Kingston Science Fair our Centre will provide a judge and donate a prize for the best astronomy related project.

President David Stokes initiated a UFO referral service consisting of several members whose names are listed with the local paper and radio stations for inquiries made by the public about UFO sightings.

We enjoyed an increase in exchange speakers with London and Ottawa Centres and a speaker from the Edmonton Centre.

We welcomed member Jim O'Donovan from Ireland and relished his recitation of his involvement in the formation of an amateur group there. We are looking forward to future association with the newly formed West Cork Astronomical Society.

The Kingston Public Library is now receiving our newsletter and we are listed in their Community Data Bank. We are also listed in the Clubs, Hobbies & Sports Directory published by the Kingston District Community Information Centre.

This is a summation of our meetings. Various members of our Centre took part in our evening presentations as follows:

MURRAY ANDERSON: Mars; Slides from Kingston's International Astronomy Day.

HEIN VAN ASPEREN: Optics; Astronomical Position Line; Travelogue Winnipeg G.A.; New Stepper Motor.

LEO ENRIGHT: Champlain's Astrolabe; New Superfast Fujichrome Film; Travelogue G.A. 1986; Stellafane 1986; Solar Eclipse Slides; Greenwich Observatory.

TERRY AND RUTH HICKS: New Zealand and Comet Halley.

MARK KAYE: Barnard's Loop Photographs.

LARRY MANUEL: Optical Glass; Building a Refractor.


DAVID M. STOKES: Gravity of Orbits; A clock for all Occasions; Computer Program for Moonrise and Moonset.

Special Guest Speakers:

DR. ROY L. BISHoP: "SS 433 C A Stellar Spectacle."

PETER CERAVOLO (Edmonton Centre): "Optical Design and Manufacture for Telescopes."

MARGARET COHOE: "The Kingston Observatory in 1855."

ARTHUR E. COVINGTON: "Radio Astronomy -- 40th Anniversary."

DOUG GEORGE (Ottawa Centre): "Deep Sky Observing Techniques."

PETER JEDICKE (London Centre): "Fun with Ellipses".

DR. B. R. K. KASHYUP: "Indian Astronomy and Astrology."

MARK LEVISON AND SCOTT MURRAY: "Computer Space Simulator."



Report missing (web only).


Report missing (web only).


1986 has been a successful year for Regulus, our centre's newsletter. Trusting that
the November-December issue will be out before our next meeting, I can report that the
number of issues this year has been maintained, and though the average number of pages
is down from that of the last few years, the average number of articles has not
decreased significantly. Regulus continues to be quoted in the National Newsletter of
the Society with entire articles or excerpts thereof being used. The most recent
National Newsletter, for example, carried the article on the National Council Meeting
held at the time of the General Assembly, an article that had previously appeared in
Regulus. The National Newsletter feature known as "Across the R.A.S.C." regularly
refers to or summarizes items carried in our Centre's publication.

Following a year of considerable change and experimentation with format in 1985, I
have settled on a format that I think is pleasing, cost efficient, and professional
looking. With the November-December 1985 issue, I began a format that had 75 lines per
page and a horizontal indexing that allowed considerably more words per line than ever
before; both of these changes have meant a tremendous increase in the number of words
per page over that seen at any previous time. There have been no complaints whatever in
regard to those changes of a year ago, and I assume that the readership is pleased with
them and recognizes that a great deal more reading material is being sent to them with a
savings on the amount of paper that must be purchased and mailed.

A look at the figures for the number of pages and issues over the past seven years
presents the following information:

1980 42 10 4.2
1981 26 6 4.3
1982 59* 7 8.4
1983 70 6 11.6
1984 50 6 8.3
1985 57 6 9.5
1986 34 (to date) 5 (to date) 6.8

* - including a 7-page index of the articles of the previous five years.

As in the past several years, there have been no complaints whatever about the fact
that there are six issues per year, and the practice of producing six per year seems to
be a happy compromise (if there is such a thing) between what we would desire for a
publication that we hope is "newsy" and on the other hand what we can afford and find
time to produce with some quality.

It is now over four years since an index of Regulus articles has been published. I am
inclined to think that there is no great urgency in producing one for some time yet.
However, I hope to consider the matter over the coming year and may be inclined to
follow suggestions if I receive any in this matter. Otherwise, I may consider producing
within the next couple of years an index of the articles that have appeared since 1982.
If I should happen to be chosen as our Centre's newsletter editor for the coming year,
I would hope to increase slightly the number of pages for the 1987 volume and to have
the same number of issues, namely, six.

I wish to thank Mr. Mark Sorensen who continues to do a fine job of photocopying and
mailing each issue.

If I am chosen to remain in this position, I shall continue to welcome suggestions
concerning the newsletter from any members of our Centre, and to hope that I shall
receive from them, the members of our Centre, whose newsletter Regulus is, a supply of
articles, letters and any other items, long or short, that could be used. The
contributions received from Mr. Gus Johnson, who is among our geographically most
distant members, are currently far more frequent and more numerous than are those of our
nearby members.

To all of our members I say again: "It is your newsletter and I invite your regular
and frequent contributions." I hope that Regulus can continue as a worthwhile method of
communication for a group of interested astronomers spread over a vast area of the North
American continent but centred on Kingston, Ontario.

Leo Enright, Editor

National Council Rep


The first meeting of 1986 of the National Council took place in the Library at the
National Office on Saturday, January 25. Ten Centres of the Society were represented by
officers or Council Representatives; one observer was also in attendance. The agenda
items included reports from the officers, the standing committees, and four of the ad
hoc committees.

The National Treasurer, Dr. Chou, presented the Financial Statement for 1985 along
with the proposed budget for the year 1986 - both of which were approved by Council. In
view of the fact that there would be a projected deficit of over $7800., the Treasurer
proposed a motion to adopt a new fee schedule for the membership year 1987. The
schedule which would increase the fees from $20. to $25. for regular members, from
$12.50 to $15. for youth members, and from $300 to $500 for life members, was approved
by Council. A motion to have the Editing Committee review the cost of the Society's
publications and obtain quotes from alternative printers was approved. The Journal
editor also proposed an increase in page charges, in the cost of reprints, and in the
subscription price for the Journal and this motion, too, was approved. Dr. Bishop, the
editor of the Observer's Handbook reported that the press run of 14000 copies of the
current issue was almost sold out and the per-page cost of the publication in recent
years had remained remarkably stable.

A major new venture of the Society was officially put into action though it had
previously been discussed, namely, the passage of a motion establishing a committee to
work on a campaign for increasing the Society's Endowment Fund. Council also passed a
motion to jointly sponsor with the Canadian Astronomical Society the 1986 Helen Hogg
Public Lecture which may take place in Winnipeg at the time of the General Assembly
Forty-one requests for unattached membership and seven for unattached life membership in
the Society were approved.

The chairman of the Awards Committee reported receiving nominations for the Chant
Medal and the Service Award. As a result, Council approved the awarding ot the Chant
Medal to Mr. Warren Morrison of our own Centre for his significant discoveries including
those of a nova and the outburst of a recurrent nova, as well as thousands of variable
star observations over the years. (Please refer the last issue of this newsletter for
the full citation for Mr. Morrison.) The Society's Service Award was approved for Mr.
Randall Brooks of the Halifax Centre for his long service to astronomy and on behalf of
the Society in the Halifax Centre for his long service to astronomy and on behalf of
the Society in the Halifax area where he had assisted in the establishment of satellite
clubs and vigorously promoted astronomy in the schools and among young people.
The Computer Use Committee recommended for the National Office the purchase of an
IBM-compatible computer made by Compaq along with a suitable word processor and related
hardware to a maximum of $7200. The chairman of the Gold Medal Committee reported on
the progress that had been made to cosponsor with the Canadian Astronomical Society a
new national award for a graduate student in astronomy, and Council approved in
principle such a sponsorship.

Among other items considered was a request, which was approved, from the Qu├ębec
Centre for a grant amounting to $350.00 for the publication of its Almanach Graphique.
Council also approved for mailing to Centres the information package for International
Astronomy Day on April 19, and the coordinator informed Council that in 1987, Astronomy
Day would be on May 9. Approval was given to an invitation from the Victoria Centre to
hold the General Assembly there in 1988 as a joint meeting with the Astronomical Society
of the Pacific.

More complete details concerning all of the items discussed and the motions passed at
the meeting may be found in the minutes of this meeting which in the possession of our
Centre President and our National Council Representative.


The National Council of our Society held two meetings on the occasion of the 1986
General Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Both were held on the campus of the University
of Manitoba, the first on Friday, June 27, and the second on Sunday, June 29, following
the 1986 Annual Meeting of the Society. At the first meeting, the National President,
Dr. Roy Bishop, presided until the time of the announcement of the newly elected
officers, and then the new President, Mrs. Mary Grey, took the chair and also presided
at the second meeting. Fourteen of the twenty Centres of the Society represented at
both of the meetings.

Meeting of Friday,June 27

The essential agenda items of the first meeting included reports from all the
officers and standing committees of the Society, and a number of important decisions.
Approval was given to a proposal to continue funding the Helen Hogg Public Lecture by
sharing the cost of the speaker's honorarium equally with the Canadian Astronomical

The Treasurer, Dr. Chou, on behalf of the Budget Committee, presented a financial
statement and commented on the healthy state of the Society, thanks in part to the
increase in membership and the brisk sale of Observer's Handbooks, both of which were
spurred by the appearance of Halley's Comets. Dr. Batten, the editor of the Journal,
presented the results of a study of production costs of the Journal over the past eight
years, and noted that a current "price war" among the Canadian printers capable of
producing it would mean that our production costs over the next several years would
surely decrease, though they might be offset by possible increased distribution costs.
National Council also approved the editor's recommendation that the University of
Toronto continue to print the Journal. Dr. Bishop, as editor of the Observer's Handbook
reported that the original printing of 14000 copies of the Handbook had been sold out in
February, and as a result, 1700 more were printed, most of which had also been sold.
A report from the Librarian, Mr. Brian Beattie, mentioned that there had been a joint
meeting with the Historical Committee and some progress had been made in converting the
Library into an historical archive. As Astronomy Day Coordinator, Mr. Enright reported
on some of the activities in Centres on April 19, and announced that the next
International Astronomy Day would be Saturday, May 9, 1987. Mr. Loehde, the chairman of
the Computer Use Committee, reported that the committee was proceeding to buy an
IBM-compatible system, namely a Trom Enhanced XT system for the National Ofice. On
behalf of the Gold Medal Committee, Dr. Lloyd Higgs announced that the committee was
working toward designing a new national award for graduate students in astronomy - one
to be called the Plaskett Medal; further detail remained to be worked out, but the first
presentation would probably be in 1988.

Approval was also given to a request from the Hamilton Centre to have the grant of
$1000., which it had previously received to assist int he construction of its new
observatory, converted into a loan.

Meeting of Sunday, June 29

During the second meeting Council appointed its standing committees for 1986-1987.
These were (with the chairman's name given in brackets): the Awards (Mr. Franklin
Loehde), Budget (Dr. Ralph Chou), Editing (Dr. Alan Batten), Executive (Mrs. Mary Grey),
National Newsletter (Mr. Ian McGregor), and Property (Mr. Kim Rowe).

Council approved a motion to have the Centre hosting the annual General Assembly make
a full financial report of the event before the end of the year in which the General
Assembly is held.

A new committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Peter Jedicke of the London Centre was
established to study the federal government's import duties on astronomical equipment
and what possible position the National Council might take on the matter.
The next meeting of Council was scheduled for the National Office on Saturday,
September 27, 1986.

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, Mr. David
Stokes, and our National Council Representative, Mr. Terry Hicks.

The Minutes of the 1986 Annual Meeting of the Society, which took place on June 29,
will be published in the October issue of the Journal.

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