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Annual Report 1987

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President Secretary Treasurer
Librarian Editor National Council Rep


Reference: Regulus, Jan-Feb 1988, page 2.

This is the text of the report given by our President at the Centre's
Annual Meeting on December 11, 1987.

The R.A.S.C. Kingston Centre is enjoying an increase in membership. As the interest
in amateur astronomy increases, so are people joining various Centres for the
information and fellowship with people of similar ideas.

Our secretary, Sue Sorensen, is turning in her pen, after nearly six years of keeping
records and writing letters. We will miss Sue's comprehensive reports. Thank you, Sue,
very much for a job well done. Mark Sorensen has set up, printed and edited our
newsletter for some time. Thank you, Mark, for your time and effort.

Year's end is a great time to express appreciation to people who have contributed to
the success of the Centre to David Stokes, Past-President, who had answers at his
fingertips; to Murray Anderson, who kept our finances in order. Leo, our newsletter
editor, who made newsletters from articles and letters submitted, but also filled the
spaces himself when there were none received. We are pleased with our newsletter and
its editor.

Hein in our National Council Representative, and thanks go to him also as
Vice-President for taking aver the chair when necessary.

Congratulations have already gone to our Honorary Vice-President, David Levy, who
discovered his second and third comets this year.

To the Sauvageaus and Murray Anderson, I say thanks for taking the post with me at
Clubs' Night at Queen's University.

We have tried a couple of different things this year: a monthly time to observe
instead of two meetings a month and our first Annual Picnic.

In 1988 the sky is our limit; so I wish it clear for you all, and a very happy
holiday season.


In the beginning David Levy discovered Comet Levy 1987a, a natural consequence of perseverance.

David, our "satellite" member in Tucson, discovered in October another small "celestial fire", Comet Levy 1987y. Our congratulations to David for the unearthing of two comets in one year.

As newsletter editor of REGULUS, Leo Enright experienced a boost in membership participation in contribution of articles. Observing reports were submitted by the newly formed Observing Committee. Activity reports and articles relating to telescope-making provided a variety of topics to enhance astronomical interest. Leo continues to produce a publication of high quality and it is not unusual to find reprints or quotes taken from REGULUS in other astronomically-related publications. Hein Van Asperen wrote an article which was published in the August issue of the National Newsletter.

David Stokes received mention in the March issue of Scientific American as a result of his articles describing a digital Moslem prayer clock. David was also invited to Washington, D.C. to a conference of international experts on lunar calendars and early sightings of the new moon.

The recipient of the Dr. A.V. Douglas Award for 1987 is Hein Van Asperen. Congratulations Hein! At our regular meetings members reported the usual observations of sunspots, planetary phenomena, fireballs and deep sky objects. Highlights include Leo and Hem reporting their daily recording of sunspot numbers. Hem recorded observing sunspots for over 32 consecutive days. Martyn McConnell reported completing his Messier Objects list. Larry Manuel tested and perfected his handmade three inch doublet refractor. Roy Sutton demonstrated his computer program for satellite identification and location.

This year the Kingston Centre tried several new ideas: we decided to meet every second Friday of the month with an average of fifteen people attending; we enjoyed a members night with everyone bringing their favourite astronomy books and we had our first annual picnic at Grass Creek Park, near Kingston.

Five members attended the Toronto General Assembly.

As is our usual custom Kingston Centre planned activities for International Astronomy Day. Volunteers set up displays at a local shopping mall and we held a public star night in spite of the inclement weather.

Warren Morrison gave us a review of the final resolution of Comet Halley with his own personal last sighting on February 24th.

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

LEO ENRIGHT: Toronto G.A. Travelogue 1987; Stellafane 1987; Syracuse Summer Seminar 1987; Slides of Sunspots, Moonshots and the Milky Way.

RUTH HICKS: Toronto G.A. 1987 Report.

TERRY D. HICKS: Gregorian Calendar.

DAVID STOKES: Journey into Darkness -- The Eclipse of 1973 off the Coast of Africa.

HEIN VAN ASPEREN: Toronto G.A. and National Representative Report.

DONNA WHITTAKER: Astronomy at Queen's University.

Special Guest Speakers:

MARY GREY: "History of the Dominion Observatory".

DAVID LEVY: "My Observing Program".

WARREN MORRISON: "Observing Variable Stars".

LUC SIMARD: "Radio Astronomy for Amateurs". (Québec Centre)

ROY SUTTON: "Satellite and Digital Planetarium".

DR. GUNTER WESSEL: "Evolution of Stars".



Report missing (web only).


Report missing (web only).


Reference: Regulus, Jan-Feb 1988, pp.2-3.

1987 has been a successful year for Regulus, our centre's newsletter, even though the
number of issues for the year decreased one. For the first time since my becoming
editor over ten years ago,the total number of issues was less than six. Because of my
workload mainly in connection with the Society nationally, I found it necessary to
combine the May-June and July-August issues. However, I feel that the Centre still has
an excellent newsletter.

The average number of articles has not decreased significantly, and Regulus continues to
be quoted in the National Newsletter of the Society with entire articles or excerpts
thereof being used Recent National Newsletters, for example, have carried articles on
the National Council Meetings and summaries of events heid in Kingston, referral to in
the section called "Across the RASC". In a recent issue two book reviews have appeared
in Regulus prior to publication in the Journal of the Society.

I have continued using a format that has 75 lines per gage and a horizontal indexing
that has allowed considerably more words per line than in a previous format; this fact
has meant a tremendous increase in the number of words per page over that seen in some
previous years, and I believe it is pleasing and as professional-looking as can be
expected in a newsletter that is produced in this way. My own computer has managed to
survive several years of the doing the job and, if asked, I hope it can continue. There
have been no complaints whatever in regard to the format that is being used, and I
assume that the readership is pleased with it aid recognizes that a great deal more
reading material is being sent to them per page than in many newsletters of similar
format, with a consequent saving on the amount of paper that must be purchased and

A look at the figures for the number of gages and issues over the past eight 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 43 6 7.2
1987 33 5 6.6

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

There have been no complaints whatever about the fact that there were only five issues
this year with the aim for six issues per year, aid the practice of producsn9 six per
year sans to be a now fully accepted and acceptable compromise (if there is such a
thing) between what we would desire for a publication that we Pope is "newsy" aid on the
other hand what we can afford and find time to produce with some quality.

It is now over five years since an index of Regulus articles has been published. I am
inclined to think that it is questionable whether there is any 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.

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 1988 volume and to have
six issues.

I wish to thank Mark and Sue Sorensen and Ruth Hicks who have done 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.

I should also like to give notice that after ten years as editor, perhaps within a
year or two I may wish to leave this position in order to serve the Centre in some
other capacity and I would hope that someone else would consider undertaking the task.

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.

National Council Rep


The National Council of our Society held its first meeting of 1987 at the National
Office in Toronto on Saturday, January 31. The National President, Mrs. Mary Grey,
presided and twelve Centres of the Society were represented. The agenda items of the
meeting included reports from all the officers and standing committees of the Society,
and a number of other important decisions.

Approval was given to a proposal for allocating $1750 from the Ruth Northcott
Memorial Fund toward three projects: (1) assistance in the Québec Centre's production of
the Almanach Graphique, (2) the Northcott Lecture at the General Assembly, and (3) the
Helen Hogg Public Lecture which is co-sponsored with the Canadian Astronomical Society.
The Treasurer, Dr. Chou, on behalf of the Budget Committee, presented a financial
statement for 1986, noting that the income from membership fees and sales of the
Observer's Handbook were considerably above what had been expected. On the other hand,
major expenses included those associated with the installation of the National Office's
new computer, an item that was already proving quite beneficial to the operation of the
office. Over all, there was a healthy surplus of over $5000. for the year, and the
accumulated debt of the Society had been eliminated. A proposed budget for 1987 was
also presented and approved.

A report from the Librarian, Mr. Brian Beattie, mentioned steps that had been taken
in the converting of the Library into an historical archive. Several hundred unwanted
books had been selected and Council approved a procedure for disposing of them in a way
that would eventually put them in the possession of Centres and members of the Society.
Major awards of the Society to be presented at the General Assembly were approved in
recognition of outstanding achievement and service by three members: M. Damien Lemay,
winner of the Chant Medal, and Mr. Peter Broughton and Mr. Cyril Clark, winners of the
Service Award. Messier Certificates were also approved for Mr. Mel Rankin of the
Edmonton Centre and Mr. Gordon Lorimer of the Montreal Centre. The Honorary Members
Committee proposed the selection of Professor Hanbury Brown, a pioneer in radio
astronomy, as the latest Honorary Member of the Society, and the proposal was approved
by Council. Also approved was a motion that would allow winners of the Society's major
awards to receive some financial assistance to travel to the General Assembly at which
their award would be presented.

Information was presented to Council about two events taking place in May. Mr.
Enright presented information about International Astronomy Day to be celebrated on
Saturday, May 9, and Mr. Attwood, the Chairman of the G.A. Organizing Committee,
presented the proposed schedule of events for the Toronto General Assembly to be held
May 15 to May 18.

Approval was given to 64 requests for Unattached Membership and 11 transfers to Life
Membership. The problem of late quarterly and annual reports from Centre Secretaries
and Treasurers was also discussed and a number proposals for dealing with the matter
were suggested.

Complete details of the items discussed at the meeting may be found in the Minutes of
the meeting which have been received by our Centre President and National Council
Representative, both of whom would be quite willing to share this information.


The National Council of our Society held two meetings on the occasion of the 1987
General Assembly in Toronto, Ontario. Both were held on the campus of Victoria College
in the University of Toronto, the first on Friday, May 15, and the second on Sunday, May
17, following the 1987 Annual Meeting of the Society. The National President, Mrs. Mary
Grey, presided at both meetings, and seventeen of the twenty Centres of the Society were

Meeting of Friday, May 15

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 important

The President's report noted the concern within the astronomical community for the
continuing government cutbacks in funding, which had meant the virtual closing of the
Algonquin Radio Observatory. The President thanked Mr. Broughton for his six years of
service as National Secretary, and Council extended a welcome to the new Secretary, Dr.
David Tindall of Halifax. The Treasurer, Dr. Cbou, reported a healthy increase in the
assets of the Society over the past year, and the accumulated deficit of the Society had
been totally retired and there was an operating surplus at the moment of about $20000.
The Interim Income Statement for the first four months of 1987 showed that Journal
subscriptions and Observer's Handbook sales were up, and overall there was a healthy
balance with which to face the remainder of the year.

Approval was given to a motion from the Editor of the Observer's Handbook to have the
price for the 1988 issue increased by $1. to $10. for a single copy and other bulk-order
prices were increased by $0.50. Council approved a motion to allocate up to $5000 for
advertising for the 1988 Observer's Handbook.

Mr. Beattie, the Librarian, noted that of the 253 books that had been removed from
the Library shelves and were offered to Centres, 98 had been requested by five of the
Centres and the remainder were still available if Centre Librarians wished to make a

The report from the Honorary Members Committee noted that Professor Hanbury Brown had
accepted the Society's invitation to become an Honorary Member. The death of another
Honorary Member was noted: Dr. Woolley of South Africa had recently passed away.
Approval was given for the purchase by the Society of a computer software package,
copies of which would then be distributed to the Centres.

The chairman of the Constitution Committee reported that the committee had completed
the second draft of a revised set of bylaws for the Society; they would be presented to
Council for discussion in September and presentation to the Society was anticipated at
the General Assembly in 1988.

The Astronomy Day Coordinator noted that reports had been received from four of the
Centres of a successful Astronomy Day the previous Saturday, and more reports were
requested from other Centres. The announcement was also given that in 1988
International Astronomy Day would be celebrated on Saturday, April 23.
Captain Auclair of the Cape Breton Astronomical Society presented a formal invitation
for the Society to hold the 1989 General Assembly on the Canada Day Weekend at the
Canada Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Mr.McCallum of the Ottawa Centre
also made a presentation for the Ottawa Centre's hosting the General Assembly at the same
time. Council approved the invitation from the Cape Breton Astronomical Society and
Councillors were pleased with the amount of planning that had already taken place for
the event.

Meeting of Sunday, May 17

During the second meeting Council appointed its standing committees for 1987-1988.
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),
Finance (Dr. Ralph Chou), Historical (Dr. Peter Millman), Honorary Members (Dr. Roy
Bishop), Library (Mr. Brian Beattie), National Newsletter (Mr. Ian McGregor), Nominating
(Dr. Roy Bishop), and Property (Mr. Kim Rowe).

Council approved a motion to increase the amount given for a first prize for an
astronomy-related project in the Canada-Wide Science Fair to $100. and a one-year
membership in the Society.

Approval was also given to a motion to extend travel assistance to all officers of
the Society to cover travel and accommodation expenses associated with attendance at a
National Council Meeting.

Another motion also approved would allow one part of the Speakers' Exchange Grant to
be given to a speaker who went to another Centre, if something unforeseen prevented the
other speaker from completing the exchange.

The next meeting of Council was scheduled for Halifax on Saturday, September 26,

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 our
National Council Representative.

The Minutes of the 1987 Annual Meeting of the Society, which took place on May 17,
will be published in the October issue of the Journal.


The National Council of our Society held its annual September meeting during the
afternoon of Saturday, September 26, 1987 at the Nova Scotia Museum in Halifax, Nova
Scotia. The National President, Mrs. Mary Grey, presided, and ten Centres of the
Society were represented.

The essential agenda items of the meeting included reports from all the officers and
from most of the standing committees of the Society, and a number of other important
decisions were made.

The President's report noted that three asteroids had recently been named after
prominent Canadian scientists. The President, who had recently spoken to several of the
Centres of the Society, had plans to speak to five more of the Centres. The Secretary,
Dr. Tindall, was able to report that twenty new unattached memberships in the Society
had been requested since the time of the General Assembly. The Treasurer, Dr. Chou,
presented the Interim Financial Statement As At August 31, 1987, and it was approved by
Council; it showed a very healthy operating surplus, largely because of foreign exchange
and because the sales of The Observer's Handbook had been better than expected. At the
Treasurer's request, $10000 was transferred to both the Ruth Northcott Memorial Fund and
to the Endowment Fund, in order to raise the principal in these funds to meet current
and expected demands upon them. The Librarian, Mr. Beattie, reported that all 253 books
that had been removed from the Library shelves had been either sold to Centres of the
Society or to an individual member of the Society who would make use of them, and the
next phase in the development of the Library would be a consideration of the necessary
acquisitions to make the facility a centre for the history of astronomy. The editor of
the Journal, Dr. Batten, gave notice that, after seven years, he wished to inform
Council that he would be resigning from that position in one year, and Council,
accordingly, established a committee to search for a successor. On the editor's
suggestion, Council also approved a motion to share with the Canadian Astronomical
Society one-half of the costs of the publication of the annual Hogg Lecture.
At the request of the Awards Committee, Council approved the awarding of nine
Membership Certificates (to members of the Ottawa, Vancouver, and Windsor Centres) and
five Messier Certificates (to members of the Halifax Centre). Dr. Bishop, the editor
of The Observer's Handbook, reported that the 1988 issue, the largest one in the history
of the publication, would be off the press within a month and it was being advertised,
with the endorsation of nova-discoverer Ian Shelton, in a half-page colour ad in Sky and

A recommendation from the Honorary Members Committee that Dr. Helen Sawyer Hogg
become an Honorary Member of the Society was enthusiastically approved by Council. The
report from the Nominating Committee urged members of the Society to consider the fact
that five positions on Council would become vacant next year, and members should think
about making nominations for these positions. A motion from the Computer Use Committee
that the National Office of the Society join the NetNorth electronic mail network was
approved. (This network is one which links over 1700 educational and scientific
organizations around the world.) Mr. Watson, the Chairman of the Constitution
Committee, reported that the presentation of the second draft of a revised set of
bylaws for the Society would have to be delayed because there were still several major
matters on which the members of the committee had not reached a consensus.
Council approved a motion to limit the Messier Certificate to those who find the
Messier Objects without the assistance of computer-driven telescopes. Support was also
given by Council to a motion of concern from the Calgary Centre regarding the
proliferation of space debris and light pollution.

Mr. Enright, the Astronomy Day Coordinator, noted that, in 1988, International
Astronomy Day would be celebrated on Saturday, April 23. The President noted that the
centenary of the incorporation of the Society was approaching and members should begin
to think about marking the occasion in a suitable way.

Complete details of all the items discussed at this meeting may be found in the
Minutes of the meeting which have been distributed to our Centre President, Mrs. Hicks,
and to our National Council Representative, Mr. Van Asperen.

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