Annual Report 1993
Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs
I'd like to begin by thanking everyone in the Kingston Centre for giving me the opportunity to serve as your president and to be involved in planning our group's activities over the past year. Together we've been able to organize several highly successful special events, in addition to our regular meetings. It's been great to see several special Centre projects and plans come to fruition over the course of the year, as well as to watch some even more exciting projects beginning to get under way.
Among the highlights of the year have been events like our highly successful Astronomy Week activities this spring, our Perseid meteor-watching party out at Steve Mander's farm in August, and visits from two of Canada's most outstanding amateur astronomers, Jack Newton and David Levy. From close to home, yet another of Canada's top amateur astronomers, Terence Dickinson, treated us to a stunning presentation on the southern sky as seen from Las Campanas, Chile. That talk in May drew the largest attendance of any Kingston Centre meeting ever, and Terry has informed me that it was also a record-sized crowd for any of his presentations in the Kingston area to date!
I also have many very fond memories of my trip to the RASC General Assembly in Halifax this summer. The Halifax Centre showed us a great time, and I was pleased to have the chance to renew acquaintances with many other RASC members from across Canada, as well as meeting David Levy for the first time. A large and very enthusiastic contingent of Kingston Centre delegates made quite a splash on the Atlantic Coast at the 1993 GA, as well as happily bringing home several awards from the Display Contest.
It has been my pleasure throughout the year to plan the programming for our regular monthly meetings. We truly have a wealth of talent to draw upon, both within our own Centre membership and among the local community of professional and amateur astronomers. Many of our members made my job easy by coming forward spontaneously and offering to give a talk. And much to my delight, every person I approached as a potential guest speaker was eager to give a presentation to our group. In fact, I quickly found myself running out of months into which to slot them all! (Consequently, I already have a whole list of people ready and willing to be on our program for next year...)
I've also been especially pleased to see the growth in our Centre's membership over the past year. All told, we enjoyed a substantial increase of 15 members this year, bringing us to an all-time record of 65! And partly as a result of this increased membership, we have just recently decided that we are now ready to seriously consider putting in a bid to host the RASC General Assembly a few years from now--which would be another first for the Kingston Centre. We already have formed the beginnings of a very enthusiastic and capable GA-Bid Committee, with Peggy Torney as chair and Denise Sabatini as vice-chair.
So it looks like it was really not a moment too soon that we managed to secure a much larger and better-equipped meeting room at Queen's this year than the one we were in before. And I'm also delighted that we now have our Centre Library here in our meeting room as well, so that it is accessible to us all.
To every one of our members and friends who have participated in our activities and helped to make 1993 another fine year for the Kingston Centre, I say a hearty THANK YOU. Thank you especially to all of the Centre Executive Council members and to our Committee Chairs, for all your hours of work on behalf of the Centre this year. Thank you to the many members who come so regularly to our meetings and other events. Thank you especially to those who must drive from as far away as Belleville, Trenton, Oshawa, Brockville, and so on--your participation and enthusiasm is very much appreciated and very valuable to our group.
I want to single out for special mention a few people who have been working very diligently on our behalf behind the scenes throughout the year. First. Kim Hay who courageously took on two jobs in the Centre Executive this year--adding the job of Treasurer to her previous post as Centre Secretary--and managing to do both jobs so smoothly and efficiently, to boot! Thank you, Kim, for all your hard work in two jobs which are so crucial to the ongoing operation of our Centre. Second, Bill Broderick, who not only produces our fine Centre newsletter, Regulus, virtually single-handedly and always on schedule, but he also does a really outstanding job of publicizing our Centre's activities to the news media and the general public. The brochure that Bill put together for us this year has proven to be worth more than its weight in gold as a means of attracting new people to our Centre. On top of which, Bill designed and built a very impressive set of display boards for us, for which he took home two awards from the Halifax GA this year. His light pollution display, in particular, was the subject of a great deal of positive attention at our Astronomy Day shopping mall exhibit, and this year, Bill has volunteered to serve on the national Light Pollution Committee as well.
Another person who has been extremely helpful and generous in promoting our group's activities is Terry Dickinson, who has given us a wealth of wonderful publicity through his articles in the Whig-Standard and his announcements on CBC-Radio, and who also routinely refers new people to our group when they call him up asking for information about local astronomy-related activities or observing nights.
I also want to applaud the three Kingston Centre members who have been responsible for setting up and running the computer Bulletin Board Systems which now carry messages specifically for RASC members, both locally and nationally. Mark Kaye, Kevin Kell, and Ian Levstein operate these BBSs completely at their own expense and with a considerable investment of time and computer hardware and expertise, and they've done a terrific job of making them accessible to RASC members both in our local area and as far afield as Vancouver. Anyone who has access to a computer and a modem can now make use of this valuable--and fun--method of communicating with other members and getting all the latest news in a jiffy!
Finally. I owe a great personal debt of thanks to two members who have helped me throughout my year as president--Denise Sabatini and Leo Enright, who've been unfailing fonts of valuable advice and assistance, even to making sure that I always have a ride to meetings.
I've had a very challenging and rewarding year serving as your president, capped off so wonderfully when I heard Leo call my name to come up and accept the 1993 A. Vibert Douglas Award from the hands of our Honorary President, David Levy. That Award means so much to me; it will occupy a treasured place in my heart and on my wall forevermore. I truly regret that because of personal reasons, I am not able to run for a second year as president. I see lots of great things on the horizon for our Centre in 1994, with my capable successor at the helm. But you won't be losing me; I still plan to be active in the Centre as Past President, I'm on the GA-Bid Committee, and I'd like to serve as a member of our Education Committee and help to plan some exciting activities for next year. As we astronomers say: the sky's the limit!
As the leaves change colour and fall to the ground, and the winter constellations appear over the horizon, it means that another year has come and gone at the Kingston Centre of the R.A.S.C.
The Kingston Centre can take great pride in its people and its organization. We have had a great year. Messier Certificates were awarded to Dan Rombaugh and Bill Broderick. We also received Canadian recognition, for our contributions to the 1993 General Assembly. The Kingston Centre took two first place awards, one for the best centre display and the other for best cartoon poster. Honourable mentions went to Leo Enright for his astrophotography presentation and congratulations to Bill Broderick for being able to serve on the national light pollution committee and also to his honourable mention for the light pollution display.
Along with our twelve regular and executive meetings, and a few public star parties that went rather well, the Kingston Centre was treated to several interesting talks by well known astronomers. The highlight of the year was the talk given by Jack Newton, on CCD imaging. This talk was sponsored through a travel grant from the national council in conjunction with the London and Windsor Centres, both of which also hosted Jack at centre meetings and listened to his wonderful presentation. Terry Dickinson gave us an awe inspiring talk and slide show on his trip to Las Campanas, Chile. We were brought up to date on the S.N.O. (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory) project, by Dr. Hamish Leslie, who has promised to come back at a later date and continue his presentation on the observatory.
Dr. Richard Heinrickson, intrigued us with the depths of cosmology, and David Levy whisked us on a voyage around Jupiter on the most dramatic comet of this lifetime.
Our annual Members Night included five members giving talks that covered solar imaging, the Mars Observer, variable stars and slides on the General Assembly, making us wish we had all gone. Well, maybe next year!
The Kingston Centre's Dr. A. Vibert Douglas Award was awarded to our president, Christine Kulyk for bringing to the centre such interesting speakers and enthusiastic ideas. Good going Christine!
The Kingston's Centre most prize possession this year by far is the handmade bookcase which holds the centre's library. With much hard work by our librarian, David Stokes, and with auctions and donations this was made possible. I would like to thank once again, our main contributor to this project, Arthur Covington. His generous donation has made this dream a reality.
With each passing day there is something new and exciting waiting to be discovered, explored and marvelled. So let us just bundle up in warmth, bring out our scopes and binoculars and put eye to eyepiece and gaze endlessly into the night time sky.
Kim Hay, Secretary
Attached is the annual Treasurer's Report for the Kingston Centre. Please look it over, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
Included in the Donation & Auction Category in the Financial Statement are the two funds that the Kingston Centre set up in 1993.
The Book Case Fund-$54.50 still remaining
The Observatory Fund-$35.75.
Membership Dues are to be sent to National by October 15 The amount sending is $216.00 This amount will increase with any new members that join before Oct 15.1993. The amount shows only the people who have joined until Sept 30,1993.
Still owing to the Vancouver Centre by Oct 31/93 is $104.35 for 25 calendars.
We still owe for the finished Book Case. This will be paid when David Stokes submits final bill.
Promotional Items of the RASC
We still have 30 Jr. Observer Guides for sale, $5.00 gst included.
Also there are ONLY 13 1994 calendars from the Vancouver Centre left, they are $7.35 each.
2 Turtleneck sweater at $20.00 and 2 Toques at $16.00 each are also available.
The numbers look aood now, but in a few days, our bank account will be taking another kicking.
So lets look at the numbers for awhile and dream of what we might buy!!
It has been a pleasure serving as Treasurer this year. Thank You
|RASC - Kingston Centre|
|Annual Treasurer's Report|
|Oct 1, 1992 to September 30, 1993|
|Life Members Grants||102.40||102.40|
|Donations & Auctions||329.59||125.00|
|Interest & Dividends||6.47||16.86|
|Sales of Observer Handbook||160.00||119.39|
|Sales of Jr. Observer Guide||168.85||---|
|Sales of Calendars||192.50||---|
|Sky & Telescope Program||278.57||---|
|General Assembly(Travel Grants)||492.50||372.43|
|Fees Remitted to National Office||969.40||1105.60|
|Meetings and Newsletters||618.34||509.73|
|Mailing & Postage||166.18||---|
|Annual Dinner Net||---||---|
|Equipment and Supplies||27.58||235.79|
|Awards & Donations||103.94||76.65|
|Sky & Telescope Offer||278.57||---|
|Purchase of Ob. Handbook||158.25||---|
|Purchase of 1993 Calendars||133.75||---|
|Operating Expenses(Service Charges)||14.50||---|
|Total Yearly Expenditures||4078.27||2670.67|
|Surplus or (Deficit) on Operations||468.50||(172.15)|
Centre Treasurer Kim Hay
Date Oct 7, 1993
THE FEBRUARY 1993 NATIONAL COUNCIL MEETING
By Walter MacDonald, National Council Rep
A national council meeting was held on a VERY cold Saturday, February 6th in Toronto. This proved to be a rather long meeting -- almost 7 hours! For some reason the February meetings seem to be longer than the meetings at other times of the year.
Centre member Terry Hicks was back in full swing as National Treasurer. The report of the finance committee contained a number of very significant recommendations which were passed by council. Here are the more significant ones:
- reimbursement for travel will be based on ABC fares rather than economy fares
- a mechanism will be established to assist Council members in arranging travel and in obtaining the lowest fares available
- reimbursement of hotel accommodation for officers will be eliminated (billeting will be encouraged instead)
- the minimum return driving distance for entitlement to travel reimbursement will now be 600km (not 100km)
- a committee will be formed to help centres in reducing membership turnover
- the senior category of membership will be eliminated
- the youth category of membership will be maintained
- life membership fees will be set at 25x the annual regular fee
- membership fees for 1993/4 will be set at $36 for ordinary members, $22.50 for youth members, and $900 for life members
It should be noted that the membership fees have to be approved by the membership at the annual meeting of the Halifax GA.
A balanced 1993 budget was presented by Terry Hicks and approved by council. In combination with the finance committee recommendations, it does much to bring the society's costs under control. The library committee reported that it had produced a computer inventory of the national library for distribution to all centres. The national library also has a number of movies and videos, along with a many lantern slides. Plans are underway to copy and distribute all of these materials.
Bulletin editor Patrick Kelly presented some cost figures based on publishing four and six times a year. A definite savings for the quarterly schedule was noted. He noted that further savings are possible by not supplying back issues to members joining after January 31st, since it is costly to print small numbers of extra copies of publications after the fact.
The constitution committee under Mike Watson proposed a few changes to By-Law #1 which were approved. These included a proxy form for use at annual meetings. This was inspired by the profusion (and resultant confusion) of all the different proxy forms at last year's annual meeting.
A report from Karl Miller was presented on computer membership programs. These are now being tested and will allow centres to share membership data with national office more easily.
The light pollution committee proposed the printing of certificates of merit for good lighting. These would be issued to companies or individuals that have installed efficient lighting systems.
The 1993 RASC calendar has proven a success. As a result, production of the 1994 calendar was approved.
The membership survey committee announced that it is in the process of analyzing the data from the survey. Preliminary raw data was available on a 1.44MB floppy disk. A copy was obtained for the Kingston Centre. If you are interested, contact Kim Hay.
A new "Speaker's Travel Assistance Grant" form was approved. This was very timely since the Kingston, Windsor and London centres are arranging to have Jack Newton visit on a speaking tour of sorts later this year!
On the GA front, Halifax is in the final stages of preparation for this year's GA; St. John's will be hosting the 1994 GA. The Windsor and Edmonton Centres have expressed interest in hosting the 1995 and 1996 GAs respectively.
For anyone wishing more information on the doings of National Council at this meeting, the minutes will be available in the near future from either the centre President or National Council Rep.
THE JULY 1993 NATIONAL COUNCIL MEETINGS & ANNUAL MEETING
By Walter MacDonald, National Council Rep
Three meetings were held at the Halifax GA during the Canada Day weekend this year: two council meetings and the annual meeting. Here are the highlights:
Kingston Centre members figured prominently in these meetings! Dan Rombough's application for a Messier Certificate was approved. Congratulations Dan! (Hopefully more Centre members are working on their Messier lists too.) Leo Enright announced that a new edition of the Beginner's Observing Guide will be available in early August ('93). Bill Broderick was named as a new member of the national Light Pollution Committee. And of course Terry Hicks had his hands full as national Treasurer!
Much discussion surrounded the issue of basing budgets on existing membership fees rather than on an increased fee. It was explained that the Treasurer and Finance Committee used an increased membership fee to balance the budget only after all reasonable measures had been taken to minimize expenditures. The alternative to the fee increase would have been a significant cut in RASC services and/or equity.
Dr. David Turner will be taking over as the new editor of the Journal in 1994. The possibility of making the Journal a joint publication with CASCA (Canadian Astronomical Society) is being studied. Another possibility that has been raised is combining the Journal with the Bulletin -- interesting since the editors of both these publications will be living in Halifax.
The Centennial Committee reported that Peter Broughton's book is ready for publication in early 1994. Approval was given for the printing of 1000 copies which will retail for $35, but be available before the publication date to RASC members at a 25% discount. Shipping charges (if any) would be added on top of these figures.
After presenting its final accounting of funds, the Solar Eclipse Expedition 1991 committee was disbanded. The approximately $8000 surplus is to be used by the Solar Eclipse 1994 committee to promote the upcoming eclipse to the public. Centres will be receiving public education materials (including solar eclipse viewers) to do just this.
The Windsor Centre will be hosting the 1995 GA and distributed some information on this along with a tentative schedule of events. The Windsor Centre also thanked National Council for the grant it had received toward the purchase of a slide projector. It saw "first light" when Jack Newton came to town to speak to their Centre.
It was announced that Patrick Moore (UK) and Rev. Robert Evans (Australia) are now honourary members of the RASC. A complete list of honourary members appears on the inside cover of the Annual Report.
17 of the 22 Centres were represented at the Annual Meeting and there were 132 proxies held by 28 reps. A new wrinkle in the use of proxies was discovered this year: proxies may or may not be cast at the discretion of the proxy holder. Since the use of proxies in the RASC is only in its second year we are still learning about the laws governing their use. Beyond these laws (of which there aren't too many) the Society may pass its own by-laws on how proxies may be used (or not used!). No doubt as the various implications of these laws (or lack thereof!) are found, action will be taken to fully define what constitutes proper use of proxies within the RASC.
After much debate, including a strong case put forth by Treasurer Terry Hicks, the new membership fees were approved by a substantial margin, despite the fact that not all proxies were cast. The new fees are $36 regular, $22.50 youth, and $900 life. The motion to abolish the senior category of membership was carried also.
For anyone wishing more information on the doings of National Council at these meetings, the minutes will be available in the near future from either the Centre President or National Council Rep.
THE OCTOBER 1993 NATIONAL COUNCIL MEETING
By Walter MacDonald, National Council Rep
A national council meeting was held in Toronto on Saturday, October 30th. The meeting ran from 10am to 5:30pm (with one hour for lunch). Though it took three hours just to get through the president's business, the rest of the agenda proceeded smoothly and efficiently. So, much to the surprise of everyone, all items on the agenda for this meeting were completed in the allotted time!
The meeting opened on a grim note as president Peter Broughton read a letter of resignation from 2nd VP Mike Watson. Mike was unhappy at all the non-constructive criticism directed towards the national executive by various members over the last couple of years (and since the last GA in particular), and felt the best thing to do under the circumstances was to resign. This is a great loss to the RASC. In addition to serving as 2nd VP, Mike was the chair of the Constitution Committee, co-chair of the Solar Eclipse 1994 Committee, member of the Finance and GA Guidelines committees, and was also the Society's legal counsel. His most notable contribution to the RASC was the overhaul, completed in 1989, of the RASC constitution (known as By-Law No. 1). He was the recipient, last year, of a Service Award. Mike's departure leaves a tremendous gap in the workings of the RASC and he will be greatly missed. In the meantime, the executive will be appointing someone to serve as 2nd VP until the elections at the next GA.
The next item concerned a controversy involving a London Centre member who felt she'd been harassed at a member's home. The London Centre president, Dave Toth, gave a detailed account of the whole situation. He expressed great concern that n-th hand stories about this alleged incident had raced from coast to coast before the London Centre knew about it, and thanked the Halifax Centre for at least inquiring about the facts of the matter. Council is seeking input from the member involved before taking action.
Some changes were made to the proxy form for use in next year's GA. More instructions were added to the form to clarify its use. There was much discussion about proxies, and in particular, their limitations. It was emphasized that the proxy is not a ballot and is used differently. Probably a motion will be made at the next annual meeting to implement a radically altered proxy form or to move to a ballot vote, at least for membership fees.
The next item, which was not concluded until after lunch, concerned the expulsion of a member by the Montréal Centre. The RASC executive had previously asked the Montréal Centre to comply with the requirements of By-Law No. 1 regarding expulsion of members from centres. The rules require (in addition to what the Montréal Centre executive has already done) a meeting of the Centre's membership to discuss and vote on the member's expulsion. A two-thirds vote is required to expel a member from a centre, at which point that member becomes an unattached member. The Montréal Centre president, Louis Bernstein, asked national council to turn a blind eye to their non-compliance. In addition to several centre members present on behalf of the centre's executive, there were five other centre members present. They opposed the expulsion and asked national council to enforce the rules. There was much debate between the two Montréal factions. A motion to delete the sections of by-law no. 1 which give primacy to the by-law over centre by-laws was defeated. Council then passed motions which urged the centre to comply and which re-affirmed the support by national council and the centres of the primacy of by-law no. 1. It remains to be seen how this dispute will be settled.
It was announced that Patrick Moore has accepted honourary membership in the Society. Also, Alan Batten has accepted the position of Honourary President. A number of Messier certificates were approved for several members. Among these was the Kingston Centre's Bill Broderick. Congratulations Bill! Of interest to anyone else in the Kingston Centre who may be working on their M certificate, was a change was made to the requirements for getting one. All 110 objects still have to be observed, of course. But now, instead of having to get the signatures of witnesses, a complete listing of all the objects must be supplied, as follows:
- Messier object (in numerical order)
- date and time of observation
- telescope used and magnification
The treasurer reported on the ongoing efforts to manage the society's finances more effectively. Changes have been made in the use of the AccPac accounting program to make it easier to use. Lotus 1-2-3 will soon be used for budget preparation and reporting. New standardized forms for annual centre reports to national office are now ready. A potential problem with the RASC insurance was raised. Apparently most centres are not really covered for Astronomy Day events. This is being looked into.
In yet another glorious moment for the Kingston Centre (there have been a lot of them this year, haven't there?!), it was announced that Kim Hay will be taking over the RASC promotional item program. Congratulations Kim, and good luck!
$500 was approved to create a prototype of a combined Journal/Bulletin publication. Hopefully this will be ready early next year. Once approved by Council, copies of the prototype would be sent to the centres. It should be noted that this does not mean the Journal and Bulletin will be merged, just that the idea is being explored.
The Astronomy Day Coordinator's report was heard at the meeting. The week of April 11-17, 1994 will be International Astronomy Week. Saturday, April 16th will be Astronomy Day. The theme for next year will be "Astronomy for Children".
Boxes of the Beginner's Observing Guide were distributed at the meeting to the centre reps in order to save on courier costs. Each box would have cost between $20 and $36 to ship, depending on where in Canada it was going.
"Looking Up, A History of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada", by Peter Broughton is now available. For more information, see the ad elsewhere in this newsletter.
The Edmonton Centre put forth a proposal for the 1996 GA. Perhaps the Kingston GA committee should think about submitting a proposal at the October 1994 national council meeting for the 1997 GA?
A $500 grant was approved for the Edmonton Centre's grazing occultation expedition. IOTA is contributing US $200 towards the expedition which, if successful, will produce some data of scientific value. Hopefully they won't get clouded out!
The matter of centres issuing tax receipts was raised. This was of particular interest to the Kingston Centre. As it turns out, there is no way for centres to by-pass national office in this area except by getting their own tax numbers. Steve Spinney of the Toronto Centre indicated that a centre does NOT have to be incorporated to get a tax number. Though there will inevitably be a little more paperwork for the centre, the expense of incorporation would not have to be incurred.
The formation of an informal group, RASC 2000, was announced. The purpose of this group is to serve as a catalyst for changes in the RASC. Among other things, they plan to nominate candidates for national executive positions. The steering committee for this group consists of several RASC members from across Canada. Anyone wishing information on RASC 2000 can contact Doug George (Ottawa Centre) at 613/225-7182 or on e-mail at email@example.com. A copy of the one page information sheet on RASC 2000 can be found in the centre's library.
Finally, a motion to study the possible phasing out of the unnatached category of membership was defeated.
For anyone wishing more information on the doings of National Council at these meetings, the minutes will be available in the near future from either the Centre President or National Council Rep (soon to be the same person!).
NC Meeting Report: Regulus, 1994 Nov-Dec, pp. 2-3,8 (4th NC meeting).