Annual Report 1994

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President | Secretary | Treasurer | National Council Rep


1994 has been an eventful year, both for the Kingston Centre and for Astronomy generally. In this report, I will try to touch on as many of these events as I can. I apologize in advance for missing anything (or anyone), or for any bias in reporting!!

The year started out with the first of two financial windfalls for the Centre: $50 was received from the sale of the Centre's mirror grinding machine to the North York Astronomical Association. The grinder had been gathering dust at Queen's University for many years, but I am happy to report that it has been in active service for much of this year since being moved to its new home.

Asteroids made a big impact this year (if you'll pardon the expression!): both Terry Dickinson and Art Covington received perhaps the highest of honours with the naming of an asteroid for each of them. I'm sure it was several months before their feet touched the ground again!

The Centre held another successful Astronomy Day on Saturday, April 16. Many thanks to Ian Levstein (our Astronomy Day coordinator), Bill Broderick, and everyone else who helped out.

In April, the Centre experienced another "first": an Astronomy Workshop. This event was the brainchild of our Past President, Christine Kulyk. It was quite successful and well received by the members who attended it, and I expect there will be a second Workshop in 1995 (right Christine?!).

May 10th brought us an annular solar eclipse and the Centre's second financial windfall: $600 was realized from sale of eclipse viewers. Oh, and of course many Centre members saw the eclipse too!

"Looking Up", A History of the RASC was finally published after several delays. This is a fine book and a definite must-have for any RASC member.

The annual RASC General Assembly was held in St. John's, Newfoundland over the Canada Day Weekend this year. The Kingston Centre was well represented, as usual. I should point out that Kingston Centre is a significant player on the national scene: Terry Hicks has just completed 2 years as National Treasurer, Kim Hay has taken over the RASC promotional items, Leo Enright is the Beginner's Observing Guide Editor, and I have just been appointed National Librarian. One practical upshot of all this is that Kingston Centre has had 3 votes on National Council during the last two years!

It goes without saying that our Honorary President, David Levy, had an incredibly busy year! Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 put on a big show in July when it collided with Jupiter. Many Centre members had their 'scopes in overdrive during impact week as the impact scars paraded across Jupiter's southern hemisphere. Thanks to the efforts of several members, this spectacle was shared with members of the public at several provincial parks: on July 9 at Bon Echo, on July 11 at Presqu'ile, and on July 13 at Sandbanks.

August brings with it the annual Perseid meteor shower. The 1993 Perseids put on a good show, but the 1995 Perseids will be marred by a full moon. This provided added incentive to get out and watch the 1994 Perseids. Despite mixed weather, some Centre members were able to watch this year's shower. As in July, members volunteered their time and effort to share the event with the public at local provincial parks: on Aug 8 at Presqu'ile, and on Aug 10 at Charleston Lake (Terry Dickinson's annual public star night) and at Sandbanks.

Several Kingston members attended the Syracuse Summer Seminar on the Persied weekend in August. Jupiter's impact scars and the Perseid meteor shower were observed, and many excellent talks were heard over the weekend. Hopefully more Centre members will attend Syracuse in future years.

The RASCNet continues to gather momentum. Centre member Mark Kaye has been the driving force behind this network. And Kingston is connected to the max - by 4 local nodes! This is a great way to correspond with other amateur astronomers across Canada, and I encourage everyone to get involved in this!

The Centre's GA Committee is rolling along towards its date with destiny in 1997. This is a very exciting project, since Kingston Centre has never before hosted a General Assembly. For those of you who have never been to a GA, mark 1997 on your calendars - there's no excuse for missing it when it's right here in town!

On a sad note, I must report that Stan Hanna and Mark Kaye have moved out west. Of course this is good news for the Centres that they'll be joining out there... Good luck guys!

In December I had the pleasure of awarding the A. Vibert Douglas Award for 1994 to our Treasurer, Kim Hay. Kim has been a very important part of the Kingston Centre for several years now. Congratulations Kim!

I would like to thank several people for helping me through my first year as president: Christine Kulyk, Leo Enright, Kim Hay, Ruth Hicks, Gord Taylor, Bill Broderick, and Cathy Hall. I would also like to thank Ian Levstein and Peggy Torney for going "through the window" so that we could enjoy the use of the slide projectors at a couple of our meetings! Last, but not least, I would like to give special thanks to all those who gave talks at meetings, whether it was a full-blown 2 hour presentation or just a few slides.

In closing, I hope that 1995 will prove to be every bit as eventful as 1994 has been!

Clear Skies!
Walter MacDonald.


The Kingston Centre meets on the second Friday of each month in Room B201 of McIntosh-Cory Hall at Queen's University.

We have observing reports and this year enjoyed a on variety of programs. They were as follows:

Outflow from Spiral Galaxies by Dr. Judith Irwin;
The Art of Astronomy by Peggy Torney;
Gravitational Lenses by Gordon Taylor;
Slides from the GA by Walter MacDonald;
Astronomy in Available Light Photography by Cathy Hall;
Astronomy and Videography by Rob Dick and Glen Ledrew of the Ottawa Centre;
The Expansion of Galaxies by Dr. Richard Henrickson and Modelling Creation: An Experimental Perspective by Dieter Bruekner.

Members conducted an astronomy workshop and on members' night we viewed many interesting slides taken from the night sky and various star party weekends.

The centre basked in "reflected glory" when our honourary president, David Levy, co-discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. Congratulations are also due to Christine Kulyk for her work with the little commemorative pin, featuring the "string of pearls" nearing Jupiter. Congratulations also to Arthur Covington, a pioneer in radioastronomy, who had an asteroid named in his honour.

Walter MacDonald, who served as both centre president and as national council rep, gave us excellent reports of the national meetings. At this year's GA he became the national librarian. Membership awards were given to David Stokes, a former president and longtime member, and to Bill Broderick, our newsletter editor. Kim Hay keeps our funds and books in order and is now looking after the national office promotional products. Kevin Kell, our editor of RASC-News-net, is in charge of our library and reminds us of overdue books.

An Astronomy Day display was held at a local mall. A public star party was also held. Many members shared their telescopes and enthusiasm with other groups. We went to Charleston Lake with Terry Dickinson; Leo Enright and Denise Sabatini visited Sandbanks Park and David Stokes visited members of a youth group at Bob's Lake. Solar glasses were distributed for the May 10th eclipse and, in spite of scattered clouds, were used with success. Four members attended the General Assembly at St. John's, Newfoundland. A committee is actively making plans for Kingston to host a GA in 1997. Due to many interested people, our centre is alive and well.

Ruth Hicks, Secretary


Annual Treasurer's Report
Oct 1, 1993 to September 30, 1994

Revenue 1994 1995
Revenue 1994 1993
Membership Fees 2553.75 2480.00
Life Members Grants 115.20 102.40
Donations & Auctions 216.95 329.59
Educational Activities - -
Interest & Dividends 30.15 6.47
Sales of Observer Handbook 102.00 160.00
Sales of Jr. Observer Guide 85.00 168.85
Sales of Calendars 127.45 192.50
Sky & Telescope Program 83.58 278.57
Advertising - -
General Assembly(Travel Grants) - 492.50
Miscellaneous (Solar Filters) 802.75 335.89
Total Revenue 4116.83 4546.77
Total Revenue down $429.94 from 1993
Fees Remitted to National Office 1188.00 969.40
Library 340.44 150.00
Meetings and Newsletters 413.43 618.34
Mailing & Postage 138.81 166.18
Publicity(flyers) 233.86 246.79
Travel Grants - 450.00
Equipment and Supplies 212.92 27.58
Office Expenses 306.37 179.70
Educational Activities 178.92 -
Insurance - -
Awards & Donations 118.94 103.94
Sky & Telescope Offer 68.05 278.57
Purchase of Ob. Handbook 60.99 158.25
Purchase of Calendars 104.35 133.75
Bank Charges(Service Charges) 15.00 14.50
Miscellaneous(Promo Items) - 581.27
Total Yearly Expenditures 3380.08 4078.27
Surplus or (Deficit) on Operations 736.75 468.50
Surplus of $268.25 more than 1993
Centre Treasurer____________
Date__Sept 30, 1994__


National Council Rep


By Walter MacDonald, National Council Rep

A national council meeting was held in Toronto on Saturday, March 5th. This meeting turned out to be quite boring after all the high drama of the previous two meetings! The meeting was to be adjourned at 5pm but had to be extended to 5:30 to finish everything on the agenda. Here are the highlights...

President Peter Broughton opened his report with some good news. He announced that Terry Dickinson had had an asteroid (#5272) named after him. Terry was informed of this during a recent Quirks & Quarks show on CBC radio. (Another Canadian with an asteroid named in his honour was present at this meeting -- Allan Batten, from Victoria.) Peter told us that he and other RASC members had made presentations to the Royal Commission on Learning, and were recommending that Astronomy be a compulsory unit in high school. Hopefully this will come to pass. The Helm Fund GIC has come up for renewal, and has been put into a balanced mutual fund since GIC rates are now quite low (about 3%). The controversy involving the London Centre has been resolved to the satisfaction of all the parties involved. The controversy involving Montréal Centre appears to be on the road to resolution: the expelled member has been attending meetings again, and the centre president has asked the centre executive to reverse their expulsion order.

It was announced that the office of 2nd vice-president will remain open until the GA this July, since anyone filling the position between now and the GA will not be allowed to run for the position again at the GA. Two consecutive terms are not allowed by the society's by-law. The by-laws will be amended this year at the annual meeting to allow anyone serving an interim position to stay on for a full term immediately afterwards. In some good news, Mike Watson has agreed to stand for nomination for the position of 1st vice-president at the upcoming GA. Peter then informed us that Terry Hicks will be stepping down as treasurer at the upcoming GA. Terry has been ably filling the role of treasurer for two (rather stormy!) years now and his dedication to organizing the society's finances will definitely be missed.

Secretary Randall Brooks gave his report next. The National Capital Commission is looking for ideas on the commemoration of significant individuals in Canada. Anyone with any ideas in this regard should contact Randall directly. The terms of the society's national insurance policy have been looked into closely. Liability coverage for personal injury applies to any sanctioned official function of an RASC centre. This means there is no provision for property damage, and no coverage of any kind for private observatories. The insurance policy was originally purchased to cover Astronomy Day events (mall displays and star parties) held by centres, and it may not cover other events. Two resignations were received: Frank Shepley (Windsor Centre) has resigned as chair of the Membership and Promotion Committee, and as a member of the Computer Use and Light Pollution committees; Suzanne Moreau (Montréal Centre) has resigned as centre rep and from the Membership & Promotion and Long Range Planning committees. A revised RASC manual is due out in the near future. Niagara Centre has a new e-mail address: RASCNIAG@spartan.ac.brocku.ca. A new Messier Certificate application form was distributed, and allows candidates who can't find witnesses (say if they are unattached members or live in an isolated location) to apply.

Treasurer Terry Hicks reported that the Millman Fund GIC of $101,600 is coming up for renewal. This will be split into two GICs so that it will be covered by CIDC. Terry has made a change to the national council meeting travel expenses: if any of the funding for a particular meeting goes unused, the surplus will be carried over to the next meeting (but not beyond the end of the year). The 1994 budget prepared by the Finance Committee was, after some discussion, approved.

Terry also discussed the issue of charitable donation receipts for RASC membership. Both he and Mike Watson had spoken with Revenue Canada and been given different information. A vote was taken, and it was decided to not issue receipts without something in writing saying that we are allowed to do so.

Librarian Garry Woodcock announced that some books had been received from the London Centre, which has finished liquidating its library.

A report from the Observer's Handbook editor, Roy Bishop (Halifax Centre) was read. About 13 000 1994 handbooks were printed, and due to slower sales about 1000 fewer 1995 handbooks will be printed. The idea of using a spiral binding for the handbook was voted down.

Beginner's Observing Guide (BOG) editor Leo Enright (Kingston Centre) reported that sales of the guide were going well. Unfortunately, little headway has been made with Scouts Canada on listing the guide in their catalog. Efforts in this regard are continuing however.

1st vice president Doug Hube (Edmonton Centre) gave the Publications Committee report. Work by Dave Lane (Halifax Centre) on the combined Journal/Bulletin mockup is proceeding on schedule, and should be available for this summer's GA. Some desktop publishing software (PageMaker) has been purchased for this project. Up to $1000 from the Centennial Fund was approved at this meeting to help complete this project. It was felt by several people present that, due to the importance of this venture, the final mockup should be as "real" and of as high a quality as possible. To achieve this, it was felt that (after the mockup is complete and been examined by national council) the services of a professional graphics designer should be employed to tweak the mockup into final form. Also, it was felt that the final copy should be professionally printed so that it will be of the same quality as the eventual publication will be (if it is ultimately approved).

Doug also reported on the Edmonton Centre's grazing occultation expedition to Fort Nelson. The clouds thinned enough just before the event to allow most of the stations to get good observations. After some more work the data will be sent to IOTA. The expedition was welcomed by several hundred people (most of the town's population!) and was even given the keys to city hall! So the expedition was a total success and Doug thanked the society for its support.

Astronomy Day will be Saturday, April 16th this year. The theme is "Astronomy for Children". An Astronomy Day information pack has been sent to each centre.

Damien Lemay (Québec Centre) gave the Nomination Committee report. So far, the nomination slate looks like this:

President Doug Hube (Edmonton Centre)
1st VP Mike Watson (Unattached)
2nd VP Don Hladiuk (Calgary Centre)
Recorder [To be determined]
Librarian [To be determined]

Garry Woodcock (Hamilton Centre) will be stepping down as librarian and Mary Anne Harrington (Toronto Centre) will be stepping down as recorder at the GA. Nominations for these positions are being sought.

Bob May (Toronto Centre) gave the Property Committee report. A new appraisal will be sought for the Dupont Street property so that the proper insurance coverage can be obtained. Right now the society could be caught short if the building was destroyed.

Randy Attwood (Toronto Centre) presented the BOG Marketing Committee report. About 30% of the BOGs have been distributed so far, and a one page promotional ad has been prepared for use by centres.

Peter Broughton reported (as the Centennial Committee report since Centennial funds were used) that the publication date for "Looking Up" is now late March. Dundurn Press has pushed back the date several times already, so don't hold your breath!

A submitted report from the Light Pollution Committee was read. The Calgary Centre has awarded 5 "good lighting" certificates. An article will be appearing in an upcoming Bulletin in which they will share their experiences in this regard. It was hoped that other centres will start awarding these certificates too.

Randy Attwood gave the 1994 Annular Solar Eclipse Committee report. Several Ontario institutions have collaborated on the design of an information flyer giving not only information specific to the upcoming eclipse, but about eclipses in general. Centres will be receiving this flyer and other information shortly. Also, solar eclipse viewers will be distributed to centres for public eclipse viewing gatherings. The committee will be purchasing five or six thousand of these.

Leo Enright read a letter of intent from the Kingston Centre, saying that it intended to submit a bid for the 1997 RASC GA. This would be Kingston's first ever GA. The list of upcoming Gas ('96 and '97 to be approved) looks like this:

1994 St. John's
1995 Windsor
1996 Edmonton
1997 Kingston

Allan Batten informed us that an effort is under way to send a telescope to Viet Nam, which has no astronomical instruments suitable for use in universities. Anyone wishing to contribute to this effort should contact him either directly or through the national office.

Dan Hladiuk distributed information on a November 1994 solar eclipse expedition to Peru and Chile. 3 minutes of totality will be visible from the proposed high altitude observing site. Extra cost, optional tour extensions to Machu Picchu are available too. If you are interested, contact Let's Talk Travel at 1-800-661-1335.

Randy Attwood told us that the Toronto Centre is concerned about the increasing cost of Observer's Handbook distribution. He asked that the Finance and Publications Committees look into finding a way to reduce the cost of Handbook distribution.

Finally, Rajiv Gupta (Vancouver Centre) presented a report on the RASC Calendar. Up to $3800 (as required) was approved for printing and distribution of the 1995 calendar.

For anyone wishing more information on the doings of National Council at this meeting, the minutes will be available in the near future from your National Council Rep. This report has been uploaded to the RASC Net, and will also appear in an upcoming issue of the Bulletin.


By Walter MacDonald, National Council Rep

2 national council meetings and the annual meeting were held in St. John's, Newfoundland over the Canada Day Weekend. As the numerous (and time consuming) controversies that dominated previous council meetings continue to fade away into the past, council meetings have become shorter and more productive. Thus it would appear that a 2-day council meeting will not be a necessity in the forseeable future! Anyway, here are the highlights from the St. John's meetings...

The Society's executive and committees underwent significant change this year: elections were held for 1st and 2nd VP, various appointments were made, and committees either disbanded or reconstituted. Here are the more notable changes:


  • Peter Ceravolo (Ottawa) was elected to 2nd VP
  • Doug George (Ottawa) was elected to 1st VP
  • Doug Hube (Edmonton) succeeded Peter Broughton (Toronto) by acclamation


  • Peter Jedicke (London Centre) was appointed by council for a three year term as recorder. Peter replaces Mary Anne Harrington (Toronto), who has just completed a similar term.
  • Walter MacDonald (Kingston) replaced Garry Woodcock (Hamilton) as Librarian, starting a three year term.
  • Rajiv Gupta (Vancouver) was appointed as Treasurer for a one year term, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Terry Hicks (Kingston).


  • Centennial Committee was disbanded
  • Membership Survey Committee was disbanded
  • Beginner's Observing Guide Marketing Committee was disbanded
  • Solar Eclipse 1994 Committee will be disbanded in October (after final report)
  • Long Range Planning Committee was NOT disbanded
  • Two new committees were formed: "Publications Revitalization" and "Elections Procedures"

Publications continue to be the subject of much discussion. Here's the latest:

  • Roy Bishop (Halifax) reported that Observer's Handbook sales are down by about 10% this year, so there will be a decrease in next year's press run. 1995 pricing for the handbook will be the same as for this year's edition. An ad may be run in Astronomy magazine again, if a sufficiently "sexy" ad can be designed. It was suggested that Franklin "Sexmeister" Loehde could be of assistance in this regard.
  • Rajiv Gupta reported that 1050 of the 1400 1994 RASC Observer's Calendars had been sold and that a profit had been realized on the project. A production run of 1000 calendars was approved for 1995.
  • A discussion paper on "A New Publication of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada" was tabled by Dave Lane (Halifax). Anyone with a strong interest in this area should obtain a copy of this paper, either through their Centre rep or from Dave directly.

Bob King (Calgary) proposed the establishment of a "110 Finest NGC Objects Certificate" to be awarded to those who had observed all 110 of the finest NGC objects as listed in the Observer's Handbook. This was approved.

The next national council meeting will be in Toronto on October 29th.

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