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Annual Report 2000

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President Vice President Secretary Treasurer
Librarian Editor National Council Rep
ATM Awards Education
Publicity Website Observing


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Vice President

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The year 2000 activities of the Kingston Centre were many and varied. In addition to the regular meetings, monthly activities included two youth observing group sessions, a public observing night and two types of members-only observing sessions. One member-observing night is new this year, a CCD imaging night at the home of Jan Wisniewski. The other is hosted by members with darker than average backyards. This year's hosts were Tessa Clarke, Mark Kaye, John and Peggy Hurley, Kim Hay, Doug Angle, David Pianosi, and Steve Manders (who also put a preobserving BBQ together).

Special events this year included our mall display for Astronomy Day, preceded by a full week of public solar and evening observing sessions. In July we attended the March of Dimes fundraiser, and The Sky is the Limit Festival. Solar and planetary observing, an information table, and mirror grinding attracted many visitors.

A party atmosphere dominated August with the Annual Markfest. Surprise speaker Marc Castel introduced us to his remote/robotic observatory set-up. Later that month a major delegation headed off to Starfest to continue to build the Kingston Centre reputation in the astronomical community. Also in August, Terry Dickinson's public observing night at Charleston Lake got many members out to assist with their scopes. It was a wonderful night for observing.

In September, Kingston Centre and the Belleville Astronomy Club joined forces to put on a Dark Sky Observing weekend at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. A new tent and entertaining wildlife took the edge off bad weather. There is much support for this to become an annual event. Several special observing sessions were also held at Royal Military College.

The regular meetings held at Queen's were also no-snooze zones. A great line up of speakers was guaranteed to hold members' interest. Judith Irwin began the year with a talk about her sabbatical to India, working at the Giant Metre-Wave Radio Telescope Array and a visit to the Ooty Radio Telescope at Ootacamund. Judith spoke with great optimism about the quality of research these
installations could achieve. In February Walter MacDonald showed us some amazing CCD images shot through snow, cloud, and Oshawa light pollution. He and Doug Clapp were tied up for some time with questions. In March we came back to earth briefly with Roger Hill and explored building a backyard observatory for very little money and a lot of mooching. April brought our then President, Randy Attwood, with a detailed engineering breakdown of a lunar mission. In June, Ray Berg came to visit from Indiana to tell us about his observing tour of Australia and New Zealand. Closer to home Kathy Perrett updated us on the refurbishing of the Queen's Observatory including a tour of the new dome and plans for continuing renovations. J.J. Kavellaars brought us new information from his research, which may lead to new methods of finding extra-solar planets. In October, we left the solar system and reality in general with Bill Broderick for a look into the murky world of Astrology always an invitation to lively discussion.

All of these great events kept going all year, and in the background were the Amateur Telescope Makers group, Education producing a new book and slide set, the newsletter, school and brownie/scout visits, publicity and many other activities geared to promote the Society in general, and the Centre in particular, as valuable resources in the field of amateur astronomy.

Susan Gagnon
Secretary, Kingston Centre


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AGM 2000 November 10

This report will be very short and will contain mostly references to the future.

In the past there have been efforts to list on the centre's web site the more recent additions to the centre's
collection of books, magazines, newsletters, slides, video tapes and CD's that are kept in the bookcase at
the back of this room. This effort will recommence in the near future. It will also extend into the 17 or 18
boxes of materials that came with the position.

The members are encouraged to look at the contents of the shelves to see if there may be something that
will suit their interests.
There is a sign out sheet on the top shelf.

Some of the recently received items are:

  • The Eagle has Landed, a VHS tape produced by NASA, brought in by Kevin Kell,
  • A paper on light pollution brought in by Laura Gagné,
  • By David Levy, a book on cosmology with an accompanying CD for use on a computer. I do not have the name of the book at hand,
  • A CD by Dr. Orla Aaquist, combining music, text and photos, as well as notes & exams for his computer science course. (For those without prior programming experience)

Currently, people can scan the web site's listing for materials that they can pick up at the regular meetings.
They can telephone me if they believe that the items are not in the meeting room so that I can find them and
bring them to the next meeting. In the near future I will have an e-mail address through which people can
contact me as well. This will be shown in the newsletter.


David Maguire
Friday, November 10, 2000.


This year has shown membership decrease from a high of 198 in June 2000 to nearer 160 as of
September. We published 225 copies for the January, March, May and July issues and 200 copies for the
September and November issues.
In addition to our members, a copy goes out to each of the RASC centres across Canada and about 6
special interest groups/people, including Andreas Gada (NYAA), Terry Dickinson, the Peterborough
Astronomy Group and others.

We continued to mail out the newsletter at least 1 week before every other meeting, in hopes that
it will reach them before the meeting for time sensitive material. A new addition in the July and
September issues were page 9/10 bookmarks with our web site addresses and secure web site userids and

For those interested in background information, the newsletter is exactly 10 pages (5 pieces of
paper), which fits just under the 30g limit of Canada Post for a standard stamp. Going even one page
over would roughly double postage costs.

The format of the newsletter itself reflects the method in which it is created: several standard
columns which may or may not get articles submitted, a great deal of Internet Space and Astronomy
Press releases (which are removed as regular submissions come in), some graphics and a few photos.
Our printing and duplication methods (at around $0.04/image) do not provide high enough quality for
photos, especially astrophotos, so until we can come up with something better without a large price
increase, the format will stay much the same as it is today.

Kevin Kell, Editor 2000

National Council Rep

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Web Operations

This is the 2nd annual report from the Web Hosting service. As time goes on we suspect that this
will become more and more important and grow in size. Time to start thinking about throwing it out to
committee so that more than one person can maintain it.

We have a free Internet account with Internet Kingston, a local ISP in Kingston, as we are a local
charitable organization. Our contact is David Schmidt: email . We are allowed 4
Mb of space at the URL listed above. We are not allowed any other special services (a "secure" web
page, or more space) without money changing hands. All we are required to do is have the little blurb at
the bottom of the main web page ("webspace provided by Internet Kingston") and it should continue to
run as long as the company is in business or changes it's policy. The worth of this service in todays
market is approx $20/month (A personal user account) or about $240/year.

Because of these restrictions, and the availability of other web servers of one of our members, we
have only the core web pages on Internet Kingston, with links to more on another system. This machine
is (hardware provided by Kevin and internet access by the Department of Pathology) and
hosts the secure web pages, which allows for userid/password access only to members. This is where we
store complete copies of Regulus (with phone numbers and addresses), Observing Group directions to
members homes, financial information from the Centre and National, and membership lists. It has a
regular "insecure" section where the vast volume of images are located.

At present this excess web space is provided at no charge thanks to the Department of Pathology
and Queen's University. They will however, continue only as long as I remain employed there. In
anticipation of a move, CDROM's have been burned as backup copies of the web site and distributed to
Kim Hay (webmistress) and Laura Gagné (Education Chair). Other CDROM backups will be made at
least once a year.

National office has provided a forwarding page that we can use on all future advertising and publications:
This has many advantages over publishing the actual address, ie if we ever have to move the site (which
we have 3 times in the past 5 years), the title "members" sometimes confuses members of the public,
thinking that it might be a RASC-members-only web site, which it is not.

Web Summary approx 3.2 mb, with 120 html files and over 130 graphic images approx 360mb with 1200 images and 252 html files

We have had notices out asking for Centre member help with the site but no one has come
forward. Help will be essential as the site, if it is to be used and valuable as PR, must be kept up to date
and "touched" on a regular basis to keep fresh. Other RASC centres have only a token advertising
presence, with Centre event pages being months out of date. We must avoid this at all costs.

Web Page design philosophy has been that of informative and useful content overriding that of
heavy graphics laden "pretty" pages. The main page remained a frames based one design. In general the
site or various pages are updated on a weekly basis. Our Education Group is making heavy use of the
services as will the Youth Observing Group.

Kevin Kell, Webmaster 2000

Observing Group

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Amateur Telescope Making Group

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Awards Group

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Publicity Group

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Education Group

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