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2003

Annual Report 2003

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

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

President

2003 Nov. 14

I began this year with high hopes and expectations. Most important to me was to try and make the monthly meetings a warmer and more casual atmosphere and my lack of decorum certainly helped with the casual part. I am honoured to belong to a "Royal Society" but we cannot truly be a "Centre" without relaxed interaction and discussion at our monthly meetings. I believed that extending the breaks, providing drinks for purchase so members could stay in the room and bringing back observing reports would bring some of our newer members closer and encourage them to participate and volunteer more. Unfortunately selling raffle and 50/50 still kept me from meeting and talking with many of you.

This year started as "the Year of the Observatory" with the intention of pursuing funding for and the location of observatory land. As the year went on there were advancements but also new hurdles as it became apparent that we must have our charitable registration to secure funding (the application for which seems to have been swallowed in a black hole) and incorporation to protect our members and investment. Steps are in progress for both of these objectives and there will be further information in the coming months.

An immediate necessity in January was to arrange for the purchase of accessories for the Venor Telescope. Here we were looking for observatory land for a 60cm telescope our members had built and we had to borrow eyepieces from members to use it. This situation was too limiting and unacceptable to me. With the help of our Vice-President's knowledge on the subject we purchased 3 eyepieces a Barlow and a nebula filter and an accessories case. Now the Venor is equipped and ready to go without imposition on our members.

In February Professor Judith Irwin spoke with the executive about a joint Queen's University Observatory / RASC-KC Public Outreach Program. It took a while to get this program running but the Nov. 8th Lunar Eclipse Open House at the observatory was the first in a two year program of open houses on the 2nd Saturday of every month. The project is known as the Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network. We will be discontinuing our Tuesday night sessions at Murney Tower in favour of the observatory where we have a warm room and bathrooms! The joint program which will be advertised by both parties will certainly be beneficial to all of us. The sky although not the best has no trees or occasional car headlights glaring at us as we take the public to the corners of the available universe.

With regard to the above I would like to make the following announcement now that there have been no further extensions by the Trillium Foundation on the ban of public announcement.

It is my pleasure to announce that in conjunction with the Queen's U Observatory, RASC-KC has applied for and received a 2 yr. grant from the Trillium Foundation in the sum of $25,000. The largest portion of this money will provide a Queen's Observatory Coordinator to run the Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON). There is however $6,700.00 designated for the purchase of a RASC-KC 8" GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, eyepieces, CCD camera and accessories. This telescope is of course for the purpose of bringing the night sky to the Kingston public and will be stored at the observatory, but it will eventually be housed in our own observatory and is ours to keep at the end of the 2 years. The agreement and grant binds us to participation in 16 public open houses and 50 tours at the observatory annually over the next two years. The complete details will follow in the Regulus Newsletter for all membership to read

This year has seen the writing of several manuals by volunteer members which will accompany our scopes in the equipment loan program. As well the "RASC Kingston Centre Member's Handbook" to be used by the executive as a guideline in running the Centre in a consistent manner was officially endorsed and adopted by the executive.

We held our usual public events and observation sessions. The only event I will speak of is Fall?n'stars 2003. We were rained out for the most part, but I don?t go only to observe, I go to be with friends and share a common passion. Looking through the eyepiece can become a solitary thing, but laying in a chair or a BOP and observing the night sky with "Fireball" and friends can be Astronomical! We may have difficulty obtaining a site for 2004, but even if the quality of the observing can not be as good as in the past I hope we still proceed with our RASC - Belleville/Kingston Star Party and I hope to see many more of you there.

There have been other purchases and events by the Centre and I will leave them to be reported by the appropriate Committee Chairs. It is about time I sat down. In closing I will say that this year has seen a lull in volunteers as the long term members grow weary. I ask and encourage you all to step forward and participate in our Committees and events, it can be very gratifying and need only be as busy or complicated as you wish to make it. Remember that at public events 90% of the time you know more than the people who approach your eyepiece and once they look you have the ability to WOW them and change their whole perception of recreational astronomy. Please be there when you can for Astronomy Day, Sky is the Limit, our monthly open houses and other events.

I thank those few members that worked extra hard this year to help this Centre and to help me, you know who you are so I need not name. I look forward to being able to spend time with many of you in the next year on our breaks, at Harvey's and at observing sessions.

Vice President

January 10
Student presentation on spacecrafts were cancelled due to weather. Doug Angle did an extended "what's up tonight, and Jan Wisniewski showed some of his fine astro imaging.

February 14
Jan Wisneiwski - "How to do a Messier Marathon"
Jan showed how he prepares for and conducts a Messier Marathon, including some of his experiences in his 3 attempts to see all 110 Messier objects in one night.

March 14
Doug Angle - "Using Star Charts and Starhopping"
Our scheduled speaker was not able to attend. Doug Angle led an exercise in using the handbook, planisphere and star charts to find a Messier object by star hopping.

April 11
Dan Falk - "The Quest for the Theory of Everything"
Dan presented a historical overview and latest theories of the unified field theory.

May 7
David Levy - "Shakespeare's King Lear and the Comet of 1605: A cosmic union of Science and Art"
David gave and enthusiastic talk on historical comets and his own early experiences in astronomy.

June 13
Dr. Rajiv Gupta - "Astro Imaging Techniques"
Rajiv showed his techniques for capturing and processing astro images with film, digital scanners and Registar(r).

July 11
Dr. Richard Jones - "Amerigo Vespucci's Measurements of Longitude"
Richard presented his research proposing that Amerigo Vespucci made accurate measurements of longitude in the new world in the early 16th century, much earlier that commonly thought.

August 8
Annual BBQ at Mark Kaye's

September
Leo Enright - "Transits of Mercury and Venus"
Leo presented the causes and patterns of transits of the inner planets, along with some fascinating stories of early transit expeditions.

October 10
Members night:
Mark Kaye - showed some of his latest slides
Doug Angle - Tides
Leo Brodur - showed some of his aurora pictures
Laura Gagnon - The Antekerathisis Device
Mike Earl - Finding Lost Satellites
Dieter Bruechner - The Ries Crater

November 14
Gregg Wade - "Magnetic Activity of the Sun and Stars"

December 12
Peggy Hurley - "Soltice Celebrations"

Secretary

We currently have 132 Affiliated Members of whom 33 live outside Ontario.

Regular Meetings were held on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in
Theatre D Stirling Hall, Queen's University.

January 10: Student presentations on spacecraft were cancelled due to
weather. Doug Angle did an extended "What's up tonight?", and Jan
Wisniewski showed some of his fine astronomical images.

February 14: Jan Wisneiwski ? "How to do a Messier Marathon"

Jan showed how he prepares for and conducts a Messier Marathon, including
some of his experiences in his 3 attempts to see all 110 Messier objects in one
night.

March 14: Doug Angle ? "Using Star Charts and Starhopping"

Our scheduled speaker was not able to attend. Doug Angle led an exercise in
using the handbook, planisphere and star charts to find a Messier object by star
hopping.

April 11: Dan Falk ? "The Quest for the Theory of Everything"

Dan presented a historical overview and latest theories of the unified field
theory.

May 7: David Levy ? "Shakespeare's King Lear and the Comet of
1605: A cosmic union of Science and Art"

David gave and enthusiastic talk on historical comets and his own early
experiences in astronomy. We were joined by the Astronomy winners from the
Regional Science Fair.

June 13: Dr. Rajiv Gupta ? "Astro Imaging Techniques"

Rajiv showed his techniques for capturing and processing astro images with
film, digital scanners and Registar?.

July 11: Dr. Richard Jones ?"Amerigo Vespucci's Measurements of
Longitude"

Richard presented his research proposing that Amerigo Vespucci made accurate
measurements of longitude in the new world in the early 16th century,
much earlier that commonly thought.

August 8: Annual BBQ at Mark Kaye's

Guest Speaker ? Geoff Gaherty "Observing Under Urban Skies"

September 12: Leo Enright ? "Transits of Mercury and Venus"

Leo presented the causes and patterns of transits of the inner planets, along
with some fascinating stories of early transit expeditions.

October 10: Members night

Mark Kay ? showed some of his latest slides

Doug Angle ? Tides

Leo Brodur ? showed some of his aurora pictures

Laura Gagnon ? The Antikythera Mechanism"

Mike Earl ? Finding Lost Satellites

Dieter Bruechner ? The Ries Crater

November 14: Gregg Wade ? "Magnetic Activity of the Sun and Stars"

November 29: Annual Dinner Meeting

David Turner St. Mary's University

"Will Polaris stop Pulsing?"

Gregg Wade ? "Magnetic Activity of the Sun and Stars"

December 12:eggy Hurley ? "Solstice Celebrations"

Events this year included:

May 10 Astronomy day at Frontenac Mall.

July 5 Sky is the Limit Festival (A local charity event)

September 26/27 Fall ?N? Stars (A camping and observing weekend held jointly with the Belleville Centre of the RASC)

Almost all public and club observing sessions were plagued by remarkably poor weather throughout the year.

2004 Executive
President Peggy Hurley
Vice-President Doug Angle
Secretary Diane Torney
Treasurer John Hurley
Newsletter Editor Brian Hunter
Librarian Dave Maguire
National Council Rep. Peggy Hurley

In March, the Kingston Centre and the Queen's University Physics Department made application to the Trillium Foundation to form the Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network. The funding will allow both organizations to expand their outreach activities in the local community through the hiring of an Observatory coordinator and the purchase of an eight inch GOTO telescope and CCD camera primarily for public events. Even before funding has been approved, we have rearranged our public observing schedule to hold joint sessions at the Queen's Observatory on Ellis Hall. The first event was the Lunar Eclipse of November 8th and even the weather cooperated. The public enjoyed views through eight telescopes on the observing deck and toured the University Observatory. Henceforth, the joint RASC/Queen's observing sessions will be held at 7:30 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month at the Ellis Hall observatory.

Further information on our activities may be found on our Web site at http://members.kingston.net/rasc and, in particular, in our newsletter Regulus which is available on the Web site.

Treasurer

All amounts rounded off to the nearest dollar.

REVENUE
Membership Fees (Regular) 2635.00
Membership Fees (Basic surcharge) 744.00
Membership Fees (Special surcharge) 49.00
Life Members Grants 141.00
Donations 309.00
Fundraising 520.00
Educational Activities 60.00
Interest and Dividends 1.00
Sale of Handbooks 358.00
Sale of National Calendars 695.00
Sale of Beginner's Observing Guides 0.00
Advertising 0.00
General Assembly (Including Travel Grants) 0.00
Miscellaneous: 3009.00
TOTAL REVENUE 8521.00
EXPENDITURES
Library 70.00
Meetings 28.00
Newsletter 1303.00
Annual Dinner (Net) 1163.00
General Assembly (Including Travel Grants) 0.00
Equipment and Supplies 1175.00
Office Administration 261.00
General Expenses and Audit 445.00
Educational Activities 588.00
Insurance 0.00
Awards and Donations 119.00
Observatory 984.00
Miscellaneous 1298.00
TOTAL EXPENDITURES 7434.00
SURPLUS OR DEFICIT ON OPERATIONS 1087.00
BANK BALANCE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR 15,050.00
BANK BALANCE TO END OF THIS YEAR 16,137.00

General Subject Detailed Subject Amount Comments
Membership
Membership Fees (Regular) 2635 This represents the amount that a Centre receives for membership. This account may be used as a clearing account for membership money received, deposited, and reissued to National Office.
Membership Fees (Youth) For use by Centres who separately record ordinary versus youth memberships.
Membership Fees (Basic surcharge)

744

This is the amount of surcharged received by the Centre.

Membership Fees
(Special surcharge/Associates)

49

These are extra membership charges not covered by the Centre 40% and the Centre surcharge.

Life Membership Grants

141

This is the
amount paid to a Centre each January for their life members - 40% of
annual base membership fee.

Donations / Fundraising

 

 

 

 

Donations

309

Cash donations received by the Centre or from National when processing memberships.

 

Fundraising / Sponsorships / Grants

520

This is
anything that raises money for a Centre and includes sponsorships for
special projects or grants received.

Educational Activities / Materials

 

 

60

 

Interest and Dividends

 

1

 

Publication Sales

 

 

This would be
for recording income from product sales; it would no longer be the net of
buying and selling the publications.

 

Sale of Observer's Handbooks

358

 

 

Sale of
Observer's Calendars

695

 

 

Sale of
Beginner's Observing Guides

0

 

 

Other
Publication Sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscriptions

 

 

 

 

Astronomy/ Sky
& Telescope magazine

974

This can be
used as a clearing account for subscriptions. The year end figure would be a net figure from all the ?ins and
outs?.  Ideally the net would be zero.

 

 

Other

 

 

Product Sales

 

 

 

 

RASC promo
items

 

Revenue received from selling these items.

 

Other items

 

 

Advertising

 

 

 

General Assembly

 

 

 

 

General
Assembly

 

Profit/loss for hosting a General Assembly

Events

 

 

 

 

Star Parties

1064

Record here revenue received from organizing a Star Party.

 

Annual Dinner

825

Revenue
received for the dinner

Observatory
site or equipment rentals/loans

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

 

146

(Items that
don?t fit any of the above categories)

 

 

 

 

TOTAL
REVENUE

 

8521

 

EXPENDITURES

Item

Details

Amount

Comments

 

 

 

 

Library

 

70

 

Publications

 

 

 

 

Newsletter

1303

Cost of
producing Centre newsletter

 

Handbook

331

Cost of
purchasing OH, BOG, Calendar, etc.

 

BOG

 

 

 

Calendar

480

 

 

Other
Publications

1062

 

 

 

 

 

Events

 

 

 

 

Meetings

28

 

 

Star Parties

445

Record here
expenses from organizing a star party

 

Annual Dinner

1163

 

 

Astronomy Day

 

 

 

Other Events

 

 

Product
Expenses

 

 

 

 

RASC promo
items

120

Record here
expenses for the purchase of promo items

 

Other items

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertising

 

40

 

Travel

General
Assembly and Council Meetings

 

Use this
account to record any expense for reimbursing rep to attend council
meetings / general assembly.

Could also be used as clearing account when the Centre pays for a rep's travel and is
then reimbursed by National.

 

Speaker Travel
Assistance

 

Expense
incurred for speakers.  STAP
Grants received from National would be recorded here to offset speaker
travel expenses.

Equipment and
Supplies

 

244

 

Office
Administration

 

221

 

General
Expenses and Audit

 

 

Record here
accounting/auditing expenses and other general expenses not recorded
elsewhere.

Educational
Activities

 

588

 

Insurance

 

 

 

Awards and
Donations

 

119

 

Observatory and
Site Expenses

 

984

 

Miscellaneous

 

236

Any items not covered by the above.

 

 

 

 

TOTAL EXPENDITURES

 

7434

 

 

EXPENDITURES

Item Details Amount Comments
Library 70
Publications
Newsletter 1303 Cost of producing Centre newsletter
Handbook 331 Cost of purchasing OH, BOG, Calendar, etc.
BOG
Calendar 480
Other Publications 1062
Events
Meetings 28
Star Parties 445 Record here expenses from organizing a star party
Annual Dinner 1163
Astronomy Day
Other Events
Product Expenses
RASC promo items 120 Record here expenses for the purchase of promo items
Other items
Advertising 40
Travel General Assembly and Council Meetings

Use this account to record any expense for reimbursing rep to attend council meetings / general assembly.

Could also be used as clearing account when the Centre pays for a rep?s travel and is then reimbursed by National.

Speaker Travel Assistance Expense incurred for speakers. STAP Grants received from National would be recorded here to offset speaker travel expenses.
Equipment and Supplies 244
Office Administration 221
General Expenses and Audit Record here accounting/auditing expenses and other general expenses not recorded elsewhere.
Educational Activities 588
Insurance
Awards and Donations 119
Observatory and Site Expenses 984
Miscellaneous 236 Any items not covered by the above.
TOTAL EXPENDITURES 7434

SURPLUS OR DEFICIT ON OPERATIONS (A) 1087 Profit or Loss for current fiscal year.
ASSETS/INVESTMENTS AT END OF PREVIOUS YEAR (Note: do not include capital assets.) (B) 15050 This represents the total assets of the Centre, including the balance of bank accounts, petty cash, GIC?s, and investments at end of the last year, but does not include capital assets such as observatories, telescopes, etc. This amount should have been reported as the total assets at the end of the current year in last year's financial report.
ASSETS/INVESTMENTS AT END OF THIS YEAR (C) 16137 (Note: do not include capital assets) (Note: C should equal A plus B)

Librarian

Report missing (web only).

Editor

NEWSLETTER

This year has shown an average membership drop from around 150 to nearer 132 as of October 31st. We published 200 copies for the January, March, May, July , September and November issues.

In addition to our members, a copy goes out to each of the RASC centres (26 others) across Canada and about 6 special interest groups/people, including NYAA, Terry Dickinson, the Peterborough Astronomy Group. The version that gets sent out to these people/centres do not contain web site passwords, email, telephone or address information for privacy concerns.

This was the first year in which there were 12 issues published, 6 on paper and 12 in adobe acrobat .PDF format, which are available online our web site, with copies to the national web site as well (http://www.rasc.ca/nl/) Submission deadlines are generally driven by the time for the newsletters to reach members. We try to get them out 9 days before a meeting (the Wednesday a week before). It takes one to two days to prepare labels, fold and stuff envelopes, and generally 2-5 days for printing. With 1-2 days (preferably more) to edit the newsletter, this brings us to a point about 3 weeks before a Regular meeting, on odd numbered months with a paper edition. For the online edition, the submission deadline is generally the last day of the odd numbered month for the even numbered online only edition.

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.

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 $0.05/page) 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.

Issue Costs of printing, envelopes, labels and postage:

January 210.66
March 220.90
May 223.03
July 224.47
September 220.68
November 212.36
Total 2003 1309.00

The newsletter remains the single biggest line item expense for the Centre. Every time we consider expanding the paper run from six to twelve issues a year, we realize that the costs would in fact double to $2500-2700 and that is toooooo much!

OTHER PROJECTS

Other projects this year included the printing of the 2nd Edition of Expanding Their Universe -The Teacher's Companion for Secondary School; two printings of the KC Brochure, ATM brochure and Responsible Lighting brochures; telescope manuals for the Venor, Douglas and Voyager, with two more expecting completion by the end of the year (Orbitor and Fitzgerald).

This marks my 8th and final year as Editor of the Kingston Centre.

National Council Rep

Report missing (web only).

Web Operations

I took over as Webmaster from Kevin Kell in January of this year. I changed the main page to try to make finding info hopefully easier. I added a celestial events section to the site, so people can find out what's going to happen in the night sky. 

We have a free Internet account with Internet Kingston, a local ISP in Kingston, as we are a local charitable organization. We are allowed 4 Mb of space at http://members.kingston.net/rasc . 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 $25/month (A personal user account) or about
$300/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 130.15.144.99 (hardware provided by Kevin Kell and internet access by the Department of Pathology) and hosts the secure web pages, which allows for userid/password access only to members. The hardware is an old Pentium2-500 class system which I have donated to the RASC-KC and if I can no longer provide the internet access, the computer will be transferred to the Centre to be located elsewhere. 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. 

I also use my own personal storage space at http://www.kfetter.100megs26.com for info, like next years total lunar eclipse

Kevin Fetter, Webmaster 2003

Observing Group

Places used for this Year

Doug Angle , Diane Torney's, John & Peggy Hurley and others I might have forgot. The weather this year didn't allow for observing at people's houses. Because of the weather not a good year for private observing sessions.

Amateur Telescope Making Group

Report missing (web only).

Awards Group

Report missing (web only).

Publicity Group

Report missing (web only).

Education Group

Report missing (web only).

Light Pollution Abatement

Report missing (web only).

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