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2010

Annual Report 2010

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

President Vice-President Secretary Treasurer Auditor
Editor Ast. Day / IYA2009 Equipment Loan Fall'N'Stars KAON
OAFTN Relay for Life Responsible Lighting Website NC Rep
Library


Agenda

AGM - Kingston Centre RASC, November 12, 2010.

  • Welcome
  • Presentation of Agenda
  • Approval of Agenda
  • Approval of minutes of the 2009 AGM
  • Reading of annual reports
    • President
    • Secretary (report and approval to update at year end.)
    • Treasurer
    • Library
    • National Council Representative
    • Editor
  • Centre Elections
    • Secretary
    • Librarian
    • Editor
    • National Council Representative
  • Adjourn with thanks.

President

President's Report, 2010 - RASC Kingston Centre

The post IYA has indeed been a much needed low key year for Centre volunteers doing outreach. Dwindling numbers of active members and volunteer burn out are expected as part of the life cycle of a volunteer organization. Volunteer hours are down; money spent on outreach is down. Often the gold standard of Centre community engagement is the level of Astronomy Day activities and there were no organized events this year.

Having said that, there were a lot of activities that members took part in. While our commitment to formal support of the Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON) sessions at the Queen's Observatory had to be reduced to 4 from 12, there were several other nights that members attended as well. Members attended many other non-traditional events with their equipment to share the sky. These events included cancer society fundraisers, July 1st celebrations, and "Movies in the Square". More outreach opportunities engaged in were, judging at the local science fair, senior's education, public school visits, and the Charleston Lake public observing session. As volunteers, this self-serve, freestyle participation, has been a good opportunity to think about the hours we can give and how to set priorities in making those choices. This is a reasonable level of community involvement and I believe that the Centre has fulfilled its outreach mandate for 2010.

Other areas of volunteer involvement have been website maintenance and development. Our webmaster continues to expand and improve the site which is our most consistent public contact point. Most questions we receive about membership and activities are as a result of a visit to the website. We now also have a Facebook page which will increase our exposure. Regulus continues to evolve and the number of members getting paper copies mailed out is only 6, one is a copy for the Library I believe. The electronic version has added value in that the photos are all in glorious colour and better enjoyed. All submissions are appreciated and encouraged as usual. Reporting on events, observing targets, equipment and book reviews are valuable additions to the content - please keep them coming. In the current event file there is nothing like the Kingston Centre Chat List. Timely reports on comet magnitudes, shadow transits, and solar activity etc are great inspiration to get out and observe. I recommend members sign up for this list for this type of news on special events, or just to get some sympathy when the weather is bad. There has been a much needed general house cleaning in the Centre equipment loan program and perhaps the simplified inventory will encourage another member to take it over for a while. Our library continues to grow and many excellent selections have been made this year. Our accounts are in good shape as we head into 2011 and we will have money for equipment upkeep and outreach. The AGM at the national level approved a membership fee increase that the Kingston Centre voted against. As a result your executive has asked that the Centre surcharge be removed from the fee to counter the increase. This may take some time for the National office to put it into effect but when it is settled the membership will be notified.

The Centre also participated in the Fall'N'Stars dark sky campout weekend that we share with Belleville Centre. Attendance was down but the weather was variable. I cannot speak for everyone but I was glad to have gone to share some observing time with friends. It is a good time to see other scopes and check out a different view.

This year we tried a few workshop style meetings and I am hoping that it will cause a few folks to step up and say "I have something to share" or "here is something I need to know more about" and they will take it upon themselves to work out a plan and execute it. Member presentation nights are for members to share knowledge and skills. They could be great opportunities to help new members or non members who stop by with questions. I learned this summer that visitors to the website sometimes interpret member nights as 'members only' nights. We will try to clear that up. I have had some tough acts to follow when it comes to past presidents of the Kingston Centre, but I am glad for this opportunity and I thank the membership for making it possible. There are some new ideas for speakers and meeting themes in the works and I look forward to getting the ball rolling for 2011. I am grateful for the 2010 Executive and all of their support and guidance as we grind away at what is often the duller side of Centre housekeeping. Thank you fellow executive.

Susan Gagnon,
President 2010-2011,
RASC Kingston Centre.

This report was also published in Regulus, 2010 Dec, page 4.

Vice-President

No report for 2010 since this position was vacant.

Secretary

2010 Secretary's Report

We currently have a total of 85 Society members: 77 Regular members, 1 Youth member, and 7 Life members.

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

January 8: Members' Night featuring short presentations by Susan Gagnon, Doug Angle, Fred Barrett.
February 12: Dr. Daryn Lehoux: "The Antikythira Mechanism"
March 12: Members' Night featuring short presentations by Susan Gagnon, Kevin Kell, Leslie Roberts, Fred Barrett.
April 9: Members' Night featuring short presentations by Leslie Roberts, Bob Hilson, Kevin Kell.
May 14: Fred Barrett: "Picture Stacking With Registax"
June 11: Randy Attwood: "The Apollo 11 Landing - and How It Nearly Failed"
September 10: Terence Dickinson: "A Personal Quest for the Finest Stargazing Location in the World"
October 8: Members' Night featuring short presentations by Fred Barrett, Ken Kingdon, Doug Angle.

The Kingston Centre offered public observing for Astronomy Day. Displays and public observing were offered at the charity event "Relay for Life". Members also gave presentations at several area schools, local clubs, and offered public observing at the Charleston Lake Star Party. As well, a judge and a prize was contributed to the area Science Fair.

Public observing sessions were held at the Queen's University Observatory, in partnership with the Queen's University Physics Department.

The Fall'N'Stars 2010 star party, hosted jointly with the RASC Belleville Centre, was once again a great experience for all who attended.

Work continues on a Remote Operated Telescope.

Respectfully submitted,


Steve Hart
Secretary, RASC - Kingston Centre

Treasurer

Treasurer's Report 2009-2010 Kevin Kell (2010 Jan - present)
Annual General Meeting Friday 2010 November 12

Previous Treasurer: Kim Hay - 2008 Feb - 2009 Nov;
Position vacant 2009 Nov - 2010 Jan;
Auditor 2009-2010 - Doug Angle.
Our finances were audited by Doug Angle and his report is available below.

Summary: This was a very good fiscal year for the Centre. This was a combination of a one time payout from National RASC for life member maintenance ($742), a near record setting donation year ($1748), selloff of some previous year inventory ($420) and the lowest expenditure year in a decade ($1894) left us with a very large surplus. On the downside, low expenditures also are an indication of a low level of activity. Our membership level as of 2010 September 30 was 85, also the lowest in a decade. Total Income: $5756, Total Expenses: $1894, Net: $3862.

We have started to receive donations channeled through national RASC again, after a two year hiatus, but most of our donations came through direct to the Centre.

Income notes: membership fees ($23) $1738+15+28+742, surcharge ($5) 355 totalling 2878 or 50% of revenue. Calendars - decreased order to 20 (but we did sell out this year, as opposed to past years when we did not) Fund balances at end of year: Banquet $357, Star party $547, Observatory $14698, Reserve $500, Special Projects $1500, General Operating $8199 for a total of $25803.

Budgeting for the future: models and forecasts have shown that we can balance our budget without the $5 surcharge with prudent investing of $20000 to offset this loss, therefore the $5 surcharge has been eliminated. We are waiting now for it to work through the national IMYS system to take effect any day now.

Our CRA Disbursement Quota charitable spending surpluses in the past were $1712, $2107, $8087. This year we will run a negative for the first time, approximately (459-1747= $-1289).

Attached are the: 2009-2010 balance sheet (shown in the table below)
and the 2009-2010 profit & loss statement.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada-Kingston Centre Balance Sheet
Sep 30, 2010
ASSETS
Banquet Account 357.00
Fall'N'Stars 547.75
General Operating Account 8,199.12
Observatory 14,698.87
Reserve 500.00
Special Projects 1,500.00
TOTAL ASSETS 25,802.74
LIABILITIES & EQUITY
Opening Bal Equity 19,114.00
Retained Earnings 2,827.56
Net Income 3,861.18
Total Equity 25,802.74
TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY 25,802.74

What does the future hold?
Until our activity level goes up, our expenditures will remain low and we will continue to aim for balanced budgets in the future. Investment returns should become significant with rising interest rates and more capital under investments. By the summer we hope to have $20k invested in GIC's returning an average of 2% or $400. We will have to ramp up our charitable spending (from $459) to not lose too much ground with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Kevin Kell, RASC-KC Treasurer 2010-2011

This report was also published in Regulus, 2010 Dec, page 5.

Auditor

2010 November 4

I have examined the financial records of the RASC Kingston Centre. The role of an auditor is not to check every transaction, but rather to sample transaction records sufficiently to ensure that proper record keeping and practices are in place.

I am happy to report that I've found the management of Centre finances to be accurate, orderly and responsible. Expenditures are properly recorded, and consistent with the goals of the society. The Treasurer has done a great job of keeping the financial records clear and organized.

In conducting the audit, I also took a little broader view of the management of the Centre, and here I have some observations.

  • We don't apply the same rigour to our fixed assets as we do to the financial assets. We own several telescopes and other equipment, held in different locations. It would be prudent to confirm the continued existence of these assets. Additions or disposal of assets should be approved and itemized in the minutes.
  • Several of the funds should be reviewed for relevance. For example, we have an active banquet fund, but have not had a banquet for 3 years. Additions to the observatory fund have been out of proportion to expenses for many years, and there is no current activity towards a major observatory project. Terms of reference for the reserve fund are different for interest and principle, yet these are not delineated in the balance sheet.

These observations are not meant to indicate a problem with our equipment or funds. Rather, the board members are to be commended for their management of the Centre's affairs. I bring these to the attention of the membership and board in the belief that attention to these issues will make the oversight of the Kingston Centre even stronger.

Doug Angle, Auditor

This report was also published in Regulus, 2010 Dec, page 5.

Editor

Newsletter production continues in 2010 pretty much as it did in 2009, with the style of the newsletter pretty much settled. In 2009, 10 issues were produced (no July or August issues). In 2010, 11 issues will have been produced (no August issue), but with somewhat fewer pages per issue than in 2009, though the production of a July issue this year helped to even out the annual page totals. A summary of pages produced is shown in the table below.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2009 10 10 10 12 10 12 -- -- 23 10 10 10 117
2010 6 8 8 8 10 6 10 -- 10 10 10 10 96

Production of the January 2011 issue of Regulus, which will celebrate the Centre's 50th anniversary, began in October. This is a very exciting project! It is likely that this issue will be 15-20 pages in length, and it is hoped that it will contain contributions from a significant number of Centre members.

Material for Regulus is accepted on every day of the year. Several members contributed significant amounts of material to Regulus, and this is greatly appreciated. (After all, the editor doesn't want to have to generate all the material for the newsletter!) I won't name them here for fear of missing someone, but looking back through the 2010 issues will make it clear who the contributors were! If you haven't written something for Regulus, please consider doing so in 2011.

Respectfully submitted,
Walter MacDonald.

This report was also published in Regulus, 2010 Nov, page 5.

Astronomy Day / IYA 2009

This position was vacant, and no official KC Astronomy Day activities were held in 2010.

Equipment Loan

Activity continues to decrease with the equipment loan program. In the last 12 months there have been less than a dozen pieces signed out, most notably the data projector and slide screen for talks, the SQMeter, the 19mm and 31mm eyepieces and the Douglas 25cm telescope.

Sound familiar? Same as last year.

With this level of activity and the shear amount of space required to store the items, and the lack of a permanent home in the form of a warm room/storage shed, we have started removing items from inventory.

This fiscal year we have disposed of:

  • Item 03 - Blue fuzzy display boards from 1996
  • Item 05 - Mirror grinding machine used to build the Venor telescope (ruined in a sewage flood some years ago but only written off this year)
  • Item 08 - Five Barn Door trackers - sold off to members at a fall 2009 meeting
  • Item 12 - 10x50 binoculars (donated in 1999?) - door prize at Fall'n'Stars 2010
  • Item 13 - Bushnell Voyager 11cm telescope (1999) - door prize at Fall'n'Stars 2010
  • Item 17 - kodak 35mm slide projector - sold off at fall 2009 meeting
  • Item 18 - 4" thousand oaks solar filter - door prize at Fall'n'Stars 2010
  • Item 24 - CanTire Eliminator Power pack - batteries leaked & corroded away electronics

The long term plan continues to be to store these items at the Centre's future observatory site and make them more readily available to sign out.

Kevin Kell, Loan Coordinator.

Changes: Regulus, 2010 Sep, page 2.

Fall'N'Stars

Report:
Regulus, 2010 Oct, page 9.

Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON)

Coordinator: Susan Gagnon

References:
Regulus, 2009 Nov, page 2 (2009 October 10 session)
Regulus, 2009 Dec, page 2 (2009 November 14 session)
Regulus, 2010 Jan, page 2 (2009 December 12 session)
Regulus, 2010 Feb, page 8 (2010 January 9 session)
Regulus, 2010 Nov, page 3 (2010 October 8 session)

Librarian

Librarian's Report November 12, 2010.

The Centre's library is kept at the home of the librarian.
A listing of the books in the main collection can be found through the centre's web site.
A selection of books is brought for the members' review and borrowing with the librarian to meetings when the librarian is in town that day.
A sign out sheet is kept with the books.
Members can contact the librarian between meetings if they wish to borrow a book.
Contact information is in the newsletters.

Recent acquisitions have all be donations. No purchases have been made in the last 12 months but consideration has been given to ebooks, etc. as a means of acquiring & loaning packages of information and knowledge. The ability to share these books in some common format will be needed.

Kim & Kevin again this year found & acquired donations from:-

Kevin kindly wrote up the book data in emails sent during the year. These books will be entered into the library listing soon.

As always, suggestions for books to be purchased are always gratefully received and have lead to many of the purchases in past years.

David Maguire, Librarian

Observational Astronomy for the Novice (OAFTN)

OAFTN was not run this year.

Relay for Life

Report: Regulus, 2010 Jul, page 3.

Responsible Lighting

Vacant position, no report.

Website

Chair: Walter MacDonald
Members: Kevin Kell, Kim Hay

The website continues on with only modest changes, mostly incremental additions to content as it becomes available:

  • New PHP code was written to give detail to the RASC News items that appear on the front page of the website (previously all that appeared were headlines). (Nov 2009)
  • A new JRASC Offprints (1913-1979) page was added to the Library section.
  • Vector versions of the Transactions of the Astronomical and Physical Society of Toronto for 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1900 have been added to the RASC 1890-1905 page.
  • Vector versions of the Bulletin for 1991 through 1996 have been added to the Bulletin¬†(1990s)¬†page.
  • Meeting notes have been added where I could find them in my own logs for the period 1990-1995.
  • Changes in the Members-Only Section:
    • A new page for storing KC correspondence has been added to the Secure section.
    • New pages for Council/AGM Minutes have been added to the Secure section. Material is posted as XHTML, but with links to the original scans in PDF form (where available).

Website usage for the year is given below. Traffic shows a slight downtrend over the year; perhaps this is to be expected given the downtrend in Centre membership and activity.

Website Usage Stats

Summary by Month as at 2010 October 1
Daily Avg Monthly Totals
Month Hits Files Pages Visits Sites Kbytes Visits Pages Files Hits
Sep 2010 3137 1711 1003 214 1558 6746551 6425 30092 51330 94120
Aug 2010 3763 2571 1934 321 2151 11912328 9952 59979 79719 116675
Jul 2010 4036 3186 2549 587 2329 10903315 18202 79045 98783 125134
Jun 2010 3950 2911 2227 633 2401 9782659 19001 66826 87357 118505
May 2010 4349 3491 2413 836 3276 11094871 25943 74817 108248 134819
Apr 2010 3918 3049 2399 861 2875 13134956 25843 71972 91471 117568
Mar 2010 4965 3721 2576 910 3420 14236844 28233 79876 115351 153935
Feb 2010 5365 3868 2546 916 3434 13272588 25658 71312 108329 150226
Jan 2010 4665 3182 2565 910 3315 16110875 28213 79522 98653 144635
Dec 2009 4799 3097 2756 1019 3800 16589208 31602 85458 96020 148770
Nov 2009 5010 3445 2252 893 4406 11798174 26801 67576 103375 150329
Oct 2009 5940 3981 2959 955 3590 19922428 29606 91747 123438 184157
Totals 155504797 275479 858222 1162074 1638873

Respectfully submitted,
Walter MacDonald.

National Council Representative

Brian Hunter was our rep for 2010.

References:
Regulus, 2009 Dec, page 5 (November 21st NC meeting)

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