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2013

KC Annual Report 2013

Reports of the Kingston Centre Executive and Committee Chairs

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

Agenda

AGM - Kingston Centre RASC, November 14, 2013.

  • Welcome
  • Presentation of Agenda
  • Approval of Agenda
  • Approval of minutes of the 2011 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.

Project Links

Regulus links for centre projects:

President

No report.

Vice-President

No report.

Secretary

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Kingston Centre
2013 Year in Review

The Kingston Centre had a very busy year and included 8 regular meetings including tonight, 4 Executive Board meetings, a meeting with RASC officials regarding the upcoming changes to the Bylaws and Membership Status. We assisted in 9 KAON sessions with Queen's. There were side trips by various members and we took on a building shed project, and the lease of a 16" Cassigrain Telescope.

This year we dabbled in the use of the Internet for our meetings using Anymeeting.com. These were open to the public. This was a learning curve with the use of video cameras and audio, and the program function itself. We observed several other Centres were venturing into this realm, and the GA's use of Google+ for their open meeting. We are looking for a better method to broadcast our meetings to a wider audience, and new programs.

Meeting Summary:

  • January we had guest Speaker Nathalie Ouellette who spoke on Nature vs. Nurture- the Role of the Cluster Environment in Galaxy Growth.
  • February with a member's night.
  • March meeting was a video conference with Tom Field who is a contributing editor for Sky & Telescope, and author of RSpec ( www.rspec-astro.com) who spoke to us on Spectroscopy.
  • April we had a viewing session planned in place of the meeting due to exam's at Queen's but this was cancelled due to inclement weather.
  • May brought the move to a new room (MacCorry B201), due to Queen's University renovating the rooms in Ellis Hall. The Room 324 will not be ready until January 2014. This was a member's night as well.
  • In June we and the public were treated with a talk by Dr. David Levy. Kingston was a stop on the multi-centre tour, which was arranged by Randy Attwood, and the use of the Speaker Exchange program from the RASC.
  • June meeting consisted of a Telescope workshop and the Torus Project Update.
  • We were off for the July and August meetings.
  • September had us come back together to talk about our summer observing sessions and astronomy projects.
  • October we had a video on Light Pollution and Responsible Lighting - City Dark and then had a discussion on the movie and the lighting improvements in Kingston. The city is replacing all lighting with full cut off LED lighting.
  • November is our Annual Meeting with the President, Vice President and Treasurer Positions open. After will be a regular members meeting.
  • December we will be gathering and enjoying our Annual Dinner at Aunt Lucy's.

We are hoping to be back in our regular room (Ellis Hall Room 324) in January 2014.

Special Events

  • In late May, the Kingston Centre transported the 16" Telescope to its temporary location and assembled it. The previous year saw the building of the roll off building observatory for this project. There was power and internet brought out to the observatory. Throughout the summer there were various tweaking projects and in late October the primary and secondary mirrors were cleaned, and reassembled. We are now waiting to collimate the mirrors, which will be done by the end of November. Next will be the work on the CCD with the telescope. We may possibly have to recoat the mirror. That will be a 2014 project.
  • After the June 3 meeting with David Levy, member Susan Gagnon and Terrence Dickenson went observing at the Lennox and Addington Dark Sky Preserve.
  • Mid June saw the building of a Storage Shed to house all the Centres assests, thus removing them from member's homes. Easier access and for auditing purposes.
  • August 3rd was the official opening of the North Frontenac Dark Sky Preserve. The RASC-KC is a supporter of this project. There is a cement pad with electrical, washroom facilities, parking. The one thing that is needed is more trees/shrubs on the eastern side to block oncoming traffic. Some education is needed for those who use computers at the site to block the light from the screens, so this does not affect others night vision.
  • August 29th, Susan Gagnon and Rick Wagner attended the Lennox & Addington Dark Sky Site to see Terrance Dickinson receive the Lennox & Addington Life Time Achievement Award for his work in Astronomy and the spearheading of the Dark Sky Site project.
  • November 3rd, saw several members brave the cold and the clouds to watch the Partial Solar Eclipse. The clouds cleared enough to see the trailing end of the eclipse.
  • On November 8th had a members observing night at a members home. It has been a long time since we have done this, and it was a clear night and well received. Many are looking forward to the next one.

Kim Hay, Secretary

Treasurer

Treasurer's Report 2012-2013 Kevin Kell (2010 Jan - present)

Previous Treasurer Kim Hay - 2008 Feb - 2009 Nov, position vacant 2009 Nov - 2010 Jan
Auditor 2009-2013 - Doug Angle

Summary: Another quiet year for the Centre. Some one time capital expenses include the construction of a storage shed to concentrate and collect the Centre's equipment, and the construction of the Tardis Observatory, hosting the Torus telescope. Our membership level as of 2013 September 30 was 70. Previous family (associate) members that were not listed in RASC membership lists have been converted/modified into a new family membership type that do appear in the count. An equipment audit was also performed for the first time in some years, and while there are a few uncertainties on a few items, we were happy to find that the storage shed project strongly contributed to finding of objects in one place during the audit.

Total Income: $5993, Total Expenses: $5946, Net: $47

Income notes: membership fees ($23) $1686 or 28% of revenue, down from 46% last year.
Total donations this fiscal year were $1528, up from $410 last year.
We received a $417 grant to help cover expenses with the David Levy tour, had good sales of 2013 Calendars, and ran the financials for the 14th annual Fall'n'Stars star party this year.

I have classified $1359 of the expenses as a capital projects associated with the Storage Shed and |tardis Observatory. So our "operating budget net" (without these capital projects) was actually $47+1359=$1406. We continue to try to budget without deficits.

Funds as of 2013 Sep 30
Banquet $0
Fallnstars $752
General $8,546
Observatory $14,982
Reserve $500
Special Projects $1,500
Total $26,281

What does the future hold? The only major initiatives in the near future are the outfitting/commissioning of the Tardis Observatory.

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 in the midrange future with rising interest rates and more capital under investments. We have $20k invested in GIC's returning an average of 1.3% or $260. We have ramped up our charitable spending in the last year with the David Levy event and higher bills for the public meeting room rentals (up to approx $80 per event).

We are continuing to look for land to base it on as well as a base for an observing group.

Kevin Kell, RASC-KC Treasurer 2012-13

Auditor

I have examined the financial records of the Kingston Centre, and I'm satisfied that the accounts of the centre are in good standing, that there are sufficient controls on the use and record keeping of Centre funds, and that expenses are consistent with the goals of the RASC and the Kingston Centre.

Last year, there was a discrepancy of some $300, where the bank accounts exceeded the amount expected by the accounting records. This year the amount is smaller at $118.16, but still non-zero. I note that the treasurer has made a heroic effort to find the source, and continues to improve the tracking of sales, expenses and deposits. Given the overall excellent records and controls, I'm not concerned about the difference.

It appears that there are some accounting practices that are driven by the software used, rather than what's convenient for our situation. For example, I would have expected that the Torus observatory would be funded directly from the observatory fund, supported by an appropriate motion. Instead, there was a motion to transfer the money to the general fund, then spent from there. This interferes somewhat with the ability to track such a transaction. Some-where in a parallel universe is software that doesn't impose such limitations. In ours, it may be prudent to ensure that motions more clearly reflect the underlying intentions.

I'm particularly pleased to note that administrative or overhead types of expenses amount to only about $200; less than 4% of the total budget. The Profit and Loss statement has a higher value for administration, but this includes speaker expenses, honoraria and the like, which are of value to the members as opposed to things like bank fees, postage and photocopying. Our money is being well spent.

My compliments to the treasurer for the quality of his methods and records, and to the executive for the care with which they are managing the Centre.

Doug Angle, Auditor RASCKC 2012-13

Editor

Newsletter Covers
Regulus continues to publish on a more-or-less regular schedule. Eight issues were produced in 2012, and ten will have been produced for 2013. One brief issue of Ridiculous (the first in 20 years!) was also released at summer's end. In addition to the Centre's website, issues of Regulus are also archived at rasc.ca/newsletters.

The table below is a five-year summary of newsletter production. 2013 has been a strong year, thanks to the various observing activities and construction projects undertaken by the membership. Hopefully this will continue through 2014!

Year Issues Pages Notes
2009 10 117
2010 11 93
2011 8 87 Nov. issue was produced by Kim & Kevin.
2012 8 78
2013 11 107 Projected whole-year numbers.


Respectfully submitted,
Walter MacDonald

Equipment Loan

For the first time in some years we actually managed to do an equipment audit and the results were very good. We actually have the majority of items we think we have! the equipment loan list can be found on our website kingston.rasc.ca/equipment.php

Equipment use over the past year remains low. Some of the highlights include:

  • Fitzgerald 20cm telescope - regular monthly use at the KAON sessions at Queen's University along with the binocular set.
  • the 19mm Televue 1ΒΌ" panoptic eyepiece has been used a few times as has the 31mm Nagler 2" eyepiece
  • The Starlight Xpress MX716 camera has been reassigned to the Tardis observatory project for the upcoming year and will not be available.
  • the epson data projector has been signed out a few times for public outreach sessions and Fall'n'Stars along with the projection screen, and is also brought along as a backup during meeting nights.

Some of the equipment is getting older and we will take another look at writing off or dropping from the books some of those items in the near future.

Expressions of interest of items that we do not have that you think our members would use, are welcome.


Kevin Kell, Loan Coordinator.

Fall'N'Stars

Cloud moved in Friday, in the late afternoon. We did manage to see two very bright flares, one was -8.5; through the cloud it was spectacular. There was some clear patches here and there, others stayed up to get a clear spot, then packed it in.

Saturday was cloud rain, drizzle. It stopped raining and did not clear up, even in the wee hours as what was predicted.

It was sunny and very cool Sunday morning. We viewed the in white light and Ha, and also observed in the morning thanks to Hank, then found it in our Dob. There were nice prominences on the Sun, but no sunspots or groups. Hank tried for Sirius, did not find it.

It was a good weekend with friends, astronomy and camp fires.

Some stats:

Registrations: 25 (22 weekend, 3 day passes)
Income: $1237
Expenses: $792
Net: $444 Split 50/50 with RASC Belleville.

Thanks to the organizing committee: Mark Coady, Joanne Burns, John Cairns, Joe Shields, Greg Lisk, Kim Hay, Susan Gagnon, Hank Bartlett, Kevin Kell.

Kim Hay

Kingston Astronomy Outreach Network (KAON)


Coordinator: Susan Gagnon

References:
Regulus, 2013 Feb, page 3 (2013 January 12th session)
Regulus, 2013 Mar, page 3 (2013 February 9th session)
Regulus, 2013 Apr, page 1 (2013 April 13th session)
Regulus, 2013 Sep, page 14 (2013 July 13th session)
Regulus, 2013 Oct, page 3 (2013 September 14th session)
Regulus, 2013 Nov, page 3 (2013 October 12th session)

Librarian

No report.

Observational Astronomy for the Novice (OAFTN)

OAFTN was not run this year.

Relay for Life

The Centre did not participate in the Relay for Life this year.

Responsible Lighting

No report.

Website

Website Snippet
Chair: Walter MacDonald
Members: Kevin Kell, Kim Hay

The current version of the Centre's website will mark its 7th anniversary in February 2014. This is a couple of years longer than I thought it would be in service! It works well enough, but page editing is done at the code level which is not user-friendly. Also, the image gallery software we were using did not survive one of the server upgrades. (Our hard-coded image galleries still work though.)

Some thought has been given to building the next version of the Centre's website with Drupal 7 (also used by the RASC) which would make editing very easy and allow us to plug in various pre-built open source widgets for extra capabilities. Porting the current site to Drupal would be a major project, but it would be worth the effort required.

As usual, thanks go to our servermeister Kevin Kell, who has managed the backups and replaced server hardware and software as required.

National Council Representative

This position is vacant.

Background note: At the 2013 General Assembly, National Council was replaced by the National Advisory Council. Centres still have representatives on this new body, as before, but nothing NAC does is binding on the Directors of the Society (i.e. NAC is powerless).

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