These have been an exciting past few months for the society and the scientific community in general. Having recently joined the 21st century, by acquiring a tablet, I find myself better keeping abreast on astronomical happenings. Several members have turned me on to various applications, including Exoplanet, and I find myself constantly checking these resources for updates. The recent discoveries with regards to planetary searches is exciting, especially as we inch closer and closer to determining the atmospheric composition of Earth-size bodies in the habitable zone.
Our current telescopes at the Eagle Eye Observatory are not capable of seeing these miracles in the distance. However, our latest acquisition of a 25” Dobsonian owned by the late Larry Forrest will still manage to turn heads. Voted in during the April general assembly meeting, our new scope will take up residency during the next few months at Canyon of the Eagles. Along with the new family member, stay tuned for updates to the observatory as we clean house and introduce new enhancements.
The skies on Lake Buchanan haven’t been the most agreeable for public star parties since the middle of last year, though we did see a break in tradition for a few hours last month at the public event. With a turnout of about 50 people, the clouds parted for roughly 2 hours, allowing content visitors to see the splendors of the night sky. The weather was also in similar agreement for Friday night of the CTSP event. Sadly Saturday night saw more carousing and less observing. Attendance at our two day members only event was still high and the BBQ delicious.
In the coming weeks, we’ve many more opportunities for outreach and a very special May meeting on the horizon. As most of you know, we lose our home this month due to UT Austin finals. In lieu of our typical retreat to Wild Basin or St. Stephen’s, we will set up camp at Pedernales Falls. I hope you can join us for an evening of meeting, TSP talks, observing and a tour of the park’s “Star Theater”. Bring your scope, binoculars and a picnic dinner. Entrance fee to the park will be waived for AAS members.
Lastly I want to give a big shout out to our Executive Committee members, particularly those who will be leaving us at the end of the month. Ron Carman has been a committed Vice President for the past two years and departs the EC having provided us with a dazzling array of guest speakers at our monthly meetings. Terry Phillips will take over this position starting in June. Darin Koch, our Equipment Chair has done an amazing job at both maintenance and management of the Eagle Eye Observatory, including, but not limited to, upgrades on the cable and pulley roof system and the acquisition of EEO’s flat-screen monitor. James Hall, the newly appointed chair has some big shoes to fill. Joyce Lynch, esteemed AAS member and most recent Outreach Chair, is retiring from the Executive Committee after many years of service in several positions including that of President. Larry Martin will step into Joyce’s position and take on one of the most important roles within the society. Jim Linn steps down from the Member Services Chair and in his place we welcome back former Vice President Tim Brown. Darron Spohn, having recently rejoined the AAS ranks after time away, will take over as Communications Chair while Jim Spigelmire fills one of the three new Member At Large spots along with Alan Carruth and David Mathias.
We’ve got a great new team beginning next month, many outreach opportunities in the coming weeks, astronomical breakthroughs occurring left and right and many exciting observatory developments on the horizon. Now is a great time to be a member of the Austin Astronomical Society, and I’m delighted you are here with me.
Here is to dark and starry skies!