May 2019 DFAC Update

quidnoviElectronic Newsletter of the
Desert Foothills Astronomy Club

Captain’s Log: May 1, 2019

Greetings Fellow Stargazers,

DFAC is now in a state of “minimal activity”, as disclosed on our revised Contact page. As of May 31 the office of President will become vacant. I will continue as Webmaster and maintain our website through March 2021, including our DFAC Events page. Members wishing to post their own events are invited to contact our Webmaster with the relevant info. Activities at Walker Star Barn will also be updated monthly.

I’d like to thank Jay Chatzkel for his number-crunching as Treasurer, Diann Smith for her outreach work as Media Liaison, and all our members for their continued support. I’d also like to thank Roger Serrato for brainstorming and co-founding DFAC with me back in 2006. It’s been a good run so far, and the future is admittedly uncertain, but here’s the new (minimal) State of DFAC …

1. Going forward
No votes for officers are needed because nobody is running for anything. No Treasurer’s Report is needed. No dues are due. That said, DFAC is still alive and online. Members are invited to submit astrophotos or videos, or info regarding special events they wish to host. This will be your final Quid Novi, barring a bold volunteer to take over as Editor. You’ll have to watch the DFAC Events page for future activities.

2. Disposition of treasury
We have $283.77 remaining in our treasury. Here’s how it will be spent …

  • $80.00 to the Astronomical League for our continued presence on their Astronomy Clubs page, and to continue our subscription to their Reflector newsletter for the 2019–2020 season.
  • Our treasury balance of $283.77 – $80.00 = $203.77 will be used to extend our web hosting and domain name registration with GoDaddy beyond our current March 2021 expiration date. I have discussed this with GoDaddy, and it looks like the $203.77 balance could extend our online presence to around March 2022. I believe this is a good use of funds, since there’s a lot of valuable resources available to members and the public on our website.

3. Open observing at Heimhenge
I know it’s short notice, but I’d like to try for some open observing here at Heimhenge on Saturday May 11. Details on our DFAC Events page as always. We’ll have a First Quarter Moon, M13, and a few other deep sky targets. Jupiter rises at 22:00 to close out the night.

4. Star Barn
Ron Walker has decided to continue with his experimental Wednesday showtimes at the Star Barn. His latest schedule is available on (where else?) our DFAC Events page.

5. Interesting development
I’ve been talking to Laurie Ricci, President of the New River Desert Hills Incorporation Committee NRDHIC. It seems we have a common interest — dark night skies. I realize some residents of these areas oppose incorporation, but it’s a possibility that can’t be ignored. I haven’t yet decided how I’ll vote if incorporation makes it to the ballot, but either way it goes I think it would be beneficial to stay engaged with the organizers. As it turns out, all the incorporation committee members are dark sky advocates.

Of note, NRDHIC has been in contact with IDA regarding the possibility of securing a Dark Sky designation for our area. The IDA explained how this is more difficult for an unincorporated entity, and that the bottom line is an ability to control lighting ordinances (as was done by Sedona to secure their Dark Sky designation).

My most recent SQM reading was 20.57. That’s a respectable number and certainly Dark Sky worthy. I haven’t seen a 21+ reading since 2009, but my running average over the years is currently at 20.72, and I can still see the Milky Way. It would be great if 20+ readings could continue, so I’ve made myself available to NRDHIC as a consultant on that aspect of their goals.

FYI, several members have borrowed my SQM to test their own locations, and any member is welcome to do so. If you’re interested, you can download the owners manual (SQM-1.pdf) and data from other locations for comparison (SQM-2.pdf) on our Downloads page. But you’ll have to pick up the SQM here at Heimhenge.

6. Astronomical Eye Candy
Since this is potentially the last Astronomical Eye Candy, I’ll submit one of my personal favorites … images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showing high resolution photos of the surface. I have no doubt we will return to the Moon before we go to Mars, so enjoy this tour of humanity’s next home. And if you missed my blog on why the first lunar colonies will likely be near the poles, see my Dec 3, 2018 post on Sky Lights.

Till next we meet, clear skies.

Dan Heim
Desert Foothills Astronomy Club

April 2019 DFAC Update