Newsletter of the Desert Foothills Astronomy Club
Issue #66: July 23rd, 2012
          Member Society of the Astronomical League
Since 2006

About Quid Novi

Past Issues

DFAC Events

Next Meeting

Last Meeting

State of DFAC

Quote of the Month

Space Debris

Contact the Editor: Dan Heim @ 623.465.7307 or email:

DFAC Events for 2012-2013:
Date   Time   Event   Location
May 23   6:30-8:30 pm   DFAC Business Meeting
Speakers: Dan Heim & Roger Serrato
Agenda: DFAC Business & Officer Elections
  North Valley Regional Library
40410 North Gavilan Peak Parkway
Anthem, AZ 85086
Jun 23   3 pm-???   June DFAC Summer Social at Heimhenge
Asteroids Snooker (official rules available
here), possible big-screen video feature
Food and drink on the house
Please RSVP by June 15
New River, AZ
Map available on request
Jul 21   noon -???   July DFAC Summer Social at Walker Ranch
Double-feature (TBD) in the Walker Cineplex
Food and drink on the house
Please RSVP by July 14
  Walker Ranch
Cave Creek, AZ
Map available on request
Aug 18   3:00-???   August DFAC Summer Social at Smith Ranch
BBQ food and drink on the house
Please RSVP by July 30 to
El Presidente, and it will be forwarded to Diann
  Smith Ranch
New River, AZ
Map available on request
Sep ??   TBA   DFAC private observing session at Smith Ranch
BYO drinks and snacks
  Same as above
Nov/Dec ??   TBA   Holiday Social
Details TBA
  Jim & Jean Renn's Hacienda
Map available on request
Jan 16   6:30-8:30 pm   Special Lecture: Fr. Chris Corbally S.J., of the Vatican Observatory, on the topic of stellar evolution
Doors open at 6 pm. Arrive early to get a good seat.
  St. Rose Church
2825 W. Rose Canyon Circle
Anthem, AZ 85086
Map available

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Next Meeting: Unknown
See State of DFAC below ...

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Last Meeting: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This was our annual Business Meeting. If you missed the summary of results, see the last issue of Quid Novi here: 06-01-2012.html

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State of DFAC: By Dan Heim, President
Item 1: Publication of Quid Novi during our Summer break has always been on an "as needed" basis. This issue addresses changes in our meeting structure and activities, and continues the discussion I started last issue in State of DFAC.

Item 2: First, and most importantly, here's a summary of the results of our search for a new formal meeting venue. The news is not good, but there are some rays of hope. The following venues were investigated, and I rank them here in order from most to least viable, with relevant details provided ...

  • Anthem Aerospace Academy: I finally made contact with the new principal, Deb Roets (who replaced the now-retired Pat Yenny). They are definitely interested in an ongoing collaboration with DFAC, including evening observing sessions, daytime solar observing, in-class presentations, and acting as a host for our meetings. They have classrooms that would seat 25, and a media room and multi-purpose room that could accommodate larger numbers. The former is $10/hour, the latter two are $15/hour. All rooms have projection screens and built-in projectors. If custodial assistance (special setup or post-meeting clean-up) is required, there would be additional fees. Given our usual meetings run 3 hours, allowing for pre- and post-meeting activities, our cost here would likely be $30/meeting. We have started discussion around whether their PTA could provide some financial support in exchange for what DFAC would provide them, but that discussion is ongoing.
  • St. Rose Parish in Anthem: They have a meeting room with a projection screenand projector. Room capacity is 25-30. The rental fee is only $10/evening (same as what we were paying at NVRL). Unfortunately, due to demand for that room, we couldn't lock-in the same day every month unless we went with the 4th Friday, any Saturday morning, or any Sunday evening. You can see the scheduling difficulties inherent in this choice, and I doubt many members would want weekend meetings.We will be using this facility for our Jan 16 Special Lecture (see DFAC Events above).
  • Desert View Bible Church: This is located at Central and Carefree HWY, so it would be more centrally located for many of our members. They have both a regular size classroom, and a larger room that could accommodate up to 100. Both rooms have projectors and screens. The rental fee is $50/meeting. That's a bit high, and would likely require an increase in dues. Still, it could work for the occasional "special meeting" when a prestigious speaker attracts people from other clubs and the general public.
  • Ben Avery Shooting Range: Small meeting room seats 20-25 adults, the large room up to 150. Both have projectors and screens. $50/night for the small room, $75 for the large.
  • Anthem Outlet Mall: I'll fill you in, since I checked it out, but this one is totally out of the question. $50/hour, two hour minimum, no screen or projector, seating is on benches.
  • New Anthem Community Association Building: I put this late addition last, not because it would be undesirable, but because there are too many unknowns. As many of you know, this building was recently purchased to add office space for the ACA and Sheriff's substation. Plans for the future include meeting rooms for civic groups. Beyond that, nothing more is known at this time. If any DFAC member is also a member of ACA (and I know a few are), I'd appreciate your contacting them and inquiring about remodeling schedules, expected fees, room capacity, and availability of screens and projectors. They might have no answers, but whatever you can find out, please let me know. Thanks.

Item 3: Following directly from Item 2, it seems that the best thing to do for 2012-2013 season is forego our usual Lecture Series, and concentrate more on our own private observing sessions at members' homes. Diann Smith has already expressed an interest in hosting one at her ranch in East New River sometime in September. Details TBA. She has very dark skies, being located in the "shadow" of Circle Mountain. I'd love to host one here at Heimhenge in October or November. If any other member is interested in hosting, please let me know. Not sure if anything beyond November works, until we get past the holidays.

Item 4: Note in our Events Calendar above that our August DFAC Social will also be at the Smith Ranch. Please RSVP by July 30 to me. Rather than posting emails that could be harvested by roving web-bots, I decided security would be better if RSVPs were sent to my javascript-protected email address, so please RSVP there. Then I'll just forward those RSVPs to our event host.

Item 5: Congrats to member Raul Espinoza for having his Venus transit photo (top image) selected by the Carefree Kiwanis. They'll be using it on the cover of their Science Fair Handbook for next school year. The Handbook is distributed free, in print and electronically, to students in the North Valley. The Carefree Kiwanis are very active in promoting STEM activities, and their annual Science Fair attracts hundreds of students from grades K-12, competing in three age-level groups. I've acted as a judge at these events. The Kiwanis do an excellent job. And here's a nice bonus ... in exchange for using Raul's photo, the Kiwanis will donate $25 to the DFAC treasury. Thanks to both Jim Walborn (DFAC & Kiwanis) and Raul Espinoza for making this happen.

If you have any feedback, you know where to find me. Until next we meet, clear (and dark) skies!

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Quote of the Month:
[Given the now-certain shift of our club activities from our Lecture Series to more actual observing, this quote seemed appropriate.]

“Astronomy's much more fun when you're not an astronomer.”

Brian May, Musician

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Space Debris: The Moon Hoax Debunked
If you're a regular reader of Sky Lights, excuse this reminder. But this week's blog is worth seeing. Especially the video where Buzz Aldrin decks a heckler. Check it out.

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