TAS Virtual General Meeting on Zoom
How to Attend the TAS Virtual General Meeting on Zoom
Friday, September 24, 2021 @ 7:30 pm CDT
The General Meeting of the Texas Astronomical Society is held on the fourth Friday of each month, except November. No meeting is held in December.
Members in good standing of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas will receive an email notification containing information about how to join the virtual meeting.
|Zoom open for Q&A|
| Meeting called to order
Opening remarks from the President
Speaker Introduction by Vice President
|TAS Business Meeting|
|Constellation of the Month|
|Adjourn to BAMSIG|
TAS MEMBERS: TAS sends out ZOOM meeting notifications and links via Constant Contact. If you are not receiving our e-mail:
President's Letter - September 2021
Dear Fellow TAS Members,
Somehow it is September already, so this will be my last letter to you as President of TAS. As many of you know, Eugene and I have moved to the Austin area where our daughter, son-in-law, 2-year-old grandson and soon-to-be newborn (due September 18) grandson live. As much as I love being with our family, I will miss seeing my TAS friends when we are able to return to in-person activities. If TAS continues the Zoom meetings, I will see you there since I will remain a member of TAS. I hope to also see TAS friends at events such as Texas Star Party and Eldorado Star Party once the pandemic is over.
Serving as your President has been a great honor, one that I didn’t dream of when I joined TAS in 2015. Before being elected President, I served as Vice President for a year and as a director at large for two years prior to that. I’ve learned a great deal and made many friends, and would encourage every member to consider becoming involved in club leadership.
I wish to thank the current board, Tammy Onufreiczuk, Daniela Gruschevska, Nathan Day, John Wagoner, Dona Mularkey, Clayton Fitchett, Lint LaCour, Grady Muldrew and Matt Cooper for their service this past year. Each and every one made valuable contributions and made it possible for me to do my job.
At the September 24 General Meeting we will hold the annual election. Your Nominating Committee of Rachel Allen, Ed Flaspoehler and myself have completed a slate of candidates for officers and directors:
President: Tammy Onufreiczuk
Vice President: Lint LaCour
Treasurer: Nathan Day
Secretary: Daniela Gruschevska
Directors-at-Large: Jerry Bassett, Lloyd Lashbrook, Bill Moser, Dona Mularkey, Michael Rymer, John Wagoner
TAS depends on the willingness of member volunteers to serve, so please join me in thanking these individuals for stepping up, and give them your support. Another way to become involved is to volunteer to shadow or assist someone in an appointed position.
After 2020, we expected a return to normal in 2021, but Covid had other plans. In spite of the need to continue with virtual-only meetings, TAS has a lot to be proud of over the past year. We continued to have quality, engaging speakers at each month’s general meeting. Attendance on the Zoom calls remained high, ranging up to 75 members at the general meetings. Many improvements were made at the Atoka dark site: Glenn Fitzgerald put out a call for volunteers to help repair the damage done in December by feral hogs. TAS members came over the course of two days and not only began that job, but painted the picnic pavilion, trimmed trees, and completed other maintenance work. Following the deep freeze in February, volunteers came to Atoka and repaired plumbing and electrical problems that resulted from the harsh weather. Glenn also managed the completion of the field leveling and saw to it that the ground was sprayed for the insects that attracted the hogs. The deer blind and chicken feeder placed illegally on TAS property were removed after Tammy Onufreiczuk contacted the county game warden.
Several updates and improvements were made to the Membership Portal by Luis Santana. You can now sign on to the portal, for example, and access recordings of the General Meetings. Ed Flaspoehler added club information to the website to make it easier to find out about special interest groups and upcoming meetings.
The Astrophotography Special Interest Groups (beginners and advanced) on Zoom continued to thrive under the leadership of Frank Castanho. Lloyd Lashbrook has grown the Observing Special Interest Group, which also meets on Zoom, and has helped many new members gain an understanding of astronomy.
We weren’t able to have our December Awards Banquet in person, so we had a Zoomquet. Attendance was great, and in between awards, Frank Castanho entertained and amazed us with a video showing APSIG members’ photos from the past year. We had a great time, complete with cheering after each award!
We began the resumption of volunteer background checks and the weekly star parties in late Spring, but shortly thereafter, we had to hit pause again because of the Delta variant. What we learned is that under the right conditions, when the time is right, we have an enthusiastic volunteer base who are ready to go. We have a system for background checks with a one- to two-day turnaround time. When we have the all-clear to resume such event, we can be up and running within a matter of days.
In May, when the CDC changed its guidance on Covid, we initiated a phased-in reopening by opening the buildings at Atoka that had been closed. Then, in July when the Delta variant became a concern, the TAS board of directors responded by developing and issuing a Special Statement allowing access to the buildings only to vaccinated individuals. I am proud of how quickly the board responded to both these changes.
While the bunkhouse has been largely completed for some time now, we waited to purchase bunks until we felt we were closer to the end of the pandemic. In late spring we formally began a fundraising campaign for the remainder of the funds we needed to purchase bunks. Members responded overwhelmingly, and we raised funds which, added to the $3,200 a previous board set aside for bunks, paid for 16 new bunk beds and mattresses for the new bunkhouse. There were enough funds to also purchase folding tables and chairs to place at each end of the bunkhouse for members to use.
Another major accomplishment is that TAS has made excellent progress in improving the electrical infrastructure on the observing field at Atoka. Glenn Fitzgerald, Greg Jones, Jason Pyron, Dave Pearson and others have worked together continuously for more than three months so far to analyze, evaluate, research, plan, estimate and communicate to the membership about the work that needs to be done to make our electrical service more reliable and safer. Thank you to everyone who has participated and offered to help so far.
Last but certainly not least, under the leadership of Kevin Cobble and Cathy Hao, TAS again has a group for students, the Junior Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas. JTAS is up and running and Hanson Du is President of the group. Congratulations to all involved!
See you at the next General Meeting on Zoom, Friday, September 24th at 7:30
Thank You and Clear Skies!
Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas
TAS Short Sleeve Logo T-shirts
Three column web layout courtesy of Matthew James Taylor
Sun, Moon, and Tonight's Sky
| Richardson, TX
(times in CDT):
Sunrise today: 7:15am
Sunset today: 7:26pm
Moonrise today: 8:37pm
Moonset today: 8:43am
98% of moon illuminated
Click the above image for a chart. Popup blockers must be disabled. Chart courtesy of Fourmilab Switzerland.
| Major Planets and Moon Charts
Bright Minor Planet Charts
Observable Comet Charts
Magnitudes observed within the last 5 days:
Minor planet and comet lists, and corresponding orbital elements, are courtesy of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Charts courtesy of Fourmilab Switzerland
Special Interest Groups
APSIG (Astrophotography Special Interest Group) is sponsored by the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas, Texas.
APSIG meets once a month to share information and learn more about the art and science of Astrophotography -- taking photographs of objects in the night sky such as planets, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Imaging these celestial objects requires special techniques and equipment, but are attainable by anyone willing to point their camera skyward. Come learn how! For more information on APSIG just follow this link...
ObSIG (Observing Special Interest Group) is sponsored by the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas, Texas. ObSIG meets once a month to promote astronomical observing with telescopes, binoculars, and naked eye. We are also here to help new comers to the hobby of amateur astronomy to get started, learn the sky, and get help picking out the right equipment. For more information on ObSIG, follow this link.
Our meetings are held online via ZOOM, on the SECOND Wednesday of each month. All ObSIG meetings start at 7:00.
ObSIG Meeting Schedule
If you would like to attend an online ObSIG meeting, send an e-Mail to:
Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas
ATMSIG (Amateur Telescope Makers Special Interest Group) is sponsored by the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas, Texas.
The ATMSIG meets every other month to explore the design, construction and adjustment of both do it yourself and professionally built telescopes. Anyone interested in building their first scope will find this group a big help in finding the best place to start. You don’t need to have a well equipped workshop, just a few simple tools and an interest in building or modifying it yourself. The ATMSIG is a wonderful place to see projects built locally by TAS members and to share new ideas for the future! For more information, just follow this link...
Please Note: ATMSIG is currently inactive.
Clear Sky Clocks
Click an image for a complete sky condition forecast.
TAS In Action
Donate to TAS
Atoka Weather Station
TAS Recurring Star Parties
Please call the Public Observing Hot Line for the latest star party information and any notices of cancellations.
TAS holds 4 regular monthly Star Parties where our members get together to observe and educate about the night sky. Come join us to look at planets, stars, and other celestial wonders. The monthly Star Party schedule is as follows:
Our full schedule of activities is on our calendar. Please come out and join us or volunteer at one of our events.
Visit the members' discussion forum to discuss astro-type stuff with fellow TAS members.
Visit the Members Only section for access to:
Constellation of the Month: September: Pegasus and Andromeda
We invite you to further explore our website for more information and hope you consider becoming a member of our Society. TAS is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, donations to which would be tax deductable for U.S. taxpayers under IRS rules. Donations may be given by using our secure PayPal site and indicating "donation" on the form.
Thank you for your gracious support of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas.