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May 2010

May 2010 Meeting Notes

Boy Scout Astronomy Merit Badge Requirements
David Tobola has been the Astronomy Merit Badge counselor for the Cherokee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for the past 5 years.  In his talk he presented an informative and interesting explanation of the requirements that must be completed to receive the Astronomy Merit Badge.  The requirements break naturally into two areas; classwork and self directed activities.  Classwork includes a broad range of topics from basic astronomical concepts like the daily and yearly motions of the stars and constellations, to phases of the moon, and safety for night time observing.  It's clear from David's presentation slides and workbooks, that he makes an impressive amount of well organized information available to the scouts during classroom sessions.  Not only does this build a solid foundation of astronomical knowledge, it prepares the scouts for the self directed portion of the badge requirements.  In this portion each scout must spend some time observing the night sky, utilizing the information already gained, to expand his understanding of astronomical observations.  Projects such as tracking the phases of the moon with personal observations and sketches, or plotting the motion of a planet through a constellation over a period of weeks help the scouts solidify the connection between what they've learned in the classroom and what's actually going on in the sky.

While David's presentation to BAS was a subset of his classroom curriculum, it's obvious that he's put a great deal of time and effort into creating a thorough treatment of fundamental astronomy concepts.  It would make an excellent introduction to astronomy in many settings beyond the astronomy merit badge.

Membership Dues
We're a bit past due already in sending our updated membership list to the Astronomical League for this quarter.  That will need to be done within the next week, but if there is anyone who wants to become a member before I send in the list, please let me know in the next few days.  Dues ($12/year) include membership in the Astronomical League, which provides many benefits, including a series of observing challenges, their quarterly publication, The Reflector, and discounts on book and video purchases.  One of the main advantages to becoming a member is access to all club viewing events.  Unfortunately, until the club is able to afford liability insurance, we will have to restrict invitations for club observing events to payed members.  In addition, club members can receive discount subscriptions for Sky & Telescope magazine, Astronomy magazine and Astronomy Technology Today.  If you want to join, contact John Grismore or email

Dark Observing Site
Steve Plank summarized the current situation with our dark site search.  We are now in a position to observe from several sites with different characteristics.  For short notice, convenient, casual observing, we have identified a location in Sooner Park that is easily accessible, with a fairly open view to the sky.  For more serious viewing, we may have opportunities to use a location at the "Cub Cabin" at the Boy Scouts' Camp McClintock, and now that we have a "use agreement" with Osage Hills, there may be one or two fairly dark sites there, also.  In addition, Steve has now made contact with the land owner of an excellent location near Skull Creek at Hulah Lake.  This site has been previously described, and will likely be one of the darkest sites available to us in less than an hour's drive.  Steve will be arranging a small viewing session for the land owner, with about three or four club members at the site, to demonstrate to him what our activities involve.  Hopefully, this will lead to a more permanent commitment for the site.

Club Responsibilities
As our club has grown, so have the tasks and responsibilities required to keep it going.  A small group of several members has taken on most of these tasks temporarily, but it's time to distribute the responsibilities.  This will be beneficial for several reasons.  For one, the small group of volunteers needs more help to accomplish all that needs to be done.  For another, the club will be more resilient and more successful in the future if it's not dependent on just one or two individuals for most of its coordination and activities.  With this in mind, BAS is actively seeking members who are willing to assist with some of the volunteer work necessary to keep the club going.  The list of tasks/responsibilities below is a preliminary one.  If you think of additional items to be added to the list, let me know.  Please review the list and consider how you might best help keep the club active, then contact John Grismore or email

Handle publicity announcements   -   Carroll Ritchie   (assistant needed)
   Cable (channel 13)
   Library bulletin board
Coordinate with schools   -   Joyce Ritchie
Plan observing events - Steve Plank, Arden Strycker
Coordinate dark site search   -   Steve Plank, Arden Strycker
Forward info to non-email members - Jim Vogh
Treasurer - Milt Enderlin
Assistant Treasurer (while Milt is out of town)
Schedule Meeting Programs
Schedule Library meeting room monthly
Host out of town speakers
Set up meeting room
Produce newsletter
Produce meeting notes
Produce announcements and event notes
Handle club email contacts
Maintain web site
Manage BvilleAstro Yahoo Group
Maintain club calendars (Gmail and Yahoo)
Maintain member list
Maintain interested non-members list
Astronomical League Coordination (ALCOR)
   Send quarterly member roster
   Send new member dues
Club archiving (digital photos, video, etc.)

Individual Interests Survey
A survey of individual astronomical interests was circulated among the attendees at the May meeting.  The results have been tabulated and are displayed below as a graph.  Hopefully, this will provide some guidance for future programs and activities.

Next Meeting
Monday, June 7 in the Bartlesville Public Library Meeting Room, Daryl Doughty will present "Constructing a Backyard Observatory".

If you want to have your email address removed from the Bartlesville Astronomical Society mailing list, please send an email requesting removal to .