Over the past three weeks, I’ve taken a vacation down the Mississippi River, speaking about the Civil War on the American Queen riverboat, and also gone to the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), the biggest astronomy expo in the United States, in Suffern, New York. I am very tired, but glad to be back finally in the normal routine.
NEAF was terrific, and I enjoyed meeting many of you there — thanks for all the great comments on the magazine and everything that’s going on here. It means a great deal to the staff to hear such an overwhelmingly positive response to what we’re doing, particularly in this 40th anniversary year.
I also wanted to alert you to some updates from the Astronomy Foundation (AF). This group, really a telescope industry outreach organization, got its start in the minds of a few manufacturers and has contributed mostly to amateur outreach events. Last year, the AF had a bit of a rough time pushing things forward because several of the volunteers acting on its behalf ran into career changes and challenges, which eliminated their time donated to the group.
I can tell you the Astronomy Foundation held its annual meeting of the board of directors at NEAF, and we have made some nice progress in reorganizing and promoting upcoming outreach events. Present at the meeting were the president (me), Vice President Karen Jennings, Secretary Rick Hedrick, and board members Vic Maris and Craig Weatherwax.
First, the board voted on new officers. They are: Dave Eicher, president; Karen Jennings, vice president; Rick Hedrick, secretary; and Frank Dibbell, treasurer. Additionally, the officers voted Karen Jennings onto the board of directors, as well as Scott Kardel. Eicher, Hedrick, Maris, Weatherwax, and Mike Reynolds continue on the board.
Additionally, several important volunteers are in discussions with Jennings about becoming integral parts of the foundation, and I expect to be able to report more about these folks soon.
The many committee chairs of the Astronomy Foundation are busily engaged in projects — these, along with supporting a variety of star parties and other outreach events, form the core of the AF’s activities. The committees are Astronomy Clubs (Jennings, chair), Education (Tom Trusock), Light Pollution (Kardel), Observing (Glenn Chaple), Planetaria (John Schroer), Star Parties (Reynolds), Website (Alex Khachaturyan), and Youth (Ben Palmer).
Updates on what the committees have been doing and a list of events the AF will be involved with will be forthcoming shortly.