February 22, 2018 Meeting

The fourth meeting of the 2017-2018 year took place at the Rainwater Observatory and Planetarium in French Camp.

Meeting Minutes

Call to Order
The fourth meeting of the 2017-2018 AMS/NWA chapter occurred on February 22, 2018 at the Rainwater Observatory and Planetarium in French Camp, MS. This was a joint chapter meeting between the Central MS Chapter and the East Mississippi Student Chapter with students from Mississippi State University. The meeting was called to order at 7:25pm by President Eric Carpenter.

Recording Secretary Joanne Culin took note of the number present. There were eight attendees from the Central Mississippi Chapter(and family) and seven from the East Mississippi Chapter.

Minutes Approval
Given the field trip nature of this meeting, there was no review of minutes nor was there a treasury report. However, money was given to the chapter to cover individual admission cost to the observatory.

New Business
The amount in the treasury was $508.29 as of the start of the meeting. A total of $300
was spent for the observatory visit. A total of $96 (8 attendees) for the Central MS Chapter was collected and the East MS Chapter covered $130. The total collected from the meeting was $226. Therefore, the Central MS Chapter covered $74 from the treasury for the meeting or 24.7% of the total cost. The net balance at the end of the meeting was $434.29.

The meeting consisted of a presentation and tour given by observatory director and professional painter, Edwin Faughn. The Rainwater observatory is one of the largest in the southeast United States. Thousands come each year, including from different countries. The secluded location of the French Camp Observatory away from city lights combined with the powerful telescopes make it one of the few places to really see the Milky Way Galaxy.

Edwin started the tour with a powerpoint presentation about various space topics, and showed a lot of pictures and paintings that provided us with incredible perspectives from distant planets and moons. Edwin showed a lot of his cover art that he produced for major scientific magazines, and he discussed his work on the Kepler project for NASA. He gave very interesting facts about the solar system and our universe. He stated that there are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, and that it would take several thousand years to count all of the galaxies. Edwin also showed some awesome pictures of Saturn from different angles from Cassini spacecraft. He showed a picture of an incredible dust devil on Mars, and he discussed how Jupiter’s infamous “Great Red Spot” is a hurricane that has remained constant for 300 years. He said you could fit 2.5 Earths in the hurricane and it has changed size, shape and color over the years. After the presentation, the group went to the telescope and looked at the moon through high resolution and lower resolution. You could see some of the dark side and great detail of the moon and its craters. He then showed Orion’s Nebulous, a place where stars are born, and gave interesting history on some of the constellations and the origins of their names.
The tour wrapped up when Edwin took the group to the bigger telescope, a fully automated, research grade, 25 inch Ritchey-Chretien Sangre telescope. Unfortunately, the telescope is under repair and we were unable to get any views from it.

The meeting concluded around 10pm, and it was adjourned. Attendees drove back to Jackson and Starkville.

Minutes were submitted by Joanne Culin, Recording Secretary.

October 24, 2017 Meeting

View of the moon through one of the many telescopes at the observatory. Image by David Cox.

For more pictures from this meeting, click here.