Minutes from our Meetings


May 6, 2016

Members present: Jeff Ross, Mary Linn Crouse, Jon Dilliard, Terry Sauer, Bob & Andrea Bateen, William & Candace West

  • The minutes from the last meeting and the agenda for this meeting were passed out. The minutes were accepted as written

  • Jeff mentioned his communication with Bob O’Leary who is selling his dome and observing equipment. Jon explained that Bob was from Lincoln and once very active in the club.

  • Jeff passed out some draft by-laws for the club. Simple and short. There was discussion on whether a webpage officer was needed, but it was decided it was not necessary. Andrea noted a couple of grammatical errors. The members voted to approve the by-laws.

  • Jon reported that Linda Marcel was planning to sell her house. It has not been listed yet but will be soon. That is why Linda has not responded to the draft observatory agreement. Jon explained that we still would like the agreement in place so that any new owner would understand what the agreement was and decide if they wanted to continue with it or not. Linda will talk to her attorney.

  • Arrangements were made to remove the telescope from the observatory and prepare for the upgrades. Jeff, Terry, and Jon will meet at the observatory next Sunday to remove the scope.

  • Jeff reported on the Tiger’s Den meeting at St. Andrew’s School. There was a solar system display and some solar viewing for the kids.

  • The club members discussed Astronomy Day at Carroll College on April 30th. Attendance was down this year but the people seemed very interested. There was only a few moments of solar observing due to clouds but the meteorite impact and comet building demonstrations went very well. The HAS club had an information booth and display available this year. There was some discussion in the club participating in Dark Skies. We should look into a presentation for the next Astronomy Day. Jon also mention the possibility of setting up a World Telescope presentation.

  • The Treasures report was presented.

  • There was discussion of the Mercury transit of the sun. People will meet at the Mt. Helena trailhead at 6:30 to set up. Sky & Telescope will have the transit online in real-time. Members discussed who would bring supplies for the event.

  • The Mars and Saturn opposition was discussed. The club decided that we would have a public viewing, possibly at the Mt. Helena trailhead. It was decide to split the difference between the 2 events and have the viewing on June 4th which is closer to the new moon.

  • Next meeting June 3rd, same place and time.


April 8, 2016

Members present: Jeff Ross, Mary Linn Crouse, Andrea & Bob Bateen, Terry Sauer, David Rotness

  • Jon was ill so the following topics were tabled until next month: bylaws, observatory agreement, update on the 10” Meade repair

  • Andrea, Jeff and David volunteered to offer an astronomy-related program to the “Tiger Den” pack on April 12 as per the den’s request.

  • The members present went outside for a photo shoot of the group with some various telescopes and sun viewer attachments that were brought in that evening, in order to have some pictures to send to the press about the HAS May 9th Mercury transit event. We need to take more photos like these, from our various events and get-togethers, in order to have nice visuals to post on the HAS FB page and HAS website.

  • There was further discussion of the Mercury transit event. The plan to hold it at the trailhead parking lot to Mt. Helena was finalized. Jeff will post a blurb on the Helena Events page and bring coffee. Mary Linn will attempt to contact the science teachers from both High Schools. It was decided not to contact lower grade schools as we won’t have enough viewing scopes to accommodate a big crowd on the, albeit outside, chance we would get a busload of kids up there.

  • David talked about the Carroll College “Astronomy Day” event to be held April 30 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. The club can help by being there at 10 am to set up the classroom with student posters and quiz and to also set up the solar system model outside. Mary Linn will bring a display for the HAS table to be set up in the hallway. Jeff will bring the HAS banner, an 8” Dob w/solar filter and the other club telescope and help with other items for display. There will also be a meteor impact demo and a comet making activity.

  • Jeff informed the club of some interesting upcoming April sky events: the Aldebaran Lunar Occultation and some ISS transits of the Sun and Moon visible from his house.

  • Next club meeting will be on May 6 at 7:00 pm at the St. Paul’s UMC, Suzanna’s Place (north of the church building) Room 104



February 5, 2016

Members present: Jeff Ross, Mary Linn Crouse, Andrea & Bob Bateen, Jon Dilliard, David Rotness

  • Jeff Ross reported that he had obtained the club records and equipment from Bill Fernandez. It included; a file box of the club’s fiscal and business records, a roller box of reference books and assorted promotion material, and the club’s 6 inch Dob telescope.

  • Jeff also reported that he met with Jon Dilliard and Bill Fernandez and had the club’s bank account signatures changed from Bill to Jon and himself.

  • Mary Linn Crouse showed everyone some logos from other clubs and the one she has been working on for the club. Everyone liked to logos concept and color scheme. It still needs adjustments and fine tuning and she will bring back a second draft for the next meeting.

  • Jeff mentioned that the club apparently does not have any bylaws and we need to get some prepared. We will try to get copies of bylaws from other clubs and model ours off their examples.

  • Even though the club does not have bylaws in place, it was decided to conduct an election of new officers to help the club reenergize. The results of the election are:

President – Jeff Ross

Vice President – Andrea Bateen

Secretary/Treasurer – Jon Dilliard

  • The members took a break to go outside and watch the International Space Station go overhead.

  • Jon discussed his conversation with an attorney about setting up a lease agreement between the club and Linda Marcel for the location and use of the club’s observatory. Although the attorney recommended that a lease be prepared by an attorney it did not appear that it was something the attorney was willing to do pro-bono. However, the attorney provided some legal references with examples of leases. Jon distributed a draft Land Lease Contract for review. The club members felt that it looked good and we should pursue getting it signed.

  • There was discussion of events that the club could participate in and use to promote the club. The May 9th transit of Mercury is coming up. The last time the club had three observing stations set up. One at Carroll College, one downtown, and one at the Capitol Campus. Another idea was to participate in this year’s StarWatch event as a club.

  • Jeff mentioned the need to get the word out about club activities. Mary Linn is sure that the Independent Record has some activity announcement opportunities. She will find out more.

  • The members discussed doing Autostar upgrades to the club’s telescope in the observatory offered by George Dudash. The costs were discussed and it was determined to run between $550 to $600 with power supply. The consensus was to proceed with the upgrades. Jon will work on getting the scope out of the observatory and getting things ready for the upgrades.

  • There was also discussion of planning out a work session for some time in the spring to assess what is needed to fix up the observatory. There should be more discussion on that as we get closer to spring.

  • Jeff gave a presentation on beginning astrophotography and how it can be done simply and inexpensively using just cameras and some basic accessories.

  • Next club meeting will be on March 11 at 7:00 pm at the St. Paul’s UMC, Suzanna’s Place (north of the church building) Room 104


March 11, 2016

Members present: Jeff Ross, Mary Linn Crouse, Jon Dilliard, Terry Sauer

  • The minutes from the last meeting were read and accepted.

  • Jon reported that he had registered the Club’s incorporation papers for 2016 with the Secretary of State. It cost $20.00. The Club’s bank account has $1,478.73.

  • Mary Linn reported that the IR has two areas that can be used to announce club activities. The Your Time section and Helena Events column. Jeff has been in contact with the IR about the Helena Events column and needs to get back with more information.

  • Jon stated that he had been in contact with Linda Marcel and she was willing to look over a draft Use Agreement. He has been having difficulties with labeling and printing the aerial photo depicting the observatory site. Mary Linn offered to work on it.

  • Repairs to the telescope were discussed. We will need to set up a time to remove the scope. Maybe we can dovetail it with getting the use agreement signed.

  • May 9th is the Mercury transit. Members discussed options for the club to do some public education and set up a viewing site. Members eventually agreed that the Mount Helena trailhead would be a good site. Will need to advertise.

  • April 14th is the Boy Scout (?) Tiger’s Den event. Mary Linn will check. (I had several more notes on this but I can’t make out my writing?).

  • Jeff provided examples of By –Laws from other clubs. Some are quite detailed and lengthy. The North Shore Club and the SMAS (Bozeman) were handed out for review. We should review them and discuss what we want at another meeting.

  • Mary Linn demonstrated how the Club’s website worked.

  • Members reviewed Jeff’s book on building a roll-off roof and dome roof observatory and an edition of the Pocket Sky Atlas.

  • Next meeting April 8th.