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Searching for SJAA Board Candidates

Hello SJAA Members,

Winter is here and along with the long nights comes SJAA Board Member elections! This year we have 6 seats that will be opening up at the end of this year’s term.  Only 3 current board members are running for re-election, so that means we are looking for at least 3 enthusiastic SJAA members to help out. What exactly is expected of an SJAA board member?  Well to be honest, not very much:

  • Serve a 2 year term
  • Attend the monthly board meetings, currently 6pm-8pm at Houge Park on Saturdays nearest the full moon

And that is it!   If you want to be a program director or a member of the executive staff, you are more than welcome to offer to take on the extra responsibility, but board members are not required to do so.

If you are interested, please email me at  Remember, the vote will be held at Houge Park on February 11th at 8pm, so make sure to get your name to me before then.  Voting is open to all club members, so even if you aren’t interested in joining the board, come by and make yourself heard!
Posted in Anouncements, General Meeting
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General Meeting – July 2013 – Movie Night

Movie Night was a hit!  Double feature, popcorn (all you can eat!), lemonade and other refreshments made for a wonderful evening.

The SJAA recently took possession of a brand new, larger, wall mounted projection screen and it was being mounted at the front of the room.  The idea was to replace the freestanding, square, smaller and 1960s vintage screen that had served well for decades.


Screen installation in process

The screen installation crew, consisting of long time SJAA’er Mark Wagner, Mr Can-Do Dave Ittner, and go-getter Jose Marte, ran into some early technical troubles. But nearly everyone in Silicon Valley being or having engineer leanings, those troubles were quickly and creatively solved so the job could be completed in time for the screen’s first light, the SJAA’s first ever Movie Night, which was this month’s manifestation of the General Meeting.



As usual, there was a board meeting scheduled before the general Meeting, which started late due to the installation’s schedule being overly optimistic (it didn’t account for pizza breaks or other such obstacles).  But with strong leadership, all the club business was addressed, decisions were made, and nearly all world problems were nearly solved. (Yes, Dave got his additional budget for the QuickSTARt program!)

Seven thirty PM arrived, and the popcorn started to pop, and the lemonade began to tart.  Teruo Utsumi, who generously donated his Denon/Klipsch sound system for the evening, solved his own technical problem of the receiver overheating. A 24″ fan was placed face down on the unit, cooling the massive heat sink for the duration of the evening. Again, engineering prowess demonstrated.

During social (half) hour, trailers from the upcoming movies were played until eight PM, the official start time of the meeting.  Prez Rob spoke a few introductory words before quickly sitting down, and the Play button was hit.  Only at a 50s-era drive in was Forbidden Planet seen on a bigger screen.  Upon the first film concluding, bio breaks were taken, more corn was popped, then Play was hit once again to bring up Star Wars IV in all its original 70s fx glory.  Han and Leia never looked so good at Houge Park.

The second feature ended around midnight, the room emptied quickly, and cleanup and gate locked by half past.  It was a fun night, we may have to do it again.

And let’s roll the credits:

A/V gear and DVD procurementTeruo Utsumi
Screen ProcurementMichael Packer
Screen InstallationDave Ittner, Jose Marte, Mark Wagner
Popcorn Rental  and ProcurementMichael Packer

Popcorn PoppingRob Jaworski
Liquid Refreshments, Procurement and Development (ie, buying, mixing the lemonade powder) – Teruo Utsumi
Getting the Kitty/Tip Jar Started and First DonationJay Freeman CleanupMichael Packer, Rob Jaworski, Teruo Utsumi
Show of Appreciation for All That SJAA Does (a Hundred Dollar On-The-Spot Donation to SJAA) – anonymous

Everyone Who Showed – Thank You!

Posted in Blog, General Meeting
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Solar Row + Cal K

Solar Scope Row and Calcium K!
Observe The Sun Safely – Never look at the Sun without a proper filter! 
 Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park   weather permitting

Lots of Solar Scopes lined up today at Houge Park and with superb variety! We were treated to live screen captures of the sun in Calcium K band by Carl Reisinger. And Robert Duvall (baseball cap below pic) brought his Standard Filtered Dob stacked with an H-Alpha finder (yuk yuk). High resolution shots of the above are below so read on.

Click Photo to Enlarge

Next to Robert in the above pic is a bloke visiting from Malaysia. He spent the whole afternoon looking through this row of high tech equipment and was gobsmacked. In his home country, he has two telescopes and is well known for his efforts to share the wonders of the sky.

Two fine solar scopes: Coronado PST and JMI Binocular.
Below is today’s sun at a glance courtesy of Robert Duvall. 2 Large Sunspot groups and two smaller active regions resulted in a sunspot count of 60. The Largest group had a fantastic Penumbra network surrounding the inner umbra. Paul’s 8 inch SCT which he set up later showed this network beautifully as did Michael Swartz’s 100mm Stellarvue with green continuum filter and Binocular. And here is Robert’s images through his equipment. Make sure you see the large rendition by clicking on image.
Click Photo to Enlarge
And below is a pic of Carl Reisinger and Calcium K Setup. The image to the left is a totally raw image. Note the extensive and hot plage (white) network that this filter easily picks up. This plage is actually a better indicator of how active the sun is and can point to areas where sunspots may form. Click the Pic!
  Click Photo to Enlarge
Below pic of Michael Swartz at his cool duel refactor setup. Both refractors have binoviewers making this setup one of the best observing stations on the row. The binoculars radically improve the noted resolution (as you are using both eyes). The continuum filtered view compares well with Paul’s filtered 8-inch SCT while Michael’s bino H-Alpha yields 3D like views. Both images seen through this duel setup are crazy beautiful.
Below is a pic of Bill O’Niel looking through Michael’s setup. Bill brought his 5-inch SCT which is a very portable scope that gives very satisfying details of larger spots like we had today. Aperture rules when viewing sunspots and so, unless you have a bino’ed refactor, you will want at least a 5-inch scope to see penumbra network detail.

Stellar Cheers and Mag -26.74 skies, Michael Packer

Posted in Blog, Solar
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Jupiter Venus Mercury

 Planet Conjunction May 26th — at Houge Park

Jupiter Venus Mercury

DSC_0165cNikon D3s ISO 250, 1/5 sec f/11 230mm

Posted in Blog, Observing Reports
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SJAA Solar Picnic

Observe The Sun Safely – Never look at the Sun without a proper filter! 
Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park weather permitting

SJAA Solar Picnic – Fun Under the Sun!

Double Trouble: Michael Swartz’s H-Alpha and Standard Filter duel scope setup 1

  Today’s Sunspots: small but with good distribution. Solar proms: Numerous and LargeClip_4

Relaxing Solar Picnic was the note of the day! 3

Bill O’Neil (Left) Sunspots views using 18Ga aluminum and powder coated white or
 “Baader” type white solar filter  2

Michael Packer checking out H-Alpha emission 4

 Next Solar Party is Sunday March 3rd
Volunteers with scopes and SJAA members get free hydration (water and soft drinks)

Posted in Blog, Solar
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