ORBIT Meeting

Default event

Open to Public

Type: Outreach

Held on: Mar 04, 2012 (Sun) at 06:00 AM to Mar 04, 2012 (Sun) at 08:00 AM

Location: 47.680880, -122.341411

Event Coordinator: David W. Ingram

Meeting for ORBIT volunteers and coordinators


Latitude 47.68136, Longitude -122.3408605


We had another great turnout for the second ORBIT meeting on Sunday, March 4, 2012, at the Museum of Flight with twelve of the twenty-five ORBIT members present. All but three of the members present for the first meeting returned for the second, and I've had requests from two absent but still very interested members for a report on the second meeting. Since our ORBIT group guidelines call for reporting on each outreach activity, I will try for each meeting and activity to post a report here for the record and for use when the final format for reporting is determined. This second meeting was primarily directed toward more detailed defining of outreach events and opportunities, the process for receiving and handling outreach events, resources, current ORBIT organization, and oversight.

The events or opportunities for outreach beyond the current organization were classified as those presented by the community, including colleges, schools, educational institutions, museums, and science centers. Events associated with NASA and other astronomy groups were also defined, and a list of such other astronomy groups in the area was presented and considered. Other potential events relate to celestial happenings, like the Venus transit; historical observations; and special days like Astronomy day. Finally, events driven by special projects were included.

The listed assets for taking advantage of these opportunities were the UW; area astronomy societies; other outreach organizations, both local and online; the Museum of Flight; and the Pacific Science Center. Locales for outreach events and training include Paramount Park, Green Lake, Snoqualmie Point Park, SAS private parties, SAS meetings, and interaction with other SAS Special Interest groups. And, of course, the greatest asset is found in the volunteers who are willing to give their time to outreach.

The process for receiving and handling outreach events was refined and defined to a greater extent than that designated during the first meeting. All events and requests requiring SAS ORBIT should be routed by e-mail simultaneously to the ORBIT chairperson, the coordinator, and the SAS president. A goal was set for a decision and response to the request within 72 hours with a written reply by the ORBIT chairperson. If action is required by ORBIT, the coordinator should initiate all contacts in not more than 24 hours. The total maximum turnaround should be four days after the initial receipt of the request with a report to the SAS president. A long term goal is to eventually provide a button on the SAS Web site for contacts to use in asking for outreach.

The resources for any necessary funding of activities is to be included in the SAS budget since 2012 activities are expected to generate some cost. So far such costs have been handled by the members participating in outreach events. For example, Liz bought fabric displaying a night sky scene with astronomical objects to cover the display tables at the Olympic View Science Night outreach, and for the same event Mary provided 200 copies of an SAS flyer she quickly put together to disseminate SAS information. (Mary's somewhat more frivolous but effective expenditure was for balloons to represent the expanding universe and bubble gum, as a reward for children who "blew up the universe" and witnessed the runaway galaxies in the form of little black dots on the balloons.) Expenditures like these voluntary donations will certainly occur, pabut a $250 budget was proposed as a starting point. Cost identification, analysis and control will be emphasized in the expenditure process.

Current ORBIT organization provides for a Chairperson, ideally not on the Board, and an Advisor, ideally on the Board. Dave, the current chairperson, is on the board, and no advisor has volunteered so far. The currently organized and functioning outreach activities include the Public Observing program at Green Lake and Paramount Park, coordinated by Mike and Mary; the UW Observing Program, coordinated by Alan, Mike and the team; and the School Outreach Program, coordinated by Liz and Diane. These outreach functions are thriving with a successful star party last weekend, two successful elementary school presentations and a third in the near future, and the opening of the UW Observatory in April.

Finally, the need for recruiting experience, creating training objectives, and defining performance targets was discussed as part of the oversight concept. Dave stated that he hopes that members who are interested in volunteering for outreach will be able to attend the Snoqualmie Point Park Star Parties for SAS members only as part of training. Dave also called for the formation of a sub-group to help him deal with necessary administrative details. Kara and Larry volunteered for that group and will be meeting with Dave separately from the rest of the group. No date was set for the next meeting of the entire ORBIT group. ORBIT is off to a great start that will provide the foundation for future expansion to an even higher activity level.

Mary Anderson


Number of Supporters: 0

Number of Attendees: 12

Number of Telescopes: 0

Duration (hours): 2.0



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