We are very excited to introduce you to our new Web site, which is the product of many hours of careful thinking and hard work by several dedicated SAS volunteers. You will find much that is familiar and much that is new, and all is housed in a modern design with many new tools and features. Please take the time to browse the site, and please sign in to your account and establish your settings as you prefer them to be.
William Gifford Hale is considered by many the grandfather of the SAS with his first call to meet on August Twenty-fifth of 1931.
The new Web site is more than an upgrade in technology and fancy features. It is a statement of the intention and spirit of the SAS. Our existence as an organization derives from a common desire to share our passion for astronomy. This common purpose extends far back into our history, beginning with the meetings and lectures of the nascent Seattle Astronomical Society founded by William Gifford Hale in 1931, and continuing through the reincarnation as the Seattle Amateur Astronomical Society in 1952 and its subsequent registration as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in 1957. From those early years to the present day, members of the SAS have shared their enjoyment of astronomy with one another and have also been generous in giving back to our communities through public outreach.
From those early years to the present day, members of the SAS have shared their enjoyment of astronomy with one another
So this Web site is intended to capture the two main facets of the SAS, which could be simplistically stated as "having fun and giving back." More formally, we describe these two facets in our mission statement, which we refined through discussions with SAS members in 2012 at monthly meetings and on our Through the Clouds online forum. Perhaps visiting the page that displays our mission should be one of your first stops as you explore the site.
The new Web site is designed to support our internal activities as well as our public outreach program. In fact, we have abandoned the term SIG (special interest group) in favor of the more general term Activities, and the tools are in place to add new activities to the current list. Any SAS member can volunteer to lead a new activity, and the web site will be ready to support the endeavor. We now have a prominent Public Outreach tab to bring users to this important SAS activity. Underlying all this is a terrific communication system, including a Calendar (displayed on the home page and elsewhere), home page announcements, and Twitter and Facebook. In recognition of our status as a nonprofit corporation - a status that results from our public outreach program - we now have a prominent Donate button on the home page that leads to a simple system for making a monetary contribution to the SAS.
Our new web site is the digital "center of mass" for the SAS about which our systems and activities may orbit. But there is no real movement without the participation of SAS members. This Web site points the way, in a sense; and it is up to SAS members to participate and contribute to continue to enhance the community that is our Society. We invite you to enjoy the new Web site and to be a partner in the creation that is the SAS!
Reaching beyond the stars, we reach back into our communities
The ideas and early design of this Web site began in 2011 with the creation of a collection of static pages contributed by Betsy McGowan, Mark Moledor, Karen Holum, Jason Lin, and Sarah Warren from the University of Washington, who began their work by surveying SAS members about interests and desires for the Web site. We have retained a number of their early design elements in our final design. We thank them for their contribution.
Subsequent work passed through many hands and many stages as we struggled with certain technical hurdles. After some false starts, SAS member, Jerry Kuch, pointed the way by importing the static pages into the Ruby on Rails web application framework. We thank Jerry for his technical vision and for his subsequent work on the project.
In 2012 the project obtained a new leader in SAS member, Ward W. Vuillemot, who conceived the overall architecture of the site and wrote the code to make it happen. We are extremely grateful for Ward's enormous contribution, which testifies to his generosity and to his embracing of the vision of sharing and contributing that is embodied in the site itself. In a very real sense, the Web site belongs to Ward.
We also must make special mention of SAS member, Paul Rodman, the developer of our previous Web site. While we are excited by the "new and improved," we also recall that he single-handedly developed our previous Web site and maintained it for many years, and this site served our needs well during this time. We thank Paul for his hard work, and for his many contributions to the project for developing the new site, especially in providing technical assistance in the transition of member database functions.
The Web site is a place for content, both written and visual, and several SAS members contributed extensively to the writing. We thank Mary Anderson, Denis G. Janky, Zongyao Mao, Angus Macnab and Sorin Sorin for their writing, and Maxine Nagel for contributing some of her "stellar" images.
We also thank Marius Strom, Gary Ferguson, and Jon Bearscove for their many contributions to the project. Finally, we thank members of the 2011 through 2013 SAS Board, all of whom contributed ideas and management expertise in keeping this project moving forward.