The Woodward News

August 7, 2012

Astronomy group to meet Saturday

Gary Engel
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Astronomy fans will be getting together Saturday, Aug. 11 for the monthly meeting of the Starcreek Astronomical Society (SAS).

While the organization meets at the First Christian Church in Woodward during the winter months, summer get-togethers are held at the Selman Living Laboratory 1 mile north and 6 miles west of Alabaster Caverns, said Bobette Doerrie, a member of the organization.

A social period to allow the amateur astronomers to mix and mingle starts around 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Officer Mark Hallinger said the agenda for the meeting will focus on past and upcoming events.

"We'll get a report on some past viewings at this meeting," he said. "I'm not sure about any special projects coming up, but we'll find out more during the meeting."

Doerrie said there will be a public viewing of a meteor shower called the "Perseids."

"This is one of the big ones (meteor showers) for the summer and it just happens to fall on this Saturday night, early Sunday morning viewing, she said.



BACKGROUND ON SAS

SAS was formed 4 years ago to provide a forum for those with an interest in astronomy to meet and share stories and ideas, and it currently has about 20 members, Hallinger said.

As a nonprofit organization, he said SAS is required to do community outreach.  The group's major effort in outreach has been to aid local Boy Scouts in obtaining the astronomy merit badge.

"We'll assist any group that asks for us," Hallinger said. "We would especially like to help churches and schools. And we can arrange private parties."



NEW MEMBERS WELCOME

The group is also always eager to accept new members.

"If people want to join, the best thing for them to do is come to a meeting," Hallinger said, noting this will allow them to learn more about the organization as well as meet the current members.  

The group currently meets monthly on the second Saturday at the First Christian Church.

There are membership fees, which vary for individual and family rates, he said.

However, as far as what kind of equipment is required to join, he said, "they don't need a telescope."

A pamphlet SAS has available at the Chamber of Commerce office and the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum points out that binoculars are sometimes used to observe the heavens. Even experienced amateur astronomers use them frequently, the pamphlet states.

For more information about the SAS group or its programs, contact Hallinger at (580) 478-7615 or 53vinylman@sbcglobal.net.  You can contact  Doerrie, who teaches Extension astronomy classes, at (806) 658-2264 or bdoerrie@gmail.com.

Or you may visit the group's website at starcreek.org.  Hallinger said SAS has nearly completed upgrades to the website, which is packed with information, including the astronomy photo of the day, membership steps, a segment about the Selman Living Lab and the club's recent joining of the Night Sky Network. This network links astronomy clubs throughout the nation, he said.