DAS Activities

DAS Public Nights

Public Nights
Tuesday and Thursday at
DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Current start time is 8:30 pm.

Costs to the public are:
$4.00 adults, $3.00 children

To book, please click:

Public Night Reservations

DENVER OBSERVER

Archives

President’s Message, January 2019

State of the Society

By Ron Hranac

You may recall that we hit a major membership milestone in 2017, passing the 500 mark for the first time ever. As of December 26, 2018, the count was a record 563, up from 502 at the same time in 2017, 457 at the end of 2016, 428 in 2015 and the high 300s in 2014. We introduced a new category of membership called dual/family, too. A tip o’ the hat to all of you who support DAS and its many programs!

Given the significant membership growth, it became impractical to continue to try to manage that many members manually. An ad hoc committee was formed early in the year to evaluate a variety of software solutions, and a Member Portal package from a company called Wild Apricot was chosen. The new Member Portal went live in October; if you haven’t yet signed in for the first time, please do so as soon as you can. For more information about the Portal, see the “President’s Message” in the November and December 2018 issues of The Observer, available at https://www.denverastro.org/xobserver/november2018_denverobserver.pdf and https://www.denverastro.org/xobserver/december2018_denverobserver.pdf.

Outreach remains one of the most important things we do. Taking into account our monthly Open Houses and twice-weekly Public Nights at DU’s historic Chamberlin Observatory–along with external outreach activities at schools, libraries, museums, and other venues–we again reached more than 5,000 people in some 130 to 140 events.

A popular part of our monthly Open Houses is “Learner’s Land” (set up on the lawn just outside of Chamberlin’s south door). Learner’s Land provides members of the public (and interested DAS members) with an opportunity to learn how to use a telescope and operate it themselves.

A very popular activity just for DAS members is our In-Reach program, held most months at Chamberlin. A big thanks to Lisa Judd for coordinating the In-Reach events last year. Lisa says she’d like to hand the reins to someone else this year so she can focus on increased involvement in her homeowners association. If leading the In-Reach activities is something that interests you, please get in touch with her or any of the E-Board officers or trustees.

The finances of the Society continue to be sound, and our bank accounts are in good shape. A big thanks to Treasurer Scott Perrin, who took over from Mike Nowak early last year. Scott has done yeoman’s work as treasurer, including setting up new financial reporting and simplifying recordkeeping and tracking. Look for a financial summary by Scott during February’s annual membership meeting.

October’s annual auction had a fair number of donations and consignments (all but a couple items were sold), and net proceeds of around $1800 were raised for DAS programs such as the Van Nattan-Hansen Scholarship Fund. (Naomi Pequette has succeeded Megan Daniels as the scholarship fund’s chair—thanks to both women for their volunteerism!)

We maintain an active presence on social media, something we started doing a few years ago. You can find DAS on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/denverastro/), Twitter (@denverastro), and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/denverastro). Our Facebook page had more than 1900 “likes” and followers as of mid-December, and nearly 600 are following us on Twitter. Our YouTube channel has in excess of 62,000 combined views of all of the videos we’ve posted to date, up from about 49,000 at the end of 2017. The backlog of videos that had needed editing before posting is getting smaller, and there are now several new ones available to watch.

For the second year in a row, our monthly General Membership Meetings at DU’s Olin Hall were very well attended, averaging around 60 or more per meeting (a couple topped 80), up from numbers in the 30s to 40s in previous years. We’ve had some top-notch speakers at our meetings, which has certainly contributed to higher attendance numbers. The Astronomy Minute remains a popular and fun part of our monthly get-togethers. If it’s been awhile since you attended a meeting, Astronomy Minute features a brief, high-level presentation on an astronomy-related topic. If you’d like to sign up to do an Astronomy Minute presentation, drop a note to president@denverastro.org. While we’re on the attendance-is-up bandwagon, our December Holiday Party had nearly 50% more people enjoying the evening’s socializing, dinner, and a fantastic lecture this year compared to previous years. Woohoo!

Have you been thinking about getting involved in the leadership of DAS? Our annual elections are just around the corner. I encourage you to consider running for a position on the E-Board. Plan on attending this month’s General Membership Meeting at DU’s Olin Hall on Friday, January 18th. Nominations will open at the January meeting, and continue until our Annual Membership Meeting on Friday, February 15th. Let this year’s election chairman, Tim Pimentel, know if you’re interested. He can be reached at nominations@denverastro.org.

2018 was a good year for Denver Astronomical Society, and it was a busy year, too. A big thanks to all of you for making DAS the great organization that it is!

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