President's Paragraph: July Update

July is going to be a very good month for RCA. We have no less than FIVE RCA member star parties scheduled. We start bang-off on July 1 at Stub Stewart and then again on July 2 at Rooster Rock. That’s Friday and Saturday nights. I am pleased that our members have been making good use of Stub Stewart for impromptu parties, since RCA had a role in creating it as an observing site for stargazers. And since Friday’s event is official, the bathrooms will be open. Yay!

Rooster Rock is always ready for us, which we appreciate, but remember it’s a day-use area so it is only open to us on nights we are officially scheduled. Then, because this July happens to have five Fridays and five Saturdays, there are two more parties scheduled at the end of the month: Rooster Rock on Friday the 29th and Stub on Saturday the 30th. Oh my!

July is also the month for our annual Trout Lake Star Party, which has become a club favorite. It’s free, it’s on a paved parking lot so it’s good for tents and trailers, and has an outhouse. Trout Lake the town is nearby where we can get our annual piece of huckleberry pie. This is a quality event and I hope to see several friends there. The Trout Lake Star Party is a three-night affair: Thursday the 7th through Saturday the 9th, driving home on Sunday morning. Driving directions are on our website. RCA member star parties are open to RCA club members and their guests, but are not announced on Facebook or advertised to the public. Sometimes a club just needs to get away for a little serious stargazing.

Make a note of it: Downtowners is Friday, the 8th because of the Fourth of July holiday, so it comes a week later than normal and will probably be smaller than usual because it’s at the same time as Trout Lake. But for the many members who will still be in town, please come - - McMenamin’s on Broadway, noonish for good astronomical conversation.

Also on that same weekend is the first ever Mt. St. Helens Sky & Star Party at the Mt. St. Helens Science Learning Center. This promises to be a major event. Fortunately and thankfully we have met our goal for volunteers — thank you RCA members, you came through again! It’s an all-day affair — solar viewing, two presentations by Greg Cermac, NASA Solar System Ambassador, a presentation by our very own Howard Knytych, and viewing on Mt. St. Helen until 1 a.m. This event was created mostly by our friends in Longview, the Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club which is a small club that does impressively big things. Even if you aren’t volunteering, you might want to come to this public event, or recommend it to your friends. Organizers are estimating a minimum of 300 people, who knows how many more?

Closer to home and on more familiar territory, on Saturday the 16th are the RCA Telescope Workshop and an OMSI public star party at both Stub Stewart and Rooster Rock, the annual Lunar Viewing star party. The moon will be waxing toward full and should be a gratifying object to show to the public, and if you bring a scope, you get to count your hours toward RCA volunteer hours.

Our next general meeting is Monday, July 18th, we have a Haggart observing night and volunteer opportunity on Saturday, July 25th and our faithful SIGS, Astro-Imaging and Cosmology, will meet as usual on the 13th and 20th respectively.

Finally, we end the month with another new and bang-up affair. Maryhill Museum reached out to us to take part in its Saturday, July 30th Night at the Museum event. This is an elegant affair: Love’s Labours Lost will be performed on the lawn free for everybody and there are free all-day passes to the museum for everybody. Volunteers get to camp on the lawn in tents or trailers for free, and get dinner and breakfast for free. The keynote speaker for this event is Troy Carpenter of Goldendale Observatory. We will manage solar scopes during the day and telescopes at night for public viewing. Contact Jim Higgs at if you want to volunteer for this event. This will be a nice event to go to on the way to Oregon Star Party, where conditions are decidedly more rustic!

Whew! That looks like something for everybody, and at this moment, it looks like viewing conditions are going to be good, so let’s hope that everyone in the club can get out for a little fun under the hundred billion suns of the hundred billion galaxies.