A Message from our Chair

Hi everyone,

These are challenging times for many, and I hope that each and every one of you is doing well, keeping safe, and staying healthy.  When any of us might be facing serious hardships the wellfare of the club and it’s activities might not seem like a top priority, and that is perfectly understandable.  And yet for some, indeed many, it is little things like the familiarity of the night sky and the pleasure of an evening under the stars that provide solace and escape from our daily struggles.  So I want to keep you informed of how the club is adapting to these changing climes and what we plan to do in the near future.  Even if we can’t get together, we are still a community and we can feel a part of that closeness even when apart.

June Meeting
The first and most exciting announcement is that we are going to have an online June meeting!  It will take place at our regular date and time, the second Friday of the month, in this case, June 12th at 7:30pm. But this time the location will be different; this meeting is coming right into your home!  
We will have a presentation from Chris Strejch about our growing online presence.  Chris maintains our website, facebook page and twitter account, all of which have been expanding during this time.  This is your chance to find out if there are any hidden treasures on our website that you haven’t explored yet!  We will also have a chance to view a video from this year’s winner of the HAA’s award at BASEF, the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair.  And of course, no meeting would be complete without ‘The Sky This Month’ by Matthew Mannering.  
Keep an eye out for an email with an invitation to attend this Zoom meeting and be a part of the HAA’s first online meeting!

Observing at Binbrook
Many of us are anxious to get out and observe at Binbrook Conservation Area again.  Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, that locale is still not available to us.  The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is preparing a plan for user groups such as ourselves that will protect us and the park as they find a way to reopen and we find a new and safe way to observe together.  I have been speaking with the park superintendant and as soon as their plan is in place and ready to go I will let you know.  I am keen to get out myself, and I am encouraged that they want to work with us to find a way to get us back in the park safely.

Public Events and Outreach
One of the biggest events of the year at Binbrook is our annual Perseid Night.  Unfortunately, all public observing events have been suspended along with our other outreach events.  Sadly these are neccessary casualties of the current societal restrictions, we hope to return to our usual robust program next year.  Schools, libraries, parks and other public venues will see us again once it is safe to do so; safe for our members and safe for the children and other members of the public we visit and educate.

HAA Calendar
Something that is happening even as we speak is the HAA 2021 Celestial Events Calendar!  Every year our members astrophotos and art are showcased in a high quality wall calendar and this year will be no exception.  It should be ready for November, the usual time and when that time comes we will find a way to get it into your hands.  For now, look forward to that continuing tradition and start picking out your best images to submit to the calendar!

Staying a Part of our Community
Finally, of course we all miss the camaraderie of the monthly meetings where we sign out a book, get some laminating done and even learn a thing or two about the night sky.  We may not realize it but something we do at those meetings that is so important to many outside our club is offer support to Hamilton Food Share.  If you are looking to find a way to help our community and support a charity or cause, might we suggest you keep this invaluable group in mind?  Any donations can be dropped off directly at the most convenient location for you.  It really doesn’t matter if it comes from the HAA or direct from you; let’s just help some good people who really need it.

The HAA continues on, learning as we go how to get through this difficult time.  Feel free to get in touch any time, and I look forward to ‘seeing’ you at our online Zoom June meeting.

Stay safe and take care,

John