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President's Message: April

For the past year, I’ve been promoting the Las Vegas Astronomical Society’s monthly Observer’s Challenge during the Observing Committee report at each monthly meeting. Established in 2009, the LVAS challenge was created as a way to get club members actively engaged in visual observing. Each month a deep-sky object would be featured. LVAS members would be encouraged to observe, sketch or image, and make pertinent notes of the Challenge object, and then forwarding a summary to the LVAS for publication on their website. The Challenge has since expanded to include backyard astronomers across the U.S. and overseas.

February’s LVAS Challenge was the little-known double star h3945 (the “Winter Albireo”) in Canis Major. Eight ATMoB members (nine, if you include LVAS Observers Challenge co-founder Roger Ivester, who joined ATMoB last year) observed this stunning topaz and sapphire-hued pair and forwarded observing reports to the LVAS. We might go so far as to say that February, 2017, was the ATMoB Observers Challenge! Kudos to those of you who participated!

I’ll continue to “plug” the LVAS Observers Challenge at each monthly meeting – April’s Challenge is the interacting galactic pair NGC 3395 and NGC 3396 in Leo Minor. Mario Motta has already imaged the pair, and Steve Clougherty and Rich Nugent tackled them with Steve’s 18-inch Dob. You’ll need some heavy artillery (translation: a large aperture scope) to visually capture this relatively faint pair, but I encourage you to step up to the Challenge.

And now a personal note: As many of you know, I received the disturbing news last February that I had what my primary care physician described as a “serious” heart condition. The news came as a shock, as I’ve always led an active life – the past 35 as a recreational runner.

During the past year, I experienced a handful of instances when I would feel a mild tightness in my chest and extreme fatigue during strenuous activity. I mentioned this to my PCP during my semi-annual physical in February. He ran an EKG, and that’s when the heart problem was discovered. During the ensuing week, I underwent an echo Cardiogram and nuclear stress test. The good news is that the condition isn’t as serious as was originally thought, and I’ll have a consultation with a local cardiologist later this month. I dread to think of the consequences had I written off everything as part of getting old and not mentioned anything to my doctor.

To all of you in ATMoB (especially you old-timers, and there are a lot of us!), I urge you to consult your PCP should you experience anything unusual in your physical condition. We want you around for years to come!

Clear Skies,
Glenn Chaple, President