Auburn Astronomical Society
25 - Year Anniversary Banquet

Our 25-year anniversary banquet was held on Saturday, September 10, 2005, and served as our September meeting.  Rick Evans director of the W. A. Gayle Planetarium, in Montgomery, graciously allowed us to use the facilities for the banquet and the presentation that followed.  This date fell within two calendar days of the actual first AAS meeting, 25 years ago.  Our special guests, Keith Hudson, founder of the Auburn Astronomical Society, his wife Carolyn, and daughter, Mandy, were there from Florence AL. 

Society members began arriving just after 5:00 to meet and mingle .  We all enjoyed seeing each other and getting to know the families of our members.

John Zachry, Mandy, Carolyn, and Keith Hudson

Liz and Eddie Kirkland, Allen Screws, Mandy Hudson, Mike Holley, and Keith Hudson

Allen Screws, John Zachry, Cathy Whigham, William Baugh, Jeff Graves, and Chuck Lewis

Liz and Eddie Kirkland, Jeff Graves, Gail and Marvin Smitherman

Janet Baugh, Mike Holley, Joyce Jenkins, Gail Smitherman, Eddie and Liz Kirkland

Olivia William, and Janet Baugh, Joyce Jenkins, Mike Holley, and Gail Smitherman

Small world -- Glynn and Mary Alexander visit with Glynn's high school classmate Dimitri Polizos, our caterer.

Our caterers from the Capitol Grill:  Magdalena, Johnny, and Dimitri

Rick and staffer, Jennifer Dobbs, outdid themselves decorating the planetarium for us.  The tables and chairs were already arranged for the banquet -- each table with its own window view. Stars and planets adorned the tablecloths, and the scrolling banner sign made note of our special day. 

Following welcoming remarks from AAS president, Rhon Jenkins, we began eating at 6:00PM.  Demitri Polizos and his staff from the Capitol Grill in Montgomery, catered the event and served as we processed down the buffet line  that included:  grilled chicken,  roast beef, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, and a broccoli / cauliflower mix; rolls; bread pudding for dessert; and tea .  Rick had made coffee available as well.  The following members attended the banquet:

Joe and Kathy Albree; Glynn and Mary Alexander William and Janet Baugh, and daughter, Olivia; Alan and Susie Cook; Jeff Graves; Mike Holley; Keith and Carolyn Hudson, and daughter, Mandy; Rhon and Joyce Jenkins;  David King;  Eddie and  Liz Kirkland; Ray and Ann Kunert; Chuck and  Bette Lewis; Jim and  Kayla McLaughlin, and son, Sam; Patrick and Susan Moylan; Allen and Christi Screws; Gail and Marvin Smitherman; Russell and Cathy Whigham; and John Zachry.

Jeff Graves, Susie Cook, Liz Kirkland, Alan Cook, and Eddie Kirkland
Christi and Allen Screws, John Zachry, Joyce and Rhonald Jenkins
Bette and Chuck Lewis, Ann and Ray Kunert, and Cathy Whigham
Glynn Alexander, Keith Hudson, Mary Alexander, Keith Hudson, David King, and Mandy Hudson
Mike Holley, Joe Albree, Marvin Smitherman, Kathy Albree, and Gail Smitherman
William and Janet Baugh, Susan Moylan, Olivia Baugh and Patrick Moylan
The McLaughlin Group: Kayla, Sam, and Jim

With appetites satisfied, we adjourned to the auditorium. Larry Owsley and Audrey Carr from Auburn, joined us for the program at 7:00PM.

With house lights dimmed and stars projected overhead, Rhon presented Keith with one of the AAS shirts as a token of our appreciation for his vision and  leadership in the early days of the society.  In his acceptance remarks, Keith thanked us for carrying on the tradition that he had envisioned. 

At this point, Rick asked Rhon to remain up front as he presented to Rhon, in the society's behalf, a proclamation from Governor Bob Riley, designating September 10, 2005, "Auburn Astronomical Society Day".  It was at Rick's urging that the proclamation was issued.  Thanks to Rick for doing this.  What nice  surprise and a thoughtful gesture. 

AAS Day Proclamation

Next, yet another surprise from Rick.  On the dome was projected a 15-20 minute Power Point presentation set to appropriately astronomical music, with images of the society's past, including many of our members and friends, in sync with the music, . 

Following a heartfelt round of applause for Rick's tribute, Rhon introduced our speaker, Dr. David T. King Jr., who gave a an excellent presentation on the Wetumpka Meteor Crater

David began with an overview of the conditions at the site at the time of the impact.  The shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico covered the area 80-83 million years ago.  He described the composition and angle of entry of the carbonaceous condrite asteroid, comparing the size of the asteroid to that of Jordan-Hare stadium, in Auburn, and the awesome devastation to the entire region that ensued.  He then went on to describe the rebound and crater wall formations.  Conclusive proof was collected in 1999 when shocked quartz was found in the core samples of an exploratory well.

David's presentation was interesting and informative employing attention grabbing graphics and presented in primarily lay terms for the benefit of most of us there.  His talk made liberal use of analogies and every-day comparisons to help us cope with the otherwise incomprehensible  statistics.  At the conclusion of his presentation, David entertained questions from our group.

Special thanks to David for working us into his busy schedule.  He left early Sunday morning to attend a geological conference in Tennessee.

Special thanks as well, to Rick Evans who had a long day -- traveling to Talladega for another commitment and returning in time to host our event.

And, to our officers:  president, Rhon Jenkins at the helm; vice president, Allen Screws; and treasurer, John Zachry, who have kept us going for most of the past 25 years, our grateful thanks for jobs too often taken for granted.  

And finally, and most importantly, our eternal thanks to Keith Hudson without whom, none of this would have ever happened.

Here are a few more images from the day: