Tag Archives: BPAA

Battle Point sundial project nearing completion

Seattle Astronomy was excited to get a note over the weekend announcing that the Battle Point Sundial Project is nearing completion. The Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA) reports that its spectacular, 12-foot-tall equatorial bowstring sundial should be installed near its Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island within the next few weeks, depending on the delivery schedule of the sundial’s fabricator.

Sundial foundation

The foundation is prepared for the Battle Point Astronomical Association equatorial bowstring sundial. From L-R: Dylan Sievertson (PHC Construction, built the foundation); Nels Johansen (BPAA Vice Pres); David Browning (Sundial Engineer); Bill Baran-Mickle (Sundial Artist/Designer). Once the foundation was aligned and leveled, more concrete was poured around it to lock it in place. The Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory is in the background. Photo: Malcolm Saunders.

The BPAA has had this project on the drawing board for a long time. After slowly collecting funds over the years at their planetarium shows and other events, they reached a critical mass two years ago. Committed volunteers started to drive the project, and in late summer of 2013 they launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $17,000 to bring their kitty up to the $30,000 they needed to build the sundial and install it in the park. The campaign drew some 75 donors, including Seattle Astronomy, and though it fell somewhat short of its goal, the attention the campaign attracted drew other outside funding, including a $1,000 grant from the North American Sundial Society, and BPAA amassed enough cash to move ahead with the project.

Their original goal was to have the sundial installed and dedicated by last spring, but they ran into some delays as sometimes happens with construction projects. They’re on track now with the foundation in place and ready for sundial delivery, and the sundial itself is fabricated and painted and ready to roll.

The sundial will be more than just a celestial timepiece. It will be a work of art and a conversation starter, and it will be a focal point for the BPAA’s facilities, which include the Ritchie Observatory, home of the 27.5-inch Ritchie Telescope and the John H. Rudolph Planetarium.

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BPAA shoots for summer solstice for sundial dedication

We received a nice package in the mail this week: a wonderful, clear-sky-blue Battle Point Astronomical Association Sundial t-shirt, the perk for our support of last year’s Indiegogo campaign that helped finalize funding for the project. (Here’s our story with details about the planned sundial.)

Sundial t-shirtBPAA reports that work on the sundial is progressing in earnest. They’ve completed the engineering on the foundation and are working with the artist on the details of the construction of the 12-foot-tall equatorial bowstring sundial near the association’s Edwin Ritchie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island. Once those are finalized they’ll arrive at the price for construction and get under way. They’re hoping to be able to dedicate the sundial on the summer solstice. In the meantime watch for the handsome t-shirts around town. They include the coordinates of the sundial so you’ll be able to find it easily once it is built!

You probably won’t get a t-shirt, but you can still donate to the sundial project by visiting the BPAA website. Make sure to designate your contribution for the sundial. Funds received in excess of the cost of the sundial will be applied to a planned plaza around it.

Sundials at EAS

Speaking of sundials, “Mr. Sundial” himself, UW astronomy Prof. Woody Sullivan, will be the guest speaker at Wednesday’s meeting of the Eastside Astronomical Society. Sullivan will give a talk titled, “Sundials Around Seattle and Beyond: Fascinating Mixtures of Astronomy, Art, Design and History.” Sullivan is a sundial buff who helped design the sundial on the southwest wall of the UW astronomy building as well as the small sundials used on the Mars Exploration Rovers that landed in 2004. He also has designed many sundials around Seattle, and created the Seattle Sundial Trail, mapping 21 sundials around the city. Sullivan lent his expertise to the video that supported the BPAA’s Indiegogo effort.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Newport Way Library, 14250 SE Newport Way in Bellevue.

Watch the Seattle Astronomy Calendar to find out about space and astronomy events in the area, and visit the Seattle Astronomy Store to purchase our favorite astro books and gear.

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All systems go for Bainbridge sundial project

A sundial project that the Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA) has had on the drawing board for years will become reality by summer if all goes as planned. A fundraising effort anchored by an Indiegogo campaign has been a success.

“We’re only about $150 short of where we need to be, so on the strength of that we’re moving ahead,” said Frank Petrie, a BPAA member who is heading up the sundial effort. “It’s a done deal.”

Sundial model

BPAA members, with artist Bill Baran-Mickle at the center, pose with a model of the proposed sundial. BPAA photo.

Interestingly, the Indiegogo campaign fell well short of its goal, raising just $6,610 of the $17,000 needed to meet the project budget of about $30,000. Petrie said, however, that the campaign helped raise the overall visibility of the sundial project.

“A lot of donations came in outside of Indiegogo,” he said. “Even though we fell well short of our Indiegogo goal, all of this other money coming in outside of Indiegogo was able to bring us to the point where we successfully funded the project.”

The North American Sundial Society chipped in with a grant of $1,000 and several other significant private donations also were made.

“It was really gratifying to see how people stepped up and really got enthusiastic about the project and supported it,” Petrie said.

He gave a big nod to University of Washington astronomy professor Woody Sullivan, known in some circles as “Mr. Sundial.” Sullivan appeared in the video supporting the sundial campaign and also connected BPAA with the Sundial Society.

Bainbridge Island sculptor and metalsmith Bill Baran-Mickle is finalizing the design for the equatorial bowstring sundial, which will stand 12 feet tall. Petrie said the next steps are some engineering for the foundation for the sundial, which will be erected in Battle Point Park near BPAA’s Edwin Ritchie Observatory, then building the foundation, fabricating the sundial, and installing it.

“We hope to complete all that process by late spring, so hopefully we can have a dedication in late spring or early summer,” Petrie said.

Petrie added that additional contributions would be welcome. There’s a long-term plan to build a plaza at the sundial site, but that if enough donations are made in the coming months they could speed up the time line on that. Contributions can be made by check or online at the BPAA website. Earmark any contributions for the sundial project.

Petrie admitted that the original goal was pretty ambitious.

“It was a little daunting, but I’ve been really gratified. The Bainbridge Island community is good that way. They get excited about stuff like this,” Petrie said, adding that it wasn’t just islanders. “The response has been pretty overwhelming from all over. That’s been really nice.”

We look forward to attending the dedication of the sundial next summer if all goes as planned.

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Bainbridge sundial project in home stretch

The shadow is moving on the Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA) as it seeks to raise the funds needed to build a large equatorial bowstring sundial near its Edwin Ritchie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island. With a week left in the association’s Indiegogo campaign, they’ve raised $4,535 toward the goal of $17,000 needed to fully fund the project.

Sundial model

BPAA members, with artist Bill Baran-Mickle at the center, pose with a model of the proposed sundial. BPAA photo.

BPAA is actually a bit closer to the target than that. Frank Petrie, a BPAA member and part of the sundial committee, says they’ve raised more than $3,000 outside of Indiegogo since they launched the campaign about a month ago. Positive coverage of the effort has no doubt helped; in addition to our Seattle Astronomy article, the sundial project has received notice from the Bainbridge Island Review and Kitsap Sun. A contribution of $1,000 came in from the North American Sundial Society, which features a story about the BPAA effort on its website.

The budget for the sundial is $30,000. With previously received donations and contributions that have come in during the Indiegogo campaign, Petrie says they’re now within $10,000 of making the sundial a reality.

Even if they don’t reach the Indiegogo goal, they’ll receive funds pledged (less Indiegogo’s cut), and Petrie says they’ll bank that and take on other fundraising efforts until they have enough.

Why not resolve that worry and help them out today? Visit the campaign site, watch their video, read about the project and excellent perks for donors, and contribute to this worthy project. The sundial will be a significant piece of public art that will be a conversation starter, and it may well help spark some interest in astronomy.

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Bainbridge astronomers seek funding for sundial

The Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA) has been working for many years on a plan to build a sundial next to its Edwin Ritchie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island.

“It has been in the master plan for the organization almost since the get-go,” says Frank Petrie, a BPAA member since 1996 who is part of the sundial committee. The sundial would be built on a berm north of the association’s observatory and would be visible throughout much of the busy park.

Sundial model

BPAA members, with artist Bill Baran-Mickle at the center, pose with a model of the proposed sundial. BPAA photo.

The project took a major leap toward reality with the launching of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign earlier this month. Petrie says the aim of the campaign is to raise the $17,000 they need to fully fund the sundial.

The budget for the spectacular, 12-foot-tall, bronze-clad steel equatorial bowstring sundial, designed by Bainbridge metalsmith Bill Baran-Mickle, is $30,000. BPAA has collected about $13,000 toward the project over the years from the donation jar at their monthly planetarium shows and community events, a pledge from its board, and recent grants from the Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District and the Bainbridge Community Foundation. The latter, Petrie says, indicated to BPAA that there was widespread community interest in the sundial.

“There’s interest in this project coming from the arts community as well,” he says, because of the renown of Baran-Mickle and the desire for more public art at Battle Point.

Woody Sullivan, a University of Washington astronomy professor also known as “Mr. Sundial,” makes a pitch for the project in the BPAA’s video on Indiegogo.

“Sundials connect you with the cosmos,” Sullivan says in the video. “They connect you with a more natural kind of time than a digital, flashing watch. They tend to slow you down, also, which is something I think we need in our 21st Century iPhone existence.”

Petrie says the sundial is a first step in BPAA’s ambitious vision for its astronomy programs at Battle Point Park.

“Our hope is to build an astronomy-related complex around our observatory in Battle Point Park,” he explains. “We have a number of features that we’d like to incorporate, and the sundial is one of those features.”

Another is an adjacent building for BPAA’s planetarium. Monthly planetarium shows are presently wedged into the Helix House, which also houses the observatory. But the space is small and cramped, and typically far more interested people show up than can be accomodated, forcing many to wait for a second show, or miss out.

“It’s been very, very popular, and that tells us that our long-term plan to expand is a good one,” Petrie says.

The popularity is well-deserved; BPAA puts on a good show. Seattle Astronomy recommends them highly.

Petrie calls the BPAA and its facilities “a little jewel” and says he loves the organization’s commitment to its mission.

“It’s dedicated to public outreach and getting folks interested in science,” he says. “We like to share the excitement that we have about science in general and astronomy in particular, and hope that we can reach as many folks as possible and get them excited as well.”

You can help share the excitement by contributing to BPAA’s Indiegogo campaign for the sundial.

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Risinger of Photopic Sky Survey to speak at SAS

Nick Risinger

Nick Risinger sets up his camera gear for a night of shooting in Colorado. Risinger made more than 37,000 exposures to create a 5,000 megapixel image of the entire night sky. Photo: Nick Risinger.

Nick Risinger, Seattle resident who created the amazing 5,000 megapixel photo of the entire night sky, will be the guest speaker at tonight’s meeting of the Seattle Astronomical Society. Risinger traveled 45,000 miles by air and 15,000 by land collecting the more than 37,000 individual images he stitched together to make the photo. He will talk about the experience and show some of his images. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 in room A-102 of the Physics/Astronomy building on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Visit Risinger’s website at http://www.skysurvey.org/.

Equinox sunset watch set for Friday
The fall equinox happens at just after two o’clock Friday morning Seattle time. Friday evening, Sept. 23, Alice Enevoldsen of Alice’s Astro Info will hold what has become a customary watch to observe the first sunset of the season. The Sun will set a bit before 7 p.m. Friday, so Enevoldsen and skywatchers will gather at Solstice Park in West  Seattle around 6:30 to wait for the first sunset of autumn. (Official sunset is at 7:05 p.m. that day, but Enevoldsen has tweaked the time a bit based on local topography and conditions. She can do that, because she’s not only the author of Alice’s Astro Info, but the planetarium guru at the Pacific Science Center and a NASA Solar System Ambassador.)

PACSCI reopens
Speaking of the Science Center, all exhibits re-open Saturday, Sept. 24 after the Center’s annual two-week closure for maintenance and installation of new exhibits. It’s not astronomy related, but the new Groovik’s Cube, part of Puzzle Palooza, looks like a lot of fun.

BPAA examines “A Star’s Life”
The Battle Point Astronomical Association hosts its monthly planetarium show Saturday, Sept. 24 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The topic of the presentation will be the life cycles of stars, from nebula to white dwarf or black hole. The program will be at the association’s John H. Rudolph Planetarium and Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island. If it’s a clear night, club members will have telescopes on hand for observing, and the skies are decently dark at the site.

Comets at MOF
The Museum of Flight in Seattle devotes its Family Fun Workshops this weekend to comets and asteroids. Participants can learn about the oldest objects in the solar system, and then make their own model comets! It’s geared for kids K-3, and their parents, and is free with museum admission. Workshops start at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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