WADHURST ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2001

INDEX: MEETINGS, OTHER NEWS, CONTACTS

MEETINGS

LAST MONTH

The last meeting was held on 10 October 2001, and the speaker was Peter Gill. The subject for the evening was observing the moon and was in some ways a continuation of Peter’s previous talk to us. The talk was accompanied by a large number of slides that were all taken from Earth based telescopes. After a general introduction to observing the moon, including a lot of detail on how libration allows 59% of the surface to be observed, Peter went into the details of what an observer should try to look for. This consists in interpreting the surface features through shadows and light. The features look different under differing light conditions and so no matter how often you observe the moon you will always see something new. Peter then went into some of the details of moon mapping including a brief history of the nomenclature. After a short break for refreshments the talk continued with a look at how craters are formed. This included a number of slides that were created by a geologist that show how the Mare Imbrium was formed. We were then shown some slides that indicated different ways of recording what is seen. These included Galileo’s early drawings, Phillip Routh’s drawings, Harold Hill’s drawings and a fantastic watercolour by John Russell. The main tips to take into mind when trying to draw the moon are to draw a small area and to use a high power to show detail. However, do not use a power that does not resolve more detail. As a point of interest Harold Hill’s drawings were done using telescopes of 7.5” to 12” diameter and a magnification of around 300X. Peter closed the talk by saying that the main advice that can be given is to observe, draw and familiarise, as the more you do the more you will see. One final piece of advice is that it is perfectly alright to make a drawing showing the relative positions of objects as long as the final details are put in at the telescope.

NEXT MONTH

The next meeting is to be held on 14th November, at Uplands 7.30 pm as usual. The speaker this month is Bob Mizon and the title of the talk is the “Astro Alphabet” an A – Z of Astronomy. Bob is the chief co-ordinator for the Campaign for Dark Skies and also runs the Mizar Travelling Planetarium. Obviously this talk is not solely about the Campaign for Dark Skies, however, the Campaign is something that we should all be interested in and I am sure that Bob will be happy to talk to members on the subject. It should be pointed out that Bob is coming from Dorset to speak to us, so it would be nice to see a big turn out of members to welcome him.

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OTHER NEWS

TREASURERS REPORT

The society accounts now stand at £347.73 (current) and £1220.98 (reserve) giving a total of £1568.71.

Ian now in his 74th year and Treasurer of the society since its inception, considers that he is getting a bit long in the tooth to continue to organise Fund Raising. In his view he is by now getting out of touch with this aspect of the ‘sideline’ that seems to have grown up with the job of Treasurer. It could be argued that the pattern of events we have mounted have reached their individual finales. Books, videos and CD’s are lost causes in the present climate; even the tombola must be questioned, since reliance has fallen on one generous benefactor and a handful of other members. Returns over the four years have steadily declined, not by a lot, but they have not grown as he would have liked.

 

FUND RAISING

1998

1999

2000

2001

 

TOMBOLA

120

192

151

148

 

BOOKSTALL

58

52

61

4

 

PLANETARIUM

77

23

-

-

 

XMAS FAIR

-

-

12

-

 

SALE MAGS/STOCK

10

80

-

20

 

DONATIONS

-

-

1

-

 

RECEIPTS

265

347

225

172

Since Uplands College is going down the path of becoming a Technical college it is felt we have apart to play. It would be encouraging, if in the fullness of time, there will be sufficient members of the teaching staff who possess an enthusiasm for astronomy. The society might then consider giving a financial start towards the setting up of an observatory. We do need vision stretching into the future. In which case Ian feels that a younger person with all the vigour that goes with it is needed, to ensure that the society progresses financially along 21st century lines, and builds upon the foundations. Whatever we may think, one thing seems vital: we do put on at least one exhibition of telescopes each year to let the public see we are very much alive.

COMMITTEE MEETING

There were a number of items discussed at the committee meeting held on 3rd October. Some are discussed under separate headings such as Society Telescope, Fundraising (Treasurers Report) and A.G.M. The other points were, the possibility of holding a raffle at society meetings for the purpose of fundraising: the possibility of having an exhibition board for local libraries: name badges (there are now labels at each meeting): feedback on speakers. If anybody can help with the design of an A4 sized poster for the society please contact Murray. If anybody has any feedback on the speakers at meetings please see Tim.

SOCIETY TELESCOPE

It is now hoped that the society telescope will see first light by the time of the November meeting. Tim, Murray and Duncan have some final adjustments to make but all is now going well. The telescope will be available for loan to members as soon as it is completed, so if anybody is interested in borrowing the telescope please contact Peter Prince (01892 836284) or Murray (01892 654618). The loan period will be one month and there will be a loan charge of £5 to cover travelling expenses. Peter will deliver the telescope as needed and will also give a short introduction to the use of the telescope. There will also be a refundable deposit of £30. There will be a planisphere and book to go with the telescope as well as an observing logbook.

A.G.M.

The A.G.M. is nearly upon us once again; 12th December is the date for your diaries! According to the constitution of the society each officer is re-elected every two years, however they may only hold the same office for four years. This will mean that as of January 2002 we will lose our Secretary, Treasurer and Librarian! The committee is therefore proposing the following changes to the constitution at this year’s AGM:

1.    The deletion of the line “No member shall hold the same office for more than four years”. Each Officer will still be elected every two years, but we will not be in the embarrassing situation of finding ourselves without a particular officer e.g. Treasurer. There will still be the opportunity for any member to stand for any post on the committee every two years.

2.    An alteration to the Subscription payable for this year so that the Subscriptions fall into alignment with the Financial year. This means that next year’s subscription year will run from January to October, the treasurer has details of how much each member will pay but on average it will be £12.50 (Individual), £17 (Joint). The full annual subscription will then be payable from 1st November 2002.

3.    The list of officers of the society to be changed as follows;

       3.1 Deletion of the posts Deputy Chairman and Deputy Treasurer

       3.2 Addition of the posts Custodian of Equipment and Technical Advisor

4.    The deletion of the words “the parents teachers association of” in the section Winding up the society. This will ensure that should the society be wound up any monies remaining will go directly to Uplands College.

Just a reminder that the above changes if accepted by the society do not mean that the present officers will stay in their present positions for life. The present committee would in fact welcome new people stepping forward for any of the committee positions. If anybody feels that they are able to give up a little time and take on one of the committee roles please either speak to any committee member or just turn up at the A.G.M.

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CONTACTS

Chairman: Murray R. Barber 01892 654618 murray.barber@virgin.net

Secretary: Tim Bance 01732 832745 timbance@hotmail.com

Treasurer: Ian Reeves 01892 784255

Editor: Peter Bamblett 01732 368656 pbamblett@hotmail.com

Web site: Rob Cray rob@arcray.net

Publicity: Michael Harte 01892 783292 michael@greenman.demon.co.uk

Dir. of Obs.: Sean Tampsett 01892 667092 sean_tampsett@hotmail.com

Librarian: Joan Grace 01892 783721

Custodian of Equipment: Peter Prince 01892 836284

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