WADHURST ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

NEWSLETTER April 2002

INDEX: MEETINGS, OTHER NEWS, CONTACTS,

MEETINGS

LAST MONTH

Unfortunately, the editor was unable to attend the April meeting and therefore is not able to report on the evenings proceedings! However, for the record, Greg Smye Rumsby gave the talk and the title was "What size is that?" From the various snippets of information that I have been able to pick up the lecture was a lively affair and most entertaining.

NEXT MONTH

The next meeting is due to be held on Wednesday 8 May, at Uplands drama studio as usual. The evening will start at the usual time of 7.30 with the talk starting at 7.45. The speaker this month is Kevin Apps and the title of the talk is "New Planets - Update". Some members may remember that Kevin visited the society last year and gave us a talk on the subject of extrasolar planetary systems. Kevin was involved in one of the first successful search for extrasolar planets and has been involved in the subject since that time. At the time of the first discovery he was an undergraduate at the University of Sussex.  He has been a member of teams using the AAT and Keck telescopes.

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OTHER NEWS

TREASURERS REPORT

It is with quiet disappointment that we learn that 10 people have yet to renew their subscriptions. However, it was encouraging to sign up 5 completely new members, a warm welcome to all of you.

There is some unfortunate news from Uplands in that they have introduced a new cost formula in the charges for hire. The cost of hiring the Drama studio for each meeting has risen to 27.50, an increase over 11 meetings of 120%! This means that a typical years costs of hall hire, speaker expenses, postage etc will be in the region of 570, which equates to 38 subscriptions. We have 48 members at present and so we should break even with a small margin for incidentals, this does however depend on the generosity of speakers who charge only a minimal expense. In order to maintain a buffer for contingencies we will continue to raise additional funds although we do not wish to overdo events such as raffles at meetings.
We could cut costs by hiring a normal classroom at 13.75 per meeting. However, some of the larger classrooms are not set up with blackouts to allow the showing of slides! It has also been established that we could use the Commemoration Hall at a reasonable rate, although there may be long standing public meeting arrangements on the dates we require. The rate at the Sports Pavilion on the edge of the village is identical to Uplands.
We have paid for the use of the Drama Studio until December 2002. It has a number of advantages such as parking and being purpose built for projecting slides etc. It is also worth mentioning that all literature we have at present distributed show it as our location.
The treasurer or indeed any other committee member would gratefully receive any comments on this matter.

SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY

A new national Society for the History of Astronomy is being formed, with the support of noted astronomy historian Dr. Allan Chapman of Wadham College, Oxford. The Society will welcome equally amateur and professional historians and astronomers, and enthusiasts with a general interest in the subject. The objectives of the Society will include encouraging new research into the history of astronomy, especially amateur research at the local level, and facilitating its collation, publication and dissemination both by conventional means and through the internet.
It is planned to develop a close working relationship with the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Astronomical Association Historical Section, with the aim of contributing research material and publications to both of their Libraries as well as maintaining a central Archive and promoting the preservation of such research in local, county and national record offices.
Stuart Williams of the SHA said "Astronomers know well the major contribution that amateurs can and do make to the study of the great science, both making new discoveries and supporting the major research programmes of the professionals. Amateur and local historians can make an equally important contribution to the history of astronomy, especially its local history or in those aspects of history which are not always covered by professionals, such as that of the scientists assisting the 'big names', the local and university observatories, the amateur astronomers and societies, the telescope makers and publishers, etc. The SHA will have as one of its primary aims the encouragement and support of amateur research in these areas especially, but will also encourage professional research and the widest possible general interest in the subject.
The Society for the History of Astronomy will be founded at a special meeting organised for the purpose at Wadham College, Oxford, on Saturday 29th June 2002 at 1pm. A light lunch will be available at modest cost before the meeting, at 12 noon. Anyone interested in joining the new Society and contributing to its work is very welcome to attend that meeting, and for further details and a formal Invitation should indicate their interest by sending an A4 first class stamped s.a.e. to: Stuart Williams FRAS LRPS, Society for the History of Astronomy, Flamsteed Villa, 26 Matlock Road, Bloxwich, West Midlands, WS3 3QD

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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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Copy for the May edition of the Newsletter to reach the Editor by May 27 at the latest