WADHURST ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

NEWSLETTER August 2002

INDEX: MEETINGS, OTHER NEWS, CONTACTS,

MEETINGS

LAST MEETING

The last meeting was held on July 10, the speaker was Andrew Robertson and the title of the talk was "Telescopes and Optics". There were at least 10 telescopes on display at the meeting most being supplied by members of the society, thanks to those members who bought a scope along. Andrews talk was based on his long search for the perfect telescope for planetary use, bearing in mind that no telescope does everything well. He first covered the differences between the various types of optics found, starting with refractors and reflectors and then moving on to Cassegrains (both Maksutov and Schmidt), Maksutov Newtonians and finally some detail of more exotic types such as Cassegrain coude and fluorite refractors. There are advantages and disadvantages to each design and many of these points were mentioned. Andrew then went into a little detail about the various mounts that a telescope can have, including altazimuth, dobsonian and equatorial (both fork and German), these too all have pros and cons. After a short break for refreshments Andrew went into some more detail of the advantages and disadvantages of telescope designs using a 6" reflector and 4" refractor for comparison. The final part of the talk dealt with the physical limits that a telescope has, with some details of what the maximum resolving power of a telescope should be. Mention was also made of how a telescope with a central obstruction will, if tested as per some books, appear to be of inferior quality. Andrew has owned a variety of telescopes and has observed through many more and has finally settled on the Maksutov Newtonian as his choice for planetary work. Although this is Andrew's perfect telescope, and his reasons for choosing it were made perfectly clear, it would not be everybody's first choice. I am sure that other members of our society would disagree with his choice!

NEXT MEETING

There is no meeting of the society at Uplands during August and so the next meeting is on September 11. The speaker will be Owen Brazell and the subject will be "Deep Sky Observing". Owen is the editor of the Webb Societies Newsletter (Deep Sky Observer) and formerly the assistant director of the BAA deep sky section.

STAR-BE-QUE

The annual WAS star-be-que is to be held on Saturday August 31. The venue is Greenman Farm, Wadhurst, as per usual and the event will start at around 7 pm. Please bring your own food (to cook!) and drink, all cooking facilities will be provided as usual.
All members and their families are most welcome to come to the event and if you wish to bring your telescope even better! Please direct any queries to Michael Harte on 01892 783292. Thanks once again to Michael and his wife for acting as our hosts for the evening.
For those members who are new to the society Greenman Farm is on the B2099 Wadhurst to Frant road. From Wadhurst come past the railway station, under the railway bridge, and Greenman Farm is on the left. There is a map with the area indicated available here.

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OTHER NEWS

PERSEIDS

This issue of the newsletter is unfortunately too late to warn about the peak of the Perseid meteors, which occurred between August 10 & 15. However, you may still see the odd one or two, as they are visible up to August 22. August is often a good month for meteor watchers anyway as there are a number of smaller showers during the month. Perhaps it's a bit in the distance but also bear in mind that the Leonids peak around November 18 -19 this year.

STAR PARTY

It is hoped that the society will start to have a regular monthly observing session during the later part of the year. It has been suggested that those members who are interested meet in the Crow & Gate Pub in Crowborough, at 8 pm and then go onto Ashdown Forest for an observing session (weather permitting!). The suggested dates are: October 4, November 1 and December 6. These are all for Fridays and are the nearest to the New Moon

EDITOR'S NOTE

Due to some changes in my circumstances, the September meeting may well be the last society meeting that I can get to for some time. This unfortunately means that I will be unable to write a report on the monthly meetings as I have done in the past. I am therefore looking for a member who is either: a) willing to take over as editor or b) able to write a few lines reporting on the meetings. If anybody feels they can help out at all in this matter - let me know!

SPELDHURST FETE

Following from the society attending the Speldhurst fete, the following letter was received from the organisers:
"Just a little note to say how pleased everyone was that you came to our Fete - the telescopes were a great attraction and we all appreciated you giving up your time for us.
Your display created such interest, so nice to have something like this at a fete. Matthew is so thrilled with his telescope - the downside being apparently he won't go to bed! You could have a member in the offing!
Once again, thank you for putting Speldhurst Jubilee Weekend on the map."

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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

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

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 NEXT EDITION OF THE NEWSLETTER TO REACH THE EDITOR BY 23 SEPTEMBER 2002