WADHURST ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2001

INDEX: MEETINGS, OTHER NEWS, CONTACTS

MEETINGS

LAST MONTH

The last society meeting was held on 12 September. A slightly strange meeting at first, as we did wonder whether we were going to have a guest speaker! Bob Turner was unfortunately delayed due to an unexpected diversion caused by a traffic accident. The meeting therefore started with the usual society business, this is all detailed later in the Newsletter.

We then had the unexpected opportunity to look at the video of the solar eclipse in Zimbabwe, taken by Tony Mitchell. The video was interesting not only for the eclipse itself but also for the reaction and atmosphere of the people observing it. Tony has seen a number of eclipses and has plans to see some of the future ones as well, so we may well see some more from him in the future. Thanks to Tony for stepping in at short notice as a filler.

After a short break, the main talk was on the Hubble Space Telescope, accompanied by some of the amazing images that have been taken by it. Bob started with a brief history of the Hubble project along with some insight into the work that is being done using it. The images started with those of the solar system before moving onto deep space. It is thought that Hubble is seeing to a depth of about 85% the total of the Universe. The next generation space telescopes will hopefully see even more! The images continued with galaxies, supernovae, quasars and what is thought to be the first picture of a black hole. We then learned a little about star formation and stellar nurseries, again accompanied by some fascinating images. Although Bob dealt with some quite deep science at times the evening was fascinating.

NEXT MONTH

The next meeting of the society is on 10 October, at the drama studio at the usual time of 7.30 pm. The speaker this month is Peter Gill who will be giving a talk on the subject of “Drawing the Moon”. Peter gave a talk to the society last year on the subject of the Moon, unfortunately, this was during the petrol crisis and due to the necessity of using public transport was shorter than normal. Hopefully, there will be no such problems this time! Peter is the Meetings secretary of the Eastbourne Astronomical Society, and a very enthusiastic speaker whose special interests lie in Lunar and Solar Astronomy. The subject of “Drawing the Moon” is one that should be of interest to all, as equipment does not have to be complex.

STAR PARTY

The report on the Star Party held on 17 August was sent out to all members as a memo in late August. However, I would once again like to thank Roger & Shirley Berman for acting as our hosts for the evening. The reports of those present were entirely favourable, and it is hoped that the society may be able to hold another evening there at a later date.

SOCIETY BARBEQUE

The Society Barbeque was held on 1 September and again the reports of those members who attended were entirely favourable. Apparently, there was a chance to do some observing although weather conditions were not 100%. Again, thanks to our hosts for the evening Michael Harte and his wife.

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OTHER NEWS

ISLE OF THORNS

At the last meeting, Duncan gave an update on the situation at the Isle of Thorns Observatory. In Brief, the sale of the site to the Cats Protection League is still going ahead, but subject to contract. The CPL are still firm that there will be no public admission to the site, so the telescope and observatory will be inaccessible. Sussex University who at present own the site are now talking about the possibility of enabling the telescope for remote operation. There is a possibility that the Heavens Above group will be able to use a site at Ringmer College.

SOCIETY TELESCOPE

The society telescope is still under final construction. The main tube and mount are now completed and the spider for the secondary mirror has been made. The focuser is in the process of being completed and final assembly will then be made. The telescope will then need to be collimated and tested.

COMMITTEE MEETING

There is a committee meeting planned for Wednesday 3 October, to be held at the Abergavenny Arms, Frant. The main item on the agenda is the preparations for the forthcoming AGM, further details will be in next months newsletter. If any member has any comments they would like bought up at the committee meeting, or would even like to attend, please contact the secretary.

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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

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