NEWSLETTER October 2002




Thanks to Bob Wharton for taking on the role of reporter at the monthly meetings. His first report is as follows:
Summary of the meeting held on 9 October 2002.
Sean gave a brief report on the last observing session, which had been very successful with fifteen people attending. He also displayed some Sky maps that will no doubt be of great use to others in future observing sessions.
The Chairman announced that in the New Year the meetings would be held on the third Wednesday of each month. He then introduced the speaker for the evening, Pam Spence.
Pam's talk was on "The Story of Cosmology"; the first part of the evening was devoted to the history of Cosmology which was well illustrated by slides, and covered the story of Cosmology from the time of the Babylonians and Greeks and brief accounts of the roles played by the major contributors to the subject, listed here in chronological order: -Aristotle, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Olber and in more recent times Einstein, Hubble, Gamow and Hoyle.
Pam emphasised that little real progress was made from the time of Aristotle until Kepler proved the elliptical orbits of the planets, due principally to the belief that the Earth was the centre of the Universe.
The second half of the evening Pam spoke on the more modern aspects of cosmology, much of which was demonstrated with a balloon to represent an expanding Universe, however she said that we must always remember that the Universe has no edge and no centre, as the Universe looks the same from any point within it.
A fascinating story was told of the history of the Universe from shortly after the Big Bang. From the Planck time 10^-43 seconds after the BB with an estimated temperature of 10^30 K, after 1 second the temperature 6x10^9 K, at 10^6 years 1000 K and after 10 million years a temperature of about 3 K.
Pam also spoke of the contribution of Post war radio astronomers who had discovered the cosmic microwave background, forecast in Einstein's general theory of relativity.
Pam concluded her talk with a brief outline of the work of Alan Guth on strings and clusters;
A very successful evening concluded with Pam answering a number of questions on her fascinating subject.
Note by your reporter.
Cosmology is a pretty massive subject. So here are a couple of Web sites if any of you would like to delve a bit further or perhaps refresh your memories.
Fairly basic
More advanced
R A Wharton


The Next meeting of the society is to be held on Wednesday November 13. Remember the doors open at 7.15 and the meeting will start at 7.30 prompt. The speaker this month is our very own Murray Barber and the subject is the recent trip to


The next observing session is due to be held on Friday 1 November. Again members will meet in the Crow & Gate Pub at Crowborough, at around 8 pm. The group will then move onto the Forest for the observing session. 15 people for the first session last month was really good but all members are most welcome to come along. For further details please contact Sean on 01892 667092.


As mentioned in the last Newsletter, there was a committee meeting held on 30 September. The main item on the agenda was a proposed change of date to the society meetings and after much discussion it was agreed that the meetings night should change from the second to the third Wednesday of each month. This change will take place from January next year. Meetings will also now start promptly at 7.30 each month with the doors opening at 7.15. The subject of an Exhibition for next year was raised but nothing has yet been decided, if any member has any ideas for a place to hold an exhibition please contact any of the committee. Duncan gave an update on the situation at the Isle of Thorns Observatory. Things are now looking more promising with the Cats Protection League having taken over the site. It is also possible that the society may be able to have an exclusive organised visit to the observatory once a year, more details when available.
On the subject of committee members, Murray has decided to continue as Chairman for the present time. I am sure all members will agree that this is good news for the society. Peter Prince has had to stand down as custodian of equipment and Sean has taken on this role for the time being. Ian King has agreed to take over the role of Secretary of the society. We are however, still looking for a member to take over the role of treasurer. If any member wishes to offer their services please make yourself known as soon as possible. All of these changes will be officially made at the AGM subject to members support.
Various other items were discussed but I have listed them all separately under other news.




All members are reminded that subscriptions for society membership are due from November 1. The cost remains the same this year, 15 per member or 20 for joint membership. Please send your payments to the treasurer at Broadwater Lodge, Stone Cross Road, Wadhurst, TN5 6LR. Alternatively, bring your payment with you to the November meeting.


The society has very kindly been given a DVD player for fund raising use. It was decided that the best method of raising funds was to have a sealed bid auction. There is a minimum reserve price of 50 and all bids need to be with the treasurer by the AGM on 11 December, (send them with your subscriptions!). The player itself is an LG DVD 3200E for playing DVD video and audio disks. Features include 3D virtual surround sound and an on screen Graphical User Interface. Place your bids in a sealed envelope and get them to the treasurer before the AGM.


Just a reminder to all members that the society scope is available for hire by all members. There is a 30 refundable deposit and a 5 fee per month. the only other condition of loan is that each hirer fills out the log book supplied! The scope is an 83/4" f5.8 dobsonian reflector, with a focal length of just under 51". There are three eyepieces that come with the scope which give magnifications of 51x 72x and 204x. If anybody wishes to hire the telescope please contact Sean on 01892 667092 or speak to him at the meeting


One final item from the recent committee meeting, the Pantiles Camera Centre are offering a discount to all Wadhurst Astronomical Society members. They are willing to give 15% off complete telescope systems and 10% of ancillaries (excluding film). The address is 22 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 5TN and their telephone number is 01892 527082. Obviously to avail yourself of this offer you will need to be a current member of the society and have an up to date membership card with you. As well as telescopes, they stock a comprehensive range of Cameras, SLR's, Compacts & the new APS (advanced photo system), together with their accessories. They can also supply used equipment, Slide Projectors, Binoculars and Spotting Scopes. They are also stockists of Night Vision equipment including scopes, binoculars and goggles.



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 & Web Site: 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