A Very Happy New Year to all members of the Wadhurst Astronomical Society!



      The last meeting of the Wadhurst Astronomical Society was held at Uplands College on Wednesday the fifteenth of December and was also the Annual General Meeting.  The meeting was well attended, but sadly our anticipated speaker for the evening failed to arrive. 

      Ian Reeves opened the evening as our stand-in Chairman but by the end of the AGM he had been voted in as the Society's new Secretary, and it is in this capacity that he writes the following report of events:

Report of the Wadhurst Astronomical Society's AGM by the New Secretary

      Members were poised to welcome Norman Walker to the December meeting but the searching questions each of them had assembled remain unanswered.  Our would-be speaker did not arrive.  The following day he expressed his regrets  for the disappoinment his no-appearance had caused.  His 2004 year plan had become faint to indecipherable.  Fortunately we had an absorbing AGM on hand with hot coffee and star class mince pies to capture that attention of some 20 members.

      A relaxed but friendly formal process was adopted this year.  A temporay Chairman in the shape of Ian, our outgoing Treasurer, (wearing a jacket!) using text book jargon, moved that Mr. Tim Bance take the Chair and in the absence of any other candidate, members were invited to indicate their approval by a show of hands.  The response was unanimously in favour.

      Tim took the Chair and briefly thanked the meeting for the honour conferred on him.  He then thanked the outgoing Treasurer for serving seven years in office before proposing that Jason Gardner be elected to the post of Treasurer.  By another show of hands members gave their approval and Jason was elected.

Tim moved on to announce that seven other members had agreed that their names could go forward for election to the committee.  Since no further offers were forthcoming he read out the names in alphabetical order.  There was once again a show of hands with none against to show members satisfaction.

The line-up is as follows:

Name       Served on the Committee since    Office

Tim Bance                     Jan 1998              Chairman

Jason Gardner                 new                     Treasurer

Joan Grace                      Nov 1997

Michael Harte                 Sept 1999

Ian King                         Oct 2002

Geoff Rathbone              Nov 2003

Ian Reeves                     Nov      1997

John Vale Taylor            new

Mike Wyles                   new

      Individual responsibilities will be allocated following the Committee Meeting to be held at the Abergavenny Arms at Frant on Monday 10th January 2005.  The Abergavenny Arms is about 2 miles south of Tunbridge Wells on the A267 and all members are welcome to attend.

      The Chairman advised that Ian Reeves has agreed that he was prepared to serve as Secretary for one year only.

      He then asked for reports on the previous year.

      The Accounts of the previous yea,r having been examined, were presented.

      In the absence of any questions, approval was sought and given by all members present.  The former Treasurer then proposed a vote of thanks and members expressed their gratitude to Steve Hale, the Accountant who has kindly examined our accounts each year.

      The meeting then evaporated to re-assemble in the direction of the Greyhound to discuss everything under the sun - and beyond...

  Ian Reeves


     A Star Party was declared by Tim Bance from the 13th to 19th of December 2004 at his home in Leigh, when members were invited to turn up if it was agreed that the weather looked good.  There were in fact some very clear crisp evenings but only one member managed to turn up. It was just before Christmas and many of us probably were involved in preparations for Christmas or, like me, laid up with a heavy cold.  But sadly some good observing opportunities were missed.

      Tim says he hopes to be holding more Star Parties in the future, and I for one look forward to that very much.


Committee meeting

As noted in the Secretary's report, and also in the last Newsletter, there will be a Committee Meeting at the Abergaveny Arms in Frant on Monday 10th January 2005 at 2000.

January meeting

   The next Wadhurst Astronomical Society meeting will be held on Wednesday 19th January 2005 when the speaker will be Peter Gill whose illustrated talk is entitled "The Sun".

    As usual, the meeting will be held in the Drama Studio at Uplands College.  The doors open at 7.15 pm and the meeting starts at 7.30 pm prompt.

Proposed arrangements for the next few meetings

    Our new Secretary has been very industrious since taking on the role and has already had a great deal of success in arranging speakers for the coming months.

      It is proposed that the February meeting should be "Telescope Viewing from Uplands" when members are invited to come along for a viewing evening.  As many members as possible are invited to bring their own instruments.

      In March, Greg Smythe-Rumsey will give a talk about "The Craig Telescope at Wandsworth"  Members may remember Greg's inimitable style from his slightly improptue talk given at the "Mars Extravaganza" meeting last year.

      Then in April, John Murrel will give a talk called "Virtual Observatories- Fireside Astronomy"

       Ian Reeves has arranged even more talks for the following months, but I think that is probably enough for the present.





Membership Subs

    Membership subs are due (well, techinically they were due on 1st November 2004)  Quick off the mark, 25 members have paid up and both old and new Treasurers are pleased with the response.

      Subs for the current session 2004/2005 are:

Single membership        15

Joint membership          £20


A new telescope display room

    One of the Society's members, Jan Drodz, reports that he recently visited the display room of Broadhurst Clarkson and Fuller Ltd. on the North Farm Estate, near Tunbridge Wells.  He says he was very impressed and the shop is well worth a visit where a large number of telescopes and other astronomy-related items are on display.

      The facility can be found at Unit 6 in the Tunbridge Wells Trade Park towards the southern end of Longfield Road, behind Tile Magic.

Cassini/Huygens mission

      Members following the progress of the Cassini Mission will be awaiting with interest the culmination of the Huygens Probe part of the mission when on the 14th January 2005  the probe is expected to land on the surface of Saturn's satellite Titan.  (Interestingly, Saturn is at opposition to the Sun at this time.)

      The Huygens probe seperated from the main Cassini craft on Christmas Day and since then has been sending data and images back to the main craft ready for transmitting back to earth.

      On the 14th January it is hoped that the Hygens probe with land on the surface of Titan at a speed of about 5 metres per second having taken many images during the descent.  The probe is not designed to survive the landing specifically, but it is hoped that it will survive long enough to send back data from the surface for at least three minutes after impact.  We may then get an idea of what the surface is like.  We can only wait!

     There have been some incredible pictures from the mission so far and the latest images can be seen here

     There is also a lot of information and data about the mission.

    There is also information and other details to be found  here and here




Tim Bance                     01732  832745



Ian Reeves                    01892  784255

Newsletter Editor

Geoff Rathbone                01959  524727



Any material for inclusion in the February Newsletter should be with the Editor by January 31th  2005