Whilst many will mourn the passing of summer, now that the nights are drawing in again, we in our Society can look forward to an interesting and constructive winter season.
Thanks to the hard work of several of the Society members our dark site at Earliburn is finally ready for use. We now have a garage for shelter and storage as well as the use of a small dome which, at present, accommodates Jim Douglas's 12" SCT. Jim is happy to allow members to look through his telescope when he is there to supervise the use of the instrument. The 8" Dobsonian telescope belonging to the Society is to be taken out to Earliburn so that members, who do not have their own telescope, can make use of this very nice instrument. An added bonus of the Dobsonian is that it is very easy to use and requires no special setting up procedures, so please take full advantage of this opportunity.
At the Calton Hill, one of the long-term projects currently being undertaken is the refurbishment of the 13" Cox telescope, which we hope will be installed in the Crawford Dome. As well as having a large aperture, the Cox has a very long focal length, which means that this telescope will be excellent for lunar and planetary observing. A further advantage is that being on the same level as the car park and main entrance, the Crawford Dome will provide easier access for disabled people.
Neil Grubb has set up a CCD/astrophotography group, which has created great interest within the Society. The group meets on the first Monday of each month and is very well attended. The dark site at Earliburn is proving to be very beneficial, with some stunning images being obtained by CCD cameras and conventional film photography. Some of these images are on our web page.
Charlie Gleed has been working on refining the technique for hyper-sensitising photographic film and he will be happy to "hyper" film for members of the society... ideal for use at our dark site. For more information on this process and its applications, see ASE Journal no. 38, Summer 1998, (available in the library.).
The observatory continues to be opened between 8pm and 10pm each Friday night to provide members with access to the telescopes and library as well as showing visitors around. It is always the same 4 or 5 people who regularly volunteer, so if you are free on Friday evenings and willing to help out, please let me know. All offers of assistance will be gratefully received!
Our lecture meetings take place in the City Dome on the first Friday of each month with talks aimed at covering a wide range of topics. If you have a suggestion for a topic or a speaker, then please contact Graham Rule, the Society's Secretary.
I am sure you will agree there are many exciting developments happening within the Society and they will best thrive with the benefit of members' support. I hope that as many members as possible will join in and find the rewards of becoming involved in these activities. The elected Council run the society on behalf of the members, but we do need your ideas and feedback. Please let us know if you have ideas that you would like to see implemented or suggestions that you think would improve the Society.
Wishing you clear skies and happy viewing.