Astronomical Society of Edinburgh
Journal 43

From the President

Isn't Astronomy a great hobby? There are so many aspects to suit all kinds of people. From the fireside astronomers and historians to the optical observers and the hi-tech digital imagers, there's something for everyone. It is particularly encouraging to see a growth in the number of practical observers and an enthusiasm shown by our new members for the two new observing/imaging groups. Thanks are due to those fronting the groups.

Dave King co-ordinates the Messier group. The Messier objects are good targets for the amateur astronomer providing everything from easy naked eye objects to fiendishly difficult faint ones. A good pair of binoculars is all that you require to get started. The satisfaction in finding these (sometimes) elusive objects is a reward in itself, but if you complete an observing logbook, you will also qualify for a certificate.

Horst Meyerdierks is continuing to run the CCD/Imaging group in the temporary absence of Neil Grubb. Horst is looking for more members interested in conventional photographic imaging to strike a better balance with the already strong following of digital imaging. The front cover of "The Journal" is a digital image produced by Horst using a simple webcam. Impressive isn't it. If you would like to be able to produce images like this, then why not join the group to find out how? This group meets on the first Monday of the month at the Calton Hill and even if the weather is unfavourable, there is plenty of interest provided from members passing on handy hints for dealing with all kinds of observing difficulties.

Both of these groups are open to everyone in the Society from the absolute beginner to the seasoned observer. What better way to learn your way around the sky than to complete a project set by the observing groups?

The Dobsonian telescope has now been taken down to Earliburn. Regrettably, however, due to the Foot and Mouth crisis, we must ask that you stay away from the site for the time being. The virus causing this disease can easily be spread by people walking around the countryside and of course, those of you familiar with Earliburn will realise that there is livestock in the adjacent fields. Let's hope that the disease is brought under control very soon. We will inform you as soon as we know the site can be used again.

The A.G.M. was held on 2nd March. Your new Council elected are:

President Lorna McCalman
Vice Presidents Peter MacDonald, Alan Ellis
Secretary Graham Rule
Treasurer George Grant
Councillors Alison Duncan, Ray Fenoulhet, Charlie Gleed, Jim Nisbet, Adrian Weatherhead

The Council try to run the Society for the benefit of all the members, but we need your input too. If you have suggestions or ideas that you think might benefit the Society then please let us know. We have a new Society Notice board in the Playfair Building that can be used to advertise and inform. Any astro equipment you may wish to buy or sell; fellow members you may wish to find to share particular viewing interests, or information about lectures and events that you think may be of interest to other members, then please use the Notice Board. We will also use it to display promotional leaflets received from various companies and publishers. Used well, the Notice Board will be well worth checking for information. Incidentally, the tea rota is also posted on the Notice Board and you will note that we are always in need of volunteers for tea duties. Don't leave it to the same people, please put your name down and take a 'turn with the urn'. It is a great way to get to meet other members of the Society. Who knows, the "milk and two sugars please" might just turn out to have an 8" S.C.T. and similar viewing interests.

The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh is vibrant and exciting. With lots of committed and enthusiastic people, this is making us the envy of many other societies. In addition to the practical observing, we have an interesting programme of meetings lined up for the next six months. So, get involved with whatever aspect of Astronomy appeals to you, and enjoy it!

Lorna McCalman