The Society has a new web address: http://www.astronomyedinburgh.org/. This continues to be hosted at the ROE and the Council of the Society expresses its thanks to the ROE, in particular to Horst Meyerdierks, for this. We also have an e-mail addresses set up for firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as similar addresses for secretary and treasurer which should always allow messages to get to whoever holds that post at the time.
I'm sure that Lorna has been too modest to mention a recent talk she gave to the Edinburgh Photographic Society about astronomical photography. From what I have heard this was very well received.
Dave Gavine has also been busy giving talks on astronomy. In addition to his recent Popular Astronomy evening class he has spoken to astronomical societies in Dundee, Elgin, Eastbourne, St Andrews, Falikirk and to the Friends of the Mills Observatory.
Ken Thomas joined Lorna and myself in an evening of talks to visitors at Vogrie Country Park recently. This is the third time members of the Society have been there and it is also the third time we have taken telescopes only to find it completely cloudy. Despite this everyone seemed to have a good time.
When the Observatory was open for Doors Open Day we had a very good turnout and were kept busy showing people round. In addition to some talks on astronomy by Horst I showed my slides about the history of the observatory a number of times. Other groups subjected to my history talk (which includes the One O'Clock Gun and the Time Ball) include the local Lapidary Club and a group from Peebles.
There was a recent meeting of the Scottish Astronomers Group but, unfortunately, because of short notice, the Society was not represented. SAG meetings are open to all interested members of affiliated societies so we will try to announce any forthcoming meetings on our website.
Since the last Journal there have been some very good meetings of the Society. In April, Dave Gavine spoke about "Daft Astronomers". Dr Mary Brück told us about "Mary Evershed and the astronomy of the Divine Comedy" in May, after which she was presented with the Society's Lorimer Medal. George Grant told us about telescope making in June and we had an excellent Social Evening in July with Members' Night allowing a number of short presentations at the August meeting. September saw Ron Livesey speaking about his experiences in astronomy under the heading "A Space Odyssey" and in October Dan Hillier, ROE Visitor Centre Manager gave us a glimpse of what the Centre might be if their Heritage Lottery Bid is successful. The ever popular Brian Kelly came from Dundee to tell us about "The Search for the Nebulae" in November. In December, Mrs Margaret Morris came from Glasgow AS and gave us a most interesting talk with the title "An Accretion Disk on Two Legs" which was illustrated by many of the postage stamps and other items with and astronomical connection which she has collected since childhood. At 'Christmas' meeting we were happy to have guests from Falkirk and Stirling who also joined us for our raffle and a glass or two of wine.
One of the more interesting tasks for the Secretary is to find speakers for meetings. But sometimes it can be quite difficult. I am always open to suggestions of suitable speakers so if you happen to have heard someone particularly interesting who you think might be appropriate for a meeting of the Society please do let me know. If you believe you may be able to prepare a talk yourself then so much the better. We always have a "Members' Night' in the summer so if you don't feel up to a full talk but do want to tell us about something - observations, book reviews, anything astronomical - then that might be your chance. (It may be only December but I really ought to be working on the Summer Programme by now.)
If you don't actually feel up to speaking at a meeting of the Society perhaps your would prefer to put your contribution in writing. Contact Dave Gavine if you have something for this Journal.
As has been announced at meetings, the current subscription for the Society is £15 (£7 for concessions). Subscriptions became due in October and if you have not yet paid then you should have had a reminder by now. Prompt payment greatly eases the burden of administration that the (volunteer) Officers of the Society have to face.
Since this is the last Journal before the AGM I'd like to remind members that nominations for the Council of the Society should be with me by February 8th. Anyone who has been a member for a year or more is eligible for election. While being a Council Member may not seem the most glamorous of jobs the Society can only continue to thrive as long as members volunteer and give of their time.
If any of you find your Journal too small to read (or know of a member who does) then please let me know. I am always happy to prepare a larger print copy for those who ask. Braille is not impossible but would take considerable notice. The website copy is designed to work well with screen readers.