ASE logo Astronomical Society of Edinburgh


No. 50 - November 2006

Presidential news

In the last edition of the Journal which was published I referred to the 'Future of the City Observatory'. The Society did review its options at our Annual General Meeting in March 2006. The consensus was that we wished to continue to be associated with the historic Calton Hill Observatory if at all possible. Our main concern was that the Playfair building was in need of repair.

At a meeting with City Council officials in May we were informed that work will start this year on the Astronomer's House. The Council have identified £ 70k for roof repairs in this financial year. This is a start in the long overdue refurbishment. Much remains to be done.

I hope we can implement our plan to have Astronomy evening classes at the Calton Hill Observatory starting in October. Such classes have been successful over many years in Stirling and Dundee. There is no reason why they should not be equally successful in a population centre the size of Edinburgh. There are lectures run by the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill. These should not be seen as competition. Our courses will be more central and accessible. In any case there is room for two courses in Edinburgh.

It is envisaged that there will be a course in the autumn and in the spring. Each course will consist of six to eight sessions on a suitable weekday evening. Following the Dundee model a course will be an introduction to the night sky and the solar system. Each session will last a maximum of two hours and will, if the weather is not suitable, consist of an illustrated talk and a question and answer debate. If the sky is clear the indoor session will be shortened to allow for observing.

It is hoped that each session will have a Society member as a lead presenter supported by another member who may specialist knowledge of that night's subject (and/or observing experience).

The details of the course have yet to be worked out. However, the title of the first one may be 'The Solar System'. The talks could be:

1. The Sun2. The Moon
3. The inner planets4. Mars
5. The outer planets6. Meteors
7. Comets8. The Kuiper Belt

There would have to be a charge for the course. That has to be worked out.

I hope that the courses can be organised and are successful. We will be carrying out essential educational work bring astronomy to the public and young people. In time it should boost the Society and recruit new members.

I would welcome the participation of members in the course development and in the delivery of the sessions.

Des Loughney, June 2006

Other news:

Congratulations to our Secretary, Graham Rule, who has received his BSc from the Open University.

Dave Gavine has been appointed Director of the BAA Aurora Section, succeeding Ron Livesey who held the post for 23 years. Ron remains as Assistant Director.

The Scottish Astronomy Weekend will be held in the Cowane Centre, Stirling, on October 13-15 2006. Like last year's Weekend it will be non-residential, i.e. delegates will require to make their own arrangements for accommodation and meals, for which lists will be provided. The main speaker will be Bob Marriott. For bookings and information please contact:
Dr Alex Houston, 41 Keirfold Ave, Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, FK10 3BE < alex.houston @ >


Cover page

Presidential news

The March 29 eclipse from Libya

Let there be rock - The story of the Hambleton meteorite

Let there be rock - addendum

Brown dwarfs

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