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No 51 - December 2006

SAW 2006

Superstitions being left at home, Friday 13th of October saw the start of the 18th Scottish Astronomer's Weekend.

Hosted by the Stirling Astronomical Society, SAW 2006 got off to a flying start in the Cowane Centre, Stirling.

Alan Cayless, president of Stirling AS and Bill Ward, president of the Scottish Astronomers Group welcomed all in attendance. Alan then asked Alex Houston to explain the running order - after which Alan introduced the first speaker - The Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Prof. John Brown, with his musings entitled 'From Futons to Plutons'. No talk from Prof. John Brown would be complete without a few tricks - he didn't disappoint!

Due to time constraints, a proposed discussion panel had to be cancelled but John Brown did a short question and answer session. Many thanks go to him as he was getting over a spell of illness.

On Saturday, chairperson Alex Houston introduced Alan Cayless - who gave his fascinating talk, 'Through a Lens Darkly', a talk about gravitational lensing.

This was followed by Roger Stapleton with his talk on the instruments of Saint Andrews University Astronomy Dept - both past and present.

On completion, this took the morning session to a tea-break - after which SAG president Bill Ward gave a talk entitled 'New Eyes on the Sky' - telling of the different types of telescopes around the world and of the ones he has visited.

The usual questions and answers completed - SAW-18 broke for lunch.

The afternoon was 'free time' to do sight-seeing or touring or shopping.

The weekend's events restarted at 19:30 with chairperson Dave Gavine introducing Bob Marriott and his talk on 'Esoteric Optics'. This was an interesting talk on telescopes with unusual designs.

Sunday's events started with chairperson Douglas Cooper, who introduced Alex Houston and Bill Samson who spoke about ROE experiences in the late 60's.

10:15 saw Dave Gavine and Tim Schroder and an interesting talk about the life and astronomical interests of James Stewart Mackenzie.

At 11am, after a tea-break there was a members session.

Des Loughney of ASE spoke on his recent results of observing variable stars.

Melvyn Taylor gave a short talk on the Leeds Astronomical Society.

Bill Ward spoke about his solar spectroscope and showed a resultant image.

Iain McEachran of ASE gave a short presentation of the NLC results obtained.

Douglas Cooper showed images of aurora, NLCs and HD video of the moon.

At approx 12:45, Douglas Cooper made the concluding remarks and thanked the people who put the weekend together.

At 13:00 SAW-18 was over!

Huge thanks go to Dave Gavine for his excellent work over the years. This was the last SAW Dave said he'd organise. Thanks Dave. A hard act to follow.

Thanks also to the Stirling AS and the Cowane Centre.

Iain McEachran


Cover page

Observing from Edinburgh 1978-1984

Solar global warming

Pluto and the planets

SAW 2006

Recent observations

From the president

Earlyburn sold

From the editor

Forthcoming events

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