ASE logo The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh


No 51 - December 2006

From the editor

With the jubilee No. 50 of the Journal complete, Dave Gavine has stepped down as editor. I will now try to follow in his footsteps and provide the members of the Society with their Journal, although this will not be possible without your help. More on that further below. I joined the Society only at Journal No. 39, and was wondering how the Society could be 82 years old, but have published only 50 Journals at a rate of two per year. The answer is that Dave in fact founded the Journal "only" 26 years ago. Well done Dave, and thanks for keeping at it! We hope to see more articles from your hand in the future.

Dave has a BSc in astronomy and geology from the University of St Andrews, an MA in geography from the University of Aberdeen, and a PhD in astronomy from the Open University for his thesis on the history of astronomy in Scotland from 1745 to 1900. He was president of the Society 1983-1985 and 1991-1992. The Society presented him with the Lorimer medal in 1995, and the BAA presented him with the Lydia Brown medal in 2003. He has just taken up a new post as director of the BAA Aurora Section.

In comparison, I can only offer you a degree in physics and a PhD in astronomy, both from the University of Bonn. I now spend my days helping to run the computers at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. I have some experience with society journals: In 1976 a few of us founded a small astronomical society with a journal, and 1982-1988 I was on the editorial team of the journal of the Volkssternwarte Bonn. I therefore know how hard it is to fill the Journal regularly, and that I cannot do it on my own.

The Journal is for the members of the Society, and it is they who know best what should be in it. Let me know what that is and who can provide it. Even better, write something yourself. Perhaps you picked up something of interest in the media, read a good book, found a brilliant web site. We should continue the tradition of reporting observations. Just a brief mention of who and when has seen noctilucent clouds, aurorae, fireballs and exceptional meteors, but also comets, eclipses etc. That would encourage others to step outside and look at the stars every now and then.

Quite a few of us probably combine their holidays with their interest in astronomy. Write a bit about an observatory or planetarium you visited, or an eclipse or transit you chased. Did you buy a new piece of equipment, first light on your new telescope, mount or camera? Let us know in a few paragraphs.

How difficult is it to write for the Journal? Not difficult at all. You only have to pass me the text and any images. My address (electronic and "snail" mail) is at the back of the Journal. If the material is on paper, then that is fine. If you do use a computer anyway, you can save me some time by handing me computer files. Keep the text and the images separate, and don't do too much work on them yourself. Sure, I need to know which words you want italic, where the paragraphs are, etc. But you shouldn't concern yourself with hyphenation, serif or sans-serif, line spacings etc. That will all come out in the wash (also known as final layout).

Since No. 38 Graham Rule had put an on-line version of the Journal on the Society web site. In future the web version will be the primary one, because it makes it relatively easy and cheap to provide high quality colour material to a large audience. There will continue to be a paper version: Not all of us want to "go on the web" for this, and some of us will want to collect the paper copies on our shelves. Let me know how important the paper copy is to you. Do you want it in colour? Do you want to opt out of receiving it altogether? Perhaps you compare the two versions of No. 51 and let me know what you think. The paper copy of No. 51 is black and white, and the images have been reprocessed with that in mind; one image has even been turned into a negative. Is that a good idea?

Journal Numbers 38 to 47 had been posted on the web more or less in parallel with the paper version. Numbers 48 to 50 are now also on the Society web site, but they have been converted afterwards from the paper version. Their general appearance on the web is similar to this issue, but the quality of the images is somewhat uneven.

Horst Meyerdierks, editor


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

About the ASE Journal

This journal as a single web page

This journal as PDF file (308 kByte)

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