ASE logo The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh

Journal

No 62 - March 2010

Astronomical Society of Edinburgh
Annual Report for 2009

Editor's note: The official version of the Annual Report is the PDF version (230 kByte) with pages numbered 5 to 20.

Trustees' annual report for the period 1 Jan. to 31 Dec. 2009

Reference and administration details

Names of the charity trustees on date of approval of the trustees' annual report.
trustee nameoffice (if any) dates actedappointed by
1Dr Horst Meyerdierks Presidentfrom 1 AprilAGM
2Mr Graham Rule Secretarywhole yearAGM
3Mr Alan Ellis Treasurerwhole yearAGM
4Mr Iain McEachran Vice-Presidentfrom 1 AprilAGM
5Ms Rachel Thomas Vice-Presidentfrom 1 AprilAGM
6Mr Daniel Gallacher from 1 AprilAGM
7Mr Frank Howie whole yearAGM
8Mr Peter Mulholland whole yearAGM
9Mr David Small whole yearAGM
10Mr Kenneth Thomas from 1 AprilAGM
11Mr Vincent Balfour from 3 AprilCouncil

Names of all other charity trustees during the period.
nameoffice (if any) dates actedappointed by
Mr Iain McEachranPresident to 31 MarchAGM
Mr Daniel GallacherVice-President to 31 MarchAGM
Mr Kenneth ThomasVice-President to 31 MarchAGM
Mr Des Loughney to 31 MarchAGM
Dr Horst Meyerdierks to 31 MarchAGM
Ms Rachel Thomas to 31 MarchAGM

Structure, governance and management

The Society is an unincorporated association founded (as the Edinburgh Astronomical Association) in 1924 and is governed by a Constitution most recently modified on 13 January 1995. The Constitution may be referred to on the Society's web site at http://www.astronomyedinburgh.org/constitution.

The Management of the Society is vested in a Council, elected from the Ordinary Membership of the Society at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). In the event of any vacancy arising in the Council, the Council has power to co-opt a Member of the Society to fill such a vacancy.

The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh Trustees

A former Vice-President of the Society, Mr John Henry Lorimer RSA, left a substantial bequest to the Society when he died in 1936. This bequest has been assigned to "The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh Trustees" and is managed by them under conditions set forth in a Deed of Trust granted in favour of Rev Dr James Patrick DD BSc and others, dated 10 December 1937.

The following are the trustees in terms of that deed:

All of the above trustees are past Presidents and Members of the Society.

Astronomical Society of Edinburgh Trust is registered Scottish Charity SC013921.

Objectives and activities

Clause 1 of the Constitution is:

The name of the Society shall be "The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh" and its objects shall be to advance the education of the public about the science of Astronomy and to promote astronomical research chiefly in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood. In furtherance thereof:

The Society continues to hold meetings throughout the year with educational talks on different aspects of astronomy. Practical observing has always been encouraged by the Society, with some members contributing to nationally coordinated observing programmes (through the British Astronomical Association), some producing interesting images to show at our meetings, and others supporting public observing for members and visitors alike.

Following an initiative of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO, the United Nations proclaimed 2009 the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). The Society supports this initiative. In addition to placing its monthly meetings under the IYA banner, it participated in several outreach activities during the year.

Achievements and performance

Membership

On 31 December 2009, the membership of the Society was 58 of which six were honorary members. Honorary members are Dr H. Ford MBE, Dr D. Gavine, Dr N. Grubb, and Prof D. Heggie. The Honorary Presidents are Prof Andy Lawrence BSc PhD FRAS FRSE (Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh) and Prof John Brown BSc PhD DSc FRSE FRAS (Astronomer Royal for Scotland).

Meetings

The Council of the Society met on 16 January, 13 February, 3 April, and 14 August 2009. The Annual General Meeting was held on 13 March 2009. Nine Ordinary Meetings with educational talks on different aspects of astronomy were held; see "Optional information" for details.

Publications

Editions 59, 60 and 61 of the Society's Journal were published in 2009 under the editorship of Horst Meyerdierks. Members are encouraged to obtain their copy of the Journal from the Society's website, but paper copies are also available to members who prefer these. Paper copies are also sent to the Legal Deposit Libraries. International Standard Serial Numbers have been issued for both online and paper versions of the Journal:

The online version is available to the public at http://www.astronomyedinburgh.org/publications/journals.

Members are issued with the latest edition of the Federation of Astronomical Societies' "Astrocalendar" on payment of their subscription to the Society.

The City Observatory

In January 2009, the Society's Council decided that the City Observatory was no longer a suitable venue for our monthly meetings and that we would cease to occupy the City Observatory. During February and March 2009, the premises were vacated and assets of any notable value transferred to storage. Books and telescopes were moved to storage. Some magazines were given to interested members. Old issues of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association are held and will be posted to said Association. The remaining magazines and obsolete and deprecated equipment were disposed of.

The accounts reflect a change in spending. The cost of running the Observatory is much reduced in 2009 and will be zero in future years. On the other hand, we now have to hire storage and the venue for meetings. It is intended to sell part of the books and some other stored items. This will provide some further income in the short term and will reduce storage cost for the long run.

Observing, International Year of Astronomy, etc.

An arrangement has been made with a local organisation, which allows our members the use of a Dark Skies site. Members are being required to pay a deposit for keys to this site.

The Society held public observing sessions during the periods allocated by the International Year of Astronomy to the spring and autumn Moon watches. The autumn Moon watch was organised jointly with the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and on one evening also with the City of Edinburgh.

The Society participated in a 3-day festival "John Muir Odyssey", held by the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, which focussed on environment and outdoor pursuits and was part of the Homecoming Scotland events. In addition to a stand offering handouts and fielding questions, on two days we were able to show the Sun in Hα light, the planet Venus in the daytime sky, and the Moon.

A few members of the Society provided minor assistance - IT and operating a telescope - to an event in the Edinburgh Science Festival, which was organised by Lorna McCalman, Charlie Gleed, and Prof John Brown, who are members of the Society.

The Scottish Solar System (http://www.scottishsolarsystem.org.uk) has assigned the minor planet (153) Hilda to the Society.

Financial review

Similarly to last year, and as expected, the Society has incurred a high deficit of £2,530 on our income and expenditure statement. This is not as dire as would at first sight appear. In keeping with previous years, our decision last year was to continue with the policy to defer receiving the interest accrued on investments held by the Trust. The deferred income due to the Society has instead been invested by the Trust on the ASE's behalf in dedicated investment bonds which have yielded a far higher rate than the ASE has been able secure in the past.

As a result, it is estimated that a backlog of around £7,500 has accrued over the five-year period since interest was last paid to the Society.

However, for the first time since 2005, we will be requesting from the Trust additional funds for 2010.

Our expenditure for some areas has increased this year whereas other areas have decreased. Overall, there has been a net increase in expenditure this year compared to previous years. The reasons for this are the high storage costs amounting to £1400 for the year to 26th March 2010 and secondly due to the cost of meeting room hire at £490 for 2009. During 2010, our estimated storage costs are expected to drop to £927 per annum as we reduce the storage space requirements taken up by the Lorimer chairs from the Playfair Building along with other bulky items. The cost of room hire is expected to be around £850 per annum.

On the other side, all costs associated with the Observatory, mainly electricity and some of the Observatory vandalism repairs have now reduced to zero. In addition to this, our contents and public liability insurance has now decreased significantly from £657 in 2008 to £359 in 2009 due to migration away from Royal Sun Alliance to a policy provided by the storage company and with public liability insurance now being provided by the Federation of Astronomical Societies. It is expected the total insurance costs will reduce in 2010 to no more than £220.

Optional information

Meetings and events

Meetings and events.
January9th Special discussion meeting
on the future of the Society and the venue for meetings
February6th Graham Rule - Astronomical Society of Edinburgh
The history of ASE
March13th Annual General Meeting
followed by a presentation by Angus Self on Meteorites
 27th Observing session
at the dark site
 28th
to 31st
IYA 2009 spring Moon watch
at the City Observatory
April1st
to 2nd
IYA 2009 spring Moon watch
on Calton Hill
 3rd Eyes on the skies - 400 years of telescopic discovery
a movie for the International Year of Astronomy
May1st Prof Andy Taylor - Royal Observatory Edinburgh
The dark side of cosmology
 2nd
to 4th
Stall and telescopes to observe the Sun and Venus
at the John Muir Odyssey festival in North Berwick
June5th Dr John Davies - Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Runaway rockets and other space exploration disasters
July3rd Dr Rachel Gilmour - European Southern Observatory
A night in the life of the Very Large Telescope
October2nd Dr Lyndsay Fletcher - University of Glasgow
Sunspots - where do they come from and where have they gone?
 28th IYA 2009 autumn Moon watch
at Our Dynamic Earth
 31st IYA 2009 autumn Moon watch
at the City Observatory
November6th Dr Catherine Smith
Robert Burns and astronomy
December4th Douglas Cooper - Stirling Astronomical Society
Imaging the night sky

Electronic communication

The Society's website may be found at http://www.astronomyedinburgh.org/.

Email contact addresses have also been set up for some Society Officers:

Full details of the Society's activities and information about how to join are on the website.

Acknowledgments

The Council wishes to thank

Declaration

The trustees' annual report presented on pages 5 to 11 was approved by the Council of The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh (the trustees of the charity).

26 February 2010
Horst Meyerdierks, President
For and on behalf of the Council of
The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh

Receipts and payments accounts

Statement of receipts and payments

Section A: Statement of receipts and payments, 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009.
  unre-
stricted
funds
re-
stricted
funds
expen-
dable endow-
ment funds
perma-
nent endow-
ment funds
total
funds
current
period
total
funds
last
period
A1 Receipts nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
Donations 883       883 1,524
Legacies 0       0 0
Grants 0       0 0
Receipts from fundraising activities 0       0 0
Gross trading receipts 0       0 0
Income from investments other than land and buildings 5       5 33
Rents from land and buildings 0       0 0
Gross receipts from other charitable activities 3       3 0
A1 sub total 891       891 1,556
A2 Receipts from asset and investment sales            
Proceeds from sale of fixed assets 0       0 0
Proceeds from sale of investment 0       0 0
A2 sub total 0       0 0
Total receipts 891       891 1,556
A3 Payments            
Expenses from fundraising activities 0       0 0
Gross trading payments 0       0 0
Investment management costs 0       0 0
Payments relating directly to charitable activities 3,422       3,422 2,689
Grants and donations 0       0 0
Governance costs            
Independent examination 0       0 0
Preparation of annual accounts 0       0 0
Legal costs 0       0 0
Other 0       0 0
A3 sub total 3,422       3,422 2,689
A4 Payments relating to asset and investment movements            
Purchase of fixed assets 0       0 563
Purchase of investment 0       0 0
A4 sub total 0       0 563
Total payments 3,422       3,422 3,252
Net receipts minus payments -2,530       -2,530 -1,696
A5 Transfers to funds 0       0 0
Deficit for year -2,530       -2,530 -1,696

Statement of balances

Section B: Statement of balances, 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009.
  unre-
stricted
funds
re-
stricted
funds
expen-
dable endow-
ment funds
perma-
nent endow-
ment funds
total
current
period
total
last
period
B1 Cash funds nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
Cash and bank balances at start of year 5,087       5,087 6,839
Liabilities for previous year 0       0 -57
Surplus (negative: deficit) shown on receipts and payments account -2,530       -2,530 -1,696
Cash and bank balances at end of year 2,557       2,557 5,087
    fund to which asset belongs market
valuation
last
year
B2 Investments     nearest
£
nearest
£
    Total 0 0
    fund to which asset belongs cost
(if avail-
able)
current
value
(if avail-
able)
last
year
B3 Other assets     nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
furniture   unrestricted   600 600
paintings, sculptures, etc.   unrestricted      
books   unrestricted   30,000 30,000
telescopes, eyepieces, tripods, etc.   unrestricted      
projector, printer, etc.   unrestricted 479   479
    Total 479 30,600 31,079
    fund to which liability relates amount
due
last
year
B4 Liabilities     nearest
£
nearest
£
    Total 0 0
    fund to which liability relates amount
due
(estimate)
last
year
B5 Contingent liabilities     nearest
£
nearest
£
    Total 0 0

Notes to the accounts

Additional analysis

Analysis of receipts and payments, 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009.
  unre-
stricted
funds
re-
stricted
funds
expen-
dable
endow-
ment
funds
perma-
nent
endow-
ment
funds
total
current
period
total
last
period
1 Donations nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
ASE annual subscriptions 743       743 1,237
Other donations 8       8 141
Gift Aid 132       132 146
Total 883       883 1,524
  unre-
stricted
funds
re-
stricted
funds
  total
current
period
total
last
period
2 Grants nearest
£
nearest
£
  nearest
£
nearest
£
Total 0     0 0
  unre-
stricted
funds
re-
stricted
funds
expen-
dable
endow-
ment
funds
perma-
nent
endow-
ment
funds
total
current
period
total
last
period
3 Gross receipts from other charitable activities nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
Dark site key deposit 0       0 0
ASE badge sale 3       3 0
Total 3       3 0
  unre-
stricted
funds
re-
stricted
funds
expen-
dable
endow-
ment
funds
perma-
nent
endow-
ment
funds
total
current
period
total
last
period
4 Payments relating directly to charitable activities nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
nearest
£
Meeting expenses 620       620 429
Travel expenses 0       0 0
Library 0       0 0
Magazines and subscription 0       0 166
Memberships and affiliations 0       0 57
Communications, including Journal 547       547 96
Dark sky site 140       140 0
Astrocalendars 75       75 149
Equipment 12       12 0
Storage rental 1,408       1,408 0
Insurance 359       359 657
Observatory migration 107       107 0
Electricity 112       112 498
Gas 43       43 11
Phone 0       0 256
Observatory travel expenses 0       0 42
Observatory repairs 0       0 328
Total 3,422       3,422 2,689

See the analysis table on pages 16 to 17.

Declaration

The receipts and payments accounts presented on pages 12 to 19 were approved by the Council of The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh (the trustees of the charity).

26 February 2010
Alan Ellis, Treasurer
For and on behalf of the Council of
The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh

Independent examiner's report to the Council of
The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh

Editor's note: Due to extraordinary workload, the independent examiner did not complete the examination before the Journal going to press. In the circumstances, and to comply with the constitutional notice period for the Annual General Meeting and the distribution of the statement of accounts, this Journal is sent out without the examiner's report. The report will be tabled at the Annual General Meeting.

14 March 2010


Contents

Cover page

Haynes manual - Apollo 11

Annual General Meeting

Annual Report for 2009

International Astronomical Youth Camp

Solar minimum

Society news

Forthcoming events

About the ASE Journal


This journal as a single web page

This journal as PDF file (230 kByte)


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