Our guest speaker was Patrick Barth, a PhD student from the University of St Andrews, who spoke to us about “ What makes a planet habitable”. The possibility of life in the wider universe has greatly increased in the past 25 years. We had a detailed explanation of the factors influencing the chance of life on exoplanets and the search for these “biosignatures”.
John Rostron, who passed away on 24 October aged 94, was a familiar sight at ASE meetings in the last century. He had been President, a Council member and a Trustee of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh Trust, although most long-standing members will probably remember him as Society Treasurer for many years. A chemistry teacher at Ross High School in Tranent, John’s interests were wide-ranging, particularly in relation to the natural world, which sometimes spilled over into his distinctive book-keeping for the Society! Although he had been a keen cyclist in his younger years often arriving at meetings in all weathers, sadly his declining health meant that he relinquished his membership in 2017.
That was a really interesting story of Pluto from Prof Ian Robson and we had quite a lot of visitors in the AUC too. Sadly Ian couldn’t be there in person because of rail strikes but it was no less interesting. There’s clearly still a lot of affection for Pluto as a planet and you can understand why there was (and still is) such an outcry about it being demoted. But given the number of other, larger-than-Pluto bodies in our solar system, it probably makes sense. Or maybe you disagree?
That was a very successful event. Live streaming went well and hundreds of visitors looked through our telescopes outside. We got clouded out at the end but we got through maximum so that was a real success considering we thought we would be totally clouded out a couple of days before.
We plan to go ahead with our live stream of the partial solar eclipse tomorrow. Looks like there should be some gaps in the clouds. Or you can join us on Calton Hill and look (SAFELY!) through our solar telescopes and eclipse glasses.
We sadly have to report the passing of one of our long-standing members, Adrian Weatherhead aged 79. Adrian was a member of our Society for 25 years and also a former member of the ASE Council on several occasions, most recently in 2001/2.
Adrian is best known for his running prowess having been a Scotland, GB and NI international, and a sub-4 minute miler. On track he was a 1500m runner and won the Scottish indoor title in 1973 and 1976 as well as national outdoor champion in 1979.
We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
We had a fascinating talk by Dr Gemma Richardson BGS on the effects of space weather on ground-based technology. Alan Pickup also gave us a talk on the Sky in October and Neil Martin revealed the results of our Image of the Quarter Competition.
With the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, a page of history has turned right before our eyes. This Society was founded in October 1924, just 18 months before Queen Elizabeth was born in April 1926. This fact alone helps us to appreciate how long the Queen has been part of our national life.
We had our second member night on 1 July and had some great presentations from ASE members: UK Astro Shows Ian Smith put together some info about these: There are (at least) 3 astronomy shows in the UK coming up: [...]
Jim Paterson spoke to us about “The mustard seed which grew into an observatory”, the story of his involvement in International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) accreditation for Moffat and how that led to a brand new community observatory !
To open the meeting our President Mark Phillips gave us the usual highlights of the upcoming Society programme. Adding to the good news, the Society grew by no less than eight new members, taking membership to a record 169 ! [...]