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11 January 2020January Club News

January Club News presented to Members & Visitors at our last Monthly Club Meeting on Tuesday 7th January 2010.

A most enjoyable first meeting of 2020 with new members joining and several first-time visitors who we very much hope to see again.

 

Chairman’s Chat

Eric opened the meeting by welcoming members, visitors from SIGMA and, first-time visitors to our Club.

 

  • The Evening's Timings
    • 1930 Welcome & Notices (Eric)
    • 1935 Presentation (Stephen Mackintosh)
    • 2030 Raffle (Pat E)
    • 2040 Tea/Coffee
    • 2050 Club News (Dave)
    • 2100 Break-Out Groups
      • Discussion Group (Arthur)
      • Practical Group(s) – suitable for first-time visitors & new members (Eric & Dave)

NOTE don’t feel obliged to stay to the end of these groups.  They are intended that people can leave whenever they want.  If you want to stay just 10 minutes or the full hour, it’s up to you

  • 2200 Close

 

  • Sad News
    • We were notified by the BAA that Dr Dave Gavine died on the 2nd January
    • Dave was formerly a Director of the Aurora Section of the BAA and many of us here will remember him talking at our Club Meetings

 

  • Observatory
    • The weather has again been very unkind to us last month and wrecked our observing session programme
    • we planned in many extra sessions over the Festive period but only one of these had perfect viewing conditions – and no visitors or members turned up ..… just the observing team.  It was the weekend before Christmas so we’ve probably been a wee bit ambitious hoping folk would find the time to turn up.  It was a great evening though!
    • we have had several enquiries about our observing sessions via Facebook and our website …. unfortunately, we have been unable to follow through and deliver sessions for these people due to having to cancel due to the poor weather.  We continue to keep in touch however!
    • Here’s hoping for better things throughout the next few weeks, although the current weather & forecast is not good

 

  • Observing & Outreach
    • Eric is giving a talk on Astrophotography to Inverness Camera Club tomorrow evening, and will be inviting their members up to the Observatory over the next few weeks
    • Dave will give you details of this month’s Observing sessions and, just a reminder of our request for our need for a Host role at our Observing Sessions which takes the form of meet & greet and chaperone/guide as opposed to a technical observing role.
    • You don’t need to be an experienced astronomer to help us out with this role and we would love to have a few of you volunteer for this.
    • Contact Dave if you want to learn more about this and think you could help out

 

  • Our Next Meeting is being held on Tue 4th Feb when our very own Pauline Macrae will be giving us an insight into “Weird Stars”.  No …. I can’t work out what that’s about either and I am really looking forward to it!

 

  • Feedback Sheets & Pencils are on your tables
    • Please comment on the good/bad points of this meeting, the Club in general, and we would especially like to receive feedback on the types of talks you would like to hear!
    • We are in the process of planning next year’s programme and want to ensure we get the type & level of talk just as you want it!
    • We received lots of constructive feedback last month and are finding it very useful in reshaping what we do and how we deliver it.  Nothing major, just wee touches here and there.

 

Dave's Monthly Club News report is attached as a PowerPoint presentation 

The presentation contains news, updates, and photos of the following

  • Observatory News
  • Constellation of the Month
  • Members' News & Photos
  • Upcoming Observing Sessions

 

Clear skies

Eric

02 January 2020December Club News

December Club News presented to Members & Visitors at our last Monthly Club Meeting on Tuesday 3rd December 2019.

 

Chairman's Chat

Eric opened the meeting by welcoming members and our regular visitors from SIGMA.

 

  • Sad News

Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland died suddenly on 16th November

Many of you will remember him officially opening our JSL Observatory in 21st June 2008, and

Also for his unusual presentation style where he combined magic tricks with his astronomy talks

Dave has a slide in his presentation showing John cutting the tartan ribbon at the observatory opening

 

  • Observatory

The weather has been unkind to us last month - not unusual for November however - and curtailed our observing sessions

As part of our cost control efforts we are trialling different ways/times of heating our observatory dome in order to avoid moisture build up. We are aware of not making the mistake of trying to save pennies and cost ourselves thousands of pounds by being over-restrictive on use of electricity for heating!

 

  • Observing & Outreach

Mercury Transit at UHI, Inverness had to be cancelled due to the terrible weather which wiped out virtually all planned UK events

Loch Ness Rotary Club talk scheduled for Wed 13th Nov had to be postponed due to personal circumstances. It will be planned in again shortly

We have planned in a large number of Observing sessions over the next few weeks

We are keen to increase members interest & participation in practical astronomy & have a good mix of dark sky, lunar, & planetary sessions coming up.

We have identified the need for a Host role at our Observing Sessions which takes the form of meet & greet and chaperone/guide as opposed to a technical observing role.

Karen, Gail, and Sharon have recently tested this out for us and it has proved a great success!

You don’t need to be an experienced astronomer to help us out with this role and we would love to have a few of you volunteer for this.

Contact Dave if you want to learn more about this and think you could help out

 

  • January Meeting

Our Next Meeting is being held on Tue 7th Jan with a fascinating talk from local professional astronomer Stephen Mackintosh- one for your diaries!

 

  • Mini-Questionaire Sheets are on your tables

Please comment on the good/bad points of this meeting, the Club in general, and we would especially like to receive feedback on the types of talks you would like to hear!

We are in the process of planning next year’s programme and want to ensure we get the type & level of talk just as you want it!

 

After pointing out some key points in the Notices, Eric handed over to Quizmaster Arthur Milnes who conducted an excellent and enjoyable astronomy quiz which ended up as close run thing this year.  With mince pies at the interval, and an excellent Club News presented by Dave Davidson we were perfectly set up for next club observing sessions taking us out of 2019 and into 2020.

 

Dave's Monthly Club News report is attached as a PowerPoint presentation 

The presentation contains news, updates, and photos of the following

Observatory News

Binocular Challenge

Mercury Solar Transit

Members Photos

 

Clear skies

Eric

08 November 2019November Club News

November Club News presented to Members & Visitors at our last Monthly Club Meeting on Tuesday 5th November 2019.

Chairman's Chat

Eric opened the meeting by welcoming members, guests, visitors from SIGMA, and the several first-time visitors which is always a pleasure to see.  

We have carried out an essential repair to the Observatory - a broken step leading to the dome had to be replaced - and it is clear that, with the observatory being in its 11th year, that a more detailed inspection will have to be carried out with the outcome of a 3-year maintenance & operation plan.  We won't bore everyone with the details of the plan, however, if there are any financial implications for the Club then we will need to inform you.

HAS hosted 13 members from Aberdeen Astronomical Society on Saturday 26 October with Eric, Pauline, and Dave representing ourselves.  We must thank AAS for their generosity in treating us to a meal and it was heartening to see they brought members with a good range of age - from youngstars to much the more experienced!.  It was a very successful encounter with one idea in particular which deserves further exploration -

The north of Scotland is now covered very effectively with amateur astronomy clubs from Caithness right through to the north-east by Caithness Astronomy Group, Highlands Astronomical Society, SIGMA (Moray's Astronomy Club), and Aberdeen Astronomical Society.  We all experience common issues and there is the potential to derive mutually beneficial solutions.  Perhaps one of the most tempting benefits is that an association could add combined strength and effect to campaigns such as light pollution.  A potential work in progress for the Chairman!

The main Outreach events coming up this month are 

  • the Mercury Solar Transit with a public session taking place at UHI Inverness Campus, An Lochran this Monday 11th November from 12pm until 4pm (sunset).  Helpers/volunteers to assist the Observing Team would be very much appreciated.
  • Eric is giving a talk to Loch Ness Rotary Club this Wednesday 13th November and will let them see what we get up to, how we run our Club, and, in particular, the public & community activities we get up to.

In line with our Club Aims of Keeping It Simple, Straightforward, and Accessible and For The Members we have distributed Feedback/Comment/Suggestion Sheets & Pencils on the tables.  We encourage you to use these to help the Committee shape the club to YOUR needs.

Eric drew members attention to several key points in the Notices then introduced Gordon Mackie, Chairman of Caithness Astronomy Group, who presented his excellent talk "Astronomical Alchemy" (Members can read a summary of this talk in their e-mailed copy of Stargazey Pie).

 

Dave Davidson compiled the Monthly Club News report which is attached as a PowerPoint presentation 

The presentation contains news, updates, and photos of the following

Observatory News

Binocular Challenge

Mercury Solar Transit

Members Photos

 

Clear skies

Eric

 

 

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Dark Sky Observing

Saturday 18th January

Public & Members

Open 19:00
Close 21:00



STATUS:

ON

Looks like it's going to be an exceptionally good night! Dress warmly!


Try to arrive at least 30 minutes before close so you get a decent chance to view the night sky


A voluntary charitable donation in the region of £5 per adult would be greatly appreciated to enable us to operate & maintain our Observatory & Club