West Didsbury Astronomical Society AGM 14 June 04
Annual Report on the Society's Activities 2003/04
Report by Mary Gifford
Monthly Meetings/ Speakers
The Committee aims to have a balance of interest with a speaker for most of the meetings, but interspersed with practical and social activities. The meetings are generally held on the second Monday of the month, with adjustments to fit in with City College term dates.
30 June. Dr Jamie Gilmour of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Manchester spoke on "How Special is the Earth?"
July and August: No meetings - the College was closed for the summer holiday.
15 September. Andrew Greenwood, chair of Macclesfield Astronomical Society, brought us more of his wonderful images with "Astrophotography Re-visited".
13 October. Dave Ogden from Macclesfield Astronomical Society gave a presentation on "Light".
10 November. Dr. Nigel Bannister visited from the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester to speak on "Mars" and brought a life size model of Beagle 2. This meeting was in Simpsons Restaurant.
8 December. The Christmas meeting was again in Simpsons Restaurant with wine and mince pies. Dr. Andy Newsam, Research and Education Fellow at John Moores University, Liverpool, and of the National Schools' Observatory talked to us about "The Dynamic Universe: Astronomy, Schools and the Liverpool Telescope".
12 January: After the traditional observing weekend away in Hardraw, a quieter, more social evening was held with our third AstroQuiz.
9 February. John Baruch, Head of the Cybernetics and Virtual Systems at the University of Bradford gave a talk on, and a practical demonstration of, their robotic telescope.
8 March. Simon Warner of Macclesfield Astronomical Society gave a presentation on "The Moon".
19 April. Prof Clive Tadhunter from the University of Sheffield spoke on "Understanding the most distant galaxies".
10 May. Philippa Browning from UMIST gave a talk on "Our Active Sun".
In November and December, some members went to Todmorden Observatory on Saturday nights and received a warm welcome and saw many deep sky objects.
The annual field trip to Hardraw (a truly dark site) took place on the weekend of 9 to 11 January. Some spells of clear sky on Friday night allowed observing, but unfortunately Saturday night was cloudy. The Moon, just past full, also restricted viewing, but with Jupiter and Saturn was the main target for telescopes. Some good digital images were taken, this being the first foray into astrophotography for many members. The results can be viewed on the web-site. The rest of the weekend was taken up with walking in the Dales, visits to the Wensleydale Cheese Factory and eating a huge Indian banquet on Saturday night!
In February, several members assisted at a public observing event one Thursday evening organised by Gallery Oldham. This attracted 150 people.
Weather permitting, informal binocular sessions have taken place after the monthly Committee meetings at Jacksons Boat on the banks of the River Mersey (at the end of Rifle Road, near Sale Water Park). The meeting generally takes place on the 4th Monday in the month.
The 1st and 2nd contacts of the Transit of Venus on 8 June were observed by some members at this Mersey Valley site. The later contacts were observed in Stockport at Phil Brocklebank’s work location.
A very enjoyable Christmas meal was held at the Khatmandu in West Didsbury on 15 December.