There was a good turnout to the Annual General Meeting and lunch on 8 February. The AGM consisted of receiving the annual reports (all included in the annual proceedings if you missed them) and the announcement of the 2014 AAQ Council. Thanks to the three new members of Council (Roy Axlesen, Allan Cooney and David O’Driscoll) and the continuing members of Council for volunteering their time. These are your representatives managing AAQ on your behalf. Please talk to me or any of the Council members if you have any suggestions or comment on the running of AAQ. Also at the AGM, the Kitty Kent award was awarded to John Salini for his many, many years contribution to service of the AAQ in a variety of roles.
The Council is putting together an interesting and varied mix of invited speakers and member presentations as main items for Ordinary General Meetings in 2014. The main item for the 8 March OGM will be Giorgio di Scala speaking on “Getting started in Astronomical Research – focus on quality data”. Giorgio is an enthusiastic researcher and has been awarded grants from the AAQ’s Edward Corbould Research Fund to assist with his research. He has provided reports on his work most recently in the Annual Proceedings for 2012 and 2013 as well as in several newsletters.
Stay around after the OGM for tea/coffee and biscuits and socialising then (if it is clear) head down to the local park for the first Brisbane Field Night of the year to check out the night’s Solar System targets and other astronomical delights. Tony Dutton has prepared a list of targets for each BFN’s for the year. Bring a telescope if you can or if not there will be others there to use. Don’t forget AAQ has telescopes for hire to members at very low rates.
The program of DSO nights for 2014 offers the opportunity to sample several different sites. These include Hazeldean near Kilcoy, Duckadang – the site for Queensland Astrofest, John Salini’s farm at Glen Aplin and Glengarry near Wivenhoe Dam. The DSO on 29 March will be at Hazeldean together with the Brisbane astronomical Society and the South East Queensland Astronomical Society. Hazeldean has overnight accommodation, toilets and showers (making a late nights observing that much more comfortable) and power available. There is a per person charge with the option to stay for both Friday and Saturday night. All of the 2014 DSO sites have been selected because they have similar facilities to Hazeldean.
February has been a reasonable start to the year with a few clear nights. Let’s hope that 2014 brings clearer skies than in previous years. Personally I am really looking forward to two total lunar eclipses this year both visible from Brisbane. There are two lunar occultations of Saturn and no doubt other interesting apparitions to observe as the year progresses.
President - Terry Cuttle