21 August 2009:
During my absence, our Vice-President, Tim Napier-Munn, acted as President at the July Council Meeting and the OGM. Tim is currently overseas and will return in early September. Any details related to the July OGM will be reported at the August OGM (see below).
Special General Meeting 29th August 2009
Full Members are reminded that there is a short Special General Meeting before the August OGM to consider and vote on an amendment to the Constitution dealing with Family Membership concessions. Currently, the Constitution only recognises Associate and Full memberships, yet the Family concession was initiated as another category of membership. The amendment will correct this oversight from the last constitutional amendments passed in December 2008 while Peter Anderson was President. It will be quick and painless.
ECRF Grants for 2009
Two projects were successful in applying for Edward Corbould Research Funds. Allan Plummer, a well known variable star observer, received a grant to purchase a 16" Lightbridge telescope that will extend his variable star observations down to magnitude 15 stars. David O'Driscoll received funds for his project, Determining Optimal CCD Imaging & Reduction Methods for measuring Double Stars. The AAQ Council is confident that these projects will deliver their intended outcomes.
Blue Cards for school nights
A few matters of AAQ interest were dealt with during July, one of which deals with those members assisting at school viewing nights. The consensus now is that Blue Cards are not required for the intermittent work we do on these nights. For those members who need to renew theirs, do not have, or do not intend to obtain a Blue Card, this means you can assist at these school nights without a Blue Card.
At the Malin Awards ceremony held on 18th July 2009 in Parkes, two members, Terry Cuttle and Max Kilmister received awards: The Open Theme "Twilight" Category Award went to Terry for his
Eclipse Over the Great Wall image (shown at the June OGM), while an Honorable Mention Amateur Deep Sky Award went to Max for his Cosmic Dust - Reflection Nebula in Corona Australis. For a more complete report on the event, see http://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au:80/news_events/astrofest/awards/
August OGM (starts at 4pm)
The July DSO and BFN (variable stars) were held without weather issues and there will be reports on those events at the August OGM. Astrofest is currently underway as I prepare this report; there will be a report on Astrofest during the OGM.
The Main Item this month will be various reports from AAQ members who attended the China Total Solar Eclipse on 22nd July. Although clouded out, our tour group were able to view the partial phases before and after totality, as well as the full impact of totality that delivered about five minutes of darkness. As far as I know, Mary Petr and Greg Bond independently observed the eclipse in the same general area.
The BFN observing session at Beanland Street will follow the August OGM, Tony Dutton will highlight the targets chosen.
September Field Nights
Subject to weather, there will be a DSO at the Harrisville OATS site from 4-11pm on 19th September, plus the regular BFN following the September OGM on 26th September. Remember, you can find out about AAQ field nights by navigating from the 'Activities' tab on the website, http://www.aaq.org.au
Geodome at USQ Toowoomba (from USQ)
For members on the Darling Downs, this information may be of interest.
The Geodome is an immersive, interactive space that allows you to have a 3D experience unlike any other.
Choose from one of four sessions on Thursday 27th August starting at 2pm. Each session lasts aproximately one hour. At the University of Southern Queensland's Toowoomba Campus. "R" block - Refectory. For short time only the University of Southern Queensland is hosting the Geodome. The earth, the sun, the international space station - views that were only previously possible from a space shuttle - you can see right here in Toowoomba.
Earlier start for September OGM
As discussed at both the June and July OGMs, AAQ Council intends to trial an earlier time for the OGM starting from September 26th. This decision takes advantage of the STBP offer of an extra half hour for the OGMs, on the condition that we start at 3pm instead of 4pm and finish by 5:30pm. Regular attendees will understand that our meetings often overrun our existing 4-6pm allocation, so this change in September will allow more time for members who wish to present images or more Items of Astronomical Interest, or simply to discuss meeting topics in more detail. It also allows more time to drive to the BFN site after the meeting.
Note that the next OGM, August, remains at the old start time of 4pm!
During July, our membership grew to 105 largely due to several late renewals. Thank you to those who ensured they were financial by paying their fees for 2009.