Bulletin November 2018

October in Brief…..

AGM and Informal, A Moving Experience, Knavesmire Exceeds and Honest Stargazing

October 5th Meeting #1002 AGM and Informal

The AGM was the first proper general meeting since becoming a charity. There were just four items of business:

  • Minutes of AGM 1st December, 2017
  • Trustees’ Annual Report
  • Trustees’ Annual Financial Report
  • Trustee Elections

The minutes of the AGM held on 1st December, 2017 were presented and overwhelmingly approved by a show of hands. The Trustees’ Annual Report and the Trustees’ Annual Financial Report had been circulated with the Agenda via a special Bulletin in advance of the meeting.

Derek Farmer (Secretary) highlighted some of the key points from the report, noting the recent difficulties associated with the relocation of the observatory and the impressive list of outreach events we had held or attended. The report was put to the vote and overwhelmingly approved bya show of hands.

Simon Howard (Treasurer) presented the Financial Report and highlighted some of the key expenditure (most notably the costs for planning permission associated with relocation). Income was in line with previous years with a boost from the Lunar Eclipse Event. The final year balance was consistent with previous years. The report was put to the vote and overwhelmingly approved by a show of hands.

Trustee Elections. In line with the constitution, one third of the trustees (the longest serving) stand down and those trustees appointed by the other trustees also stand down. All those standing down are able to stand again for re-election. Expressions of interest in becoming a trustee had been sought from the members.

Derek Farmer, John Roberts and Mike Terzza stood down as elected trustees and Simon Howard and Paul Buglass stood down as appointed trustees.

Trustee candidates were:

  • Derek Farmer
  • Mark Baldwyn
  • Simon Howard
  • Paul Buglass

Derek Farmer proposed that a single vote by a show of hands be held to elect all candidates en masse. This was overwhelmingly approved by a show of hands. A vote was held to elect all candidates en masse. This was overwhelmingly approved by a show of hands.

Trustees are therefore:

  • Gerry Fisher
  • Rupert Powell
  • Paul Thornley
  • Martin Whillock
  • Derek Farmer
  • Mark Baldwyn
  • Simon Howard
  • Paul Buglass

This concluded the business of the AGM 2018.

Subsequently, David Friend and Andrew Stephenson came forward and expressed interest in becoming Trustees. They were duly appointed following an email vote.

The meeting continued with an informal night.

Derek Farmer presented a series of personal encounters with astronomy, mostly incidentally during his and Suzanne’s travels over the years. This was to demonstrate that “Astronomy is All Around” and not just in the heavens. Whether it was an observatory or observing point, a model solar system in Scotland, an astronomical clock in Bern, a restored painted ceiling with prediction of an eclipse in London or a pub called The Edmund Halley in a London Suburb, Derek showed that astronomy related items can be found in the most unexpected places.

This was followed by a brief, whistle-stop introduction to astrophotography by Graham Moore. He demonstrated a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. He showed us the various telescopes and cameras he uses to capture some stunning photographs from a less than ideal city centre site. He demonstrated how he uses a variety of free software tools to tweak and pull out detail in his photographs.


Tuesday 9th October Rufforth Airfield > Beetle Bank Farm

The day dawned brightly with a good forecast. The “A” Team gathered to make the final preparations for “The Move”. The foundations were all ready at BBF (magnificent job done by Neil Moss) and the lifting points and bracing were in place. Final work to separate the main container from the PortaKabin, remove the end flap supports and flap itself and remove some cladding to enable the roof to be lifted was carried out. Tidying and further packing of the “North Wing” was completed. At 2pm (on schedule) Greg from J Exley was spotted in his red van, closely followed by a large truck with a crane and a slightly smaller (but still large) truck. They came across the runway in convoy via the Gliding Club.

The trucks came onto the pad and positioned themselves next to the containers. Support legs were extended and cranes swung into action. The yoke and pier for the AE were lifted skywards, up through the floor of the deck then gently lowered back onto the deck itself to be safely secured for transport. The roof was then lifted off, raised without issue and gently lowered to the ground. Meanwhile in the background, the North Wing had had lifting straps attached and was being slowly lifted, turned and carefully lowered onto the smaller truck. The strain was taken on the lifting straps attached to the observatory container and the YAS observatory was slowly lifted and turned with apparent ease to be placed gently on the bed of the truck.

The sliding roof section was then carefully lifted once more, turned and carefully placed back on the observatory in a lower position exactly as planned and ready for transport. By 4pm, the trucks were ready to leave with their astronomical cargo.

A quick drive around the ring road for some of us and a careful procession for the Exley trucks lead to arrival at Beetle Bank Farm slightly before 4.30pm. Some very careful manoeuvring by the drivers saw the trucks safely through the gates with inches to spare. Some more careful movement saw the trucks and containers alongside the prepared foundations. Both containers were off-loaded onto the foundations with precision and butted against each other with literally a few millimetres between them. The excellent planning done by Gerry Fisher and Mike Terzza made the day a success. Many thanks to all those who helped in many ways both before, on and after the day – it would not have happened without your contribution.

Thursday October 18th Knavesmire Public Star Party

A clear night saw a massive turnout both in terms of members with telescopes (about 8?) but also members of the public with estimates of between 150 and 200 queuing to have a look at the night sky and its wonders. We had already had an inkling of a high turnout following the massive interest on social media.

Friday October 19th Meeting #1003

Stuart Atkinson from Eddington Astronomical Society in Kendal gave a talk entitled “An Honest Guide to Stargazing”. Stuart is an experienced astronomer, author and presenter of outreach. Stuart started with a short plug for his new book, “A Cat’s Guide to the Night Sky”, explaining how he was inspired by seeing his cat looking at the night sky whilst at Kielder.

An entertaining talk, contrasting expectations with reality, culminated in a photograph showing the reality of a cloudy sky whenever a much anticipated astronomical event takes place.

November 2018

Friday 2nd November – Meeting #1004

Philip Jennings – Selenology: The Story of the Moon

Saturday 3rd November – Trustee Meeting – Beetle Bank Farm 7.00pm

Trustees will appoint and set priorities for the committee and confirm some key posts.  They will discuss some more policy documents.  There is still time to come forward and express interest in joining the committee.

Sunday 9th November – Committee Meeting – Beetle Bank Farm 7,00pm

The committee will take forward the trustee priorities and work to make Beetle Bank and other activities a success.

Thursday 15th November – Knavesmire Public Star Party


Friday 16th November – Meeting #1005


Saturday 17th November – A Telescope is not just for Christmas

The first of our official events at Beetle Bank Farm. It is Ticket Only but free to attend. The initial ticket allocation has already been booked so we have added a few more (anticipating that some will not turn up).

Further Ahead:

December 2018

Tuesday 4th December – Comet Watch – Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Talk by Dave Armeson on Comets and the Solar System at Beetle Bank Farm followed by the opportunity (weather permitting) to view Comet 46P/Wirtanen – Tickets available soon (price tbd).

Friday 7th December – Meeting #1006 – YAS Xmas Lecture

Dave Armeson presents his now traditional Xmas Lecture, this year entitled “Mars – Rock On”.

Thursday 13th December – Knavesmire Public Star Party

Saturday 15th December – Comet Watch – Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Talk by Dave Armeson on Comets and the Solar System at Beetle Bank Farm followed by the opportunity (weather permitting) to view Comet 46P/Wirtanen at its closest approach to Earth. Tickets available soon (price tbd).

Friday 21st December – Meeting #1007 – Xmas Informal

Some useful links
BAA Observing Calendar November 2018
SEASKY Astronomy Calendar
Aurora Watch