Bulletin – October 2018

Disappointment, Pride, Frantic, Tension, Emotional, Fantastical and Cloudy. Just seven words that sum up September for YAS


Thursday, September 6th

We learn that the Planning Officer is recommending refusal for our planning application for the move of the Observatory to Beetle Bank Farm. It is disappointing that they do no recognise the special circumstances for locating in the Green Belt.

Friday, September 7th

Our 1000th meeting, hosted for us by St Peter’s School, saw members of YAS give four diverse presentations on the Moon, Apollo 8, Radio Astronomy and Astrophotography to an audience of around 400, The event was a triumph and a source of pride for YAS. Many thanks to Martin Whipp, Dave Armeson, Martin Dawson and Rupert Powell and all those members who brought telescopes or attended the event.

Tuesday, September 11th

Planning Committee site visit to Beetle Bank – many thanks to all the members of YAS who turned out at short notice to set up their telescopes. The visit gave us an opportunity to speak to some members of the committee.

Thursday, September 13th

After a frantic few days of producing additional documentation and some lobbying of councillors, the day of the Planning Committee arrived. A few of us attended the meeting. We only had three minutes to make a final case and answer a couple of questions. We then saw and experienced the debate. The tension was growing. When the committee concluded their discussions and voted 9 to 2 to support our application, against the recommendation of the Planning Officer, the emotional relief was palpable. It was clear that the committee saw the special circumstances and understood our need for relatively dark skies close to the city, which the Green Belt generally provides.
To see the webcast of the meeting

Saturday, September 15th

Rievaulx Terrace – the evening was overcast, with only occasional glimpses of a few stars. The 64 visitors were split into two groups and alternately had a talk from Martin Whipp on the Solar System and went on a night time nature walk with a National Trust ranger. Graham Moore, Mike Terzza and Derek & Suzanne Farmer were the supporting cast with telescopes.

Sunday, September 16th

A working party at the observatory saw 8 members working hard to prepare the containers for transport. The Meade and AE telescopes were demounted carefully by the team and removed to safe storage, the piers were released from their concrete bases and work started on preparing the rolling roof to be lifted. At one point, with both generators being coaxed along by Mike Terzza, Gerry Fisher drilling through steel, Martin Whillock breaking up concrete, John Rowland pulling cables, Graham Moore and Martin Dawson unbolting, hammering and tugging there was a real cacophony of noise and a sense of purpose. Meanwhile David Friend and Derek Farmer held, supported, fetched, carried and transported.

Thursday, September 20th

The first Knavesmire Star Party was very damp with a few of us sheltering in cars and under umbrellas. Remarkably, a couple of the public came along in the forlorn hope of seeing something.

Friday, September 21st

Paul Money returned to present Vikings at Barsoom (part 1). A journey through classic Science Fiction of H G Wells (War of the Worlds) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (John Carter of Mars), the history of observing Mars and ‘confusion’ between Schiaparelli’s Canali (meaning channels- natural) and canals (intelligently constructed) with the consequent assumptions about what observers were ‘seeing’. Paul went on to outline the Mars missions up to and including the Vikings. Mars is home to the highest Volcano (Olympus Mons) and the longest and widest known ‘Grand Canyon’ Valles Marineris.


Thursday, October 4th

Committee meeting at Beetle Bank Farm 7.00pm

Friday October 5th

YAS AGM at Priory Street Centre followed by members’ informal.

Agenda and Papers for AGM sent out on September 21st.

Tuesday, October 9th

Observatory moving day.

Whilst members are welcome to come along to observe, safety will be paramount and close access will be limited to Gerry Fisher, the moving crew and designated photographers. A safety cordon will be in operation and your co-operation in this would be appreciated. It is likely that activity will start at Rufforth in the afternoon, continuing into early evening at Beetle Bank.

Thursday, October 18th

Knavesmire Star Party. There has been a lot of interest on social media for this event, so it could be busy. If you are able to bring a scope to help out, that would be very much appreciated.

Friday, October 19th

Stu Atkinson visits and will talk on The Reality of Astronomy.

Committee Membership

This is Important

Volunteer for Management Committee

Volunteers are sought for the following posts.  There is no scope within the constitution to elect a committee, or any specific roles, but the trustees have the power to appoint any number of committees and roles..

Please indicate your willingness to take on one or more roles to manage the society, its activities and assets within guidelines provided by the Trustees.
Email to secretary@yorkastro.org.uk by 12 noon on Friday 5th of October

Chairperson – Provides leadership based on actual priorities. Chairs committee meetings. Leads business discussions at PSC meetings when necessary. Issues messages to all members via MailChimp when necessary.

Does not lead PSC speaker events.

Secretary – Works to Chairperson. First person to be contacted by the public and other organisations. Progresses committee decisions

Treasurer and Membership Secretary – Two standard duties combined.

Meetings Secretary – Books Speakers, looks after speakers, leads PSC speaker meetings.

Minutes Secretary – Takes, records and publishes committee meeting minutes

Committee – Members without portfolio

Website controller – All website matters, especially updating.

Other tasks

All these people should attend committee meetings.

Observatory manager – Keeps overview of Obs’ structure, equipment, maintenance, use. Liaison with Beetle Bank Farm. Makes sure our tenancy is beneficial to both parties. The Planning Permission is partly based on facilities in the Green Belt being shared.

Bulletin author – Monthly Bulletin to be issued by Chairperson

Outreach events organiser – National Trust, St Peter’s, National Park, Arboretum etc.

PSC meetings support person – Looks after, brings, sets up and maintains equipment and displays etc.

For 2018/9 only

Move to Beetle Bank project manager

Some useful links

BAA Observing Calendar October 2018
SEASKY Astronomy Calendar
Aurora Watch