[ a one page
editorial comment by Kenneth Burnett, not reproduced here ]
Given at the Annual General Meeting, January 1971
The Aberdeen and District Astronomical Society was
started at the instigation of the present Secretary, Mr. W.D. Cooper,
who organised a preliminary meeting of interested parties at his house
in November 1969. It was then decided to attempt the formation of a
society and a provisional committee was formed to organise the first
meeting. Permission to base the Society in the School of Physics of
Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology was sought and subsequently
obtained from the Governors of Robert Gordon's Colleges to whom the
Society is extremely grateful for their help and encouragement.
The inaugural meeting of
the A.D.A.S was held on 22nd January 1970 in the Physics Department of
King's College, University of Aberdeen. An attendance of about 50 had
been anticipated by the Committee. The actual attendance was over 120
and the audience had to move to a larger lecture theatre. At this first
meeting the provisional constitution was adopted and the first members
During the last year,
the Society membership has grown from zero to 87 Associate and 26 Full
Members, a total of 113. The A.D.A.S. is therefore one of the largest
astronomical societies in Scotland.
The main activity of the
Society has been to organise a number of monthly meetings for all
members and guests. These have been lecture meetings and one film night,
all of which have been well attended, the audience always numbering over
50 people. On each of these nights, the premises have remained open
until midnight to enable members to use the viewing equipment.
We are fortunate in
being able to commence observing immediately because Dr. A.C. Jason, a
member of the Committee, loaned to the Society a 4 inch refracting
telescope. We are very grateful for his action which enables members to
start viewing at the very first meeting. We are also grateful to another
member of the Committee, Dr. A.M. Fleet, for bringing to the meetings a
6 inch reflecting telescope belonging to the University.
Although the weather has
prevented viewing on a number of occasions, most members have been able
to look through these instruments sometime during the last year.
An 8.5 inch reflecting
telescope was ordered in November as part of the equipment of the School
of Physics. This instrument will be available for use by Society
members. To house this instrument and also the refractor, the the
Governors of R.G.I.T. have given permission for a temporary observatory
to be constructed on the roof of the School of Physics. This will be
followed by a permanent building within the next two or three years.
Seven special Groups
have been started to cater for the interests of those members who wish
to do more than just attend the monthly meetings.
Group, members of which are making their own telescopes, has been
very active over the past three months under the leadership of Mr. N.T.
Nicoll, an experienced telescope maker. This group meets every Thursday
evening and there are 14 members making their own mirrors.
Group activities have been limited by observing difficulties.
However, some good photographs of the Transit of Mercury across the face
of the Sun were taken and the 4 inch refractor has now been fitted with
The Observing Group
took part in the Transit of Mercury work and ar another time a few
members were able to get a fleeting glimpse of Venus. Observations have
been limited by the weather and also the lack of an observatory has
meant that the telescopes cannot be left permanently set up. This latter
problem will be alleviated soon when the temporary observatory is
Membership of these
three Groups requires the payment of an extra fee to cover the cost of
materials and equipment. Because of the limited facilities available
last year, the Committee has decided that the extra fees pad by the Full
Members for last year will be credited also for the coming year.
The Aurorae Group
has been continuously active making observations and reports. A few
members of the Scoiety were very fortunate one Thursday evening to see
the best display of Aurorae for number of years.
The Meteor Group
and the Astronautics Group have not yet become active, although
there is considerable interest in these topics amongst the members.
The History Group
has a very small membership, but has been active and one members had an
article published in the Press and Journal.
The Society has elected
to Honorary Membership, Professor R.V. Jones, our President, Mr.
D.Gavine and Mr. Marcus Milne (former City Librarian).
We are grateful to
Professor Jones for agreeing to act as President of the Society and for
giving his inaugural lecture in October 1970.
A library of books and
slides is being assembled and Dr. A.C. Jason has agreed to act as
Librarian. These books and also Journals subscribed to by the Society,
are available on loan to members on application to the Librarian.
Members of the Society
helped to equip and man a stand provided for the Society at the Leisure
for Pleasure Exhibition held in the Music Hall last year.
Members of the Committee
attended a meeting of Scottish Astronomical Societies held in Edinburgh,
when the possibility of joint activities was discussed.
A series of six evening
lectures on astronomy for school children was held during the Autumn
Term and was well attended.
The Society acknowledges
with gratitude a grant of £50 from the Aberdeenshire Educational Trust. We
are also grateful for the loan of books from the County Library. Books
have also been donated by Mr. Grassie and lent by Mr. Lilburn and for
these we thank them.
article by N.H. Langton. Not reproduced here ]
BIRTH AND DEATH OF THE SUN
article by H.I. Ellington. Not reproduced here ]
Mars: It is near, but
we are nearer
article about two Soviet probes (Mars 2 & Mars 3), and one American
probe (Mariner 9) on route to the Red Planet. Not reproduced here ]
Pluto: A Shrinking
discovery in 1930, Pluto has always been a weird object. Astronomers
have estimated its mass many times and always get different results.
Over the past few years its estimated mass has fallen again and again
and if this trend continues, the planet will disappear before the turn
of the century! The latest estimated mass puts the figure at 0.11 Earth
[ Amazing - this
ADAS prediction was just out by 6 years - Pluto finally disappeared as a
planet in 2006 ! ]
They will complete
the Sky Survey, Down Under
about the plans for a 48 inch telescope ar Siding Spring, NSW,
Australia. Not reproduced here ]
Texas Space Programme
A group of rich Texans hope to finance further Moon missions,
getting profit off moon rock sales and television, film and literary
rights. The group 'Committee for the Future' hope the United States
Government will give them their surplus Apollo machinery including
Saturn Vs !
Aberdeen and District
Astronomical Soceity Committee Members
||Professor R.V. Jones
||Dr. N.H. Langton
||W.P. Cooper, Esq.
||H.K. Wray, Esq.
||Dr. A.C. Jason
||Dr. A.M. Flett
||Dr. H. Ellington
||N.T. Nicoll, Esq.
||D. Tytler, Esq.
The Library now has a
fair collection of books together with a number of volumes on loan from
the Aberdeen County Library. In addition the Society subscribes to a
number of journals. As members of the British Astronomical Society and
the Junior Astronomical Society, it receives their journals also.
[List of library
accessions. Not reproduced here ]
[List of items on
loan from Aberdeen County Library. Not reproduced here ]
The list of journals and
their frequency of publication is as follows :-
Astronomy and Space
The Astronomer (Monthly)
JAS Circular (Irregularly)
of the British Astronomical Society (Bimonthly)
Sky and Telescope (Monthly)
[Notes on library use
/ borrowing. Not reproduced here ]
We shall again have a stand at the Leisure for Pleasure Exhibition in
the Music Hall on Saturday, 27th November form 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dr.
Henry Ellington is preparing a taped commentary to be linked to a series
of slides which will be shown on a daylight screen throughout the
[Requests for help etc.
Not reproduced here ]
We hope to maintain our service to schools in the district and
should be pleased to have the names of all members willing to give
lectures in schools together with a note of the subjects offered. This
information will be passed to Headmasters through the Directors of
reminder. Not reproduced here ]
Since the Chairman's Report was delivered at the AGM in January the
Committee have appointed to Honorary Member Mr. R. Keith Fraser, whose
artistic work has been seen on display at many of our meetings and who
has also presented the Society with a "coat of arms"
which he designed and painted for us.
At the AGM the following members were elected to join the original
Dr. H.I. Ellington
Dr. N.T. Nicoll
Later, following a
recommendation approved at the A.G.M. Mr. David Tytler was co-opted to
serve on the Committee as a representative of our many younger members.
Several of the Committee attended a meeting of the Mills Observatory in
Dundee as representatives of the Scottish Astronomical Societies. It is
hoped to encourage more co-operation amongst the societies including
exchanges of programmes, journals and speakers. All members of our
own Society willing to give lectures to other societies should give me a
note of their names and the subject upon which they are prepared to give
Lecture dates for the
1971/72 session are as follows :-
Light of the Night Sky - Dr.Michael Gadsdon, Aberdeen
plus speakers from our own Groups
- Dr. N.H. Langton, R.G.I.T.
Galaxy - Mr. N.H. Matthew, Edinburgh
We also hope to have a
lecture on Cosmic Rays from Dr. Barton of the Northern Polytechnic,
London, in April or May, whilst he is visiting Aberdeen.
Addresses of Society members. Not reproduced here]