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MINUTES | 2004

3rd September 2004


The 399th Meeting and 39th AGM of the Altrincham and District Astronomical Society, held at Timperley Village Club on Friday  3rd September , 2004 at 8pm


Those present were:

Chris Suddick  Don Utton  Tony Aremia

Ged Burbeck  Graham Sinagola  Lucy Rogers

Colin Eaves  Stuart Oldbury  Sean Oldbury

Mark Crossley  John Tipping  Colin Henshaw

Nick Dixon  Debbie Wilson  Kevin Thurston

Geoffrey Walton  Paul Clark  Roger Livermore

Mary Stewart  Gillian Cox  Lionel Cox

Chris Lavender  Geoff Flood  Fred Talbot

Martin Leahy  Daniel Leahy  (Total 26)


The chairman Paul Clark opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the start of our new year and by announcing that business would be taken first, to be followed by refreshments and then a talk by Fred Talbot. Paul gave a brief summary of the year, mentioning that our local climate had not helped our observing, but despite that there had been some good sessions, with the transit of Venus the most notable event. We are still looking for funds to replace the metal shed at the Observatory. He then called for the Treasurer's Report. Mark Crossley reported that there is approximately £1900.00 in the bank, but we have £500.00 to pay in back rent for the Observatory. The increased Observatory rent and other routine costs bring our total annual outgoings to £600.00 and therefore he proposed that the annual subscription be increased to £20.00 with the junior rate of £1.00 remaining unchanged. This was agreed unanimously. Mark also said that he has now taken responsibility for the Web site. Some changes have been made including the option for contributions to be made by members by ‘blogging’.

The following officers were then elected unopposed.

Chairman  Paul Clark

Secretary  Don Utton

Treasurer & Webmaster  Mark Crossley

Events Officer  & Observatory Director  Ged Birbeck


The Chairman then suggested that the presentations for the astronomical evening at Delamere Forest take the form 1) What’s on tonight 2) Earth/Moon or the solar system 3) Deep sky  4) Quiz. Total elapsed time between 60 and 90 minutes. He asked for volunteers and Chris Suddick, Mark Crossley and Graham Sinagola all said they could contribute. The Chairman also announced that we had been given a library of around 30 books which are available for loan by members.

Following the break, Fred Talbot gave a talk on his memories of the ADAS early days. ADAS was started by a group of 14 year old boys who held their first meeting on 13th November 1964. What they lacked in equipment and facilities they more than made up in youthful enthusiasm and a lack of inhibition on what was possible. They went by bus to  enjoy dark skies at summer camps in North Wales and to observe meteor showers etc. In 1968 a change in the law meant that they could sign a legal contract and so establish an observatory, finally settling on the present site on Grove Lane. A lucrative trade in honey raised funds to build an observatory and meeting hut. The sand for cement and concrete was dug from a hole in the ground on the site. Fred’s dominant memory is of enthusiasm and willingness to try their hands at anything. In many cases the experiences led on to other things, for example, in his case to TV presenting. He never expected ADAS to keep going for 40 years and hoped that it would continue for another 40 at least.

The Chairman thanked Fred for his interesting reminiscences and reminded everyone that Ged Birbeck is organising a ‘do’ for 13th November to celebrate the 40th anniversary.

He then gave a brief account of objects to look for in the coming months, including M15, M31 and NGC 7755 in Cassiopeia. He closed the meeting by thanking everyone for coming and asking them to give support at Timperley Country Fair on 18th September.

Chairman  Secretary

1st October 2004


The 400th Meeting  of the Altrincham and District Astronomical Society, held at Timperley Village Club on Friday  1st October , 2004 at 8pm


Those present were:

Paul Clark  Don Utton  Tony Aremia

Ged Burbeck  Graham Sinagola  Geoff Flood

Colin Eaves  Mark Crossley  John Tipping

Colin Henshaw  Nick Dixon  Kevin Thurston

Geoffrey Walton  Roger Livermore  Mary Stewart

Martin Leahy  Daniel Leahy  (Total 17)


The chairman Paul Clark opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. He announced that the talk tonight would be given by Colin Henshaw who had agreed to step in at the last minute because the original speaker was stranded in Newcastle. This would be followed by refreshments and then business. 

Colin’s talk was entitled ‘Historical Supernovae’ and he started that there are two distinct types; the first is caused by the self-destruction of a white dwarf in a binary system. The second is due to the gravitational collapse of a super giant. The first type occur when the white dwarf exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit of 1.44 solar masses consequently they all have a similar magnitude, and so can be used to determine the distance of their galaxies. With Type II supernovae if the super giant mass is < > in the USA, Japan and Russia, which have enabled its time to be determined within a few seconds. Colin also pointed out that nuclear fusion reactions leading up to a supernova explosion create the heavy elements which are vital to life so that we all children of the stars. He finished by speculating on possible future candidates which included rho Cassiopeia, Rigel and Betelguese. The chairman thanked Colin for an interesting and informative talk.

Following the break Paul Clark pointed out that a supernova has recently been discovered in Cepheus, near to NGC 6946, its present magnitude is 12.5 – 13.0. He also reminded everyone that a lunar eclipse will occur in the early hours of 28th October, and that in January Comet Q2 Machholz will be high in the southern sky with an expected magnitude of around 4.

Under business, the minutes were taken as read and correspondence noted. The ADAS stall at the Timperley Country Fair raised £147. Everyone was urged to support our presentations at Delamere Forest on 22nd October, and Ged Birbeck reminded everyone that the 40th Anniversary Party is on 13thNovember at the Altrincham Leisure Centre.

The Chairman then thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting.

Chairman  Secretary

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