Chairman’s notes

Chairman’s notes 6/5/19

Welcome to the month of May. 

Our speaker was Paul Money, back with us by popular demand to present the second part of his talk, the triumphs of Voyager. It was an amazing and interesting talk.

The AGM last month went well and without any issues. 

You should have all received an email informing you of the happenings on the night and the elected committee. Just in case you have missed it, I will run through the committee members briefly. As you can see from this note, you are stuck with me again for another year.

We still have Derek as Vice Chairman, Winnie as Treasurer, Duncan as Secretary, Ray as Technical Advisor and Ian as our new Meetings Coordinator.

We also had the second part of Ray’s Astrophotography talks at the end of April at the Audley Communities Centre, which again was well presented and well attended. And again, we all learnt a lot.

We will shortly be discussing another part for this talk as well as another Stargazing event at the Community Centre and a Headline talk at Keele in the Autumn. So watch this space for further details. 

Can I just remind you please to pay your subscriptions for the year if you have not already done so. That would be great.


Chairman’s notes 5/3/19

Hello everybody and welcome into March. 

Our speaker,  Mary McIntyre, presented a captivating talk about photographing the Milky Way from the UK. The talk was very well received by all and greatly enjoyed. 

Hopefully all of you should have received the email last month, detailing any vacant committee positions and a brief description of responsibilities. 

As agreed I am now able to inform you of all the candidates standing for election at the AGM.

Ok, so here are the candidates that have volunteered

Chairman – Tina Paramore

Vice Chairman – Derek Myatt

Secretary – Duncan Richardson

Treasurer – Winnie Rayner

Technical Advisor – Ray Leeson

And a new volunteer for the Meetings-Coordinator – Ian Knight

I will confirm this by email to everybody in preparation for the AGM next month.

I would like to remind everybody, that we are planning to hold a second workshop on Astro Imaging with Ray in April and are looking at April 20th at the moment. This has been advertised on FB, so please indicate if you are interested in coming. His last workshop was great and I am looking forward to this one to learn more.

I would also like to remind you again that Duncan is doing a talk on Night Scape Photography at the Audley Community Centre on 29th of March.

This event is free so please come along.

Hopefully see you all at the AGM next month.

Chairman’s notes 5/2/19

Welcome to February everyone, I am glad that the weather allowed us all to get to the meeting after the few days of snow. 

 We had a very interesting talk by Gary Palmer with the title Aperture Fever, discussing the ins and outs of different scopes and set ups. A lot of helpful information and advice was given and the talk was enjoyed by all.

Hopefully you should have all received the minutes of the brief EGM we held in January, explaining the changes we wish to make to the election of committee members.

To implement these procedures I have sent out an email detailing any vacant committee positions and a brief description of responsibilities. 

Should any of you wish to stand for any committee position, please email Duncan before the March meeting if at all possible, so we can announce any candidates standing for any position by then.

We are planning to hold a second workshop on Astro Imaging with Ray in April and are looking at April 20th at the moment. I know this is the Easter weekend, but seems to be the only time available. We will put a post up on Facebook to establish interest. But hopefully we should get a good number of people again.

I would also like to point out that Duncan is doing a talk on Nightscape Photography at the Audley Community Centre on 29th of March.

This event is free and probably rather interesting, so please come along.

We have a few other things planned and as always will keep you informed. A little while ago we mentioned the possibility of setting up a film night at the Community Centre where we could watch a Sci fi film as a group and a poll has been put out on Facebook to establish interest.

Ok, like I say, we will keep you up to date, but for now, see you at the next meeting. 

Chairman’s notes 8/1/19

Happy new year to you all. I hope you  had a good Christmas and are looking forward to the coming year.

So far the weather has not been brilliant and I assume we can blame all the people who had astronomy related presents for Christmas. 

I for one had a small observing platform built just before Christmas, to be able to put my scope on level ground facing the right way without too many problems and guess what, it rained for two weeks afterwards. So you can blame me for some of the bad weather if you want.

Dr. Julian Onions presented his talk with the title “Things that go bang in the Night (sky)”, which took a detailed look at types of novae and explosions in the universe. A brilliant talk with some mind boggling facts on an interesting subject.

A very brief EGM was held after the coffee break to introduce and vote on some suggested changes to the election of committee members which we would like to introduce this year. The vote in agreement was unanimous and some minutes of the meeting will be distributed in due course.

Duncan still has some calendars available for sale,  so please get in touch if you are interested in a calendar.

We have decided not to hold anther stargazing event at Audley in February,as we feel it is too soon after the wonderful success we had last time, but we will definitely hold another one later in the year.

We are also hoping to put on another Imaging Workshop with Ray and we of course still have our practical and observing nights on a regular basis. Also a few more surprise activities are in the planning pipeline and we are hoping to bring these your way over the next months.

Chairman’s notes 04/09/18

Hello everybody and welcome to September. Amazing how quickly the summer passed and it is looking like autumn again. The days are already drawing in and the nights are getting longer. Let’s hope we will have some clear nights coming up in the next few weeks and months.

Steve Barrett, who has been with us twice before and is back by popular presented his talk on Dark Matter-What is it and does it matter?

Interesting and thought provoking topic, which was enjoyed by all.

We have decided to remake the display boards we usually put out, as they are outdated and need updating, we are working on that.

International Sunday at Keele Observatory went well and we had a great day. Attendance was slightly compromised by the World Cup England match which was shown at the same time. Something we obviously could not know. Still a great time was had by all who came along. 60 in attendance

As you all know, our patron Al Bean sadly passed away and we are looking to approach and appoint another patron if we can. If you have any suggestions or ideas of who you would like as our patron, please let me know and we can see if he or she is available.

We had some suggestions and again are working on it.

That’s it for now, hopefully see you all at the next meeting.


Chairman’s notes 05/06/18

Hello Everybody and welcome to June. This was our last meeting before the summer break but we still have things going on throughout the summer.

Our speaker and back by popular demand was Paul Money and his talk was titled Triumphs of Voyager Part 1. The talk focused on the mission and the first two planets Jupiter and Saturn visited and we learnt a few new interesting facts and details we had not heard before. The talk was entertaining and well presented as always with Paul. He will be back in May next year to present part 2 of the journey.

You might have heard or read that very sadly our Patron of Inspiration, Al Bean, has passed away. Our thoughts are obviously with his family.

I hope that in time we we will find someone to take on that role and if you have any suggestions as to who that could be, please let us know.

Upcoming events to consider are the international SUNday at Keele on the 24th of this month, so please do come along and help out if you can.

We have Mark Townley and Pete Williams in attendance and if the weather is good it will be an amazing event.

We are also planning a summer get together on Friday the 10th of August at Duncan’s house, which is around the time of the Perseid Meteor shower. Maybe we are in luck this time and the skies will be clear. Instead of a BBQ we decided to order taker away and I am told there are excellent Chinese, Indian and Fish and Chips outlets nearby. So please come and join us. We will send and email to confirm time, date and place a bit closer to the time.

Well, like I say, this is it now for the summer break, but please do return in September. We already have a number of exciting speakers lined up, starting with Steve Barrett, talking to us about Dark Matter. Future talks are also planned about a meteor in December, in November a PHD student from Keele University, title to be confirmed, and Mark Townley will be back in October to talk to us about Space weather and a few other s in the pipe line, so please watch the website.

Ok, that’s it from me, enjoy the summer and see you soon.

Chairman’s notes 1/5/18

Hello everybody and welcome to May. We greatly enjoyed the very interesting talk by Prof. Jeffries about the fascinating subject of Gravitational Waves.

After last month’s AGM, I was approached by various members and was asked to, once again,  review the way committee members are elected. I have received some good suggestions about implementing some new procedures, which we will review and address in the coming months, before hopefully implementing them at a later point.

At the AGM we were also asked if we vet people who wish to join our Facebook members group and we have discussed that at the last committee meeting and I can confirm that all profiles of people wishing to join are checked and of course all posts are approved before they are released.

Talking of wising to join our members group, reminds me to remind you to please pay your subscriptions if you have not already done so. This can now be done on line via PayPal or credit card, which might make it much easier for some of you. Duncan did demonstrate this briefly. If you prefer of course you can pay your subs directly to Winnie, our treasurer.

I also wanted to mention, and some of you might have seen it already,  that we had a great article in the Astronomy Now magazine, which is worth a read and certainly advertises the Society well and what we are all about.

Very positive.

Finally the committee is obviously working on plans for future talks and events.

We have the International SUNday event at Keele coming up on the 24th of June and a new date has been set for Stargazing amy Audley for November.

If you do have any thoughts, suggestions or ideas for either the meetings or the members space webpage, please let us know and we see how we can accommodate your wishes.

OK, that’s it from me. Hopefully see you next month with Paul Money talking about the Triumphs of Voyager part 1 – Journey to Jupiter-Splendour of Saturn on June 5th.


I would like to thank everybody who attended the meeting for your vote of confidence and your support. Your committee is now as follows:
Chairman – Tina Paramore
Vice Chairman -Derek Myatt
Treasurer – Winnie Rayner
Secretary – Duncan Richardson
Technical Advisor – Ray Leeson
We are looking forward to another successful year for the Society. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Best regards, Tina

Hi and welcome to February. Our speaker,Nick Booth, presented a very entertaining talk with the title Reporting Space – From South Cheshire to the Edge of the Solar System.

I did previously mention a Stargazing event which we hoped to hold together with Keele Observatory. Sadly Keele are having staffing problems and could not find any staff to open the observatory at that particular weekend. Anyway, we therefore decided to hold a smaller event at the Audley Community Centre on Saturday 17th of February from 6-9pm. As always we would appreciate the help of anybody who is willing to come along and bring their equipment to help at this event. Please let me or Duncan know if you are able to help out and I know a number of helpers have already volunteered. So hopefully we will have clear skies and see you there.

In light of this event happening we also need to reschedule the Visit to Keele Observatory, and I will email everybody with the revised date.

We also mentioned in the last meetings that we would announce to the membership at the February meeting who from the committee was stepping down from their role.

David Martland, out treasurer has done a wonderful job now for two years and has decided it is time for someone else to take over.

Winnie has decided to step down from her role as Multi Media officer and has come forward to stand as treasurer if nobody else from the membership wishes to take on that role.

And Laura has decided to step down as Meetings-Coordinator as she needs time to concentrate on her growing family as she will be having a baby in May.

An email has been sent to all members stating who is stepping down together with a brief description of all the committee positions and responsibilities.

I understand that all other committee members, which are, Duncan, Derek and myself are happy to stand for reelection. I would like to add however, that I am aware I have been Chairman now for three years and obviously will not be able to continue forever, nor do I guess would you want me to. Anyway, I am very happy to continue with the work like I say and I enjoy what we do, but if anybody feels they wish to step forward and offer something new or different to the Society, please feel free to come forward and let us know.

We are hoping to announce any volunteers for any roles at the March meeting.

Ok, that’s almost it from me. Just one more thing I wanted to mention and explain. It has been pointed out to me that we might have new or even existing members who are not quite aware of what we do on the practical nights. The practical nights are held at Duncan’s house and they are your opportunity to discuss any problems you might have with equipment,software, imaging, eyepieces etc and hopefully learn how to fix them. We do find that there is not enough time at the regular meetings to help with any of these issues in detail, so the practical nights are your opportunity to come along and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment and get help with your problems.

These meetings do not always have a fixed agenda, but we have had presentations on collimation, telescope setup and imaging and we have taken apart and repaired mounts and scopes alike.

So please, do not be afraid of asking questions and do come along, we normally also have coffee and tea and I know Winnie sometimes makes cake.

I also want to briefly mention the observing nights also held at Duncan’s house, very dark skies and either bring your own scope or look through a scope brought along by one of our members.  Again, a good opportunity to learn and just join in with some activity.

Hope to see you all at one of the upcoming events or meetings.

Well here we are in January, so a very  happy new year to you all. I hope you all had a good Christmas and received lots of lovely astronomy related presents. We had a few clear nights and I have seen a number of amazing photos on our facebook page taken by members of the society. So some of us have been busy.

Sam Gill, a PHD student at Keele presented his talk “A brief history of Astronomy in South Africa and what the future holds.”

It was very enjoyable and informative.

As you might have heard by now, there will not be a BBC Stargazing live this year, however, a group of people going under the name of Go Stargazing are getting people together to join in with events and gatherings on the weekends of the 16th and 17th of February to bring stargazing to the public. They have contacted us to ask if we would join their effort.

I have been in touch with Jacco from Keele observatory and they are keen to work with us to put on an event.

So as usual I would like to ask for some volunteers to join us at Keele on either night or even both of the nights with their telescope or without,whatever you feel

We have also planned a group visit to Keele on Thursday 15th of February and I am in the process of confirming with Jacco that this is still happening. We usually make our own way there and pay a contribution to the observatory of £ 2. Please watch this space, will keep you up to date on facebook and via email.

I have had a couple of emails in response to the suggested changes to the election of officers at the AGM. Some minor changes in the wording and the procedure were suggested and I will review and discuss these with the committee in due course and then decide if and how we can incorporate these changes. I will keep you all up to date via email before the next meeting.

See you all at the February meeting.

Chairman’s notes 5/12/17

At the December meeting we enjoyed a well themed talk about the Star of Bethlehem by Dr Steve Barrett, together with Mulled Wine and Mince Pies.

As you may remember we have been talking about making some changes on how we elect committee members to allow the process to be more user friendly and involved.

So we have come up with the following suggestion which we would like to trial for the next AGM and see how it works before actually amending the constitution.

The suggested changes were read out to the membership on the night and an email will be sent in due course to all members also informing them of the suggested changes.Your thoughts and comments are welcome.


  1. Any member of the committee intending to step down from their role should announce this to the committee by the February meeting, if possible. This does not imply that any committee member wishing to step down at a later state cannot do so.
  2. A brief description of the committee position requirements and responsibilities together with a list of vacant positions at that point in time will be made known to all members via email after the February meeting.
  3. Any member of the Society wishing to stand for a committee position should make their intentions known to the committee prior to the March meeting, if possible and candidates that wish to stand will be announced by the committee at the March meeting. This does not preclude a member putting themselves forward for a position on the Committee at the AGM.
  4. Any committee member wishing to stand again for their position should make their intentions known prior to the March meeting and this will be announced at the March meeting to the membership.
  5. A list of persons standing for the various positions will be distributed to the membership via email after the March meeting.
  6. The election of members will be carried out on the night at the AGM, following the existing procedure of proposing and seconding a person for a position.
  7. If there should be more than one person standing for the same committee position, a vote will be carried out on the night by a show of hands from the membership. If the vote is tied then this will be decided by the toss of a coin.

The Christmas meal at the Bon Pan Asian restaurant was well attended and we all ate too much.

All calendars have been collected and card signed by some of the members and a calendar have been sent to Rob Jeffries, Al Bean, Paul Money, Jacco van Loon, Nigel Ball and Alan Chapman.

Please don’t forget that the January meeting has been moved to the 9th and our speaker will be Sam Gill.

For now I wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

Chairman’s notes 03/10/17

Hi everybody, here are some highlights to share with you for October:

Firstly I am very pleased to announce that we have filled the vacant position of Meetings-Coordinator. Laura has kindly volunteered and we are very happy to have her as a committee member

She has already organised another brilliant talk which is our December talk fitting for the time of year Dr. Stephen Barrett, talking about the star of Bethlehem.

And we have another speaker forJanuary, who is one of Jacco’s PHD students. Please also note, we have moved the January meeting from January 2nd to January 9th, as we thought that might be slightly more convenient for all of us.

We also have the possibility of a group meeting at Keele Observatory and we will be looking into arranging that at some point in the near future.

Regarding the purchase of new equipment, after numerous discussions with the committee and Society members, we have decided that there is no great desire to purchase any further equipment for the Society with Society funds, especially as we have now restored two of the three Society scopes back to working order.

We have therefore decided that the money might be better spent on bringing in speakers providing, you, the membership with enjoyable talks. We have also had the suggestion to maybe subsidise some Night photography lessons with Nigel Ball, but I do have the feeling this might not necessarily be of interest to everybody. We will investigate this further.

Coming back to the telescopes that have been restored back to working order by Mike. We discussed at some point to investigate into some storage options at the scout hall and we have discussed this with the scouts and were offered the back bench by the kitchen, but we have worked out that the big Meade will not fit. We have come up with a possibility of storing the Meade off site and bringing it to the meetings for use as and when.

The committee has also been discussing the changes to the election of committee members at the last AGM. We are having another meeting to further discuss the changes to the process and will then inform you of our plans of course.

As mentioned at the last meeting we are having our Stargazing event at Audley on October 28th, I would like to ask for volunteers to bring along their scopes and help out if you can? Please let me or Duncan know if you are willing to join us.

Thinking of further outreach events, are there any communities you can think of that might wish to participate or benefit from a stargazing event? Let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas.

I believe Duncan has sent and email regarding the Society Calendar images, so please if you have any images send them on to Duncan.

Last but not least, we are considering a Christmas meal and just wanted to ask for a show of hands if you are interested in joining us? And any ideas where you would like to go? Let us know.

Chairman’s notes 5/9/17

Welcome back after the summer break. I hope you all had a good summer and are now set for a new season of observing with the nights drawing in.

We still have outstanding issue with regards to purchasing some equipment for the Society. I have had a few discussions with a number of people and at present it seems that apart from a very few people not many of you are actually interested in the society spending money on equipment. I don’t want to go into this at any length, but I wanted to mention it so that you know it has not been forgotten. We have a few ideas which we will finalise and then share with you in due course. So watch this space….

You might remember that we joined forces with Keele Observatory for the International Sunday back in June and I am pleased to report that the day was a great success with about 70 members of the public attending. It was an absolutely glorious sunny and hot day with not a cloud in the sky and we had clear views of the sun with a couple of great sunspots, some big filaments and prominences.

The Society had many helpers and we had 2 solar scopes, some solar binoculars and Keele has set up their two scopes and were projecting the sun through the scope in the dome.

Lots of families with children had a great time and we were able to hand out solar glasses we had organised prior to the event, which were well received by both children and adiults alike.

As it was an extremely hot day the ice creams brought along by Winnie’s husband were greatly welcomed and appreciated.

So a good day. Thank you to those of you who helped out and made it a success.

We also had our Summer BBQ to coincide with then perseid meteor shower and I can tell you that the BBQ was a great success, again held at Duncan;’s house, so thank you for having all of us.Sadly, the meteor shower was a wash out. I guess it is almost a tradition now,because all the BBqs we have had over time to view the meteor shower have been cloudy and damp. So

Still that did not dampen our spirits. We had a wonderful time with a great turnoutand we were treated to some excellent food all prepared and cooked by our own chef Winnie. So I feel that deserves a special thank you. (Give flowers) for all your hard work. Much appreciated.

Just a quick mention that we will do Stargazing at Audley again and that is planned for October 28th, so as usual looking for volunteers. So please do let us know if you can help out.

Right, I will not keep you much longer, but just to give you an idea of future talks coming up we have the talk called Extinction Events- Mark Gibbons, Our local star – Mark Townley, we have booked Paul Money again and of course the Observing nights and practical nights are starting again this month. So lots to look forward to.

Chairman’s notes June 2017

The June meeting was the last meeting before the summer break, although there will be a practical night on the 21st. It has been a busy few months and we had some exciting meetings.
I believe that the email issue we had should have been resolved, but if you are still not receiving emails, please can you confirm your email address with David, our treasurer by please emailing the secretary or treasurer with your name in the Subject Line and we will amend the Society’s records. And if you have not yet paid your subscription, David is also the man you should talk to please.
You might recall that a the last meeting we demonstrated the scope that had been restored by Mike, and Derek questioned if there was not another third scope in need of repair. We thought the scope was pretty poorly, but we managed to get the scope from Duncan’s loft and Mike Parry once again has been kind enough to offer his services to look if it was worth repairing.
He has taken it apart and provided a report on what in his opinion needs doing.
It seems that the the mirrors of the scope would need resurfacing in order to get it working again and Mike has obtained a quote from Orion Optics.
The main mirror would cost £124-00 and the spot mirror is £37.00 with an extra cost of £250.00 for a special aluminium jig to be made for the correct alignment of the spot mirror. Mike suggests that in his opinion he believes we could probably just get the main mirror re-coated an not have the spot mirror done. I think to purchase a similar scope new would be around £1000.
We will still have a look at the dob which we think just require some TLC.
We are also still investigating the possibilities of more storage at the Scout Hall for these scopes and the use of the back outside. And we hope to be able to get use of all that in the autumn to set up one of our repaired scopes.
In line with this I also asked you to let us know what equipment you would be interested in buying if  the Society would  buy anything. So far I have only had very few responses.
We are at present not prepared to make any decision at the moment as I would prefer a little more input from the membership as to what you would like to spend the money on , if indeed we are buying anything at all.
I will leave this open over the summer and will get in touch via email again This will give everybody the opportunity to say what they would like to buy if anything. We can make a final decision on that in the autumn.
As I have mentioned at the last meeting, we are joining forces with Keele Observatory on June 18th for International SUNday. As the title suggests this is all about viewing the sun. I did send an email about is, but with the email issue we have had you might not have got it, but if you are free and willing to help or come along, please do so. We will be there from 11:00-15:00hrs.
As you can see from the latest images, this event was a great success.
As you know we all had the opportunity to vote on an topic for the speaker in October and by popular demand the title that was chosen is Extinction Events.
We have also secured a speaker for November, who will present a talk I am informed about solar stuff and his name is Mark Townley. I understand he actually was a member of the Society in the eighties when he was a teenager.
We are in discussion with a couple of people regarding the September meeting, one of them being Paul Money, who I was asked to invite back by a number of people.
So we can already look forward to a great line up for the autumn.
Further to this we are considering a summer BBQ which has been suggested to be held on August 11th, which I think is a Friday night and would coincide with the Perseus meteor shower. Now then, Winnie has volunteered to do the cooking and Duncan is keen to be the DJ. We suggest that this should be at a cost f £5 per person. And I will send an email to the membership about this.
Regards, Tina

Chairman’s notes 2/5/17

Good evening all and welcome to the May meeting. There are a few items I would like to share before I hand you over to John and Jan from Peak 2 Valley with his talk on the 21st century observatory.
After last months AGM, we did send out and email with a brief report of the AGM which also contained a couple of questions to you, the membership.
As you might recall from the email, we have not filled the position of meetings coordinator and both Derek Myatt and myself are filling this role for the time being. I would like to ask again if there is anybody willing to take on the role at all.
If you think you are, please come and see me or send me and email and we can take things from there.
Also at the AGM we were tasked to look into the cost and possibility of restoring two scopes that were stored at Duncan’s house back into working order before purchasing any further equipment for the Society. I am very pleased to say, that this is one of the scopes which has been brought back to live by Mike Parry at a cost of just under £18.98.
Mike was kind enough to carry out all the work for free and has only asked to be reimbursed for the cost of some paint. He has tried the scope and tells me that he had some great views of Jupiter. So thank you so much for your work on this one.
The scope will be returned to Duncan’s house for the time being, while we investigate the possibility and cost of some extra storage here at the scout hut and possible use of the scope out the back. I think Duncan has a key to get out the back and maybe we can take a look out there during coffee break to see what space we have available.
We will also have a look at the other scope, which might just require some TLC.
So, as to the question can they be restored, yes, and as to the question to cost, well not much at all.
Which leads me on to the next point: In the email we also asked you to let us know what equipment you would be interested in buying were the Society to buy anything. So far I have only had a few responses, stating binoviewers and stabilised binoculars as the favourite. We do have sufficient funds to purchase the stabilised binoculars which were suggested at the AGM and would cost around £1000, but I would really prefer if you would let me know your views on what equipment to buy. So we will leave this open for another month for you all to think about and get back to me before we make any decisions.
So please again, come and see me if you have any suggestions or email myself or Duncan if you prefer.
Ok, next item….we are hoping to join forces again with Keele University for a somewhat different event this time. On June 18th an event takes place world wide and is very big on Facebook called International SUNday. As the title suggests, people get together and safely view the sun. This is very popular with children and parents alike as obviously it will be during the day and also provides another aspect to Astronomy. We thought this would be a great event to get involved with, and Keele have already agreed to hold it outside the observatory. As you might know they have a big solar scope and I think a smaller one and combined with the Society’s PST and my own PST, this gives a number of scopes for the public to get a look at our closest star.
All we need is the approval of the membership and some willing helper with some scopes and solar filters to make it a day?
So, do you think we should take part? Anybody willing to help on the day?
As meeting coordinators we have also been busy and secured a speaker for October, his name is Mark Gibbons and he is a member of the Cotswold Astronomical Society. I am told he is a very good speaker and he has offered us a list of topics. To give you the chance to be involved, Duncan has been kind enough to set up a weblink for you to take a look at the titles and then vote for your three favourite ones. We will then pick the most popular one. Duncan will email a link to the voting site after the meeting tonight. So please take a look and vote.

Well, apart from that there are a number of items we are still working on and will be keeping you updated as and when.

Finally, I have been asked recently what the rules are to attending meetings and observing/practical nights a a non member. Well, non members can attend one regular meeting with a free meeting pass and would need to either join or pay for the meetings after that.
Practical and observing nights are for members only with the practical night being charged at £2. Hope this clarifies the situation.

Chairman’s notes 7/3/17

Good evening all and welcome to the March meeting.
Tonight we are having a member’s night, with a couple of talks . The first talk is by Derek, and is called catastrophes and lesser calamities, sounds intriguing and we shall soon see what is involved. The second talk is by Duncan about star trails and time lapse capturing.
During the coffee break you will have opportunity the opportunity to discuss any astronomy related equipment or technical issues you might have. So if you have any questions you need help with please talk to any of us or your fellow members.
After coffee we have the usual what’s new and what’s on videos and some photos by a Chris, who went to London and managed to photograph Tim Peake’s entry module.
So before that just a couple of items from me tonight.
Firstly Stargazing live. I am sure you will have heard by now that this is happening at the end of March on Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30th.
We have been asked/invited to help out at Keele University like we did last year so I am asking for volunteers to help out on any or all of these evenings if you are free. they are hoping for our help between 7-10pm on the evenings, but they will also be open during the day between 12:30 and 1:30.
If you are bringing any equipment, they ask that this can be pat tested please, they have offered to do this free of charge if you take up your equipment on any Tuesday prior to that. If you want to make us o this offer, please let one of us know, so we can let Keele know you will be coming.
Ok, apart from that, Duncan has asked me to mentioned the combined observing/practical night for this month, which should take place on the 24th at our dark site, which is Duncan’s house. So if you fancy joining some of us for an informal get together where we can help you set up your scope or answer any questions you might have together with a chance for some observing or imaging, please come along.
Finally, can I also remind you that we still have a solar scope, which is available for you to borrow. Have a word with Duncan or myself if you are interested.
Ok, last but not least, next month is the AGM and I would ask you to own us then if you are free.
But for now, enjoy the evening.

Sent from my iPad

Chairman’s notes 1/11/16

Good evening and welcome the November meeting.
Tonight we have with us again Paul Money, who will present to us “Images of the Universe”. Before I hand you over to Paul , I just have a few items to cover.
Firstly it has come to my attention that a former member of the Society, Syd Cookson, sadly passed away recently. Of course our condolences go out to his family and friends for their loss and our thoughts are with them at this sad time.
Moving on, we have had a few volunteers to help at the Millennium Green Stargazing even next month so can I please ask again that all volunteers for the stargazing event at the Millennium green let me or any other committee member know that you are definitely attending and if you are bringing a telescope. If you let me have your email then I can provide you with more detail for the event.
If you are not able to help out but wish to come along to have a look, please do so on December 3rd, 18:00-21:00 hrs at Audley Millennium green.
Right, well Duncan has been very busy putting together the images for next years calendar, which we will show you now.
These are the most popular choices from our member’s images and the front cover is a copy of an original painting by our Patron Al Bean, for which he kindly gave his permission for us to use.
The calendars will be ready for next months meeting and will be priced at £8 please let Duncan know if you would like one…..
Ok, I am not sure how many of you have recently looked at the member area of the Society, as it has been updated with some new bits and pieces, so please have a look. The username and password have been given out by Duncan with the newsletter.
And please let us know if you have any bits and pieces you might like to add to the member area, we are always grateful to add new stuff.
Further than that the committee has been discussing the possibilities of another headline talk, but we did not see Dr Chapman at the IAS and were considering that due to his age he might not be able to present a talk to us.
We thought we could ask you, the membership, if there is anybody you would like to hear or see?
Any ideas?
Please let us know….
As I mentioned last month, I was able to see Brian Cox at the Regent THeatre in Stoke last week and the venue was sold out. I found his talk very entertaining, although some of it went over my head. But it was definitely great to see him life and in person.
Last but not least, if you wish to make any suggestions or have any topics you are interested in that we should cover,please  let us know and we will see what we can do.
I think that’s it from me for tonight enjoy the evening and the coming month.

Chairman’s notes 4/10/16

Good evening and welcome the October meeting.
Tonight we will be treated to a talk by our Honorary President Prof. Rob Jeffries, who will be presenting a talk about Gravitational Waves.
Personally I do not know much about the matter and am looking forward to learning something new.
I just have a few items to cover before we continue with tonight’s meeting:
I have mentioned mentioned at last months meeting that we will be presenting a stargazing event the Audley Millennium Green. The date for this has been set as the 3rd of December between 18:00-21:00hrs this year.
This has been a great success when we did it for the first time and was very well attended. So if you are free and fancy a night out, bring your family and friends and introduce them to stargazing.
It is amazing how many children attended the event and were absolutely stunned when they were able to look through one of our member’s telescopes. And of course many adult members of the public we’re just as amazed at what there is to see.
So, As always we do need volunteers to bring along a scope on the night or help out in any way you can.
Could you please let me or any of the committee members know if you are willing to help.
.I mentioned that we are putting together a calendar again and would like to ask you once again to forward your images to Duncan.
Can you please send your pictures to Duncan who has set up the email address like last year:
I know that some of our member’s have only just returned from Kelling where I believe apart from a thunderstorm, they also had a couple of clear nights. So I am sure we will be treated to some breathtaking images and some anecdotes soon.
Maybe we can ever persuade someone to present a brief talk on the subject.
Can I also remind you that the observing night is currently planned for this weekend if I am not at all mistaken and the practical night is on the 19th of this month at Duncan’s place from 19:00 hrs. This is the best place to come if you need any help or advice regarding equipment, observing imaging etc.
This month we also have the International Astronomy Show on the 14th and 15th if you are wishing to spend some money on some new equipment and I also believe that Nigel Ball, who gave the fantastic talk at how to see the aurora will be one of the lecturers there, amongst many others.
Personally I was lucky enough to be treated to a ticket to see Brian Cox life at the Victoria Hall in Hanley on the 26th of this month by my husband and I am very much looking forward to that one.
I understand that the original dates have all been sold out, but read somewhere that some new dates and venues have been added for next year.
Please take a look at our events calendar via the website for further information on upcoming events.
Last but not least, if you wish to make any suggestions or have any topics you are interested in that we should cover,please  let us know and we will see what we can do. Also, if you wish to give a short presentation to your fellow members to share some information or places worth visiting,like  Derek did with the Astronomy Centre last month, then please let us know. That would be greatly appreciated.
I think that’s it from me for tonight enjoy the evening and the coming month.

Chairman’s notes 6/9/16

Welcome back everybody, I hope you had a good summer. Time has just flown by and already the nights are drawing in.
Tonight we will give everybody the chance to catch up with each other and discuss the new observing season. If you have brought in any equipment or have any technical questions to the like, we can deal with that after the coffee break and point you in the direction of a member best equipped to help.
And of course we will see the return of the Night Sky video to help you choose your observing targets for the month.
Before that however, we will have two presentations or talks, one by Vince Dunn who I believe will give a presentation concerning the difficulty in finding planetary bodies in the cosmos and the other one will be presented by Derek Wilby, who has kept the subject a secret. So let’s wait and see.
To keep you updated on this, Derek’s presentation was about the Astronomy Centre and details of this organisation can be found on their website via the
I just have a few items to cover before we continue with the evening:
First let me get the serious stuff out of the way:
If you have not yet renewed your subscription and paid David, can I please remind you to do so tonight, as this is your last opportunity. Tonight is the cut off date and otherwise I am afraid you will be charged the visitors fee of £2.50 to attend future meetings.
You will also not receive any further newsletters if you do not subscribe as a member.
OK, I think I may have mentioned this before the summer break and we have now had confirmation that the Audley Millennium Green would like us to hold another stargazing event. The date for this has been set as the 3rd of December between 18:00-21:00hrs this year.
As always we do need volunteers to bring along a scope on the night or help out in any way you can.
Could you please let me or any of the committee members know if you are willing to help.
We have also been asked to possibly help the Biddulph Scout Group to achieve their astronomy badge and we are currently in the process of establishing requirements and details. Sadly this has been put on hold until possibly next year.
We are hoping to put together another calendar for the coming year if we all think that is a good idea?
A suggestion was made to have a desktop rather than a wall calendar, so we thought we give you the choice and it appears that the wall calendar is the preferred option.
Can you please send your pictures to Duncan who has set up the email address like last year:
Can I also remind you that we will be resuming the practical and observing nights this month. The practical night is on the 21st of this month at Duncan’s place from 19:00 hrs. This is the best place to come if you need any help or advice regarding equipment, observing imaging etc.
The observing night is at present in the events calendar for this weekend 9/10 of September and I am sure Duncan will be posting on Facebook and on the website if it is taking place or not depending on the weather.
Please take a look at our events calendar via the website for further information on upcoming events.
I think that’s it from me for tonight enjoy the evening and the coming month.

May 2016

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome all to the May meeting!

Before I hand you over to our guest speaker tonight, Dr. Jacco van Loon, let me just recapture a few items.
As you will be aware, last month we had the AGM, but if you were unable to attend and you might not have read the email sent by Duncan of what was discussed on the night, let me give you a brief overview. I guess the fact that I am standing here again will tell you that I was silly enough to stand again as Chairman and was elected. I am also very pleased to say that Martin has been re-elected as Vice Chairman, Duncan as Secretary and Derek as our Meetings co-ordinator and Rob as our Catering officer. So you will have to put up with us for another year.
Unfortunately Derek announced at the AGM that he is unable to continue to produce and present the what’s up and we are still seeking a member to take on this challenging task. If you have any thoughts or ideas on this subject please let us know.

Sadly after 18 years Roy decided to resign as our treasurer due to many commitments and a new treasurer was elected, which is David Martland, so please can you make sure you pay your subs to him asap.
Paul also resigned as our librarian due to work and family commitments and the vacant position was renamed renamed to Multimedia Officer.
This position has been filled by Dave Harland, who will work with Duncan to keep our website and any other IT related things going.
I have recently seen that he has set up his own Astro buy and sell website called Astral Optics and can be accessed as

To cater for these changes, we have needed to make some changes to the constitution and I am sure you will have all received the email with the changes that Duncan sent out. As I have not heard otherwise it would appear that you are all happy and agreeable with the changes. I need to put this to the vote and would like to ask you to raise your hand if you are happy with the changes? Anybody not happy?

Further issues were discussed and I followed these up with another email to the membership asking for your input or suggestions. One of these items was the closure of the library and the disposal of the library books. No decision has yet been made on how to best dispose of the books, but we will further discuss this at the next committee meeting and should be able to give you more news by the next meeting. So if you do wish to have any input in this, please let us know.

We also offered you the chance of getting involved in a member’s evening and I have had one member come up to me with the possibility of them being able to present a short talk to the membership and another suggestion was made to hold a bring and swap or buy and sell of items you might no longer need. Both very good ideas.
If any of you feel you might like to present a talk, but feel you are not able to talk for longer than a few minutes, maybe get in touch and we might be able to put a few short talks by the membership together to fill an evening? Have a think and let me know.
Can I just ask for a show of hands if you feel you might be able to contribute to a bring and swap evening or you might like to attend one?

We are also wanting to try a new feature in our newsletter called “Interview the member”.
Martin has kindly volunteered to come and talk to one or two members during the evening to ask a view questions as to why you are a member of the Society. This is entirely voluntary and if you do not wish to be interviewed, just let Martin know if he decided to pick on you.

At the AGM we also introduced our new Member’s space which can be accessed via our website. The user name and password can be found on the screen behind me or in the newsletter.
Duncan tells me that we had a few member log ins.
This has been designed to replace the member’s disk that we used to hand out and provide information on various astronomy related subjects.
I would ask you all to take a look as it contains a lot of information and might answer any questions you might have.
I would also ask that if you feel we are missing some information on a certain subject or you wish to contribute or add anything to this, then please get in touch with Dave or Duncan.
We are hoping to keep updating and expanding this feature, but would also greatly appreciate if any of you could contribute.

OK, after a discussion of the possible purchase of some Society equipment it was decided that we are in need of a new projector as we have been having problems with displaying colour using the Scout Hall one. So we have now purchased a new projector, which hopefully will provide a better quality image than what we did see recently.

OK, I think I have covered most of it, but if you are free on Monday May 9th, some of us are getting together to watch the Mercury Transit at Duncan’s house. The transit starts at 12:05 and lasts for 7.5 hours until 19:42 and you are very welcome to join in for all of the time or part of the day if you are working. Set up is planned for around 10am onwards, so if you want to join, bring your telescope and solar filters.
All of this of course weather permitting.

Anyway, Tonight we have a repeat visit from a guest speaker, Dr. Jacco van Loon from Keele University Observatory. Last years talk about Galaxies was very interesting and very well received and I am sure tonight’s talk about “Creation and destruction in cosmic explosions” will be just as fascinating.
So hopefully the new projector will come into it’s own tonight.
Of course afterwards we will have a break for tea and coffee and after that we will show you what is visible in the night sky for the month and What’s new in May.
OK, that’s it from me and finally as always, please feel free to get in touch with me or any of the committee members if you have any concerns, ideas, suggestions etc. We appreciate all your comments and any ideas or offers of help and support are very welcome.
Please don’t be shy, we don’t bite.

Anyway without further ado, over to you Jacco.

March 2016

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome all to the March meeting!
Our talk tonight is a joint effort by Martin and Duncan entitled from photons to pixels and I am sure it will be very interesting. After his talk we will have our usual break for coffee and then Derek will present his What’s up.

It has been a quiet month and I do not have many news to share with you today.
I have noticed on facebook that a few of our members have made good use of the clear nights and have been busy imaging and there are some wonderful images to see on the Facebook members group page. So please take a look.

I have seen some great images of Jupiter taken by Derek on there and Rob commented that they were some of the best he had seen apart from the big red splodge on the planet,but the stripes were really great.

Of course there is other information to be found on this page as well, like information on the practical or observing nights.

The practical meeting took place last week and we spent most of the evening solving a conundrum Duncan had with a small refractor. Martin quickly took the whole thing apart and after inspection put it back together again. We had a lot of laughs and I guess we all learnt something, if only to turn the focus knob in the right direction, Duncan?
To be fair however, there is a problem with the telescope focus and it appears that there is something not quite right with the optics as well.

OK, I wanted to remind you all, that the Society owns a solar scope, which is available for members to borrow. We have brought it in tonight for you to have a look. If you are interested in viewing the sun in Hydrogen Alpha and see surface structure, filaments and prominences, then this is the thing for you. Personally I find it breathtaking to get such incredible views of our star.
If you wish to borrow the scope for a month, it is very simple. All we ask for is a £25 deposit, which is fully returnable when you return the scope.

If you are interested in borrowing it for a month, please come and put your name on the list.

Moving on and looking ahead, next month we will have the AGM and hopefully a few developments to share with you then.
There will be of course Derek’s What’s Up as usual and a delicious cup of tea and biscuits as always.

In May Jacco van Loon from Keele will be with us again with his talk entitled “Creation and destruction in cosmic explosions. And in June we will have a talk by Nigel Ball about seeing the aurora.
So all to look forward to.


OK, that’s it from me and finally as always, please feel free to get in touch with me or any of the committee members if you have any concerns, ideas, suggestions etc. We appreciate all your comments and any ideas or offers of help and support are very welcome.
Please don’t be shy, we don’t bite.

Anyway, over to Duncan and Martin…..

Tina Paramore (Chairman NSAS)

February 2016

Welcome all to the February meeting.
Tonight Prof. Rob Jeffries is with us and will be talking to us about the Gaia Mission. As you know Rob is our Honorary President and it is always great to welcome him. After his talk we will have our break for coffee and then Derek will present his What’s up.

Stargazing life took place on the 12-14th of January and we were out in force at Keele Observatory. Sadly the weather did not play ball for the first two nights, but the third night started of clear and we did set up our telescopes outside Keele observatory.
That night people were queuing to have a look through the big telescope at the observatory and I believe were treated to views of the moon and the Orion nebula before it finally started to snow.
I was told that over the three days Keele had 320 visitors, peaking at 170 people on the last night, which was obviously clear.
The event was covered by The Sentinel and twice on BBC Radio Stoke if I am not wrong.
So I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you for all the members who gave up their time and joined us to help out over those three days, it was a great success and we had a lot of fun.

Moving on from that, the long anticipated talk by Dr. Allan Chapman took place last Saturday, January 30th at Keele University and we had over 50 attendees from both the Society and external visitors.
As usual Allan was in top form and his talk lasted almost 90 minutes. Afterwards he was very happy to spend another half an hour with some of the visitors over a few cups of tea to answer any questions.
A very successful and enjoyable evening.

Duncan has been busy as usual and provided me with pictures during my notes and I am very pleased to inform you, that this was done with a newly purchased laptop belonging to the Society.
Most of you were probably not aware that we had been using Duncan’s own laptop during all our presentations, but it was finally decided that it would be prudent to invest in a dedicated laptop for the Society.
Just imagine if Duncan’s private laptop had been broken during one of the presentations and he would have lost all his personal stuff. I am sure he would not have been happy. This will hopefully also solve the problem that the laptop can be handed to another committee member should Duncan be unable to attend one of those nights.
So well done on that one.

I previously mentioned the next two items in an email I sent to all members, but for the new comers and those of you who might not have received the email, can I please remind you all once again to refrain from talking during any presentations and keep your comments or questions until the end, as it can be very distracting if there is talking in the background.
I would also like to ask that if you a posting on Facebook on the Society page or if you are linking any pages and articles, to please make sure not to use any inappropriate language or link pages which have bad language in the titles. We do need to remember that as a Society we are in the public eye and have many people including children looking at our facebook page and website and we cannot afford to use any inappropriate language.

Finally as always, please feel free to get in touch with me or any of the committee members if you have any concerns, ideas, suggestions etc. We appreciate all your comments and any ideas or offers of help and support are very welcome.
Please don’t be shy, we don’t bite.

Tina Paramore (Chairman NSAS)