Astronomy Benalla
Presidents Report - 2010
Letter from the President to all Members                                                               November 2010   Dear Member, The year is now drawing quickly to a close so I would like to take this opportunity to bring up to date not only the members that attend regularly but also those who joined and have been too busy to come regularly to our meetings and/or viewing nights. Astronomy Benalla  has seen a very active and productive year considering that we are only just 10 months old. Our monthly meeting format has been, a brief administrative meeting with accent on reports of what we have seen over the past month and what may be seen during the next month, followed by two speakers and a delicious supper. Jeff our Treasurer submitted an excellent grant application to the Benalla Rural City Council and we were rewarded with a grant sufficient to purchase 3 telescopes suitable for beginners to intermediate viewing. A Skywatcher 102mm Refractor, a Coronado Personal Solar Telescope, and a Bintel 200mm Dobsonian reflector. Together with another donated telescope, members now have access to four telescopes for hire at a very reasonable hire fee. Members have attended two star parties through out the year - the Astronomical Society of Victoria’s Messier Star Party at their Leon Mow Dark Sky Site near Heathcote in Victoria, and the Astronomy Society of Albury/Wodonga’s  four-day star party Border Stargaze held at Wymah Resort, NSW. On both occasions we were able to view the heavens with larger telescopes, learn much more about our fascinating activity and partake the of the social atmosphere. Our monthly viewing nights have been held at our dark sky site at the Baddaginnie Recreation Reserve. Weather conditions resulted in six clear and three overcast nights. During the winter we had to abandon two nights early because of heavy dew, but generally viewers were able to enjoy a wide range of clusters, nebulae, galaxies and other celestial delights in our beautiful southern hemisphere.  We were fortunate in obtaining Terry Dillon early on, to set up our excellent and informative web site that ensures that not only all members with access to the web have the latest Astronomy Benalla news but that this is also available to the general public interested in astronomy in Benalla. Besides our regular advertisements in the Benalla Ensign, and monthly posters distributed around Benalla, by including our monthly viewing report in their Baddaginnie Babbler, the Baddaginnie Community Incorporated has ably supported us. We have held one successful public viewing night at the Benalla Ceramic Mural. In November we were asked for and provided two speakers for 80 students from St Joseph’s Primary School to inform them about the Solar system’s planets and to provide daytime viewing of the Moon using six telescopes provided by members. At the Day in the Gardens market, along with the U3A Astronomy Group we had considerable interest shown by hundreds of the public looking through our three telescopes. Shepparton TV channel News saw fit to show two brief flashes of our display on their evening’s News. I look forward to catching up with all our members now that the warmer weather has arrived. Regards,   Rupe Cheetham     President
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