Astronomy Benalla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Presidents Report - 2012  It again gives me great pleasure to present to you tonight our annual report for Astronomy Benalla 2013.   The year 2012 has been a great year of further development mainly thru the work by our committee.  Thanks go to Vice President, Patrick Watson; for his ongoing production of our attractive Astronomy Benalla web  site, in keeping it up to date each month, stepping up and filling in as Secretary in the absence of Jan thru her absences,  also for his many detailed presentations both to the Euroa Rotary Club and on our meeting nights and writing the  Baddaginnie Babbler astronomy notes.   To Secretary, Jan Andrews; for her communications to members and associated astronomy organizations.  To Treasurer, Jeff Knight; for his financial guidance to Astronomy Benalla throughout the year, investigating the  possibilities of obtaining a grant for a data projector to assist in our educational activities and penning the supportive letter  to Winton Wetlands Executive  to obtain future grants for the development of that area.  To Wayne Roberts, Programming, for his forward planning and detailed reports of our future viewing activities, plus  several presentations of astronomical talks.  To Ian Corry, Publicity; for producing and distributing his regular AB posters, also submitting articles to the Benalla  Ensign. To Cynthia Webb, Librarian, for keeping our library up to date and seeing we all had our badges on, each meeting.  To David Webb, Equipment; for keeping our AB telescopes etc in order and assisting in the construction of our  equipment store room. Also taking on board this year’s donations to Astronomy Benalla of a Solar Image Projector from  Robert Abbey, Euroa; a 100mm Maksutov telescope from Rob Carter, Mansfield; and a (1970 vintage) 150mm Newtonian  on an equatorial mount from Geoff Thomson, Invergordon.     To Anne Summer, Social Co-coordinator; for our social catering, and all the members for their ongoing delicious  suppers which are a sure draw-card to our meeting & viewing nights. Thanks also go to all our members who partook in  our various activities.  Thanks to the Benalla Hockey Club for providing the continued use of their club room for our monthly meetings.  To  Matt Dowling, of the Shepparton office of ABC Radio Station, for his continued keen support in offering the monthly time  slot to promote astronomy.  Also to Baddaginnie Community Incorporated for printing our astronomy news in the  Baddaginnie Babbler.   This past year we have been very active with outreach astronomy presentations 1. Benalla Midweek Bushwalking  Group, at Bogong Village. 2. Goorambat Neighborhood Watch. 3. the Euroa Rotary Club. 4. N/E Home Schooling Group.   5. 6. 7. Three sessions of the Transit of Venus, for the Euroa Secondary College.  8. Benalla Bushwalking Club. 9. Benalla  Scout Group. and 10.  A night viewing, for the Baulhamaugh Scout Group.  High-lights this year were, when SDM - Size Does Matter - proprietor Peter Read brought a very large and  upmarket Dobsonian telescope over from Shepparton, to talk about and show the photons it could drag in from the deep  sky. Truly amazing!  He was ably supported by Petra de Ruyter from the Astronomy Society of Albury Wodonga (ASAW). Also the outstanding public interest at the  Transit of Venus & Partial Solar Eclipse viewings at the Benalla Air Port;  drawing over 300 & 100 viewers respectively, was very gratifying.  Continuing discussions with the Winton Wetlands operational personnel, and our supplying a supportive  letter to gain further grants for additional development. have been positive steps towards the construction in the future of a  level, compacted, earthen embankment to be used by us as a viewing area that will be adjacent to the water’s edge near  to the old Mokoan Yacht Club building. Recent discussions this year indicate that there will be some reduced level of grant  funding expected in March, however sufficient to commence construction of various items including the viewing  embankment, subject to construction company bids later in the year. Another viewing site marked on the Winton Wetlands  Master Plan, has been chosen on a low hill adjacent to Humphries swamp adjacent to the old 11mile track. Day and night  evaluation assessments need to be carried out, for ease of access, light pollution and horizon levels.  Projects for this coming year include finishing off our storage room wall and fitting equipment cupboards to protect  our ever-growing valuable astronomical assets. We have lost 4 members owing to shifts to other towns, so a project for all  members is to actively promote Astronomy Benalla to lift our membership above the critical operational level.  Discussions are underway with the ASAW re a national standard collection of 50 large astronomical photographs  and another 150 on a DVD for projecting on an exterior electronic screen to be on-loan. Initially they will be displayed at  the New Albury Library during Science Week and later we hope, at the Benalla Art Gallery.    Astronomical highlights for this coming year will initially be Comet C/2011L4  PANSTARRS, expected to be a very  bright comet reaching a peak on March 9th, also another Partial Eclipse viewable here in Benalla (Annular Solar Eclipse  WA. NT. & Qld.) on Friday 10th May  about 7:27am  thru to 10:19am and, later in November, Comet ISON 2012  S1 could  be the comet of the century or a disintegrated dud.  I would like to see our members without telescopes, taking out our seven Astronomy Benalla telescopes and  making use of them, they are not just a collection for gathering dust.             Finally thanks to Peg & Peter Presneill for thier dedicated membership who have now decided that Qld is the place  to live. We sincerely hope the move will be beneficial and wish them all the best for the future.     Rupe Cheetham President
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