A warm welcome to 2013 and the prospect of another exciting year in astronomy.
It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to take over as President from Tim Napier-Munn. Apart from Tim, two others have stepped down from Council: Geoff Biggs who has completed his five years on Council and has done a fantastic job as Membership Secretary and Cheryl Capra who is taking a break from Council to concentrate on her final teaching year. I would like to congratulate Tim and the previous Council for their hard work and dedication in doing a fine job of managing the affairs of AAQ in 2012.
Joining me to make up the 2013 Council are:
- Tony Dutton continuing as Vice President;
- John Salini who has expertly carried out the role of Secretary continues in that role;
- David Moriarty will continue to manage the finances of the Association as Treasurer;
- Diane Hughes will take over the role of Membership Secretary, including the systems and records previously set up and managed by Geoff Biggs;
- The enthusiastic Alison Beck will continue her entertaining and enlightening role as Technical Secretary;
- John Hughes will continue as a member of Council, and he will be joined by two new members. Des Janke will bring a wealth of experience from his previous roles on Council, and Rick Stevenson is a new recruit.
The Council is a wonderful mix of the experience of previous members and new members to bring in fresh ideas. Many thanks to those continuing and new members who volunteer their time to help out with the Association. Please remember the Council is here to manage the Association for you. If Members have any thoughts or ideas on any aspect of management of the association, then please share them with me or any of the Council. Ideas, feedback and comments (good or bad) are always welcome.
Members and partners enjoyed a sociable AGM and annual lunch at Wordsmith’s Café on February 23. Apart from the usual reports (all printed in the Annual Proceedings) and declaration of the new Council for 2013, a new auditor was appointed for AAQ. I was fortunate to receive the annual Kitty Kent award for managing the various special astronomical activities for AAQ in 2012. I consider this also as recognition of the huge contribution from many AAQ members who assisted me in these roles.
While we will not have last year’s dramatic combination of a transit of Venus and a total solar eclipse, there will no doubt be other interesting events. Let’s hope this is the last gasp of the wet season and we can look forward to clearer skies.
Earlier in the year we were treated to two naked eye comets in the sky. Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS has passed its closest point to the Earth and survived its encounter with the Sun, and continues to be visible from the northern hemisphere. Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon has now faded from view. Last month we also had asteroid 2012DA14 making the closest known approach of an asteroid to Earth. To look forward to is an Annular Solar Eclipse on 10 May passing across Western Australia, Northern Territory and far north Queensland. I will be heading out to the Pilbara region for that one and I know other AAQ members also have observing plans. And of course we have the Queensland Astrofest (dates this year are August 2 to 11).
Ordinary General Meetings (OGMs) this year will continue to be in Lecture Theatre 222 of the Parnell Building at Queensland University (except for the June and July meetings in a different room – check the newsletter and website closer to the date for the venue). A great lineup of invited speakers is being organised for OGM’s this year. Suggestions for invited speakers are always welcome.
A current challenge is to find a permanent location for Deep Sky Observing field nights. A range of options are being explored. If you have any suggestions of a good dark site within acceptable driving distance of Brisbane and with facilities pleas pass this on to any Council member.