AGM and President’s Address – 26th February 2009

The Society Annual General Meeting was held at BEECHE, High Elms. After the normal business including officers’ reports and the election of the committee for 2009, Mike McRoberts gave us his monthly Sky Notes. He reported on a successful Deep Sky Camp, and showed us his pick of the recent images taken by society members.

Carole Pope writes: After the break our President Gilbert Satterthwaite gave an interesting talk on becoming an Astronomer, beginning with his own experience as a grammar school boy in Dorset and his ambition to become an Astronomer which was dashed for a while by a Careers officer who said he might be able to do something with a 1st degree in Maths. Gilbert studied all the right subjects and eventually plucked up the courage to write to the Astronomer Royal for advice, who subsequently sent him lots of paperwork. Gilbert found to his surprise that he was already qualified to apply and applied for an Assistant’s post at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. He sat a very difficult mathematical entrance test and was delighted to be offered a position. At first he did not do any observing, but following the departure of an observing assistant was quickly trained up to measure and records transits of many heavenly bodies and often required to sit up all night. He was also doing a lot of studying at the same time including a degree course.

Gilbert showed many books of logarithms and trigonometric tables. These days, Gilbert’s work has been taken over by electronic computers. He spoke about how Astronomy has changed over the years and that images taken with the best telescopes years ago are these days being far surpassed by our members amateur equipment.

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