Annual Report to Council (2012)

Deep-Sky Observing Section annual report

It is a pleasure to thank a growing list of contributors to the Section during the year under review. The regular contributors remain Magda Streicher, Richard Ford and Auke Slotegraaf. First-time contributors include Andre de la Porte (Pretoria, South Africa), Etienne Entres (Harrismith, South Africa), Daniel Acker, Kim Gowney (UK) and Tom Bryant (USA).

A special word of thanks is due to Percy Jacobs of the Pretoria Centre for taking the initiative to co-ordinate an active group of observers in the Centre. The director looks forward with great anticipation to future reports from George Dehlen, Louis Kloke, Grant Thompson, Pat Kühn, Michael Poll, Andre de la Porte and Craig Kloke.

Observation of the deep sky forms a natural part of the activities of most observing groups, and observers are encouraged to submit their observations to the Section. Examples include the observing evenings arranged by the Cape Centre and the West Rand Astronomy Club.

During the Spring Southern Star Party (2011 October) three observers, Pierre de Villiers, Andre de Villiers and Wim Filmalter, successfully completed the Beginner’s Observing Challenge.

Section stalwart Magda Streicher published her long-awaited tome, “Astronomy Delights”, the first book of its kind in South Africa (for a book review, see MNASSA, April 2012, pp.84-85). This beautifully illustrated limited-edition work encapsulates Magda’s unique perspective on the Universe beyond our solar system.

The Director gave two observing workshops during the year, on March 05 (at the Autumn Southern Star Party) and on November 25 at a deep sky week-end near Sutherland. Given that the Internet (and particularly Skype) has become a reliable communication channel, the Director invites all Centres or observing groups to take part in these workshops through a web-based meet-up.

Finally, Merit Awards for deep sky observing have been awarded to Richard Ford, Andrie van der Linde, Percy Jacobs, George Dehlen, Louis Kloke, Grant Thompson, Pat Kühn, Michael Poll, Andre de la Porte and Craig Kloke.