NNAS Chairmans Report for the year ending 31st March 2023
John Ramm Chairman & Treasurer
Martin Boddy General Secretary, Dark Sky’s & Imaging
Brian Fry Membership Secretary & Imaging
Terry Rose Radio Telescope & Technical
Gary Heard Social Media & Webmaster
Malcolm Green Observatory site maintenance
Keith Jones Maintenance and Health & Safety
Alan Rose Calver Telescope, maintenance & technical
The NNAS has continued this year with improving all its facilities. The Green Farm Observatory site (GFO) has come on in leaps and bounds in this last 12 months both with its infrastructure and technical capabilities.
Exterior red lighting has been installed all around the observatories to stop members blundering into equipment, and each other. The ‘Owl Observatory’ has been remotely connected to the command-and-control shed (otherwise known as the resource centre) so in time, we should be able to take images from the cameras and screen them in the civilised surroundings of a warm environment, and we will shortly have an all-sky camera operating on site. Great things to come if all the connections hold up.
Our deviation into the world of radio astronomy has started to bring fascinating results thanks to Terry. It is a whole new experience which some of us are only just beginning to have a rudimentary understanding of, but it’s going to be an interesting journey.
All year we have had regular weekend work parties, in fact we have probably spent more time on the cement mixer than we have on the telescopes, but the result has meant we have pads, paths and ramps around all the relevant places on the GFO site.
We have had regular bimonthly meetings at Binham Village Hall with talks from Martin, Terry, Gary and Keith, all in house speakers giving presentations across a broad spectrum of astronomical subjects, and all of such a high standard. It is not an easy task to stand up in front of an audience and give complex technical talks, they have all done a terrific job.
In conclusion, my thanks must go to all the members of the committee for the incredible amount of hard work they have all put in this year. Any member visiting the observatory site cannot fail to be impressed by the progress that has been made by all the hard work that has been put in.
Finally, may I thank the membership for their continued support for the society and hope they will make good use of the facilities we are striving to create.
John Ramm, Chairman
NNAS Treasurers Report for year ending 31/3/2023
This year there has been an increase in expenditure relating largely to the purchase of an imaging camera and the cost of creating concrete bases for the radio telescope dish and the 20inch telescope all of which are regarded as fixed assets.
Within the income figure is the amount of £900 for the sale of a telescope. This relates to a 10inch SC scope donated to the NNAS in a state of disrepair with its electronics no longer functioning. Thanks to Terry’s wizardry with the electronics the scope was repaired and sold on, enabling the society to purchase an imaging camera for £780. These transactions can be picked up from the fixed assets account where the donated scope is shown at a nominal figure of £200 reflecting its value when the society received it.
Membership subscriptions are almost the same as last year
The information in the accounts required by the Charity Commission will be submitted when the accounts are approved at the AGM
J. Ramm, Treasurer
NNAS – Gary Heard – Website & Data Management 2023
A year of progress in association with the website and Social Media. With the changes started last year maturing.
Management of the technical aspects has been shared by Gary Heard, Terry Rose and Brian Fry.
There has been no change to the use of personal data and we remain compliant with all aspects of GDPR. The database was online but only accessible to the webmaster.
The Website Joomla CMS is working well, however committee members have asked how efficient it is as amethod of communication, Webstats will be enabled in the coming weeks to understand the number of visitors.
As a committee, the ability to add articles to the website has not yet been done, but, instruction will be given to committee members on how to add articles to the Joomla CMS, the intention being that although the webmaster will be the controller of the technical aspects of the service, committee members will have authority to add articles and events so there is no single point of failure.
As agreed that the second domain previously held by NNAS “norfolkastronomy.co.uk” was allowed to lapse as we had no current use for it. The domain existed under our charge until it expired on the 07-June-2023.
The SSL certificate, for securely connecting to the website via “https”, has been renewed.
Progress has also been made on Social Media with both a Public and Members only Facebook pages with 294 and 39 members (some family members) respectively.
Many thanks to Terry Rose for the help he’s given in using and updating Joomla.
NNAS – Alan Rose – Obervatory, Calver Telescope 2023
This year the Meeting Room has had a window added so that the operation of telescopes can be observed from inside and has been carpeted and painted inside and out.
Electrics in the form of lighting (also red), sockets and external power to telescope mounts has been added with a work bench on which laptops to control telescope mounts can be placed.
Repairs to the Calver observatory end flap doors have been carried out.
The mirror to the Calver telescope has been refurbished. Resulting in very much improved views of The Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars etc.
I personally have been undergoing tuition. So that I can demonstrate the Calver to visitors and new members. Thus giving more time for other committee members to show and instruct on other aspects of astronomy I.e imaging and use of telescope.
General Site maintenance.
The safety of visitors and members on the site is important.
Therefore regular mowing and strimming of the grassed areas has taken place during the year. Though there are uneven dips and bumps which could cause trip hazards on the grassed areas. Therefore, level slabbed pathways have been extended keeping members and visitors off the undulating grassed areas as much as feasibly possible with a ramped wheelchair access to the resource centre provided so any disabled visitors can now view the stars and planets etc in the relative comfort of the Meeting Room,.
Fencing, safety signage and red lighting have been provided on the site to guide members and visitors around these undulating areas and prevent sustaining injury from coming in contact with the low eaves of the Calver shed etc.
General tidy ups of the site have periodically taken place. Removing bits of wood and other rubbish etc to further negate the possibility of accidents and damage to lawn mower etc.
The shared toilet facilities have been cleaned up and new WC and handbasin provided.
NNAS – Brian Fry – Memberships, Imaging & Social Media. 2023
The membership has held strong this year with new members joining and some members leaving us. The system we brought in last year seems to be working well, and payment via BACS seems to be the most popular way of paying the subs. The membership is running at 51 members made up of 26 family members, 22 single and 3 honorary. The facebook public page now has 295 members and the new members only page has 44 members.
The imaging dome is now fully working with the 115 triplet Altair Astro refractor on the Ioptron mount. It is ready to be used by any of the membership who want to learn about computerised imaging. We can sit in the “warm room” (resource centre), and control the scope and mount from here. We are also looking into how we can help anyone interested into taking there first steps into imaging. We just need some clears skies .
NNAS – Terry Rose – Radio Telescope & Technical. 2023
Radio Telescope -
This year we have made some significant progress in the installation and operation of a radio telescope at GFO. After mounting the dish on a concrete block for stability and installing the electronics to receive hydrogen emission signals, the initial results were impressive. Some software update issues have now been resolved and operation of the telescope will re-commence in the near future.
We have improved the data network throughout the GFO site and we have also installed a broadband internet connection which will enable software updates and remote access to PCs and other equipment mentioned below to take place.
All Sky Camera -
An All Sky Camera is ready to be installed which will be available to view remotely via the internet connection.
Jupiter Listening Station -
A 7 metre dipole aerial has been installed for the purpose of receiving radio burst signals emitted from the planet Jupiter. The software for processing these signals is presently being evaluated.
Meteor Detector -
The meteor detector continues to function, and although our location does not allow us to observe the major annual meteor showers which mainly propagate from the N and NW, the addition of the All Sky Camera will add the possibility of a visual confirmation of a radio detected meteor strike.