General Meeting May 2005
Report on presentations given by two ASV Members on the evening. The first by Chris Venter taking us on “A Tour of the New ASV Website”; the second by Lance Kelly on his vision for the “ASV Meteor Section”.
Chris Venter is the current ASV Website editor. His daytime work is with Siebel Systems as Regional Architect. In his ever dwindling spare time he can be found doing astrophotography from his backyard observatory, writing astronomy software, playing ice-hockey for the Melbourne Jets and (of course) editing/enhancing the ASV Website. His talk about the new ASV Website was a tour de force presentation of the large range of facilities now on offer on the website.
The site went “live” on 6 April 2005, and in the four weeks since then 531 User Accounts have been set-up already, 18,000 persons have visited the site, 34 messages have been posted on the Message Board, 95 images were uploaded in 7 Photo Galleries and 9 Classified Advertisements have been placed. The goal is to make the ASV site the active portal for the whole of the Melbourne Astronomy Community, with online-library, -event registration, -membership renewal and -ASV merchandising. The Welcome Page shows a series of pictures from a recent ASV activity and lists the main sections of the Society, its people and resources, Astronomy, News, a Calendar of Events and, of course, a Search facility. A novel feature of the site are some real-time Links to current phenomena, like sunspots, phases of the moon and On-line participation. Access to Members Only sections requires a User ID and Password, which can be obtained within 24hrs by completing the site’s member e-mail Update Form.
The Website is a credit to the ASV and reflects the extensive programming talent of Chris in making creative use of the open program Mambo Content Management System.
Lance Kelly is the new Section Director of the ASV Meteor Section. In a casual PowerPoint presentation he laid out the philosophy and the vision for his Group, as well as the practical aspect of where and how to observe.
Meteor Astronomy is the cheapest and easiest way to contribute meaningfully to the science of astronomy. The only equipment required for meteor astronomy is a pen and paper, with observation quite simple and enjoyable to carry out. Information collected helps to define behaviour of existing meteor showers and to discover new meteor radiants. The section maintains its own website and also provides a meteor shower calendar on request to ASV members. In addition a bi-monthly newsletter 'METEOR' is published by the assistant director Adam Marsh.
The Group has currently about 60 members and is involved in the study of both meteor astronomy and meteoritics. The section does not usually run formal meetings but keen members gather at dark-sky sites such as the LMDSS and South-East Melbourne to observe major meteor showers during the year. They record the number of meteors in a given time, radiant or sporatic, magnitude and colour and wake. The information so collected is sent to the International Meteor Organisation in Belgium and is used to improve origin and timing of meteor shower calculations. The section welcomes all persons who may have an interest in meteors or members who wish to report the sighting of very bright meteors (fireballs). It can already boast discoveries of two new radiants. The biggest goal now is to register 1000 viewing hour a year.