Derby and District Astronomical Society

DDAS 40th Anniversary Celebration and Open Day - Saturday 21st June 2014

Words by Mike Lancaster and Dave Selfe
Pictures by Tony Barker, Barry Ashforth and Bill Miles

To celebrate our 40th Anniversary the Society held a special open day on Saturday, 21st June 2014 at the Friends Meeting House in Derby. We essentially took the building over for the day, using all three rooms as well as the garden! One room served as a lecture room, another for our displays, the third as a cafe and the garden for solar observing with a variety of telescopes available. DDAS Chairman Dave Selfe opened the proceedings at 10am and welcomed those in attendance, looking back to events that occurred in 1974, the year we were formed. We had a programme of four talks spread through the day, and the first was given by DDAS member Dr Mike Lancaster - In the Footsteps of Flamsteed. Next up Martin Griffiths from the University of South Wales gave a fascinating talk on Observing Star Clusters. Martin had also been kind enough to bring along a Coronado solar scope on the day which was set up in the garden and showed a magnificent prominence emerging from the solar disk.

After lunch we had the irrepressible Paul Money presenting a talk entitled Images of Space - Art or Science. Once again Paul was on top form and I am sure that no one was disappointed. Finally we completed the day with Colin Steele who presented a talk entitled Professional and Amateur Astronomy in which he introduced us to the extra criteria of 'a professional amateur' and an 'amateur professional'. All in all the talks went down very well and it helped that the three outside speakers have all been regular speakers who were just as happy to celebrate the day as we were. In the afternoon we also had a special visit from our founder member, Jane Kirk, who talked a little about how the society began, and very kindly presented us with an 8.25 inch grade A David Hinds mirror and flat.

We had some wonderful displays in room 1 amongst which were four different types of telescope, meteorites, Anthony Southwell's Apollo models, books, a 1cm to 5000 km scale model of the solar system, photographs and news clippings mounted on display boards and an amazing display of archival material provided mainly by Arthur Tristram. Room 3, our normal meeting room, was the café/chill out room with drinks, biscuits and cakes available. In the garden were a few different solar observing set ups and we were fortunate that the weather was kind to us for once enabling all to see the sun in all its glory.

Our thanks go to our speakers, to all those members who helped out on the day and/or brought items or scopes along for display or use, and especially to Jane Kirk for her very special gift. Finally, and most importantly, a special thank you to our Secretary Anthony Southwell, who first came up with the idea for this event and worked tirelessly to try make it all right on the day.

The flyer we produced for the event can be seen here.