AFA: Third Annual Exhibition

By Malcolm Gibb

General view of the hall

The third annual exhibition/recruiting drive of the Association of Falkirk Astronomers was held on Saturday 22nd September in the Old Peoples Welfare Hall in Laurieston, Falkirk. This year we were able to set out most of the exhibition on the previous night which saved a lot of effort on the Saturday morning, for this we are most grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Paton who look after the hall.

The hall was laid out more or less as before, with the computers against the rear wall, several telescopes in one corner, a selection of books and magazines next to them, a table for refreshments, one for handouts (of which there were plenty this year) and our own stands, set out with photographs, in the middle of the hall . Our thanks go to Douglas Cooper who brought along a lovely selection of his photographs and Bill Holden who brought some curiosities along for display and kindly donated on long term loan, a selection of books on astronomy for the AFA library.Telescopes and photo display. There were five telescopes on display which covered almost all types. Jim had three computers running programmes, Starrynight Backyard, RedShift and Skyglobe and they, as always attracted a lot of attention, especially from the younger ones. In each window of the hall was a representation of constellations with a pin-hole picture beside them.

Telescopes and photo display

Russell and Walter brought along some of their framed images of aurora and we managed to get them on the walls where they were greatly admired. Posters and charts were also hung up and attracted a lot of interest, as did the books and magazines.

The handouts this year were more varied and included lots of material from PPARC. A full list of all organisations and companies who donated publications and catalogues for distribution is included at the end of this report, with links to their web sites.

Jim and the computers

The day started quietly, but by mid-day there was a steady stream of visitors. The encouraging feature was, that everyone stayed for at least an hour or more and showed a great interest in our displays, the telescopes, and in particular Jim's 8" Dobsonian, asking questions, wanting information, admiring the photographs and not least of all, enjoying the slide show. Russell had compiled a short slide show using slides taken by himself and the rest of the committee, this was shown at intervals during the day, and voted a great success by all who watched it. Diane and Yvonne made everyone welcome and as with all the committee, were available to answer questions.

Central display of astronomical images.Several people enquired about membership and hopefully will turn up at the next meeting to get a taste of what we have to offer. Two members of Renfrewshire Astronomy Society and a few from Stirling A.S. arrived. It is most satisfying to welcome people from other clubs and share ideas and hopes for the future with them. A few of our own members also visited and were made most welcome. Tea/coffee and biscuits were available to quench the thirst and stem the hunger of visitors and ourselves!

Most visitors were asked where they had heard about the exhibition and it seems that Astronomy Now magazine was top of the list, so it would appear that we attract the enthusiast rather than the casual or curious passer-by. All in all the exhibition was voted a success and worth the organising and effort put in by all the committee.

Central display of astronomical images

Acknowledgements are due to the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, PPARC, from whom we obtain leaflets, booklets and wallcharts which we distribute at the RoadShows and at our exhibition.

The following companies and organisations also kindly gave copies of catalogues and leaflets for distribution at the exhibition and RoadShows.

Stockport Binocular & Telescope Centre Wide-ranging catalogue of all things astronomical and includes microscopes, software, books and educational toys.
Widescreen Centre Catalogue and 'Heavens Above' guide to astronomy.
Optical Vision Limited Importers and distributors for TAL and Helios Telescopes, binoculars etc.
Midland Counties Publications Comprehensive catalogue of Astronomy books, videos, CD-ROMS etc.
Sherwoods Suppliers of astronomical telescopes and accessories.
Armagh Planetarium Catalogue of videos, 35mm Slides, posters, T-Shirts and astro gifts.
Cambridge University Press Catalogue of astronomy books. Site of the Mills Observatory in Dundee, leaflets

Your committee, Russell, Diane, Malcolm, Yvonne and Walter.
The missing member is Jim who took the picture