2001 - ASSA Bloemfontein Centre

February 24, 2001: Physics Department (UFS), 19:00
Welcoming by the Chairman. The first meeting for 2001 saw members informing the Centre on a variety of topics. Braam van Zyl guided us through the ASSA Handbook of 2001 and told us how to effectively use it throughout the year. He also re-established the need for the observation group activities for the year. Members Pieter Roodt and Neels Raath informed us on the latest developments in the world of astronomy and space studies.
Member Gerrit Penning informed the Centre of his pilot project called SpaceTides - a weekly space newsletter via e-mail - that he wanted to start. Coffee and tea was served afterwards in the Physics Building's tearoom, in time for the Star Trek Voyager episode at 21:15!
March 24, 2001: Physics Department (UFS), 19:00
Welcoming by the Chairman. The meeting's central focus was a lecture on Edwin Hubble given by the chairman, Mr. Dawie van Jaarsveldt. Dr. Matie Hoffman informed us on the latest developments at Boyden Observatory and how we as amateur astronomers can assist with it. Coffee and tea afterwards.

April 21, 2001: Physics Department (UFS), 19:00
Meeting started by the Chairman and everyone present welcomed. Attended by about 15 members.
The evening's focus was a digital slide presentation about the Planet Mars by member Gerrit Penning. It covered the topics of past and current Martian exploration, Martian geography and climate and future missions to the planet. Coffee and tea afterwards.

26 May, 2001, Physics Deparment (UFS), 19:00
Opening of the meeting by the Chairman. Two informative topics were presented this evening. Firstly Pieter Laubscher talked on the fascinating theme of variable stars and showed some impressive digital images. Secondly we had a practical lecture on astrophotography by Surina Hohne, which concentrated on what is astrophotography, equipment used (e.g. different cameras, films, exposure times), how to start, errors made by photographers etc.

23 June, 2001, Physics Department, 19:00
42nd Annual General Meeting. Dr. Matie Hoffman presented to the members an interesting lecture concerning the Sun and its activities.
After the lecture, the Chairman, Mr. Dawie van Jaarsveldt, presented to Dr. Matie Hoffman a Certificate of Honour. Hereby, Dr. Hoffman became the fourth Honourary member of our Centre (a position not bestowed easily and only upon non-members). It was made in recognition of his continuous and outstanding support of our Centre through the years and his willingness to always help.
The new committee members for 2001/2002 were chosen:
Chairman: Dawie van Jaarsveldt (and newsletter)
Treasurer: Braam van Zyl
Secretary: Grietjie Erasmus
Additional Members: Thinus van der Merwe (clubhouse), Hannes Calitz (observations), Gerrit Penning (website), Deidre van Jaarsveldt (children's program), Surina Hohne (Astrophotography)
Council Rep: Chris de Coning (Cape Town)

21 July, 2001, Physics Department, 19:00
Member Jacques Berner gave the members a lecture on the topic of Astrobiology - with some fascinating facts about life on Earth as well and its adaptability in harsh conditions. This makes the chances for life on other planets and moons a greater possibility.

25 August, 2001, Physics Department, 19:00
The meetings point of focus was the lecture by member James Ross, who is also an optometrist, on the workings and functions of the human eye. He made clear many questions on how the eye process images. We also did some eye exercises to much fascination! It was a very informative and professional lecture, equipping members to a great extent with facts about the eyes.

22 September, 2001, Boyden Observatory, 19:00
At 16:00, a bring-and-braai was held for interested members. The meeting started at 19:00 and Dr. Pieter Meintjies gave members a talk on the upgrading procedures of the 60 inch Boyden-UFS telescope, and also gave us some demonstrations on its workings! It was interesting to see that the telescope, always used to manual operations, is now fully automated with just the simple click of a mouse button.
We also inspected Hannes Calitz 16 inch reflector in the process of being installed.

27 October, 2001, Physics Department (UFS), 19:00
Jacques Berner gave members a talk on Genesis and Creation, and how the Bible and Science can be brought together.

17 November, 2001, Boyden Observatory, 19:00
This more informal meeting was scheduled to fall together with the Leonid meteor shower. Braam van Zyl gave the members a talk on the meteor shower. Unfortunately observation efforts were hampered by the presence of clouds.

8 December, 2001, Boyden Observatory, 19:00
A bring-and-braai was held prior to the evening's meeting, which was also the Centre's year-end event. It was a rainy and cloudy day, but still much enjoyed. The evening Gerrit Penning hosted a question competition where the club was divided into two groups and had to answer questions obtained from the year's SpaceTides newsletters!

27 February 2001 - Appearance of the first SpaceTides email newsletter. Later in the year to become the Centre's official internet newsletter to the public.

27 February 2001, Boyden Observatory, 18:00 - Deep Sky evening at the 13 inch refractor. Attended by about 12 members. General observations of deep sky objects, though it was hampered by scattered clouds. A long evening nevertheless!

9 March 2001, Boyden Observatory, 18:00 - Lecture by Pieter Laubscher and Shaun Twigge on stars and meteor impacts. Attended by 9 members. Informal observations through the 13 inch telescope. Clear sky.

26 March 2001, Physics Building (UFS), 18:00
- Start of the 2001 astronomy course presented by Mr. Hannes Calitz to interested persons (until August 01). Well attended by amateur astronomers from the Centre.

11 April 2001, Boyden Observatory, 19:00 - Observation evening. Deep sky objects through the 13 inch refractor. Small lecture by Pieter Laubscher in the hall.

9 May 2001, Boyden Observatory, 18:00 - General observation evening. Observation through the 13 inch refractor. Hannes Calitz brought his computer and connected it with the 13 inch by means of a CCD camera. Some members had a "picnic" outside and also saw Orion and Scorpius at the same time together in the sky! Thinus van der Merwe found a very interesting object while sweeping through the Southern Milky Way region with the 13 inch. The CCD displayed it with the characteristics of a planetary nebula, though it is still not certain exactly what this object was. We had to reposition the telescope on the Moon to see if we could spot the predicted occultation of a star, unfortunately with no luck.

21 June 2001, Bloemfontein Waterfront, 12:30 - In association with the Friends of Boyden and Boyden Observatory, our Centre took part in the partial solar eclipse activities of the day by assisting with solar displays through Boyden's mobile telescope for the public, providing information to queries, handing out solar filters and pamphlets etc. The eclipse was also photographed by Surina Hohne and other members at the Waterfront, putting up a truly professional display for the public!

10 September 2001, Boyden Observatory, 18:30
- General Observation evening. Possible observation of a star occultation by Antares (without success however). Visit to the 60 inch reflecting telescope where the DFM engineers upgrading the telescope gave us a tour of their work.