Carter Observatory Board
Report of Representatives
Eight meetings of the Carter Observatory Board were held during the year, and the normal business conducted.
In December, 1948, Mr. M. F. Luckie, who has been Chairman of the Board since its inception in 1939, retired, and the vacancy was filled by Mr. F. W. Furkert, representing the City Council. Mr. E. P. Norman was elected Chairman and Professor D. C. H. Florance, Deputy Chairman.
During the year the Board considered carefully many items concerning the foundation and improvement of existing work at the Observatory.
Approval was given for commencing experimental work on photo-electric photometry of stars, and the possibility of expanding the present auroral programme with further Government aid was explored. Generally speaking, the work of the year should bear fruit in time to come.
The Board received a valuable gift in the form of the complete astronomical library of the late Mr. A. C. Gifford. This is to be used for the extension of
general astronomical knowledge among the public. Also, the funds collected by Mr. Gifford under the title “Students of the Starry Skies” were transferred to the Board. This money will be used for purchasing small telescopes for distribution to science classes of secondary schools and thus fulfil many of the ideals entertained by Mr. Gifford. Five such instruments are now on order from England.
The educational work of the Observatory has been maintained. During the year, the total attendances of visitors amounted to 1707. In January, a special course of one week's duration for secondary school teachers was held. This was most successful teachers from all parts of the country attending.
The purchase of a 16 mm. Ampro Sound Projector has assisted demonstrations at the Observatory to a high degree.
Solar observations have been maintained as in previous years. Observations for relative sunspot numbers have been transmitted to the international headquarters at Zurich, and spectro-helioscope observations were sent to Muedon, commencing in January, 1949. During 1948, special observations were made as required at the request of the Greenwich Observatory, and reports of outstanding solar flares reported by cable.
Progress was made by the Dominion Physical Laboratory in the construction of a sun camera for attachment to the 9-inch telescope.
The provision of radio disturbance forecasts to the Post and Telegraph Department and the National Broadcasting Service have been maintained with the previous fair success.
Auroral work along the lines of previous years has been maintained, and as a prelude to a complete revision of all existing material from 1931 to date, the records have been subjected to a preliminary survey.
With the help of the Government in many ways, plans have been outlined for the commencement of parallactic auroral photography in the South Island in the latter half of 1949.
Miscellaneous work has been undertaken at the Observatory as required. Ephemerides of comets have been computed when necessary, and this and other relevant information distributed to approved amateur astronomers as occasion demanded.
The passage of time serves to accentuate that the Observatory is fulfilling a much-needed function, and that further development is vitally necessary for future progress.
C. G. G. Berry,
M. A. F. Barnett
Representatives on the Carter Observatory Board.
Dr. Focken moved the adoption of the report by the representatives on the Carter Observatory Board, Dr. M. A. F. Barnett and Mr. C. G. G. Berry. Carried.
Dr. Archey commended the report and the amount of work accomplished by the Carter Observatory during the year.
Permanent Secretariat: Pacific Science Association. Dr. Archey reported that the Pacific Science Council had decided that there should be set up a Permanent Secretariat and that the Royal Society had been asked to carry on until such time as financial means were found to enable an appointment to be made. It was resolved that the Society agrees to the recommendation, subject to there being no financial commitments.
N.Z. Science Congress, 1950. Professor Allan and Dr. Frankel extended an invitation on behalf of the Canterbury Branch to hold the next Science Congress in Christchurch.
Dr. Marwick moved that the Canterbury Branch be thanked and that the date of the Congress be fixed after consultation with the Canterbury Branch.
U.N.E.S.C.O.: Group Discussions. Following a discussion on a circular letter from the National Commission of U.N.E.S.C.O. it was resolved, on the motion of Dr. Archey, that the National Commission of U.N.E.S.C.O. be advised that the Royal Society and its Branches will co-operate especially in respect to Sections C and D, namely, semi-popular levels and academic levels.
Election of Officers. The Nominations Committee reported that it had met and considered the nominations received from Member Bodies and it recommended that Dr. R. A. Falla be re-elected President and Mr. F. R. Callaghan Vice-President.
The following officers were elected: President, Dr. R. A. Falla; Vice-President, Mr. F. R. Callaghan; Hon. Treasurer, Mr. S. Cory Wright; Hon. Editor, Miss Marion Fyfe; Hon. Librarian, Professor L. R. Richardson; Co-opted Member, Dr. J. Marwick; Rep. Great Barrier Reef Committee, Dr. W. R. B. Oliver; Royal N.Z. Institute of Horticulture, Dr. W. R. B. Oliver.