May 2013 - AGM

The Association celebrated its 80th Anniversary. .................. To follow

Apr 2013 - The Hubble Space Telescope.

The lecture was given by Paul Whiting FRAS from the Orwell Astronomical Society.

The Space Telescope was carried into orbit by the space shuttle in 1990 and remains in operation. It has 2.4-meter aperture telescope and the four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared. The telescope is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble.

Space telescopes were proposed as early as 1923. Hubble was funded in the 1970s, with a proposed launch in 1983, but the project was beset by technical delays, budget problems, and the Challenger disaster. When finally launched in 1990, scientists found that the main mirror had been ground incorrectly, compromising the telescope's capabilities. The telescope was restored to its intended quality by a servicing mission in 1993.

Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts. Between 1993 and 2002, four missions repaired, upgraded, and replaced systems on the telescope; a fifth mission was cancelled on safety grounds following the Columbia disaster. However, one final servicing mission was completed in 2009 by Space Shuttle Atlantis. Its scientific successor, the James Webb Space Telescope is to be launched in 2018 or possibly later.

It was a most interesting and informative lecture and the members showed their appreciation in the normal manner.

Mar 2013 - Electrical Infrastructure at the 2012 Olympics

The Lecture was given by Bill D-Albertanson from UK Power Networks.

The 2012 Olympics was by far the largest peacetime event ever managed in the UK and the electrical network was kept separate to other UKPN networks. A total of 76 existing sub stations had to be relocated or removed in the area.200+ buildings were disconnected and 415v, 11000v 132000v cables relocated or removed. 7km of 3m diameter cable tunnels constructed at a depth of 35m. Installation of 56km of new 132kv cable installed within the new tunnels. The system was designed to have three transformers but could run on one only in the event of problems, but one had to be located within a separate building. UKPN also had to deal with 240km of roads which were part of the Olympic highway routes in london and work on services was only allowed in these areas at night during the Olympics. This was the first Olympics to run direct from the grid with generators as back up, all other Olympic sites have used generators as the main power source. As well as the Olympic sites UKPN had to install new supplies for the new commercial centre at Stratford. The control centre for the UKPN Olympic site was based at Fore Hamlet, Ipswich.

A most interesting and informative lecture and the members showed their appreciation in the normal manner.

Feb 2013 - Disabled Toilet Assist & Refuge Alarms - Cooper Safety

The lecture was given by Nick Tieahan, National Business Manager for Cooper Safety on Emergency Voice Communication Systems (EVCS).

Building regulations approved document B states that any non domestic building with more than one storey must provide ‘refuge' areas - relatively safe places where people who cannot easily use fire escapes and evacuation lifts, can call for assistance and wait until help arrives. Simple, effective two-way communication (refuge system) in these areas is essential, firstly to assist rescue teams In determining where assistance is required and secondly to reassure people help is on the way.

The systems have a hands free speech unit at the refuge location and control panel with hand set at the monitoring station. These units are linked using fire proof 2-core cables in most cases.

Nick then demonstrated a number of products which can be used and also disabled toilet alarm systems which can also be linked to the control panel.

It was a most interesting and informative lecture and the members showed their appreciation in the normal manner.

Jan 2013 Meeting Cancelled due to Weather

Nov 2012 - Visit to the Orwell Park Observatory

Thirteen members arrived at the Orwell Park Observatory on a very foggy evening where we were met by our hosts and taken via the 100 step spiral staircase to the Main Observatory Rooms.

Orwell Park Mansion was first built by Admiral Edward Vernon (1684-1757) and he lived there between 1725 and 1757 and was also MP for Ipswich for a time.

George Tomline purchased the Mansion in 1848. He had a interest in astronomy, a very fashionable science at the time. Being of enormous wealth, he indulged his interest by commissioning Orwell Park Observatory in the early 1870s.

The observatory tower stands on a massive concrete base 15m in diameter and 1.2m thick. The Tomline Refractor is mounted on top of a circular brick pier which extends 18m above the foundations but is otherwise independent of the building. At the top of the observatory, the dome is constructed from a wrought iron framework covered in deal, copper clad on the outside and lined on the inside with polished mahogany planking, rotating on thirteen removable wheel sets inset into the circular wall of the equatorial room.

The Tomline Refractor was constructed in 1874 by Troughton & Simms, leading telescope makers of the time. The instrument is an equatorially mounted refractor of clear aperture 258mm and focal length 3,890mm. The leading German optical company Merz ground the object lens.

At the time the observatory was completed it was one of the finest in private ownership.

The roof was opened but as it was a very foggy evening we could not see any stars. We did however manage to see the Butt & Oyster public house across the river at Pin Mill.

It was a most interesting lecture and visit and our thanks go to the two members of the Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich) who were our guides for the evening.

Oct 2012 - Lecture: History of the Future

The lecture was given by Ian Neild - Futurologist from BT

Ian talked about the history of telecommunications and the surge in technology in recent years. The touch screen interface only came to the market in 2006 and now it is the normal interface for most of the new mobile phones on the market. The phones of today are really mobile computers and the system providers know all our movements and habits with facebook and twitter. The younger generation do not know about records, tape recorders or even video recorders as they are all now digital. We now live in a mixture of the real and virtual world. It was a very interesting lecture and the members showed their appreciation in the normal manner.

Sep 2012 - Lecture: Hidden History of Orfordness.

The lecture was given by Paddy Heazell, Warden for the National Trust at Orfordness.

He retired to Suffolk in 1995 and has been a volunteer warden since then. Since 1913 Orfordness has been the subject of truths, half truths and lies. It was originally an Experimental Flying Station and has been at the centre of research for a wide variety of aircraft and military equipment. Radar was developed at this site in conjunction with the adjacent Bawdsey Manor. In 1936 Bawdsey took full control of the Radar and Orfordness became a bomb testing base. The site was never attacked by the Germans during the war. The casings for Atomic weapons were tested on the site and the now famous Pergoda buildings were constructed at this time. The site still maintains an air mystery to this day. It was a most interesting lecture and the members showed their appreciation in the normal manner.