Our Summer Solstice edition is again full of interesting stories and news. POVG’s enthusiastic Newsletter and Marketing teams are experts at showcasing the Perth Observatory and its volunteers through this publication, radio interviews and social media. So much has happened in just the past 3 months!.

In October we welcomed Francesca Flynn, our new Operations Manager and at the AGM in November elected 10 members of the POVG Management Committee that is responsible for strategic and operational decisions for the Perth Observatory. My thanks to retiring committee members Garth Bird, John Ford and Roger Groom for their generous contributions; returning members Geoff Scott (Deputy Chair), Paul Jones (Secretary), Bevan Harris (Treasurer), Ken Stranger and Rob Grieves for their knowledge and tenacity; and new members Steve Ewing, Paul Fisher, Gary Gray and Hubert Rady for their enthusiasm. We can look forward to another year of novel events and interesting developments on the hilltop at Bickley.

The most noticeable changes are to the buildings and grounds. The offices are decluttered, cleaned and painted, the shop is refurbished and restocked; new comfy chairs, curtains, lectern, projector and screen are installed in the theatre; and the grounds are enhanced with new plantings. There are new entry signs to welcome visitors and the front entrance is now sleek and elegant. The amphitheatre, too, stands proudly delineating the back lawn and bushland. Less visible yet critical to operations are the upgraded computer and communications systems, and of course, ongoing upgrades and repairs to all telescope equipment and domes.

We are keen to expand the Friends of Perth Observatory program for those people who’d like to support us but may not be able to volunteer their time. So we have put together adult, concession, child and family packages, that all include event vouchers, to complement other gift options such as Star Adoptions and vouchers for merchandise.

The very busy summer night viewing program returned in September and despite some cloudy and rainy weather has been very well received. The “cloudy night” format is developing to include more variety and contact with modern and heritage equipment. A recent highlight on 13th December, was the Geminids meteor shower when our vollies stayed up late to entertain 80 hardy revellers, with lots more sending us excited messages through Facebook and the website. There will be another opportunity for such revelling during the Total Lunar Eclipse on 31st January. Other upcoming events include dressing up for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and two fundraising events for the RFDS in February, as well as a viewing excursion to Rottnest.

The summer season culminates with the Summer Lecture on Friday 16th March, to be delivered this summer by Dr Stacy Mader from the Parkes Observatory and CSIRO. There are more details about this later in this issue.

To close I’d like to wish all of our readers an enjoyable holiday season and clear skies for the New Year.

Diana Rosman
(POVG Chairperson)