THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA
Bulletin No. 1 October 25, 1961.
Some weeks ago you received a bulletin concerning the Standing
Committee on Observational Activities. I have been appointed National
Co-ordinator for planetary observations and would like in the present
bulletin to describe the plans for my section.
Planetary observations cover a wide range of interests and. I can
say from personal experience that they are highly rewarding. A 3-inch
telescope is about the smallest that allows useful work to be done; a
6- or 8-inch is much better, and, with the active telescope-making
groups in many of our Centres, such telescopes must be fairly common.
Most amateur observations take the form of pencil sketches of the
planets' disks as seen through the telescope. Although it can be said.
that with sufficient practice almost anyone can wield a pencil well
enough to make a drawing of scientific use, those less artistically
inclined might find interest in other equally valuable methods such as
photography, transit work, timing of satellite phenomena, etc.
I am aware that some Centres are engaged in planetary work to
various extents at present, but my knowledge is mostly second-hand and
hence rather spotty. Thus I would very much like to hear from every
Centre before adopting any particular system for recording and submitt-
ing observations. Since the essence of the National Programme is the
exchange of data, what better way to start than by pooling our accum-
ulated experience to date. This should not deter a Centre which has
done little or no planetary work in the past, since its inquiries will
indicate the difficulties existing. In particular, I am anxious to
know what work has been done on Jupiter during the current apparition
in order that a report can be prepared for the Journal.
It is my hope that eventually all sixteen Centres will participate
in the section's work. The large extent of our membership in longitude
should be invaluable in maintaining a more complete coverage of our
neighbour worlds. I look forward to bearing from your Centre in the
Geoffrey Gaherty, Jr, National Co-ordinator,
Standing Committee on Observational Activities
636 Sydenhem Avenue,
Montreal 6, Quebec.
Planetary Section Bulletin No. 1