Tony Ireland

We have just received the very sad news that Tony Ireland has passed away. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just four months ago. Tony was well cared for at home throughout his illness, with the help of Sue Ryder.

Tony was a founding member of the Society and contributed a great deal. He will be very sorely missed.

No funeral details are available as yet, but under the current circumstances we would not be able to be represented. Anyone wishing to send donations should do so to Sue Ryder for the support they gave him and Hilary throughout.

This is a particularly sad time, having lost two of our long-standing members in such a short period. Eddie Carpenter passed away only very recently. Jackie, his widow, has informed us that the funeral will take place next Tuesday, 26th October, at 11.30 am. Although we will not be able to attend due to Covid restrictions, she asks that we keep him in our thoughts at that time.


Neil Havard (Coordinator)


The following article by Tony was published in Mercury Volume 34 Issue 3, Sept / Oct 2016


The photo above was taken by me at a reunion of founding members of the CAS gathered at John Fletchers home in Tuffley on July 3rd 2016. The gathering was the idea of Trevor Talbot, second from the right who approached John Fletcher (kneeling) and the rest, as they say, is history. John is to be congratulated in organising this happy event, though whether he has yet eaten or drunk all the food and wine we brought is another matter ! The weather was kind to us so that we could explore John’s, always neat, garden and admire his birds in their deluxe aviary, plus of course The Tortoise. But it was indoors as we all renewed acquaintances from many many years ago that the greatest pleasure was obtained. Yes we had changed a bit, put on weight a bit, even grown beards but the original spirit of comradeship, humour and pleasure in remembering old times made for a very enjoyable couple of hours.

In the photo you can see a who’s who of the CAS as follows (left to right) and the dates they joined..

Graham Messenger   1988

Fred Watkins* Founder Member 1982 (Fred is Member No 1 as he was the first to pay his Subs !!)

Derek Maskell 1990

John Fletcher * 1984

John Rock 1988

Dick Warden* 1982 and creator of the CAS first mooted in 1981.

Andy Packer 1984

Bernard Abrams 1982

Trevor Talbot 1986

Tony Ireland * 1982

*Life Members

For the record in our first year to 31 March 1983 we had 15 members and a money surplus of £18. (We now have a surplus at the last count of over £4000. Not many Societies can boast that ! )

Subsequently our membership grew as follows: 

31 March 1984 18,

1985 20,

1986 31,

1987 28,

1988 40,

1989 41, and

1990 39.

As the wine flowed we reminisced on weekends at the BAA annual binge at Winchester with its ghastly dinosaur stews, John’s huge pork pies, late night drinking sessions, our appearance on BBC Radio 4 at the time of Halley’s Comet, our TV appearance with Heather Couper when Mount Tuffley was opened, meetings held in private houses even taking doors off hinges to accommodate everyone, romantic encounters which led to marriage of members (!), etc etc.

Looking back from today’s gatherings and with a membership well exceeding 120 it is hard to balance this with those far away days. But if it hadn’t been a chance meeting between myself and Dick Warden back in 1981 when he relieved me of over 200 copies of SKY AND TELESCOPE then his idea of forming a Society would not have borne fruition. And we can all congratulate ourselves in realising that the first planet the Society viewed through Dick’s C8 was MERCURY !!!!!


Eddie Carpenter

It is with great sadness that I have to report that Eddie Carpenter has passed away overnight.  He had informed us that he was terminally ill with cancer a short while ago.  While his death may have been expected, it is still a very sad loss to the Society and he will be sorely missed.  

Eddie giving one of his ‘magic lantern’ slide shows at the society in July 2016

Eddie has been a very long-standing member of our Society and always provided us with his monthly astronomical anniversaries.  He also gave us a number of lively talks on a wide variety of topics and even set us some observational challenges.  I still remember him challenging us to observe Sirius B not too long ago. 
He was a keen observational astronomer as well as being very knowledgeable about historical characters and developments in astronomy over a long period.  He was a real character with a lively and friendly nature and was always most enthusiastic about astronomy.  He also had a notable collection of old astronomical volumes and talked to us about some of them at our last Zoom meeting.

Eddie was also a prominent member of the British Astronomical Association.
We will greatly miss Eddie’s lively input to our Society, while retaining fond memories of his many years with us.  Our sincere condolences go to Jackie, his wife.

From Neil Havard, CAS Coordinator.

Fast Radio Bursts

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic we have had to curtail the speaker calendar for the foreseeable future, which has led to our events organiser, Mark, putting together a webcast that was broadcast to society members on the 11th April in lieu of the AGM. 

Many members enjoyed the broadcast and a few have asked if a recording could be made available. This has now been done, so if you missed it you can view the presentation via the link in the members area.

Weird Worlds: The new science of exoplanets

M E E T I N G   C A N C E L L E D


As a precautionary measure against the coronavirus the meeting on the 14th March has been cancelled. We hope to rearrange for Chris Lintott to deliver his talk later in the year.



Astronomers have got very good at finding planets around other stars. 
 From planets with twin Suns to evaporating Jupiters, and from lava 
worlds to giant diamonds, the variety of planets we now know about 
would put any science fiction series to shame. This talk, from Chris 
Lintott reviews the latest discoveries, and explains what these 
thousands of strange and unusual worlds change how we think about the 


An Introduction to Radio Astronomy

On the 10th October this year Norman Pomfret will be delivering his talk to us.


An introduction to Radio Astronomy begins by contrasting this modern day science with the classics, then discovery of Radio Waves and the personalities involved are acknowledged. This is followed by the accidental discovery of a new science that is now referred to as Radio Astronomy.   To set the scene for later topics several several examples of modern day physics are considered then, a few very important discoveries are introduced.  One of those is at the fore front of modern day medical science.


Now retired from project engineering of electronic systems, he has focused his widespread interests in Astronomy, Earth Science and Radio Communication under the umbrella of Radio Astronomy.  He is a Trustee of the UK Radio Astronomy Association.  Currently he is developing with friends a Schumann Resonance Sensor for the amateur observer.

This presentation supports the outreach aims of the UK Radio Astronomy Association.