We are in the middle of summer, and at least in our region all activities are somewhat subdued. Therefore,this issue of ILBA will contain actually only one detailed report - from the recent Summer school in Belogradchik.
The School was organized in the period July 4 - 11,2003.at the Astronomical Observatory of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Belogradchik. We already wrote about the school several times in various issues of ILBA.The main purpose of this school was not only to have a group of people give lectures to younger colegues, but to give the younger participants a possibility to realize their observational research projects on a "small telescope". Small here means a diameter of 60 cm.
The School was truly multinational. There were participants and lecturers from Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Greece and Turkey. As an interesting detail, testifying about the interest for the school, note that expressions of interest to attend were received from countries as different as India, Ukraina and Nigeria. Due to various circumstances, these people in the end did not show up in Belogradchik. All counts made, there were 23 registered participants,12 lecturers and 7 members of the international jury.
The first day of the school began with the defence of the observational projects which were proposed. There were 7 proposals from 5 countries. One proposed project in fact was not observational. Each proposer (or each team proposing a project) had 20 minutes to expose it and answer any possible questions of the jury and the public.At the end,meeting in closed session,the jury decided that the following four projects stood on equal footing by ther quality and scientific interest, and were going to get telescope time:
"Strong wind effect on the photometric observations of massive binary systems V444Cep and V1898Cyg" proposed by Volkan Bakis (Turkey);
"Fast rotating asteroids" by Vladimir Krumov (Bulgaria);
"Photometric observation of short period RR Lyrae stars" V.Nenezic, A.Otasevic and G.Pavicic (Serbia and Montenegro)
" Observation of possible targets for the Rosetta mission" V.Tudose, A.B.Sonka and A.Nedelcu . (Romania)
Another project, concerning the proper motion of sunspots, proposed by V.Nenezic, G.Pavicic and M.Povic, was exposed but not allocated telescope time, due to problems with the small refractor of the observatory.
The decision of the jury was announced after lunch on the first day,which was followed by allocation of telescope time. One of the staff members of the Observatory ,or younger Bulgarian colegues was assigned to each project as a "night assistant", simply because the proposing teams never before worked in Belogradchik and did not know the instruments.
After that begun a series of lectures, posters, meetings and of course observations.
During the school 13 lectures and 8 oral presentations were given. The lectures reflected on going work in astronomy in our region, but with a strong orientation towards observations. For example, participants could hear about "Essential Photometry" (L.Iliev),"Aspects of Photometric Light Curve Analysis" (E.Budding),"Future of Small Telescope Astronomy" (P.Niarchos),but also about "The Era of Virtual Astronomy" (Golev and Tsvetkov).On the "semi-theoretical" side, lectures were given about "Astronomical Time" (M.Stavinschi),"Dense matter physics" (V.Celebonovic) and "Physical Properties of the AGN Emission Region" (L.C.Popovic). M.S.Dimitrijevic gave an interesting lecture on the "Contributions of amateur astronomers to science",and O.Demircan gave a highly appreciated presentation on "Present day astronomy in Turkey". This lecture was followed by a beautiful slide show from Kapadokia, which was an inspiration for many of those present to visit Turkey. From the short presentation by M.E.Ozel, the participants could learn that Turkey is getting an important astronomical facility - one of the 4 telescopes in the world dedicated to the quest for optical counterparts of gamma ray bursts.
Posters were presented by the participants who did not propose projects.The authors were from Bulgaria and Greece,and the topics were widely varied: from CCD photometry to dynamics of accretion flows on compact objects.For most of those who had poster presentations, this was the first presentation on a scientific meeting,so expectedly some small problems appeared.But in good and friendly spirit,which reigned throughout the school,all authors of the posters discovered that giving a poster is not the worst thing in life.
During the school, two meetings of senior participants from every country were organized. The idea was to profit from the occasion and discuss what could be done together so as to improve the funding and foster collaboration. Logically, discussions converged on the FP6 program and its possible continuations. Discussions by e-mail are continuing. Minutes of the meetings were kept by E.Budding.
When this school was planned,nothing was precisely stated about any proceedings whatsoever from it.During the school,our colegues from Athens promised to explore the possibility that the University of Athens could perhaps publish the book. This was greeted enthusiastically by all those present and now it remains to be seen whether this possibility will turn into reality.
THE NON-SCIENTIFIC PART
Science apart,participants and lecturers had an interesting program. Everyone enjoyed beautiful nature and Bulgarian hospitality.We were received by the Mair of Belogradchik. Those who wanted visited the famous Magura winery and the city of Vidin. On the last evening,interesting experiments were made in spectroscopy of alchocols. Space permitting,a poster prepared for that occasion will be published in the next issue of ILBA. The conference dinner was held in the "Madona" restaurant in Belogradchik, organized flawlessly (as everything else) by Renada and Sasha Antov.
THE GENERAL CONCLUSION
Looking back at the school,it was useful,interesting and agreeable.Some small modifications could be made in the future,and discussions about this are going on.Any suggestions can be sent to ILBA,and will be publicized through it.
Clear skies and speedy computers to all,