International Astronomy Show

Stargazing Live! – Clear Skies!

Asteroid 2012 DA14 – maybe

Postscript: After some further analysis, Rik has decided he is not now confident in claiming this is an image of the asteroid. What it is, we will probably never know…

Although the weather was generally poor over the Cotswolds for attempts to observe this near earth asteroid on Friday evening – Rik McRae in Gloucester managed to capture one enigmatic frame with a trailed object – perhaps this could be it!

2012 DA14 (?) 20130215 2223UT Rik McRae

Rik writes:

I set up my camera with a 50mm lens on a polar aligned tracking mount, pointed it at the predicted path given by the BAA at the prescribed time and fired of 2min exposures for an hour. On one frame through a gap in the clouds, in the right area at the right time and moving in the right direction there is a short streak, where the stars are all round. Nothing else like it shows on any of the other frames due to cloud cover, so I can’t track it frame to frame and prove it, but this is as good as I could manage this evening.

Patrick Moore – 1923-2012

It was with great sadness that the Society received the news of the passing of Sir Patrick Moore.

Many members have met Patrick over the years, and he was a truly inspirational figure in the world of amateur astronomy.

For one member, John Fletcher, it is particularly sad occasion. John had become great friends with Patrick over the years, and was a regular visitor to ‘Farthings’, and became one of his personal carers in Patrick’s later years.

John Fletcher with Patrick Moore in 2005

Patrick Moore was a larger than life character, and will be sorely missed.

A Note From Down Under

Our Coordinator, Peter Cadogan, is currently holidaying in Australia, and has now arrived near Cairns for the eclipse.

Peter writes:

It is all a bit iffy for Wednesday, but we are keeping our fingers crossed. There are lots of eclipse chasers here and one astronomer helped me to find my way about the Southern skies last night This is not easy at this time of the year, as the Milky Way is on the horizon and most northern constellations are a bit nondescript as well as being upside down.  But 57 Tucana was magnificent – much brighter  than m13.
This was the view on Monday morning from our beach at 6 am, so the sun is well up. But it’s raining at the moment
Sunrise in Australia – Peter Cadogan

New Website

Today (October 1st) the new website has gone live.
Most of the content is the same as the old site, but we will have new content and features coming soon.
If you find any problems, or have any comments or suggestions please email or leave a comment on this posting.

Award Winners 2012

Congratulations to:

Ian Sibley; winner of the Dan Turton trophy for “best astro-image”.
Angela Cresswell;  winner of the Robin Townley trophy for “contribution to the work of the Society”.

Ian Sibley and Angela Cresswell – our 2012 award winners

Transit Glimpsed from Cleeve Hill

Rik McRae managed to get a few frames where Venus was visible

Around about 30 optimistic astronomers ascended the heights of Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham hoping for a glimpse of Venus’ dark silhouette against the rising Sun on the morning of 6th June.

It was an early start for most, and there was quite a crowd already in place by 4.30 am, patiently waiting for sunrise at around 4:50.

However, although tantalising gaps in the cloud cover appeared from time to time, none really settled over the rising Sun sufficiently for anyone to get a good view.

Rik McRae had good luck, managing to capture a few video frames (one at right here). Tom Barnaville caught a glimpse with his binoculars and projection screen, and Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society, who joined with us for the event, managed to see it briefly with a white light filtered Meade ETX. Also around this time Peter Cadogan and William Jackson had a view through William’s white light filtered newtonian.

Afterwards, the skies did clear a bit, and the Sun shone – just to make it clear who is the Boss.

Away from Cleeve Hill, we hear that Tony Ireland managed to see it from his home in Cheltenham and John Fletcher too, from his observing location.

If any members have any pictures from wherever they observed, please send them in for the website and Mercury.