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No. 49 - October 2005

Recent observations


Since the huge all-sky auroral storm of January 21/22 there have been only a few feeble glows and faint arcs visible from Edinburgh, which is odd because there have been unusually high magnetic activity and big sunspots at this waning phase of the solar cycle. Despite the fine weather during this summer and autumn there has also been a lot of cloud at nights. Likewise the Noctilucent Cloud season has not been very productive, displays were seen here on June 8/9, 19/20, 22/23, 28/29, July 1/2, 7/8, 11/12 and 20/21.


We were clouded out for the Perseid Maximum. Dave Gavine saw 8 meteors in an hour on Aug 7/8 and 15 in 1 1/2 hours on 14/15.

Variable stars

Lorna McCalman, Des Loughney, Dave Gavine and Ron Livesey have been carrying out systematic observations with binoculars and telescopes. Des collaborated with Janet Simpson of Inveraray on constructing light curves for the two Cepheids eta Aquilae and delta Cephei (BAAVS Circular 124), and they teamed up with Dave and Lorna in investigating the behaviour of the interesting semi-regular variable star Z Ursae Maioris, a long-term project. This star needs a telescope or very big binoculars as its big amplitude takes it down to nearly mag 9. It has quite a short period with a major and a minor peak with irregularities and lies in the Plough so it is circumpolar and can be observed all year except for midsummer when the sky is too bright. Observations of this star appeared in the last ASE Journal. The team's results were shown at the BAA Exhibition in Cambridge in June, and in BAAVS Circular 124.

Solar partial eclipse

True to form, it was overcast in Edinburgh on the morning of 3rd October, but clear nearly everywhere else. ASE members at Calton Hill and Dave at Joppa got only a second or two of tantalising glimpse through cloud. Your Editor is convinced we are jinxed. Maybe we should take up Meteorology instead.

solar eclipse solar eclipse
Left: Ken Kennedy's picture from Dundee using a mylar filter. He got about a half-hour of clear sky.
Right: Dorothy Mackie and others at Calton Hill got only a brief glimpse.


Cover page

The future of the City Observatory

Obituary: Nora Jenkinson

Centenaries of 2005

The Scottish Astronomy Weekend 2005

Book review: Atlas of the night sky

Recent observations

Forthcoming events

About the ASE Journal

This journal as a single web page

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