ASE logo The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh


No 55 - March 2008

Society news

Neil Grubb has donated a telescope to the Society. This is an f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with 250 mm (10 inch) aperture and a computerised "goto" mount. The mount had a minor fault that Ken and Rachel Thomas managed to diagnose and repair. The scope got its first use at the December ordinary and Observing Group meetings, mostly to have a look at Mars. Council proposed and the December ordinary meeting confirmed to convey honorary membership of the Society on Neil.

On 2007-11-02 Andrew Elliot of the British Astronomical Association gave an entertaining talk about real-time video astronomy, with clips showing meteors, lunar occultations and other events. Lyn Smith, Director of the BAA Solar Section, gave the talk on 2007-12-07 demonstrating how the Sun can be of interest regardless of how much or little time you can spend observing it. This ranges from quick spot counts, through drawings in projection and through the eyepiece, to imaging the disc or prominences, in Hα or Ca K light. An entertaining account of the adventures of a telescope maker was given by John Braithwaite on 2008-01-11. Dr David Kerridge of the British Geological Survey gave the talk on 2008-02-01 about the Earth's magnetic field, how BGS monitors its changes and whether the field is currently heading for a reversal of its polarity.

The Observing Group met on 2007-11-05, 2007-12-10, 2008-01-14 and 2008-02-04. At the December meeting the sky was clear and the 150 mm Cooke refractor and 250 mm Schmidt-Cassegrain were used. The latter was also useful to take tracked photographs with its piggyback camera mount. The target list included Mars - near opposition and at very high declination - and comet Holmes. At the January meeting the clouds teased the observers, but some practice in setting up and computer-controlling the 250 mm Schmidt-Cassegrain could be gained. Observers were also able to glimpse moon, Mars and Saturn at times. The February meeting was clear but strong winds sent observers upstairs to the dome of the 150 mm Cooke refractor, rather than set up the Schmidt-Cassegrain out in the open; Saturn, Mars and the Orion nebula were on the menu.

An additional meeting took place on 2007-12-21, the theme being one combining Mars and mince pies. The evening started with freezing haar and attendees concentrated on the mince pies and their liquid accompaniment. Later it cleared up and the Cooke refractor was pointed at Mars and the Moon, which was passing in front of the Pleiades at the time.

Mars and Orion seen from the Cooke dome Frank Howie took this picture looking past the Cooke refractor through the dome slit to Mars (top) and Orion's Belt (bottom). This observing session took place after the ordinary meeting in January.

The main entrance to the observatory - and since March also much of Calton Hill looks like a building site. So far this is not the refurbishment/repair or renovation to the Observatory but rather the renovation work to the Astronomer's House. But in early March there is very good news from the City Council, in that they will now replace the stolen lead on the roof with lead. (So far only an emergency repair with felt had been carried out.)

Frank Howie has had several pictures published in Astronomy Now during 2007, among them the cover picture of ASE Journal 54, which has also made it into the Astronomy Now Yearbook.


Cover page

Society news

Astronomical Society of Edinburgh - Annual General Meeting


Astronomical Society of Edinburgh - Annual Report for 2007

UN declares Year of Astronomy

Scottish Astronomers Group - reincarnated

UK astronomy in funding crisis

John Christopher Bartholomew, MA. FRSGS. FRSE.

Book review: The lost language of the stars

Recent observations

Forthcoming events

Asteroid "Harryford" 6907

About the ASE Journal

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