ASE logo The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh


No 61 - November 2009

Society news

At most Ordinary Meetings Alan Pickup gives a presentation about the sky in the forthcoming month, usually including snippets of recent news in the fields of observational astronomy and spaceflight.

On 2009-07-03, Rachel Gilmour showed us a day and night in the life of the Very Large Telescope, a group of four 8-metre telescopes at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. As our new venue is used during the Fringe, we took a summer break in August and September. On 2009-10-02, Lyndsay Fletcher gave a most interesting talk on sunspots; however, she could not yet say whether sunspots would return in significant numbers.

Autumn Moon watch

The week from 2009-10-24 to -11-01 was designated by the International Year of Astronomy as a period of autumn Moon watch. The Royal Observatory Edinburgh invited the Society to join in some of their observing events, which were supported by a grant from the Royal Astronomical Society. When approached for venues, the City of Edinburgh proposed to use the City Observatory on Calton Hill for one of the events. We welcomed the opportunity to return to the City Observatory and to use the Cooke telescope once more. The history of astronomy on Calton Hill goes back to the late 18th century. We hope that the City of Edinburgh will be able to restore the site and that then the telescope will once more be put to astronomical use.

In the end, the Society participated in two events. On 2009-10-28, Ken and Rachel Thomas took their telescope to Our Dynamic Earth. The weather was teasing at best and cloudy much of the time, but we did manage a few glimpses of the Moon through cloud and of Jupiter with the four Galileian satellites all on one side of the planet. 2009-10-31 on Calton Hill, we had quite reasonable weather, although haze moved in during the hours of observation. The Moon was quite full, and Jupiter was perhaps the more rewarding object, with Callisto casting its shadow on the planetary disc.

The Royal Observatory had organised the events such that attendees had plenty to see and do even in case of bad weather. At the City Observatory, the Society was also involved in these aspects, with David Small showing the Cooke telescope and Horst Meyerdierks showing the Fraunhofer meridian circle and speaking about the 19th century time service based on its observations. From the Society, Ken and Rachel Thomas, Vincent Balfour, Frank Howie and Alan Ellis also helped make the event a success.

Telescope to a good home

We have received the following from Bob Lovie:

I have an 8 inch reflector on an equatorial mount with hand controls and 3 lenses, which I bought from John Braithwaite at Dalserf some years ago. I no longer have any use for it and it is therefore 'free to a good home'. ... I am on 0131-332.9801.


Cover page

Gravitational mass centres

The Rob Elliott meteorite auction

Society news

Forthcoming events

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