I think that was one of our best Members Nights with a really excellent set of wide-ranging short talks from ASE members. The video will be made available to ASE members shortly but here a few highlights:
Tosh White told us about his life as a Lazy and Cheap Astronomer, trying – yet failing – to dispel any rumours about the “Mrs White and the concrete observatory foundations affair”, and the infamous underwear bunting. He also covered his 4 lockdown projects, including:
- journey from mild mannered accountant to astronomical guitar hero (or is that someone else?)
- beer drinking astronomy and a solargraph
- capturing an analemma with nail varnish
- building a meteorcam
Gareth Mayze introduced us to his new theory of Neutrinos and Galaxy Rotation. Gareth describes himself as an amateur astrophysicist and believes the current theories of dark matter and energy don’t add up. He has developed his own solution using neutrinos. It’s a compelling argument and his method seems to produce good results but it is at odds with currently held views on the topic. But that’s certainly no reason to dismiss it! Some of the biggest breakthroughs in science have been when people go against accepted ideas. But what do you think? He would love people to review his paper and question his ideas. Here’s the paper: Spacetime Distortion By The Neutrino Aug23 and email any questions to him.
Neil Martin told us the story of his Smart Scope Journey, beginning with his first telescope acquisitions and moving onto the Dwarf II scope, ZWO SeeStar and its rivals. He also brought along the Dwarf II for people to look at, which gained a lot of interest at the end. Neil believes there is a gap in the market for a smartscope in the £1000 range.
Douglas Heggie introduce us to GMT – but not as we might have expected. In this case it stands for the Great Melbourne Telescope, at one time the largest in the world. Douglas had visited it some time ago before it was destroyed by bush fires. It has very interesting history and you can read Douglas’s full presentation as a PDF.
Nigel Goodman also turned back a few pages in history to tell us about Ralph Copeland, the Third Astronomer Royal for Scotland. The first two Astronomers Royal for Scotland are more well known but Copeland doesn’t get as much attention. He had an interesting life, born as a farmer’s son in Lancashire, sheep farming in Australia, engineering in Manchester, studying at the University of Göttingen where he gained a PhD, various expeditions, working at Birr Castle, Dunsink and Dun Echt observatories. He is well-known to us for setting up the Royal Observatory Edinburgh on Blackford Hill.
Finally, Pat Devine covered the Sky in September, talking about lunar phases, planets, some deep sky objects – especially those imaged by ASE members and our ASERO telescope. He also mentioned about the latest comet of interest, C/2023 P1 Nishimura. Although it is a bright comet, it is not well placed being so close to the Sun, but there are opportunities to see it.
You can see Alan Pickup’s Sky Diary for September on our website too.