December 2000 Newsletter

Society News Tonight (Friday Dec 1st) is the annual ADAS Christmas Quiz with a return to the open invitation to astronomical societies in the north-west.  Tonight we hope to have teams from Manchester, Bolton, Chester and Gwynedd.  Welcome to the teams and visitors.  The ADAS team (aka the Hale-Boppers) is Mike Molnar, Paul Clark, Colin Steele and Roger.  The questions have been set by Chris and Derek McComiskey and Don Utton, who have all resisted the customary bribes (free telescopes, eyepieces, clear skies!?).  The prizes have been given by Gavin Critchley many thanks to him for the generosity and to all involved.

As a résumé, the society meets every Friday, at the ADAS observatory Grove Lane Recreation ground from 9pm but if clear the obs now opens at 8pm to enable more observing, but the GM is always the first Friday in the month at the Village Hall.  The obs houses a 14” Newtonian reflector.  After the obs. and monthly meeting we adjourn to the Quarry Bank PH.  Wednesday evenings also find us congregating at the Quarry Bank from 9.30 on for astronomy talk.  Next meeting at the Village Hall is on Friday the 5th January 2001.  In addition the society is becoming increasingly active observationally with members making trips to dark sky sites seemingly at every chance of a clear sky.  Announcements and arrangements of such trips are frequently made via the Ad.Astra newsgroup.  The group can be joined to keep up to date with ADAS by free subscription, visit http://ad.astra.listbot.com Graham Cliff maintains the website at http://www.adas.u-net.com.  For more information contact committee members, or Roger Livermore on 0161-969-4507, Roger.Livermore@btinternet.com  (NB this address not yet reliable).

Manchester Airport Community Fund Paul has heard from the fund and has answered the initial questions.  We do need to be able to arrange insurance on a portable telescope and suggestions would be appreciated as to how this can be done.  Working parties with Graham C, Stuart, Paul, Don and others have cleared out the obs meeting room.  Dave Timperley carried out repairs and repainting, being careful not to disturb the spider family for which he may have to apologise to those not so fond of arachnids.  Unfortunately we’ve been subject to the exceptional weather with water from the field coming in and damaging the clubhouse carpets. The carpets have been removed and the drainage of the site improved.  The drying out of the obs meeting room will take some time.

Grazing Occultations In looking for possible joint ventures with other societies Graham Cliff and Mike Prescott have run a search for lunar grazing occultations visible by ADAS and local societies of NWGAS.  This follows our May success of the graze seen by six ADAS members.  From the program that Mike wrote for the BAA, they came up with three for November and December 2001, which will be researched further.  Meanwhile other ideas for activities appreciated.

Astronomy: Observing Today It can be problem knowing just what to observe on those precious clear nights.  We don’t always have the time to search or remember what’s happening.  One solution is to have a website or page that largely does it by providing the quicklinks to sites that provide good information.  As an experiment ADAS will be trialling this idea.  The first month will be by using the Internet version of this newsletter found from the ADAS homepage. Subsequently it could be on a direct link off the homepage or linked to an ADAS member’s page.  It should only require progressive refinement of the links and the checking of their availability.  The first suggested links are as follows: -

The Sun from SOHO. (Dave T. recommended)!: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov

The Sun as observed this day  through the Mees white light

telescope in Hawaii: http://www.solar.ifa.hawaii.edu/MWLT/mwlt.html

Stars from ADAS's Sky Map 8 planisphere: http://www.adas.u-net.com/skymaps.html

Planets via Sky and Telescope ‘What’s Up?’: http://www.skypub.com/sights/sights.shtml 

Asteroids via Heavens-Above: http://www.heavens-above.com 

Comets BAA: http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jds

Comets NASA: http://encke.jpl.nasa.gov/whats_visible.html

Meteors  the IMO calendar via: http://www.imo.net

Aurora alert  York University: http://www.aurorawatch.york.ac.uk/

Satellites from Heavens Above: http://www.heavens-above.com 

Variable stars, novae and supernovae AAVSO: http://www.aavso.org

OBSERVING NOTES New Moon at Christmas with a chance of deep sky observing. (Do not forget the lunar eclipse Jan 9th next)! Moon  1st Q 3rd, Full 10th, Last Q 17th, New 24th.  Near Jupiter and Saturn on 9th. Sun In Sagittarius.  Partial eclipse visible in USA 25th, Gavin in Houston should catch a 30% eclipse with first contact at 0943, max at 1100 and last contact at 1223. Mercury Not readily visible Venus has emerged into the evening skies, brilliant object mag. –4, near the Moon on 29th. Mars in Virgo+1.5, diameter only 5” at present. VenusJupiter in Taurus –2.7 and visible all night. Saturn in Taurus - 0.3. Uranus in Capricornus +5.7, near i Capricornus, one degree north of Venus on 23rd. Neptune also in Capricornus, +7.8, near o Capricornus, two degrees north of Venus on 11th Asteroids 4 Vesta +8, close to e Capricornus on 17th. 2 Pallas +9.7 in Virgo, 16 Psyche +9.5 Taurus, 115 Thyra +9.2 Perseus, 324 Bamberga +9.5 Triangulum. Meteors Geminids Full Moon interferes but as these meteors are bright and slow still worth observing.  Try the Ursids 22/23 at 10 per hour radiating from the bowl of the Plough.  Quadrantids Jan 3rd morning. Last month’s Leonids affected by moonlight.  From Edinburgh-Pentlands I did get a reasonable rate on the morning of 17th Nov. Comets C/1999 T1 McNaught-Hartley binocular object +8 low in Hydra/ Virgo but moving north in the morning skies. Variable Stars Algol at minima 8th 0042, 10th 2131, 13th 1820, 30th 2315

Happy Christmas and clear skies.


by Rodger Livermoore


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