November 2000 Newsletter

Society News Tonight’s meeting will be Dave Timperley talking about globular clusters.  Saturday 11th November is the Leeds Astrofest with talks and exhibitors.  Graham Cliff has details but internet information available at web pagehttp://www.astro.leeds.co.uk/astromeet.html. Manchester Airport Community Fund Paul Clark has sent off the bid to Manchester Airport Community Fund and we will receive initial feedback shortly. Application formally considered mid-January.  Given the bid is in part for the renovation of the clubhouse it is important that we make an effort to do an initial clean out and redecoration.  It is probable that the fund’s members will want to see the buildings if we are to receive support.  Working parties are required to make a start on the clubhouse beginning this Sunday, 5th, bring your own fireworks for 7pm firing. Dark Sky Sites It often seems that the skies are getting cloudier here, perhaps, but whatever there’s nothing we can do about that.  What we can do is to make the most of the clear nights we have and this is what the society is increasingly doing.  One way is by making dark sky trips often with quite large telescopes, as Dave T will testify.  In the last six months we have established a network of sites.  So far the darkest within reasonable range is Gradbach, Staffordshire at Grid ref SJ 000 662 between Wincle and Flash, off the A54 Congleton-Buxton road.  A more accessible site is Teggs Nose, Macclesfield Forest, 953 736, which has the advantage of good hard standing.  Lamaload reservoir, two miles NE of Teggs Nose at 976 746 has darker skies but poorer surface and is not as easy to get to.  Chris Heapy and Paul Brierley use a site at Siddington, SW of Macclesfield 873 725I a small lay-by, the area is dark but with occasional passing cars.  Promisingly Don has found a good site at the end of Lapwing Lane, Monks Heath near Chelford, 822 724.  My recent suggestion has been for a site that is close to Altrincham accepting that it will not be as good as the others yet is easy to get to, one possibility is at Ashley, Brickhill Lane, 787 833 just 3 miles away.  For northern skies Paul C found Hordern Stoops, Winter Hill, Bolton at 656 159.              . Shuttle Discovery Last month the 100th flight of the Shuttle was visible in the evening skies.  The launch of STS-92 discovery was delayed for several days.  In the middle of last month the ISS and Shuttle combination were visible at mag -2 passing through Ophuichus, Aquila and Pegasus.  On the 21st and 22nd October Discovery was seen by several members as a separate object trailing the ISS after it de-docked by 25 and then 50 degrees at maximum elevation. The Shuttle was about one mag fainter than ISS.  There was an outside chance of seeing Discovery on its delayed last orbit as it re-entered for landing.  John followed the ISS well into eclipse suggesting that it had lights on Digital projector Having recently been asked to give a couple of talks using someone else’s material I was given the chance to use the Microsoft package called Powerpoint.  It produces images and text on a laptop and sends them to be projected onto a screen.  The talks were given  in the Bill Shankly suite at Liverpool FC, a shame Sean couldn’t have helped me out wearing his Man U kit.  I reluctantly tried out the still relatively new system but found just how easy it was to prepare and run a professional looking talk (speaker excepted).  Whatever happens to our MIA bid it would be useful if anyone has access to such a system for us to borrow it for use at meetings.  It might also encourage more members to give talks if it could be shown that good quality visual aids can be quite easily produced. Help! You will have noticed that this is a slimmed down newsletter.  The reasons are numerous and the problems are likely to get worse.  I’ve changed jobs, which mean working in Liverpool, and I’ve gone back to studying.  So if anyone can help do the newsletter or provide items it would be appreciated.

OBSERVING NOTES Sun In Libra Moon  1st Q 4th, Full 11th, Last Q 18th, New 25th, Mercury  Morning apparition in Virgo, observe low in SE at -0.6 from mid-month Venus has emerged into the evening skies, Sagittarius, -4.4. Sets between 2 to 3 hours after sunset and so should be sighted this month.  Very close to the Moon on the 29th Mars in Virgo in the morning skies, +1.7, approaching Spica by the end of the month. Jupiter in Taurus -2.8.  On the 12th the Moon is between Jupiter and Saturn, with the Pleiades above them. Saturn in Taurus - 0.3.  The planet presents a sizeable disc of 20” and the rings are nicely tilted towards us and so visible in firmly held binoculars. Uranus in Capricornus +5.7, near  Capricornus Neptune also in Capricornus, +7.8, near  Capricornus Asteroids   Good selection this month . 3 Juno +9.8 Aquarius, 4 Vesta 7.9 Capricornus, 16 Psyche 9.8 Taurus, 115 Thyra 9.7 Perseus. 192 Nausikaa 9.3 Pisces, 324 Bamberga 8.9 Perseus.  On the 26th 8 Flora at 10.5 is just 6’S of  Cap. Meteors      Leonids badly affected by moonlight but still worth a go at maximum on the morning of the 17th   . Also could try on the morning of the 18th, no storm predicted but rate of up to 100 meteors per hour possible. Comets    C/1991 Y1 a difficult mag 12 comet in Andromeda.  There is McNaught-Hartley (C/1999 T1) at mag 8 in Centaurus currently heading northwards and brightening, due to enter northern skies next month. Variable Stars Mira fading from maximum.  Algol at minima 15th 0210, 17th 2259, 20th 1948, 23rd 1647 Satellites    Mir has just entered a two week period of evening visibility and can be seen every evening.  Moscow announced in October that it will be ‘ditched’ next February.  That means it will only be visible in the evening skies for this month and in January before its demise after fifteen years in orbit.

More information from Roger Livermore on 0161-969-4507 or e-mail at Roger.Livermore@btinternet.com FOOTNOTE Roger now has TWO e-mail addresses, compuserve at page head will remain until btinternet works OK !!! You can receive ADAS news by joining Ad.Astra via http://ad.astra.listbot.com

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


by Rodger Livermoore

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