Eleven EAS members travelled to Lancaster to hear Prof Monica Grady speak on the Rosetta mission. It was an entertaining presentation giving some insight into the difficulties, complexities and timescales of such a mission. We were told why the orbiter and lander were called Rosetta and Philae – it is linked to the famous Rosetta Stone in the British Museum and how this led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The hope was that this mission would ‘decipher’ some of the secrets of the early Solar System. The instruments, built with late 1990’s technology, were delivered for integration onto the spacecraft in early 2001 and subsequent launch in 2004. The spacecraft flew by several asteroids before hiberbnating for 4 years prior to the encounter with Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P)… it did wake on command to much relief and well, the rest we know… The science analysis will go on for several more years.
At the end, there was a lively Q&A with several EAS members asking questions.
Overall, an excellent evening.
A talk which may interest members:
Wednesday 14 June, 6.30 pm, Lancaster University, Cavendish Lecture Theatre in the Faraday lecture complex.
Professor Monica Grady (Open University)
ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004, arriving at its target comet in July 2014. The Philae lander was deposited onto the comet’s surface in November 2014, operating for 70 hours before its battery failed.
Monica Grady was scientific advisor to the lander’s Ptolemy instrument team. In her talk, she will relate what it was like to land an instrument on a comet, and discuss some of the results from the mission.”
Every year at around this time amateur astronomers – including several EAS members – start looking out for displays of “noctilucent clouds”, or “NLC”, in the north after midnight. What are they? There’s a beginners guide on my blog which will tell you when to look for them, and what you’re looking for…
Quick reminder that it’s our May meeting tomorrow night. There’ll be the usual round-up of space and astronomy news (some GORGEOUS images of Saturn this month) and a look at what’s in the sky at the moment, and a report on our recent Society trip to Alston Observatory too. I’m sure someone will have some photos from the MoonWatch to show as well. And we have a very special guest speaker this month, so please come along and support them… (please note: our guest speaker begins his talk at 8pm, the meeting begins at 7pm as usual!)
The next public observing event being held by the Society is a “MoonWatch”, at the Brewery Arts Centre this coming Friday May 5th, starting at 8pm. Members of the EAS will have telescopes set up in the gardens of the Brewery Arts Centre to show people the Moon. which will be shining close to Jupiter that evening.
The event is free, and members of the public are invited to bring along their own equipment – cameras, binoculars and telescopes – to join in the fun!
Quick reminder – there’s no meeting tomorrow night as it’s Bank Holiday. Back NEXT Monday with lots of news and a great guest speaker..!
Quick reminder to all members that the Society has a Facebook page, so if you’re a user of social media you can chat there about things happening the night sky and keep in touch with what the Society is up to, too.
Here’s a link to the page: https://www.facebook.com/EddingtonAstroSocOfKendal :
On Monday night around a dozen members of the Eddington AS travelled down to Alston Observatory, near Preston, for a very enjoyable evening spent listening to a talk on our place in the universe, looking at a lovely old “vintage” telescope and looking through a superb 28″ telescope! Full report at the next meeting, with lots of photos. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who came along, and a special thanks to David Glass for arranging the evening for us!
About a dozen EAS enthusiasts turned out on Thursday for what will probably be the last observing evening of this season. A little haze high in the sky meant that there was a slight background wash making faint objects more challenging, but we still bagged a good set of observations.
Orion offered final views of M42 (The Orion Nebula) nebula setting in the west, and we also took a long look at Betelgeuse (Alpha Orinonis) while observing individual stars including Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris), Castor (Alpha Geminorum) – a double separated by 90 light years or 5 arcsec viewed from Earth – and Pollox (Beta Geminorum).
Open clusters were a feature of the evening, M35 in Gemini, M36 (“The Pinwheel”), M37 and M38 (“The Starfish”) in Auriga and M44 (“The Beehive”) in Cancer.
Galaxies M65 and M66, two of the “Leo Triplet”, were just visible in Leo, as were M81 and M82 in Ursa Major.
Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák was seen as a very challenging fuzzy spot in my 115mm refractor, as was nearby M97 (The Owl Nebula) used for comparison.
We finished with pretty good views of Jupiter and the four Gallilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
My sincere thanks go to all members who come and make these sessions a success. There is still room for improvement and I look forward to canvassing members’ views over the next few EAS meetings to see how we can make then even better.