November Observing Evening

About a dozen EAS members met at our regular Observing Evening spot on Sunday night, where the very kind staff at Boundary Bank had left the car park gate unlatched so that we could gain access.  There was a bit of a scare when the security lights failed to switch off at 7pm, but all was well when they went out at about ten past.

We managed a review of the constellations, with mythological references from Moira, and picked out some less-easy asterisms such as parts of Pisces.  Triangulum is now locked into my memory too.

Many thanks to David Glass for picking off some of the more difficult targets, M27 (The Dumbbell Nebula) and Uranus in particular.  I found  M57 (The Ring Nebula) and we marvelled at the clarity of M31 (The Andromeda Galaxy) in Ian Bradley’s generously lent 10″ reflector zinging around on my AZ-EQ6 mount.  We caught M32 nestled next to M31, and also M110 as an independent and clearly visible smudge in the same field of view.

Jane and Steve got their new Celestron working, yippee!

Ian Bradley left his camera running for the session, pointed at the North America Nebula in Cygnus.

David and I set a hare running with some ideas for short talks based on the objects we viewed.  Watch this space!

Two favourite moments for me were seeing M110 distinctly in the eyepiece, and identifying the star on the southern horizon pointed out by Wendy, as Formalhaut.  Now there’s a short lecture on astronomy history begging to be put together – here are the first and last slides of the talk, who’d like to fill in the gaps?

Statue in Rome

Fomalhaut by Hubble









See you next time


Meeting October 2nd, 7pm, Kendal Museum

We have the “Telescope Night” meeting on Monday. Anyone with a (portable) telescope, please bring it along to the meeting. The second half of the meeting will be a chance for members to see all the different types, and discuss their merits and drawbacks with the proud/frustrated owners. Don’t be shy if your telescope is of the cheap and cheerful variety – people thinking of buying a first telescope will be thinking of getting one like yours, and be keen to see what is available. Complicated ones are also welcome if you can get them down the stairs.

Plan for the meeting:
• Quick news round-up – Richard Rae
• Short talk on telescope design – Ian Bradley
• Observing Evenings – Simon White
• Constellation of the month – Moira Greenhalgh
• Tea/coffee break
• General telescope admiration session

Hope to see you all there on Monday!

Article on Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE FRAS

Following the excellent meeting last Monday with the talk on Women Astronomers by Martin Lunn, the Institute of Physics magazine has just published an article on Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She was recently awarded the IoP’s President’s Medal for her outstandish work in physics, much of which recently has been on encouraging women to go into science. Of course, she is [sadly] known as the women who didn’t get a [deserved] Nobel Prize for the discovery of pulsars [and I don’t think they do retrospective awards]. But she has many other strings to her bow, so I hope you will enjoy the read and learn at bit more about her.

PhysicsWorld Article Jocelyn Bell Burnell


Lecture at University of Central Lancashire

There is a free public lecture in Preston on 28th September 2017;  the Jeremiah Horrocks Autumn Lecture. The speaker is Professor Lucie Green, and the title is “15 million degrees: journey to the centre of the Sun“.

It will be in the Darwin Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm start. Although it is free, you will need to apply for a ticket in advance:


Solar Watch Day at the Brewery Art Centre

We held a Solar Watch at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal on July 1st. The weather was very good with just a few passing clouds. The clouds had the advantage of allowing members time to cool down telescopes and explain the physical nature of our nearest star with the aid of photographs and diagrams to members of the public. Only one faint sunspot could be seen on the day, nonetheless the opportunity to view the sun safely, either through projection, solar filters or using the society’s Coronado, was enjoyed by many enthusiastic visitors who could observe the sun and see the occasional prominence.