The BAA had a stand at the inaugural International Astronomy Show held at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre near Leamington Spa on May 17th and 18th.
There was a great turnout with most of the UK equipment sellers exhibiting in the hall, and a few from overseas too.
The BAA stand was manned on Friday by Ann Davies, Callum Potter, Geoffrey Johnstone, Roger Pickard and David Arditti, and on Saturday by Ann Davies, Callum Potter, David Boyd, Mike Frost and Alan Lorraine. Much thanks goes to all for making the event a big success.
Here are a few photos.
We are now just a few days away from the dramatic passage of this near-Earth asteroid, which takes place on 2013 February 15 approaching to within 27,700 km of the Earth’s surface at about 19:24 UT on that day whilst travelling at 7.8 km/sec. During the last week many more observatories have imaged the object, in particular; Mount John Observatory, New Zealand (MPC Code 474); the 2.0-m Faulkes Telescope South (which is now back in business after last month’s devastating bushfires which badly affected Siding Spring and the surrounding community) (MPC Code E10); as well as the new LCOGT 1.0-m ‘B’ telescope at Cerro Tololo, Chile (MPC Code W86).
Reaching 7th magnitude, it will be the brightest-ever NEO to be observed approaching the vicinity of our planet (<0.1 AU) and will be visible with modest telescopic aid, e.g. binoculars. 2012 DA14 will pass about 10x closer to the Earth than our companion Moon. To put this in perspective, scientists at NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office in Pasadena, California estimate that an asteroid the size of 2012 DA14 flies this close every 40 years on average and that one will impact Earth, on average, about once in every 1,200 years!
Depending on your location, you are advised to obtain your local topocentric RA and Dec coordinates from websites such as can be found at:
You will need to enter either your latitude and longitude, or the MPC Code of a nearby observatory.
I have prepared a chart for the interval 19:50-21:00 UT in anticipation of the object’s visibility soon after it rises near the eastern horizon as seen from the southern UK. A second chart covers the later period, 21:00-01:00 UT on the evening of Feb 15/16. Full observing details and a 5-minute ephemerides for UK observers are also available here. The charts are probably usable by all UK observers since the object will be conspicuous owing to the fact that it will be seen to be moving in real time. Look with binoculars or a small telescope within a degree or so of the predicted position at any given time and it should ‘jump out’ as a moving star.
The weather forecast for most of the UK is not especially favourable owing to excessive cloud but watch out for gaps which may appear especially in the Norfolk area. Observers located in north-east Scotland may be best-placed weather-wise. Currently southern Spain is predicted to have clearest skies in Europe for this event. Further weather updates will be provided.
NASA have set up a very informative webpage with useful FAQs, orbit diagrams and some videos of interviews, etc.
Richard Miles (Director, Asteroids and Remote Planets Section)
BAA member Nick James reports they were fortunate to see the total eclipse on 2012 November 13 (morning of 14 in Australia) from Palm Cove, where visibility of totality was a very close run thing. The location and sky were very dramatic.
Here are some initial pictures of the eclipse from Nick – all frame grabs from various HD videos.
BAA member Denis Buczynski reports:
This comet (with period of 6.9 years) first discovered by Carl Hergenrother at Catalina in 1998 is now at perihelion and has undergone an outburst which makes it currently the brightest comet in Northern skies. It is well situated for study all night located in Pegasus with an altutude of more than 50 degrees and due south at midnight. The predicted magnitude at this time was around 15 but recent estimates have shown the comet to be more than 5 magnitudes brighter than that at around 9-10. This means that visual sightings including binocular observations are possible and DSLR photography will show the comet easily. CCD images show a bright elongated coma and a short broad southward pointing tail. This curent outburst coincides with the waning moon becoming less prominent and the next dark moon period beckoning. The Comet Section invites all observations(visual estimates and descriptions, drawings and images) to be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are some images of this comet available for viewing on the Comet Gallery at the BAA Website.
A recent quote from the discoverer on Yahoo groups comet-ml on 2012 OCT 3
“I’d like to thank everyone who has been observing “my” comet during this outburst-filled apparition.
Last night I was able to spot the comet in my 30×125s and 12″ dob. The comet was around 9.8-9.9, highly condensed with a short tail to the south.
- Carl Hergenrother”
An image taken on Oct 5 by myself is here:
A colour image taken on Oct 3 by Micheal Jager is here:
Skyhound.com has generated this Finder Chart.
Tom Boles made his 150th supernova discovery on 2012/08/18.104 in NGC 1213, magnitude 17.7
Designated 2012eg it has proved to be of type IIP.
Here is Tom’s discovery image:
Dublin based David Grennan has discovered his second supernova on an image of galaxy IC2166/UGC3463 (PGC19064) taken on 2012/08/22.009.
Designated PSNJ06265101+5905026, it was confirmed by Tom Boles. Spectra confirmed it to be of type 1c.
Denis Buczynski was able to make an observation too:
Martin Mobberley was able to capture this new nova in Sagittarius via iTelescope.net on July 8th.
The field was only about 22 degrees high, even from New Mexico, at the time.
At Dec -27 it’s difficult (near impossible) to observe from the UK. It’s not really possible to estimate the brightness from this image as the star is saturated but visual observers were reporting a brightness of around mag. 8.
An unusually large Near-Earth Object, 2012 LZ1 has just been discovered by Rob McNaught and colleagues on 2012 June 10/11 using the 0.5-m Uppsala Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring, Australia as reported in MPEC 2012-L30 issued on June 12 09:30 UT.
The newly-discovered NEO is approximately 300-700 metres in size (H=19.7) and makes its closest approach of 0.036 AU (about 14 lunar-distances) on June 15.0 UT. The object will be visible from the UK near closest approach rather low down in a south-eastly direction and may be best seen before dawn (around 01:00-02:00 UT) on Friday, June 15 as an asteroidal object, magnitude 13.9 or so, moving at an apparent speed of about 38 “/min at an altitude of roughly 25 degrees above the horizon.
BAA Member Martin Mobberley captured these images using a remote telescope in New Mexico.
Unusually too, although moving in an orbit inclined at 26 degrees, its motion is quite commensurate with that of the Earth at the moment and so the object will remain visible from the UK on many successive nights as it moves further northwards.
During the next ten days, the declination, brightness and apparent speed will be as follows:
June 14/15 Decl. -15 V=13.9 38″/min
June 15/16 Decl. +01 V=14.2 36 “/min
June 16/17 Decl. +13 V=14.6 30 “/min
June 17/18 Decl. +23 V=15.1 23 “/min
June 18/19 Decl. +31 V=15.6 18 “/min
June 19/20 Decl. +37 V=16.0 13 “/min
June 20/21 Decl. +42 V=16.4 10 “/min
June 21/22 Decl. +46 V=16.7 8 “/min
June 22/23 Decl. +49 V=17.0 7 “/min
Note that the summer solstice this year occurs on June 20 at 23h UT at which time this object will be visible from the UK in a westerly direction at an altitude of some 54 degrees.
Given its size and proximity to the Earth, 2012 LZ1 is the latest potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) discovered.
Congratulations to Rob McNaught on this particular find which was conducted as part of the Siding Spring Survey; an NEO search program, the southern hemisphere counterpart of the Catalina Sky survey.
Sky coordinates for finding this new visitor to the Earth’s neighbourhood can be obtained from the Minor Planet Center’s ephemeris service at:
Remember to enter a suitable Observatory Code in the online form to achieve a satisfactory topocentric prediction. For the UK, you might wish to use the Code for Greenwich namely ‘000′.
Observers are encouraged to report astrometry to the Minor Planet Center.
Please report photometry to the nearest 0.01 mag to Richard Miles, Director, Asteroids and Remote Planets Section, British Astronomical Association
arps [at] britastro.org
Pictures of the Transit are arriving from members of the BAA. Although the weather was generally poor a surprising number of members managed some sort of view of the event.
If you saw the Transit, please send your observations to the Venus section (email@example.com) and to our Picture Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) for our Transit Gallery.
Here are a couple of pictures from Peter Edwards and Maurice Gavin.
I got up at 4.30am BST, the sky was promising but there was clouds low down in the NE where the sun was rising. Still I stayed out, took a few photos of horses in the next field to me and a few cloud pics, then suddenly at around 05.35 BST the Sun broke through for a couple of minutes between the clouds and I managed to capture the attached image. I did manage to get two images, but this was the best one. The clouds actually add a bit of atmosphere (no pun etc). The image was taken with a Canon SX210 compact camera at max x14 zoom on a tripod, I think the exposure was 1/1250 sec at f/ 5.9 so I am doubly pleased to have got such a sharp image. I enlarged, cropped and tweaked in Photoshop.
You can also watch Maurice’s video on YouTube: Maurice Gavin
BAA member Nick James travelled to Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA to see the annular eclipse.
The annular eclipse was well seen from Bryce Canyon and the partially eclipsed Sun sank below the trees on the opposite wall before 4th contact. These pictures were taken with a Megrez 72 + Canon 550D.
If any members have pictures please send them in to email@example.com