“The first General Meeting of the Association was held in the Hall of the Society of Arts, John Street, Adelphi, on Friday, October 24th, 1890.” These are the first words on the first page of the first volume of the Journal, published on November 26. The meeting, chaired by W.H. Maw – ‘temporary Treasurer’ and ‘temporary chairman’ – was the occasion on which the first President and first Council were elected, the first Section Directors were appointed, and perhaps most importantly at the time, the name of the Association was chosen after considerable debate.
The chief contenders were ‘British Astronomical Society’ and ‘Astronomical Association’ – and the result was a hybrid of these. The first Council comprised many now legendary names, including, among others, Captain William Noble, Edwin Dunkin, E. Walter Maunder, Sir Howard Grubb, William Huggins, the Earl of Rosse, T.H.E.C. Espin, Isaac Roberts, W.S. Franks, Stanley Williams, T.G.E. Elger, Agnes Clerke, Margaret Huggins, and Elizabeth Brown. It is remarkable that in the few weeks following the suggestion of W.H.S. Monck in English Mechanic on July 18, Walter Maunder founded the Association and formed a Provisional Committee, and that by the time of the General Meeting – even before the name, the Council and the Laws had been formally established – 283 members had paid more than £200 in subscriptions. That first meeting, however, was the only ‘General Meeting’, and the term ‘Ordinary Meeting’ has ever since been used.
I apologise for this note being two days late, but I have had only 1.2 centuries to prepare.
Director, Instruments and Imaging Section
Curator of Instruments
This week’s BAA Picture of the Week is the Cave Nebula in Cepheus, by Graham Rogers. It was taken in October 2010 on the 6th, 10th, and 11th, using an ST10 on Takahashi FSQ. Mapped colour 120 minutes HA (R), 180 minutes SII (G) and 240 minutes HB (B).
To submit pictures for Picture of the Week please email to firstname.lastname@example.org (due to the volume of images submitted there is not usualy an acknowledgement of receipt).
2003 UV11, a relatively large near-Earth asteroid measuring roughly 400-500 meters across, is currently making a close approach over the next few days.
In so doing it will become one of the brightest such objects for several years attaining a V magnitude of about 11.9 on October 29 and passing closest to the Earth at a range of 5.0 lunar-distances on 2010 October 30 at 04:14 UT.
Although we know the orbit of this object with high accuracy and details of this close approach have been listed in the BAA Handbook for 2010 (p.55), we do not know a great deal about its physical nature including its rotation period. The close pass therefore represents an excellent opportunity for observers to obtain images suitable for photometry. From the UK, the most favourable observing times (UT) will be the nights of Oct 26/27 (20h-03h), Oct 27/28 (20h-03h), and in particular the two nights of Thursday, Oct 28/29 (19h-02h) and Friday, Oct 29/30 (18h-0h) when it will reach magnitude 12 and be moving at 50-60 arcsec/min and 130-160 arcsec/min respectively. Visual observation through a telescope on the last night should also prove very rewarding as it will then be possible to see it moving in real-time – a rare opportunity for such a bright target!
Please pass any good quality images to the BAA Asteroids and Remote Planets Section Director Richard Miles. For photometry, exposure times are best kept short although short trails can still be used. Near closest approach, exposure times of up to 20 sec should be fine. (N.B. Longer times are helpful in that the reference stars are recorded with good signal-to-noise.) Fortunately for observers, the object is favourably placed well south of the Milky Way sweeping through the constellations of Aries, Pisces and Pegasus where the starfields are not too crowded.
The next meeting of the BAA including the AGM will be on Wednesday 27th October 2010 in the new lecture room, Burlington House, Royal Astronomical Society, Picadilly, London
17:30 AGM, Approval of the accounts, Annual Review, Announcement of the ballot result and the Presidential Address.
19.15 The OM
19:30 The Sky Notes Dr David Arditti.
Doors open at 17.00 and the meeting will start at 17.30 and is due to finish by 20:00
‘Kathryn Thomas Lightyears Above 2010′ is an exhibition of original oil paintings of galaxies, auroras and planets – from 25th to 30th October at the Gallery in Cork Street, London W1S 3NG. The exhibition is open daily from 11am til 6pm, and there is free admission.
Please note that this is NOT a BAA event.
More info can be found at www.kathryn-thomas.co.uk
Deep images of 103P taken in dark skies last night only a few days before closest approach to the Earth. The Moon was just setting for the first image (A) and so it was slightly affected by moonlight. There appears to be a complex tail with a wide diffuse fan-shaped feature stretching off the frame in p.a. 150-270 deg, it being most prominent to the south, along with a thin narrow tail extending for more than 1 degree at p.a. 245 deg.
The solar system applet on the Computing Section web site has been considerably enhanced to make it an invaluable tool for planning observing sessions.
It gives a rapid summary of where solar system objects appear for your latitude, and will appear in the near future, in a readily assimilated graphical format.
Initially it shows the positions of the Sun, major planets and, importantly, the Moon so it is immediately obvious whether that will interfere with observing.
It is easy to add minor planets (from a list of 93) and periodic comets (30 at opposition in the coming year) or any objects for which you know the heliocentric elliptical orbital elements.
The plot is interactive. Click on any object to get a summary of its position, phase angle and, for minor planets, a magnitude estimate (from H and G parameters). This summary can be copied and pasted to compile a list of observable objects to go and see.
To go straight to the applet: http://britastro.org/computing/applets_planets.html
on behalf of Sheridan Williams
Computing Section Director
British Astronomical Association
On Sept.17.942 U.T. David Grennan, from Raheny, north Dublin found a suspect supernova in the galaxy UGC 112. The object was first detected on 2 x 60 second CCD exposures taken with a 0.36m f/4.9 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope at magnitude 18.7. Nothing was visible on his previous image taken on August 20th 2010 or on the Digitised Sky Survey POSS II plate of the same galaxy.
David only started supernova searching in the autumn of 2009 and joined the UK supernova patrol in May 2010. His discovery image was his 2,611th of 2010, a remarkably short time for such a success. Prior to this he was mainly involved in follow-up astrometry of NEO’s and discovered two minor planets in the process.
David contacted Guy Hurst, UK Nova/Supernova Patrol coordinator, Ron Arbour, Tom Boles and Martin Mobberley for confirmation before reporting the object to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT) the clearing house for supernova discoveries. The same night Ron Arbour was able to secure images and reported his confirmation to CBAT.
Further images by David Grennan, Ron Arbour Tom Boles, Guy Hurst and Martin Mobberley did not convince CBAT that this object was a supernova, as the reported magnitudes appeared to fluctuating considerably owing to bright moonlight and foggy conditions.
Following a request from Stephen Smartt, a spectrum was obtained with the 2.56 metre Nordic Optical Telescope providing CBAT with final proof that the object was a genuine supernova and it was designated SN 2010ik. Analysis of the spectrum suggested that it was Type Ib/c about 1 to 2 weeks past maximum light but with similarities to previous Type Ib/IIb’s. However, the supernova appears to be going through a ‘pseudo’ plateau stage which is very unusual for this type of supernova.
Without David’s discovery and the persistence of the U.K. team the professional community may have missed a very unusual object and Ireland, its very first supernova discovery.
This week’s BAA Picture of the Week is of active solar region SN1112 and associated filaments, by Dennis Boon.
Image captured on 10th October 2010 using a Lunt 60mm double stacked H-alpha telescope and Lumenera mono CCD.
500 images aligned and stacked in Registax with final colour processing via Photoshop.
This week’s BAA Picture of the Week is of Comet 103P Hartley and the Double Cluster in Perseus, by Alan Tough.
10 sub-frames were taken between 23:46 and 00:10 UT on 2010 October 07-08.
The data were processed using Photoshop 7, Noel Carboni’s astronomy actions and Neat Image.
Equipment used: Sky-Watcher ED80, HEQ5 mount, Canon EOS 40D at prime focus, 0.85x Reducer-Corrector. Exposure details: 10 x 90 Seconds @ f/7.5, ISO-800. Guiding equipment: Sky-Watcher ED100, StarShoot Autoguider.
Alan C Tough