The 2011 BAA Deep Sky Section meeting will take place on Saturday March 12 at Ashford Hill Village Hall, Ashford Hill, near Thatcham, Newbury, Berks, RG19 8BQ. The meeting will be hosted by Newbury Astronomical Society. Doors will be open from 9.30 with coffee available from 10.00 and talks starting at 10.30. It is expected that the meeting will finish around 17.30. All BAA members and their friends are welcome. There is plenty of free car parking at the venue.
Entrance fee will be £10 payable on the door and includes a buffet lunch.
As the Section reaches the grand old age of 30 this year, some of the talks will look back at what has changed in deep sky observing during this time. The planned programme is given below.
10.30 – 11.00 welcome and review of the year – Stewart Moore
11.00 – 11.30 then and now – 30 years of Section images – Stewart Moore
11.30 – 12.15 using the f/2 Hyperstar system for deep sky imaging – David Arditti
12.15 – 12.45 galaxy clusters for the amateur – Owen Brazell
12.45 – 13.00 a brief update on the BAA Variable Nebula Project – Grant Privett
13.00 Buffet Lunch
14.30 – 15.00 then and now – 30 years of supernova hunting – Ron Arbour
15.00 – 15.30 astrophotography in the 1980s, or why I didn’t blow myself up – Geoffrey Johnstone
16.00 – 16.45 Active Galactic Nebulae and why we should observe them – Nick Hewitt
16.45 – 17.30 the Herschel Space Telescope and star formation – Prof.. Derek Ward-Thompson
17.30 meeting round up – Stewart Moore
Exhibition of deep sky material by Section members is encouraged (bring your own display boards).
Both the BAA and the Webb Deep Sky Society hope to have sales stands at the meeting.
Astro Jumble – do you have any astronomical related books / equipment / software etc. to sell or give away? If so, bring them to the meeting where a side room will be available for you to display them. You will need to bring your own display table. Naturally neither the BAA nor Newbury Astronomical Society can be responsible for anything bought or sold.
The Deep Sky meeting is the highlight of the Section year and I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.
Stewart Moore, Director BAA Deep Sky Section.
2011 March 7th
This is the introduction from the full paper, available for download here as a pdf:
Cataclysmic Variables: An introduction to the evolution, variability and science of nature’s most dynamic stars
by Philip Hall
This paper is dedicated with respect and appreciation to the many amateur astronomers around the world whose patient and diligent observations have done so much to further our understanding of variable stars. The author also wishes to thank the BAA Variable Star Section for its generous support in providing a public forum to disseminate this discussion of cataclysmic variables.
Philip Hall is a British-born amateur astronomer based in Tokyo whose principle observing interest is deep sky objects. He is currently about 90% of the way through the Herschel 400 list. This review of cataclysmic variable stars was originally submitted as a project paper for one unit of the Swinburne Astronomy Online MSc degree programme, and he hopes it will be of background interest to amateur astronomers generally as well as a useful introduction to the subject for intending and current variable star observers.
The BAA’s Variable Star Section was formed in 1890, the year the BAA was founded, with the aim of collecting and analysing observations of variable stars. The Section is run by a small group of Officers who deal with various aspects separately but meet at intervals to discuss and decide future plans and policy. Feedback to members is through the VSS Circulars published four times a year and through the BAA Journal.
The website of the BAA VSS contains a wealth of information for you to explore, including their “Variable Star of the Year” section, an abundance of light curves produced by BAA members, and a 2011 summary of predictions of Mira Variable Stars.
You can also follow the Variable Star Section via their new Facebook page.
A new active region AR11162 has emerged adding to the possibility of further flare events. Observations should be sent as soon as possible to the Solar Section Director with details of date, time (UT) of start, peak and end of flare event, location and intensity.
Big Bear Solar Observatory activity warning is reproduced below:
Solar activity is high.
A new region now numbered 11162 has erupted north of 11161.
It has produced two M-class flares overnight. The region is
magnetically complex and rapidly growing. M-class flares are
expected and an X-class flare is possible.
Region 11158 has simplified somewhat but remains capable of an M-class event.
NOAA 11158, S19 W63 (X= 820,Y=-264). Beta-gamma-delta region.
C-class flares expected, M-class flare possible.
NOAA 11162, N20 W06 (X= 96,Y= 441). Beta-gamma-delta region.
M-class flares expected, X-class flare possible.
Positions as of February 18, 2011 at 19:00 UT.
Sark, one of the Channel Islands, has been made the world’s first Dark Sky Island by the International Dark Sky Association.
This follows a great deal of hard work by BAA member Steve Owens and the islanders.
As one of the two IDA assessors, I found the island to be most suitable for astronomy as the residents were committed to protecting the night sky. It was interesting to note the high quality of seeing on the island during our visit.
The story can be found in the Guardian
CfDS Committee Member
From 2011 January, Deep Sky Section Newsletters will be issued as PDFs rather than in printed form. The current Newsletter is now available for downloading from the Members section of the BAA website. You will need to log in to the Members section then follow the links to Downloads / Sections / Deep Sky Section. In addition to the latest Newsletter, earlier Newsletters can also be viewed on the site.
The reason for the change to PDF is to allow much greater use of colour (colour copying is still very expensive), to save postage costs and to make the Newsletter available to a wider membership. The next Newsletter will be published in May.
If you would like to contribute to the Section observing programmes – assuming we eventually get a clear sky again – or you need any information about deep sky observing, please contact the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Light pollution is a serious problem for astronomers in the UK. It also represents a waste of energy and money to light the night sky. The UK is one of the worst light polluted countries in Europe. Although there has been some progress in terms of better streetlight design and more awareness of the issue of light pollution thanks to the work of CfDS and others, the situation in many parts of the UK is still deteriorating. A major problem is the weak control of new lighting through the planning system. There has never been clear national guidance (although there are some differences through devolved powers in some parts of the UK). Many councils do not even use their existing powers to ensure that developments are sensitively and efficiently lit.
An opportunity to redress this situation has come about through the Government’s current comprehensive review of the planning system. The Government Minister for planning has invited organisations and individuals to offer their suggestions to the Department on what priorities and policies might be adopted to produce a “shorter, more decentralised and less bureaucratic National Planning Policy Framework”.
This Framework will replace ALL previous guidance on planning – so it is vital for the future of astronomy in the UK that we get strong guidance in the new document to require all planning authorities to take into account lighting when determining planning applications – so as to encourage good design and control, energy efficiency and sky friendly installation – and hence combat the growing problem of light pollution.
A strong response from the astronomy community, and all those who care about the quality of the night sky, could help persuade the Government to put in place clear national guidance which planning authorities will then have to take into account.
Suggestions may be e-mailed, by 28 February 2011, to: email@example.com
(posted on behalf of)
BAA and CfDS member and district councillor
Book your place on this workshop which takes place on March 5 and is being hosted by Macclesfield Astronomical Society. Full details and booking form can be downloaded here (pdf).
Join us at Sparsholt College for the 2011 BAA Winchester weekend
The 2011 Winchester weekend will be held on the 15th – 17th April at the usual venue, Sparsholt College, a few miles outside Winchester in pleasant rural surroundings that are ideal for observing.
We have kept ticket prices the same as last year (£160 for full-board over the entire weekend) so places are likely to be in strong demand.
You can use the booking form in the BAA Journal to reserve your place or you will be able to register online.
The 2011 Alfred Curtis Lecture will be given by Dr. Chris Lintott (Sky at Night and Somerville, Oxford). Other speakers include Matthew Malek (Imperial College) and Stuart Eves (Surrey Satellite Technology). The weekend will include a Lunar Section Meeting on the Saturday afternoon and there will be contributions from many other BAA members.
Anthony Wesley (Australia)
What a difference a year makes – 12 months of changes on Jupiter & Saturn
Dr Matthew Malek – Neutrino astronomy: seeing the cosmos in a ν light
Dr Stuart Eves – Sophisticated small satellites from Surrey
Ian Sharp – Practical modern astro-imaging techniques
Nick James & Peter Meadows – Robotic observing
The Alfred Curtis Memorial Lecture – Dr Chris Lintott – Citizen Science
Saturday afternoon – Lunar Section meeting
Dr Dave Rothery The Moon and Mercury
Tony Cook Transient Lunar Phenomena
Bruce Kingsley Imaging the Moon
Trade stands including Astronomia, Science Replicas, Spacerocks and BAA Sales