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The Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 2018 February

Volume 128, Number 1

Here is another of Martin Mobberley’s inimitable biographies of one of the more eccentric personalities from the BAA’s past. And the truth about the British Empire Medal awarded to one of our former Presidents, Howard Miles – a truth he kept secret for all of his long life.

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Selected highlights from this Journal:

Notes and News

From the President
Callum Potter

BAA Update

Observers' Forum

BAA members use remote telescopes to probe binary stars for exoplanets
Derek Smith, George Faillace, David Pulley, Americo Watkins & Sebastian von Harrach

Refereed Papers

Lunar eclipse brightness and the terrestrial atmosphere
This work presents a study of the brightness of 164 lunar eclipses which were observed between 1670 and 2015. Data were analysed via four equations, which we refer to as the Formulae of Colle Leone, named after the observatory with which the author is associated. Attention is given to the quantity of ozone in the stratosphere and to the total optical depth of the atmosphere. The optical depth is correlated with both volcanic phenomena and human activities. No evidence of a correlation was found between the optical depth and solar activity.
Giovanni Di Giovanni
Frank Wilsenham Hyde (1909-1984): Radio astronomer extraordinaire!
Frank Wilsenham Hyde was a popular character in the BAA from 1957 to 1966, receiving the Association’s Merlin Medal in 1963 and serving briefly as the Editor of the Journal from 1963 November to 1965 December. His extraordinary Radio Astronomy Observatory was the most advanced amateur facility in the UK during the 1960s, and the media even described it as ‘a miniature Jodrell Bank’. However, increasing financial problems led to his dramatic exit from the Association and the dismantling of his observatory in 1967.
Martin Mobberley
The first recorded aurora australis?
This paper presents evidence for a probable aurora australis report and persistent recurrent solar activity in the year 1580.
John Simpson
The BAA Memoirs: an introduction
With the publication of a DVD set of the BAA Memoirs during 2017, a short historical review of these publications seems timely. Most of the Memoirs presented the longer reports of the Observing Sections of the Association, and until just after World War II they were issued fairly frequently, with several numbers appearing every session. From the 1950s they became one-off publications, produced on increasingly rare occasions, with Section reports mostly appearing in the Journal. This article explains how these changes came about, and attempts to give an idea of the diverse nature of this series of lesser-known BAA publications.
Richard McKim