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The Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 2021 August

Volume 131, Number 4

From a curious pair of novae and a planet that never was, to upheaval on Jupiter and rediscovering the joy in observing.

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Selected highlights from this Journal:

Also in this issue

Refereed Papers

Observing the 2017–’19 primary eclipse of VV Cephei with a low-resolution spectroscope
The 2017–’19 primary eclipse of the red supergiant star VV Cephei has been monitored with low-resolution spectroscopy, by following changes in the hydrogen Balmer emission lines in the spectrum. A number of characteristics of the binary system are derived from the high cadence of observations, including a surprising estimate of 7,425 days for the orbital period since the midpoint of the last eclipse. The appearance of the spectrum near mid-eclipse has also provided a means to estimate interstellar reddening.
Hugh Allen
The 2019–’20 eastern elongation of Venus, Part II: Observations of the nightside
Presented here is an analysis and discussion of observations made of the nocturnal hemisphere during the 2019–’20 eastern elongation of Venus. These observations of the infrared thermal emission are crucial to the Section’s aim of investigating active volcanism on the planet. We also discuss research by professional astronomers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, supporting the idea of active volcanism, and how the results obtained by Section members thus far support this conjecture.
Paul G. Abel
The opposition of Mars, 2016: Part I
The opposition of 2016 May 22, during Martian Year 33, was the last in a series of aphelic approaches. There had been no obvious albedo changes since the previous opposition. The light yellow area of dust fallout on the NW side of Elysium showed an obvious opposition brightening, and there was also a brightening of the outer rim of Olympus Mons. Three of the various dust storms commenced in unusual or unique locations: in particular, a Regional one in SW Arcadia, and two around Mare Sirenum. A darkening and broadening of Mare Serpentis and a reappearance of Pandorae Fretum resulted from a Regional storm in September. There was no planet-encircling event, but just beyond the recognised seasonal limit for this phenomenon, two Regional events began in the north and expanded in the south; these occurred unusually close together in time. Part II will discuss meteorological aspects and the behaviour of the polar regions.
Richard McKim
Reginald Lawson Waterfield (1900–1986), eclipse chaser & comet photographer extraordinaire: Part II: 1939–’86
‘Reggie’ Waterfield was the BAA’s 33rd president and its most prolific comet photographer from the 1930s to the 1980s. He was also an eclipse chaser and a leading haematologist. Part II covers the World War II era, Reggie’s fight back from a devastating illness, his BAA presidency, and the establishment of a dedicated team of comet photography assistants. The numbering of figures and references continues consecutively from those in Part I [131(3), 158–170 (2021)].
Martin Mobberley