Notes and News
Bright features on Neptune in 2015
In July 2015 Ricardo Hueso Alonso and colleagues discovered a bright spot on Neptune at latitude −41° with the 2.2 metre telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory. This paper reports observations and monitoring of this feature by amateur observers in the Netherlands and shows that with current amateur telescopes and digital cameras, bright features on distant Neptune can be detected and analysed.
Percy Mayow Ryves (1881-1956): Observer, discoverer & BAA Section Director
The astronomical career of Percy Mayow Ryves, a BAA member from 1899 to 1956, and a Walter Goodacre medallist, is described in detail. Ryves contributed to the BAA for most of those 57 years, mainly as a variable star observer, but he also served as the Mars Section Director for 14 years. In addition, he was a popular BAA meetings speaker during the 1940s and 1950s. Ryves’ visual discovery of a comet, from Spain, in 1931 places him in the unusual category of being a BAA comet discoverer in that barren period between the W. F. Denning/ Edwin Holmes era and the prolific discovery period of George Alcock.
Visual interference observations of sub-arcsecond double stars
An overview is presented of how to perform visual interferometry of double stars using an interference mask placed over the aperture of an undriven telescope. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that interesting and worthwhile observations can be obtained from a basic setup using a small telescope, thereby hopefully encouraging others to pursue this interesting field of astronomy.
Saturn in 2002 − 2003: a report of the Saturn Section
Saturn’s rings were open to their maximum extent upon the southern face. Significant new spot activity began in the South Tropical Zone and the South Equatorial Belt Zone. The STropZ activity took the form of small white spots at Saturnicentric latitude −35°, with a mean drift rate of +0.5°/day with respect to System III. White spots in the SEBZ showed a drift rate of −8.0°/day versus System III, while there was continuing evidence for a relatively slow drift in the S. Equatorial Current. A historical survey of STropZ activity is included in an Appendix, which includes previously unpublished BAA data for the 1971−’72 apparition.
Geminids 2012 − 2015: multi-year meteor videography
NEMETODE, a network of low-light video cameras in and around the British Isles, operated in conjunction with the BAA Meteor Section and other groups, monitors the activity of meteors, enabling the precise measurement of radiant positions, of the altitudes and geocentric velocities of meteoroids and the determination of their former solar system orbits. The results from multi-year observations of the Geminid meteor shower are presented and discussed.