The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 113, No.5: 2003 October


On this page: Notes and News / Articles / Observers' Forum / Letters / Reviews / Meetings / BAA Update

On the cover: the Andromeda Deep Field

This three-day exposure in visible light, known as the Andromeda Deep Field, was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope during an investigation of the halo stars in our neighbouring galaxy M31. Although shorter in duration than the earlier multi-wavelength Hubble Deep Field, this is the deepest exposure in visible light ever taken. In addition to the halo stars which were the object of the search, and the fine example of one of Andromeda's globular clusters (at bottom), the image shows literally thousands of background galaxies in the distant universe, far beyond M31. T. M. Brown (STScI) et al./ESA/NASA

Notes and News

From the President (Guy Hurst) / 100 supernovae discovered from the UK (Guy Hurst) / Mars in 2003: third interim report (Richard McKim) / Solar Section (Geoff Elston) / The transit of Mercury on 2003 May 7 (Peter Macdonald et al.) / Aurora Section (R. J. Livesey)

Main articles

A scale model of the solar system in an English village ... Barry Keenan

In 1999 Otford Parish Council in Kent called for suggestions to celebrate the forthcoming millennium. In July Mr David Thomas MA, a retired schoolteacher, proposed that the parish build an accurate scale model of the Solar System to show the positions of the planets as they were at midnight on 2000 January 1. The model should fit within the parish boundary and be accessible to the public. It was intended that the model should last a thousand years: when the next millennium arrives, astronomers should be able to calculate when it was erected to within about 15 minutes, assuming it survives.
This proposal was discussed at a Parish Council meeting. During this discussion I, as a Parish Councillor, commented on the proposal, pointing out certain irregularities in the positions of the planets, explaining that I was also an amateur astronomer. The Parish Council had never received a proposal of this nature and were intrigued as to its viability, but approved the idea providing the cost of construction was found elsewhere. (5 pp)
Astronomical diaries and observations from the time of the Great War
Jonathan Shanklin My great grandfather Harry Thomas, of Llandudno, kept diaries for many years. Only those for 1913 to 1916 survive, though they contain passing references to earlier volumes. Items of astronomical interest are presented here. Harry's brother, Dr Bernard Thomas (1868(1935 May 13), at this time lived in Hobart, Tasmania and was a more serious amateur astronomer. (4pp)

The BAA Observers Workshops: Workshop 1, 2003 February 15. Imaging comets ... Martin Mobberley

In the next few issues of the Journal we will print some of the speakers' own transcripts of their talks at these very successful Workshops, so that members who were unable to attend can share their tips and expertise. We begin the series with Martin Mobberley, who delighted the Cambridge meeting with his unique combination of humour and technical accomplishment. (4 pp) The BAA Observers Workshops: Workshop 1, 2003 February 15. Why observe variable stars? ... Karen Holland
For many of us, there is much pleasure to be gained from watching a star night after night, seeing its brightness change, and wondering about the reasons for that change. This activity becomes even more rewarding when professional astronomers request the data that we have collected, take it away for analysis, and from the data deduce amazing snippets of information regarding the system that we have monitored. Often, the brightness estimations that we have made on the star, may be the only observations that exist for that particular star at that specific time, making them extremely valuable. (8 pp) Report of the Council and Accounts for the session 2002 August 1 to 2003 July 31
The Council of the British Astronomical Association presents its annual Report and Accounts for the session ended 2003 July 31.

(Copies of any of these articles may be ordered from the BAA office.)


In Association with

(Here is a new easy way to obtain your astronomy books, and help the BAA at the same time! Any books or other goods ordered from Amazon after following a link from this site - not just books reviewed here - will generate a small commission for the BAA.)

  • Masks of the Universe: Changing ideas on the nature of the Cosmos by Edward Harrison
    Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-521-77351-2. Pp ix + 331, £20.00 (hbk).
    reviewed by Jonathan Reynolds
  • Soyuz: A universal spacecraft... by Rex D. Hall & David J. Shayler
    Springer-Praxis, 2003. ISBN 1-85233-657-9. Pp xv + 459. £24.50 (pbk).
    reviewed by Nick James
  • Au plus pres de la planète Mars by Philippe Morel & Giles Dawidowicz (Eds.)
    Société Astronomique de France/Editions Vuibert, 2003. ISBN 2-7117-5335-2. Pp 290 (pbk), 30 euros.
  • Un siècle d'Astronomie by Audouin Dollfus, Roger Kieffer & Michael Sarrazin (Eds.)
    Société Astronomique de France/Editions Vuibert 2003. ISBN 2-7117-5330-1. Pp 532 (hbk), 60 Euros.
    reviewed by Richard McKim
  • Observer's Guide to Stellar Evolution:... by Mike Inglis
    Springer Verlag London, 2003 (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy series). ISBN 1-85233-465-7. Pp xvii + 236, £26.95 (pbk).
    reviewed by Roger O'Brien

  • Search:
    In Association with

    Search for all your reading needs at

    Observers' Forum

  • NGC 1535 - A bright autumn and winter planetary nebula ... Stewart Moore
  • The Moon and Mars in August ... Peter Paice

  • Meeting reports

  • Ordinary Meeting and Christmas Lecture, 2003 January 4 ... Dominic Ford

  • Letters

  • Noctilucent clouds: anywhere, anytime? ... Dr Wilfried Schröder
  • The Revd Thomas William Webb and a transit of Mercury ... Dr Stewart Moore
  • Read the letters here

    Sky notes for 2003 October and November

      by Neil Bone

    A copy of this or any recent issue of the Journal may be ordered from the BAA office. Back to top of page

    Go to the BAA Journal home page