The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 115, No.6: 2005 December


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

Cover photos: Amateur images of the deep sky

A selection of recent images contributed by members of the Deep Sky Section. Clockwise from top left:

Spiral galaxy NGC 6946 in Cepheus. Ron Arbour.
Planetary nebula M27, the 'Dumb-bell' in Vulpecula. Martin Morgan-Taylor.
Diffuse nebula M8, the 'Lagoon' in Sagittarius. Gordon Rogers.
Supernova remnant M1, the 'Crab' in Taurus. Peter Carson.
Planetary nebula M57, the 'Ring' in Lyra. Nigel Bryant.
Diffuse nebula IC 5067, the 'Pelican' in Cygnus. Gordon Rogers.
Diffuse nebula M20, the 'Trifid' in Sagittarius. Gordon Rogers.

Notes and News

From your new President (Richard Miles) / Saturn observers at opposition are rewarded with a ringside view (David Graham ) / Aurora Section (Ron Livesey) / Comet prospects for 2006 (Jonathan Shanklin ) / Solar Section (Mike Beales) / ALPO award for Richard Baum (Richard McKim)

Refereed papers

The opposition of Mars, 1995... Richard McKim

This aphelic apparition was remarkably well observed, with 122 contributors watching the planet between 1994 March and 1996 January. The greater use of CCD imaging within the Section enabled some to approach the limiting resolution of their systems. No great changes on the martian surface had taken place since 1993. The N. border of Hellas was unusually dark, continuing west into Mare Serpentis-Hellespontus. Pandorae Fretum remained dark, running further south than on average. Ismenius Lacus was diminished to the east. Solis Lacus remained large, but somewhat faded on its W. side. Cerberus-Trivium Charontis remained faint. The Aetheria secular darkening persisted. Dust storm activity was low, traceable only by polarimetry and in a few HST images, and mostly limited to certain desert regions already affected by seasonal white cloud. The increase in white cloud activity as the N. polar cap regressed was well observed. The surface markings were fairly well seen in blue-violet light from 1994 November till early 1995 March, except near the equator where equatorial cloud banding was pronounced. The martian 'W' cloud was also well-seen. A detailed picture of the behaviour of the N. polar region from northern winter till early summer was built up: the seasonal appearance of Ierne, Olympia, Rima Borealis, Rima Tenuis and Chasma Boreale was observed. In its early recession phase before Ls approx. 50 there were two anomalies: the cap was slightly smaller than in 1992?'93, and a dark annular rift was observed within the cap. This rift coincided in latitude with the low albedo polar dune field observed to surround the summer seasonal cap remnant: rare past sightings of the annular rift suggest that the cap thickness may be variable from year to year. Get PDF

The semi-regular variable RS Cancri: one period, two, or many?... J. J. Howarth

Observations of RS Cancri, including 3,758 submitted to the BAA Variable Star Section, are analysed to derive periodicities and to determine the variations in their phase and amplitude over time. Four periods are identified, of 1971.1 days, 637.5 days, 238.7 days and a cluster around 123 days. The third of these is the strongest (with a semiamplitude of 0.127 magnitude) and shows consistent phase stability, though with occasional temporary deviations in period. Although RS Cnc is unobservable each year for part of the summer, the consequent gaps in the data do not affect the results. Get PDF

The Daventry Double Star Survey... Martin Nicholson

A description is presented of the author's project to study binary stars, in particular those currently classed as 'neglected'. Get PDF

Centenaries for 2006 ... Barry Hetherington Get PDF


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  • Great Observatories of the World by Serge Brunier & Anne-Marie Lagrange
    Firefly Books, 2005. ISBN 1-55407-055-4. Pp 240, 35.00 (hbk)
    Reviewed by Maurice Gavin
  • Robert Hooke and the English Renaissance by Paul Kent & Allan Chapman
    Gracewing Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-85244-587-3. Pp xii + 191, 15.99 (hbk)
    Reviewed by Anthony Kinder
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  • Seasonal terrestrial optical effects ... David Airey
  • The total solar eclipse of 2006 March 29 ... Peter Macdonald
  • Blackout ... David Frydman
  • Extreme declinations of the Moon in 2006 ... Darren Beard

  • Meeting reports

  • Ordinary Meeting, 2005 January 26 ... Dominic Ford

  • Observers' Forum

  • NGC 7331 and Stephan's Quintet ... Stewart Moore
  • The new apparition of Saturn begins ... David Graham

  • BAA Update

  • The Variable Star Section - news of the Mentoring scheme ... Karen Holland
  • BAA Awards and Medals for 2006 ... Ron Johnson

  • Sky notes for 2005 December & 2006 January

      by Neil Bone

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