The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 116, No.2: 2006 April

Summary contents page

Detailed contents: Notes and News / Articles / Observers' Forum / Reviews / Letters / Meetings / BAA Update

On the cover: The Sky at Night goes south

Photos taken at the Cerro Paranal Observatory, Chile, by Damian Peach. (See the article on page 66).
Lower left: The Very Large Telescopes at Cerro Paranal are among the world's premier astronomical facilities. This view shows the stars setting over Paranal Mountain, with the telescopes in action.
Top: The Milky Way in the Carina/Crux region of the sky, rising from Paranal. The dark patch of the Coalsack is readily apparent, as is the Eta Carinae nebula. 3 mins guided, Fuji S2 Pro DSLR, 28mm lens.
Lower right:
The huge silver dome of UT1 (Antu) lit by the setting Sun.

Notes and News

From the President: Enjoy your astronomy (Richard Miles) / Ground-based support for the Venus Express mission (Richard McKim ) / Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 this May (Nick James) / Meteor outbursts (Neil Bone )

Refereed papers

The Sky at Night goes south ... Damian Peach

The BBC's Sky at Night television programme visits ESO's Paranal and ALMA observatories in Chile. Get PDF

A discussion on the duration of central transits as seen from Earth ... Darren Beard

The factors affecting transits of Venus and Mercury are discussed with particular attention to how these factors affect the maximum possible duration of a central transit. The secular variations of the orbits of the Earth, Venus and Mercury are considered so as to suggest secular variations in the maximum possible transit duration. Get PDF

The discovery of the correct birth date for selenographer Thomas Gwyn Empy Elger ... Robert A. Garfinkle FRAS

Since his death on 1897 January 9, the biographies and obituaries of the selenographer and founding member of the British Astronomical Association, Thomas Gwyn Empy Elger (TGEE), have given the year of his birth as 1837 or 1838. With the help of my friend Anthony Brunning, we have ascertained that the correct birth date for TGEE is 1836 October 27. This is the date recorded in a schedule of graves in Bedford Cemetery prepared for the North Bedford Borough Council. Elger was the first Director of the BAA Lunar Section and the author of the book The Moon (1895) and numerous lunar articles. Get PDF

High-precision radial-velocity measurement with a small telescope: Detection of the tau Boötis exoplanet ... Thomas G. Kaye, Sigfried Vanaverbeke & John Innis

The successful detection is reported of radial-velocity variations due to orbital motion of the substellar companion of the star tau Boötis, from data obtained with a small aperture (0.4m) telescope and a fibre-fed high-resolution spectrograph. Radial-velocity observations from observing runs in 2000 and 2004 reveal a periodic variation of 3.30 ± 0.02d, which is consistent with the previously determined value of 3.3125 ± 0.0002d. We fit our data to a circular orbit with the known period, and derive a velocity amplitude of 471 ± 10m/s (in agreement with the previously published value of 469 ± 5m/s), and determine a time of maximum velocity of HJD 2453113.95 ( 0.01. These observations explore the minimum system requirements for precise radial-velocity measurements. Get PDF

A home-made Newtonian filter holder for planetary imaging ... M.P. Mobberley

The construction of a crude, but effective, low-profile filter holder for use with a lightweight Newtonian reflector and a monochrome Webcam is described. Get PDF


In Association with (Here is an easy way to obtain your astronomy books, and help the BAA at the same time. Any books or other goods, including videos, electronic equipment, computer software and music, ordered from Amazon after following a link from this site - not just books reviewed here - will generate a small commission for the BAA.)

More book reviews from earlier issues of the Journal

  • David Levy's guide to variable stars by David H. Levy
    Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-60860-0. Pp xiv + 262, £18.99 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Janet Simpson
  • Revolutionaries of the cosmos - the astrophysicists by I. S. Glass
    Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-19-857099-6, Pp xiii + 317, £35 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Sheridan Williams
  • The Martian climate revisited: atmosphere and environment of a desert planet by Peter L. Read & Stephen R. Lewis
    Springer/Praxis, 2004. ISBN 3-540-40743-X. Pp xxv + 326, £61.50 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Richard McKim
  • The Moon and how to observe it by Peter Grego
    Springer-Verlag, 2005. ISBN 1-85233-748-6. Pp xi + 274, £19.95 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Nick James

  • Search:
    In Association with

    Search for all your leisure needs at


  • Gamma Virginis this spring and summer ... Christopher Taylor
  • Bright lunar features ... J. C. Vetterlein
  • The Hay Steavenson telescope ... Robert Paterson
  • Robert Burns and the aurora ... John Farquharson
  • Pluto finder chart in the 2006 Handbook ... Nick James

  • Meeting reports

  • Ordinary Meeting, 2005 April 23 ... Dominic Ford
  • Ordinary Meeting, 2005 May 25 ... Dominic Ford
    Get PDF

  • Observers' Forum

  • From the deep sky: the Leo Triplet ... Stewart S. Moore
  • Observations of GRB 060124 from Golden Hill Observatory ...
      Richard Miles

  • BAA Update

  • Meeting of the Radio Astronomy group, 2005 October 8 ... Karen Holland
  • Asteroids & Remote Planets Section ... Roger Dymock

  • Sky notes for 2006 April & May

      by Neil Bone

    Back to top of page

    Go to the BAA Journal home page