The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 116, No.6: 2006 December

Summary contents page

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

On the cover: NGC 2264: the Christmas Tree cluster

NGC 2264, the open cluster called the Christmas Tree by the American writer Leland S. Copeland, lies in the constellation of Monoceros amid a vast area of nebulosity, well captured in this image by Gordon Rogers of Long Crendon, Bucks. Takahashi FSQ106 on 16-inch RCOS on Paramount mounting, guided by SBIG ST-8 CCD camera with AO-7 adaptive optics. Image acquired through SBIG ST-10 CCD camera. The exposures were 100 minutes H-alpha and 15 minutes RGB on the night of 2005 December 27. See the article by Stewart Moore on p.339.

Notes and News

From the President (Richard Miles ) / IDA 'Galileo' award presented to Bob Mizon (Richard Miles) / Venus western elongation 2006, and the Venus Express mission (Richard McKim ) / New definitions for solar system bodies (Roger Dymock) / Solar Section (Lyn Smith) / Aurora Section (Dave Gavine) / 50th anniversary celebrations of Dundee Astronomical Society (Dave Gavine) / Comet prospects for 2007 (Jonathan Shanklin) / The OJ287 observing campaign hots up (Gary Poyner) / Good prospects for the Geminids in December (Neil Bone)

Photo: an ultraviolet image (365nm) of the Venus southern hemisphere, taken from ESA's Venus Express on 2006 May 15

Refereed articles

BAA instrument no. 93 ... R. A. Marriott

Instrument no. 93 has been in almost continual use for more than a hundred years. Since it left the workshop of its maker, George Calver, it has kept company with several other notable instruments and has been used by many eminent astronomers. It was added to the Association's collection in 1945.

Photo: George Calver (1834-1927), aged about 80.

The Leonid meteor shower in 2000 ... N. M. Bone

Following the storm of 1999, the Leonids were expected to present continued strong activity in 2000, though not to the high levels of the previous year. Moonlight and cloud made conditions difficult for observers in the British Isles, but some useful reports were received, indicating high Leonid activity in the early morning hours of 2000 November 17/18.

Performance of a fibre-optic coupled, high-resolution spectrograph with CCD camera recording of solar Ha and H absorption spectra ... David Airey

This paper explores the wavelength and spatial resolution of a stigmatic, 0.5m focal length, f/8.7 spectrograph investigating the solar Balmer Ha and H absorption lines, with the spectrograph output focused directly onto the CCD chip of a 1.2Mpixel digital camera using single fibre-optic coupling.

CCD photometry and visual observations of V1663 Aql (Nova Aquilae 2005) ... David Boyd & Gary Poyner

We present CCD V and I band photometry and visual observations of V1663 Aquilae (Nova Aquilae 2005). This was a classical fast nova, probably of type Ba, observed for the first time on 2005 June 9. Maximum light occurred at HJD= 2453531.2 0.2, when the apparent V magnitude was 10.7 0.1 and the V-I colour index 3.1. We derived a maximum absolute V magnitude of -7.8 0.2, colour excess E(B-V)= 2, extinction = 6 magnitudes and distance d= 2.9 0.4 kpc. After maximum the V-I colour index remained between 3.1 and 3.4 for 50 days, then gradually reduced as the nova became bluer with increasing age. We saw no direct evidence of dust emission although this could have contributed to the high extinction in the direction of the nova.

Centenaries for 2007 ... Barry Hetherington

Click here to obtain a PDF file of any of these articles

BAA Update

  • Meeting of the Deep Sky Section, 2006 March 4 ... Martin Morgan-Taylor
  • The 6th European Dark Skies Symposium, 2006 Sept 15-16 ... Bob Mizon
  • BAA Awards and Medals for 2007 ... Ron Johnson
  • [Images of Hubble's Variable Nebula by Nigel Bryant, Martin Morgan-Taylor & Jeremy Shears]


  • The role of the visual observer ... Stewart Moore, Lorna McCalman
  • A planetary classification scheme ... Brian Smale
  • The best conditions for shadowbands? ... Jeremy Calderwood
  • A new type of solar eclipse ... Jens Buus
  • A sighting of 'mock moons' ... Howard Miles
  • Longitudes of the central meridians of Jupiter and Saturn ... John H. Rogers
  • Ronald N. Irving ... Bud Ellis
  • Poetry and the aurora ... William Williamson

  • Observers' Forum

  • A celestial Christmas tree ... Stewart L. Moore
  • A Ridley Grant put to good use ... Jonathan Shanklin
  • Meeting on Asteroids and Comets in Europe: MACE 2006 ... Roger Dymock
  • Webcam images of Mercury ... Chris Hooker

  • Meetings

  • Ordinary Meeting and Christmas Lecture, 2005 December 17 ... Dominic Ford

  • Sky notes for 2006 December & 2007 January

      by Neil Bone

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