The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 117, No.6: 2007 December

Summary contents page

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

Cover images

Images of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars recorded by Damian Peach in Barbados in 2005 and 2006. The Saturn image was voted the Sky & Telescope best planetary image of 2006, being described by the judges as 'an historic amateur image'. See Damian's article on page 301.

Notes and News

From the President (Roger Pickard ) / Geminids and Quadrantids to round off a fine meteor season (Neil Bone) / Comet prospects for 2008 (Jonathan Shanklin ) / New supernova discoveries (Stewart L. Moore) / Solar Section (Lyn Smith) / Asteroids and Remote Planets Section (Roger Dymock) / OJ287 campaign - Success! (Gary Poyner) / Nanotechnology goes to Mars with Phoenix (Roger O'Brien) / The BAA Awards and Medals (Ron Johnson) / Special announcement - Colour in the BAA Journal (Hazel McGee)

A bright Perseid meteor imaged by Nick James on 2007 August 12-13 at 22:31-22:37 UT. Canon 10D digital SLR, 16mm lens at f/3.5.

Refereed papers

Planetary observing missions to Barbados in 2005 and 2006 ... Damian A. Peach

Cold, humid evenings with rippling seeing conditions and mediocre images. This was the story of the 2005 Jupiter apparition from my home in southern England. The giant planet had now, after years of being well placed, finally sunk south of the celestial equator to an altitude of just 35° and was only going to get lower in the coming years. Facing being unable to observe my favourite object in detail, in 2004 I began research into a more southerly overseas location from which I could observe for a few weeks each year.
Finding a place where the chances of clear skies were high, but also the astronomical seeing frequently steady, seemed quite a tall order. I wanted somewhere at sea level in a comfortable warm environment, rather than the logistical problems presented by observing from a cold, remote mountain top....

The BAA observatories and the origins of the instrument collection ... R. A. Marriott

The Association's Curator of Instruments describes the varied and interesting story of the BAA's instrument collection, and how we very nearly had our own 19th century observatory to manage.

The opposition of Mars, 1999 ... Richard McKim

The 1999 martian apparition was followed by BAA members while Mars Global Surveyor was monitoring the planet from martian orbit. The planet's surface showed little change from 1997, indicating the absence of any great dust storm since solar conjunction. The long period of telescopic coverage enabled us to conclude that neither was there any planet-encircling storm in the southern martian spring or summer in 1999-2000. Three small telescopic storms were followed along the Valles Marineris, and two were seen at the edge of the summer N. polar cap. Dust storms commencing at the historically rarely-active Margaritifer Sinus emergence site (MGS data) point to ongoing changes in the fallout pattern of atmospheric dust. White cloud activity was high before and around opposition time - in northern midsummer - with morning and evening limb hazes, the equatorial cloud band (ECB) and orographic clouds. The ECB 'season' was identical to 1997, pointing to an equally low level of atmospheric dust-loading. Comparison with historical records suggests that the seasonal 'wave of darkening' may be partly attributable to the annual disappearance of the ECB. This report covers the period 1998 September 12 (Ls = 28°) to 2000 March 13 (Ls = 318°).

Observations of the first confirmed superoutburst of SDSS J080434.20+510349.2 in 2006 March ... Jeremy Shears, Geir Klingenberg & Pierre de Ponthière

During 2006 March the first confirmed superoutburst of the dwarf nova SDSS J080434.20+510349.2 was observed using unfiltered CCD photometry. Time-series photometry revealed superhumps with a period of 0.0597±0.0011d and an amplitude of 0.2 magnitude, thereby independently establishing its UGSU classification. Following the decline from a peak magnitude of 13.1, at least two rebrightening events were observed. Evidence is presented which is consistent with the star being a member of the UGWZ sub-class.

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Centenaries for 2008 ... Barry Hetherington


  • Ordinary Meeting, 2007 January 31 ... Dominic Ford
  • Observers' Workshop, 2007 February 24 ... Hazel McGee & Jonathan Shanklin

  • including
  • The H & G magnitude system for asteroids ... Roger Dymock
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  • Eudoxus revisited: a comparison of lunar images ... Nigel Longshaw
  • An astronomer's church ... Sheridan Williams
  • Lunar eclipse facts ... Darren Beard
  • GoTo' telescopes and locating objects in daylight ... John C. Vetterlein
  • Sunspot observations by Theophrastus revisited ... J. M. Vaquero
  • Observations of Venus in 2004 ... Christopher Taylor

  • Reviews

  • Deep sky companions: Hidden Treasures by Stephen James O'Meara
    Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-521-83704-9. Pp xvii + 584, £25.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Nick Hewitt
  • Mathematical astronomy morsels IV by Jean Meeus
    Willman-Bell Inc., 2007. ISBN 987-0-943396-87-3. Pp 373, $29.95 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Sheridan Williams
  • Observing the Moon (2nd edition) by Gerald North
    Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-521-87407-6. Pp xi + 408, £25.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Tony Cook

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    Observers' Forum

  • Clusters and bubbles in Cassiopeia ... Stewart L. Moore
  • Scopes in the sun ... Richard Miles, Paul Downing, Tony Angel & Karen Holland

  • [The 'Bubble Nebula', NGC 7635 in Cassiopeia, imaged by Bob Garner]

  • Sky notes for 2007 December & 2008 January
  •   by Neil Bone

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