July 2014 meeting

17 July, 2014

This month it was ‘Ask the experts’. Our panel of ‘volunteer’ experts  Bob Mizon, Jerry Workman, Bud Budzinski and Bill Reed did a great job. They couldn’t have anticipated the range of questions though.
Imaging, astrobiology, exo-planets, space exploration and the meaning of life, barely covers it. Thanks to the panel for sharing their combined wisdom.
Thanks too, to Bob and Arthur for their ‘Object of the month’ and ‘Monthly Sky notes’ presentations. Bill Reed shared some excellent images of M13 and M51 and I threw in an image of the ISS with flapping wings crossing the disk of the sun. (They really ought to get it fixed). :-)

As he promised, Bill has produced a sheet giving clear, detailed  instructions on the hardware, software and method for the radio tracking of meteors on a budget. These are available from Bill at the next meeting for .50p, proceeds to the Campaign for Dark Skies. If you’d like a copy before the next meeting please contact me.

As usual, Zena and the refreshment crew did us proud and thanks go to them for their hard work.

Don’t forget the South West Astronomy Fair at the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth on 9th August where we’ll be having a stand. It starts at 9.30 am


Filed under: News — Ron at 1:03 pm

July 2014 Sky notes

1 July, 2014

July 14 Sky notes

July 14 Sky chart

Filed under: Sky Notes — Ron at 8:38 pm

June meeting

19 June, 2014

It was a near disaster. Not the meeting of course – I refer to the moment I brought the gavel down on Adrian’s purchase of the finderscope kindly donated by Richard Harboard. Trouble was that it was the finderscope wot I used as the gavel! Thankfully no harm done ,but it was a moment of much hilarity – at my expense. :-(

What an enjoyable meeting. Some great images were shared by David Pickles who is learning the dark arts of astro-photography at an impressive rate. I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of David’s pics once the nights are darker. Can’t wait. Apart from the inadvertent  ‘comedy turn’, my contribution consisted of some solar images and shots of the ISS. Arthur Davis’ monthly sky notes alerted us to what to look for – and what not to – in the coming month.

Bill Read, inspired by Paul Hyde’s talk on meteor detection by radar a couple of months ago, starting from scratch, in short order put together a set up on a budget which is the equal of others costing thousands. We watched and heard  ‘pings’  coming in as Bill explained how he’s done it and what was happening. It was a fascinating and absorbing presentation and Bill was asked to publish some notes on the subject. We were in awe at Bill’s quick grasp of the technicalities and practical nouse that allowed him to be up and running so quickly. Thanks for sharing this Bill.

Next month is ‘ask the experts’ evening. If there is anything you’d like to have clarified, here is the opportunity. There is only one rule. There is no such thing as a stupid question. So don’t be afraid to ask.

Thanks to those who volunteered to help with our stand at the S W Astronomy Fair on 9 August and to Martin for offering the loan of display stands. Thanks too, to Zena for refreshments and to the kind people who helped in the kitchen. Your efforts are much appreciated.


Filed under: News — Ron at 10:22 am

June 2014 Sky notes

29 May, 2014

June Sky notes

June sky diagram

Filed under: Sky Notes — Ron at 8:58 pm

May meeting

22 May, 2014

Pete Adshead’s ‘camera surgery’ had us wincing. Thanks Pete, for sharing your experience of  replacing the filter on your DSLR. Not for the faint hearted or cack -handed I’d say, so that eliminates me at least. :-) That nice Owl Nebula test result showed that the patient had made a full recovery. The link to the Astrometry  site Pete mentioned is http://nova.astrometry.net/

Thanks to Bob Mizon for stepping in to fill the gap left by our speaker who was called away to  high level meetings in the UAE on space issues. Thanks too to Arthur for his sky notes and his account of the Rosse telescope at Birr Castle. (And congratulations on winning the raffle at last).

Inspired by last month’s talk on radio astronomy for amateurs, Bill Reed, (who else), constructed a kit and brought it along to demonstrate his meteor detection set up. Is there no end to the man’s talents? He’s hoping that the anticipated stream from 209P LINEAR on 23/24 May lives up to expectations. Fingers crossed.

My capture of the ISS crossing the sun seemed to be well received but I’m still shaking my head at the good luck with those clouds.

Thanks to Valerie and all who helped with refreshments in Zena’s absence. Much appreciated. Thanks too to those who donated books to our library and to CFDS.

All in all, an interesting and lively meeting and we hope our visitors enjoyed the evening


p s Hope using the scope goes well Hilda. :-)


Filed under: News — Ron at 10:50 am

Colin Pillinger

8 May, 2014

Sad news that Dr Colin Pilliger has died suddenly . He’ll be greatly missed by the space and astronomy community.

Filed under: News — Ron at 11:44 am

May meeting update.

28 April, 2014

Unfortunately our speaker Professor Garry Hunt will not be able to make it to the May meeting.

Instead we will  have a ‘telescope  and getting started clinic’ for anyone needing help, so bring your ‘scope along.  Bob Mizon will also present a short talk and there may be time for members to show any  images they might have.


Filed under: News — Ron at 8:30 pm

May 2014 Sky Notes

26 April, 2014

May 2014 Sky notes

May 2014 Sky chart

Filed under: Sky Notes — Ron at 8:48 pm

April meeting.

17 April, 2014

First, a ‘thanks for coming and hope to see you again’ to our visitors and a warm welcome to those who joined CADAS last night. It was a lively meeting with a wonderful speaker. Paul Hyde’s  description of amateur radio astronomy certainly went a very long way to taking some of the mystery out of the activity. Who knew that observation at radio wavelengths did not require a  degree in electronics and an outlay of thousands. Some software, a dongle and some copper pipe?? Who’d a thunk it! This is an area we really must explore further.

It was a bit of a rush, but we managed to get out for a good ISS pass and a couple of iridium flares. Thanks to all who cleared up the grass cuttings we tramped into the hall when we went back in. That man playing with  the big double sweeper (you know who you are) left at least 3 bits. :-)

Details of next month’s meeting are awaited, so watch this space.

Finally, thanks to Zena and the refreshment crew and all the usual suspects who helped get the show on the road.


Filed under: News — Ron at 9:32 am

BAA Winchester Weekend

14 April, 2014

It was good to meet up with Nick, Liz, Arthur, Bob  and Joe at the WW. Great speakers, and a whole lot of new stuff to absorb.  I won’t say which of us contributed hugely  to  Astronomia’s profits, but will just say that one of the above drove away with two very large boxes in the back of their car. Another person will have to wait for their box of goodies to be delivered.

Can’t wait for  next year’s event!


Filed under: News — Ron at 8:34 pm
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