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Inside: German Starparty Nova Delphinius Spectral developments Astronomy phone apps Self built Pier project Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival 2013 October/November meteor shower info Comet ISON is coming.

1 Pleiades under a viaduct by Nathan Wilson


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Hi everyone and welcome to the third issue of Astronomy 4 Everyone’s group newsletter. There has been lots going on in the astronomy world this last month, most noted is the BBC are putting themselves in a bit of a spot when the news leaked that the Sky at Night series was being cancelled at the end of this December! Since then much has been said and done, an online petition started with numbers growing daily, please sign here Also a couple of facebook groups have been started as well, so if you want the latest info it’s worth checking out these two links, link1 and link2 It’s also membership renew time for group members, so please do get your fee’s in for the coming year, and of course if anyone else wants to join or donate to the groups running costs all the details can be found on our website www.astronomy4everyone.org.uk Keep looking up! The Core Team

Contents 4

German Star Party by Patrick Duis

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Pier project by Steve Bassett

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Some astro phone apps by John Slinn

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Thoughts from the dark side

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Nova V339 Delphinus: Spectral developments by Patrick Duis

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Meteor showers, October and November

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Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival 2013

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Members images

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Comet ISON is coming.

To submit an article, review, story or anything thing else, including placing an advertisement in future issue’s please email Andy Lee astronomy4everyone@gmail.com for details. 3


German Star Party By Patrick Duis A few years ago, two dutch guys of the Dutch astroforum.nl, living in Haarlem, Harro and Norbert, were -really- fed-up with the light polluted Dutch skies. They decided to find the nearest black spot on the European light-pollution chart. After some researching, they found that the German Lueneburgerheide (100km right top of Hannover) should be very good, according to various light-pollution charts they consulted. They started driving, and in the middle of the night they accidentally spotted a very small sign, saying "Heu hotel" (Hay hotel in German). They could still stay overnight and had an amazing deepsky observing session like they never had before in such northern skies. Since then, a group of 15 experienced deepsky observers visit this place somewhere in September for many years (and hopefully many to come). The place is very basic: a shack filled with hay-beds where you can sleep perfectly on with sleeping bags (nice and warm), 5 beds for people that absolutely cannot stand hay. A small kitchen, good German shower, a toilet, BBQ and fireplace (with lots of wood). There is nothing like observing under pitch-black skies, while you hear the burling of deer nearby and after the session sitting with all deepsky freaks around the fireplace sipping expensive single-malts with names you cannot pronounce....until the Sun comes up..... The day after that always starts with various Atm-activity, Sungazing and nice walks in the big forests around Kollase. Most interesting Deepsky objects I saw over there this year: NGC7331 Galaxy with the 200mmF5/5mm UO orthoscopic: faint globular structures are visi4


ble in the elongated bright galaxy. This was not visible in the 4.8mm Type 1 Nagler. M31/33 easily with the naked eye M33 Galaxy in the 200mmF5/13mm Type 1 Nagler. Visible as a bright nebula with an even brighter center. Both brightest arms are visible. NGC281 Pacman Nebula in the 200mmF5/35mm Panoptic fitted with UHC-S. Faintly visible, after long looking the "beak" was also visible. Pelican nebula in the 200mmF5/35mm Panoptic fitted with UHC-S. Faintly visible. Veil Nebula in 10x50 binoculars, without any problem. Veil Nebula in 200mmF5/13mm Type 1 Nagler and OIII filter: very sharply visible, very faint outer edges and filaments of both Veil-west and east are clearly visible. Pickerings triangular wisp in my 200mmF5/13mm Type 1 Nagler fitted with OIII filter. Maffei 1 with my 200mmF5/7mm Type 1 Nagler: a very faint galaxy, lying behind a faint open cluster in the Perseus arm in our Milky way in the "zone of avoidance".This galaxy was a kick to view, but not for the faint-hearted.... Patrick Duis Myrtha Observatory Hooge Mierde, Netherlands Hay Hotel Kollase: deepsky heaven in (almost) former eastern Germany SQM value measured at 6-9-2013: 21.5 Location: Gut Kollase Germany http://www.heuhotelgutkollase.de/ Hay hotelkeeper: Andreas van Hoersten andreas.vonhoersten@gmx.net Images by Steven Lantinga and Patrick Duis. 5


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Pier project Spring/Summer 2013 By Steve Bassett It is important to ensure you know the direction of true North. The more accurately you set your pier to this the easier your polar alignment will be. This Website is very good for determining true North. You simply find the location of where your pier is going to be sited and put down the marker. This gives you the longitude and latitude co-ordinates. You then add another marker keeping the same longitude but increasing the latitude a little towards the North. This gives a 2nd point that is exactly (true) North of you pier location.

1. Location I decided about a year ago that I wanted to try and improve my astro imaging so as well as an upgrade to an HEQ5 pro I also wanted to try my hand at building and installing my own pier in the garden. I started by doing my homework, numerous hours trawling the net for ideas, methods, do’s and don’ts. The pier had to be aesthetically pleasing as well as solid and functional. After I had an idea of what I’d like to end up with the next task was location. So here is my garden. It’s small and doesn’t have a great deal of space to play with. I

Unfortunately when the picture was taken we had a gazebo in the garden so I had to estimate the rough location indicated by the red marker. The blue marker is true north which puts it roughly between the 2 vent stacks on the roof circled in yellow.

needed to place the pier in a position that would give the best possible views whilst also not impeding on the garden too much. I decided to go for an area roughly in the same place as the red ball (yes I did put it there for the purpose of the picture). The garden provides views North, South and West (East being blocked by the house) down to around 20/30 degrees above the horizon.

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2. The Pier

The dimensions are

Now the location and a rough direction were set it was time to look at the pier itself. I wanted to have around 900mm to 1 meter above ground and decided on around 500mm to 600mm below ground with a square plate on the bottom encased in concrete. A quick design in MS paint and I ended up with this.

Overall diameter = 236mm (this governed the diameter of the top plate I had welded to the top of the post) Overall height = 46mm Centre hole diameter = 62mm Disc thickness = 12mm A commonly seen method for attaching disc to the top plate of the pier is to raise the disc a few inches above the top plate using threaded rod. This then allows you to access the underside to tighten and undo the hold down bolt of your mount and also allow levelling adjustments as shown in the image below

I was lucky enough to acquire some left over pipe and some 13mm plating from work which along with these drawings were given to the fabricator to be cut and welded for which they charged me ÂŁ30. I needed now to come up with a way of attaching the mount to the pier and found a few examples on the web that were using car brake discs. One of the sites listed the disc I would need to take my HEQ5 perfectly. I found it on eBay for ÂŁ10, turns out it was for a Skoda Favorit.

Image supplied with thanks to Tony King

Purely from an aesthetical point of view I wanted to try and avoid this although I don’t think it makes any difference in stability. To achieve it I had to overcome 2 main issues. Firstly how was I going to gain access to the hold down bolt if it was down inside the 8


pipe? And secondly without the threaded rod how was I going to level the top plate?

The hold down bolt is then screwed through the threaded hole in the washer and the whole assembly inserted into the disc. The mount is then added to the top of the disc and the hold down bolt is wound into the mount thread until tight. This holds the whole thing together nicely. I then bolted the whole thing to the top plate to test it and was very happy with the results. I was satisfied that it was time to put it in ground!!

3. Time to dig a hole! It was a few weeks after my first initial tests that I got a chance to start work on the hole. In that time I also had the pier and disc powder coated in gloss black, I knew where the hole was going (see first picture) and I knew that I was aiming for around a 500x500x600 deep hole. This would be the first time id had 9


a go at something on this scale but I had an assortment of tools to assist including a 100mm manual post auger, a pick axe, a pair of scissor shovels and the customary garden spade and fork. I know very little about ground work but I do know one thing‌‌.flint is hard!! And when you are digging a hole in ground that seems to be more flint than earth it is pretty hard going! As it turns out the combination of pick axe and garden spade seemed to work best until I got down deep and had to use a trowel to excavate what the pick axe had loosened. It took the best part of day to dig the hole but was kind of satisfying (not to mention a relief) to see it finished

to harden a little before trowelling it over again getting it as close to level as possible I also added some polythene sheeting which I hoped would help with moisture. It was now time to carefully lower the pier in and allow it to sit on the re-bar. This forced the still workable post-Crete around the side of the bottom plate and formed a nice barrier (as far as I could tell) between the ground and the plate. Possibly all a bit OTT but I thought better that way as it was a simple thing to do

The second issue about levelling now needed to be addressed however, having a perfectly level pier is not essential and polar alignment can still be achieved so I was going to be happy as long as I could get close to level. I added some reinforcing bar to the bottom of the hole and levelled them as best as I could. Nothing technical just a hammer and a spirit level checking in all directions.

I put a small circular spirit level on top of the pier and manipulated the whole thing until I was happy it was level and managed to get it very close.

Once I had them somewhere close I mixed up a small bag of post-Crete and poured this into the bottom making sure it covered the bottom and buried the re-bar. I allowed this 10


Over time I expect the pier will go out of level as the ground moves but I’ll keep an eye on it worse case is that I’ll have to raise the disc up using threaded rod or perhaps add some shims but only time will tell. I then had to mix and add the concrete. In the end I used 16 bags of B&Q’s ready mix concrete which was more than I had imagined needing and was very grateful for the loan of a cement mixer. We were fortunate enough to get some prolonged good weather so I picked a day and went for it with assistance from my wife. You may also notice that the tree at the back of the garden has gone!!

harden checking the level every now and then to see if it had moved. The next task was to add a small spigot to the top of the disc for the azimuth adjustment screws of the mount to work against. Although I had made my map showing me where true north was I decided it was far easier to attach the mount and perform a polar alignment of it to give me my true north position. I cantered Polaris in the polar scope using the altitude bolts but manually twisting the mount in azimuth. My thinking was that if Polaris was centred in the scope cross hairs and I took that as my true north direction I would have enough azimuth adjustment in both directions to properly polar align. Once centred, I marked the mount outline with electrical tape.

It was simply a case of pouring the concrete into the hole whilst all the time checking the spirit level on top to make sure there was no movement. I finished the concrete around 100mm from the top of the hole to allow me to add top soil and grass seed when the concrete had cured and left it for around 1 week to

This left me with an idea of where to drill the hole when the mount was removed. I measured the thickness of the metal and added another strip of tape. The pencil mark shows where I needed to drill

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I drilled an 8mm hole through the disc and attached an M8 threaded rod connector which is just high enough for the azimuth bolts to hit.

cement or maybe just sand as it is possible to drop things down inside the post and it may also fill with water. I have also added my first image taken using this pier. For the first time I took 180sec exposures which is pretty good for an unguided set up but I plan on trying 240sec next time.

Tests using the azimuth screws showed that it works perfectly and here is the finished pier with mount and scope attached. In conclusion I really enjoyed doing this project and if anyone is considering having a go I would say go for it. The stability that I get now for both observing and imaging has improved considerably my only wish is that I could take it out into the field with me and use it under truly dark skies. I hope this write up has provided some inspiration and ideas to help get you started.

If anyone has questions or would like advice I can be contacted via email at steve_bassett@hotmail.com

Going forward I plan to add something to the top when the mount is not attached possibly a sun dial or a bird table just to give the post another use. I may also fill the post with 12


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Some of my favourite Astro phone apps Firstly I should mention I’m using an android phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) but hopefully these apps I’m talking about will have an Iphone equivalent.

ASTROPANEL

This is an excellent weather, cloud and seeing conditions app that is quite accurate in my experience. Very easy to read once you learn the icons. It gets your location using your smartphones gps sensor – even works when travelling abroad!

GPS-TACHO I Use this all the time! – On one page you can see your current gps location and exact time very clearly. Plus you can read your altitude too if you need to. Created for driving, it’s very handy to have when your performing your telescopes alignment on the night.

POLARFINDER

A very handy app for determining the hour angle of Polaris – also can be switched for the Ioptron view for those owners using those mounts – great for Skytracker owners!

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SKEYE Very classy planetarium app that can alse be used as a telescope finder! (after fitting a mounting to your scope – see :- http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2k_oWac-pk Another very nice planetarium app is the popular and proven –

STELLARIUM Great for locating and searching for objects but doesn’t pan round and move with your phone like Skeye or Google sky. Recommended!

SIMPLE MOON PHASE WIDGET Another one of my favourite apps! A simple and easy visual guide to the Moons phases. You can scroll to future dates simply by swiping the screen.

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ISS DETECTOR The last of my favourite apps for now, ISS detector is so handy and easy to use. It’ll beep at you at a preset time before the ISS’s appearance and it will track on the Smartphone’s screen it’s progress across the sky and will even give you the heading so you know where to look in the sky! Also has Iridium flares capability! Highly recommended.

I hope you have enjoyed just a few of my favourite apps and I hope you enjoy using them as much as I. Written by John Slinn.

12th October 2013

To find an event near you to attend or to register your own event go to

www.observethemoonnight.org 16


THOUGHTS FROM THE DARK SIDE A JEDI’S EYE VIEW ON ASTRONOMY, THE UNIVERSE AND THE CAMPAIGN FOR DARK SKIES.

Greetings my Padawan’s. So we have entered the season of mellow fruitfulness at last, the longer nights are upon us. Huzzah say I, a few clear nights would be good, my telescope addiction needs feeding. New questions I have, why do four Astronomers take up all the room in a tent designed for twelve? I have asked this of many, who have much intellect, even the Quantum physicists just shrugged their shoulders. One suggested that the tent might be a reversed Tardis, bigger on the outside than the in. I know the answer is simple it’s because our hobby requires us to carry more equipment than we ever actually need. Some of this is due to the manufactures of our kit, their blindness to looking forwards and keeping up with the technical trends. They know what the equipment they make is used for, and with. Laptops and PCs all have USB ports, so why are our mounts still using telephone style connections, or even older more archaic ones? I for one don’t wish to connect my telescope and mount to a telephone line. War of the World’s town Woking Surrey, looks like it is going to have even more development very soon, stretching even further skywards. Woking’s light bubble is already truly awful, so my Padawan’s I prepare to go on yet another crusade. We are aware of the chance of anything coming from Mars is a million to one, but the help of a few Martian tripods maybe required for this one. Also it would prove Ogilvy wrong twice.

Come to the Dark side you know it makes sense. Sy the Jedi.

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Nova V339 Delphinus: Spectral developments On 14th of August, the Japanese observer Koichi Itagaki (Teppo-cho, Yamagata, Japan) discovered a new Nova in Delpinus it at mag 6.8 (Unfiltered CCD). Since then it was followed by amateurs around the world with visual, photometric and spectroscopic observations. At first the star brightened, but at the 16th of August it started to decline visually, whereas the H-alpha emission line in the spectrum was becoming higher and higher. The explanation for this, is that the star started to shine more at the H-alpha (656.3nm) line, where the human eye is not very sensitive anymore. So it seemed that the nova was getting less bright, but that was not the case, the spectrum just shifted to the red. In the picture you see the spectrum of Nova V339 Delphinus, shot on 4 nights: 19, 20, 21 and 23rd of August 2013, instrumental response has been calibrated with the A0V star Vega. The H-alpha, beta and gamma lines are up each night. Since I'm relatively new to spectroscopy I couldn't get the x-axis flat because of calibration issues: getting better at it.

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For a very detailed explanation of the spectral development, consult http://www.astrosurf.com/aras/novae/Nova2013Del.html where professional astronomer Steve Shore (University of Pisa) assists the amateurs by explaining in great detail what he sees in the spectra shot by us. Telescope: 200mmF5 Newtonian reflector on HEQ5pro/EQdir/EQmod/Cartes du Ciel goto Camera: Artemis 4021 mono @ -10 degr. C Filters: none Correctors: none Spectroscope: JTW astronomy Vega 100l/mm blazed grating Exposure: 300x7sec, stacked 50 with best FWHM value Acquisition: MaximDL Pre-processing: Nebulosity3 (with Badpixelmap and master-bias) Post-processing: VisualSpec

Sources: http://www.astrosurf.com/aras/novae/Nova2013Del.html http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/astronomical_spectroscopy/info http://www.astronomerstelegram.org/?read=5378 Patrick Duis Myrtha Observatory Hooge Mierde 19


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Draconid’s, 7th & 8th October.

Orionids, 21st October.

The Orionids are associated with Comet 1P/Halley (Halley’s Comet) which passes by every 76 years, the last being in 1986.

The Draconid’s are associated with Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner which has an orbital period of 6.6yrs.

This year in not looking to good as the shower coincides with the bright waning gibbous moon, so only the very bright ones are likely to be seen.

Not one of the best of the years meteor showers predicted for this year with only a handful predicted even at it’s peak. But the draconid’s have been know to wake the Dragon, as they did in October 2011 when observers in and around Europe witnessed over 600 meteors per hour.

But the ones you do see could be a wonderful sight, speeding into earth’s atmosphere at around 140,000 miles per hour and some leave a smoke trail after the meteor dims from view.

So if it happens to be clear where you are on those nights it will be worth making a nice mug of hot chocolate, getting yourself comfy out in the garden, sitting back and enjoy a relaxing evening looking for natures very own fireworks. 21


Northern and Southern Taurids

Leonids, 16 - 17th Nov The Leonids are a result of Comet 55P/ Tempel - Tutle and appear to radiate from the head of Leo.

Nov 4 - 5th (Southern) Nov 11 - 12th (Northern) The Taurids are associated with Comet 2P/Encke which orbits the sun every 3 years and radiant out from the constellation Taurus

Expect to see a maximum of around 10 meteors per hour but this year will be hampered by a nice bright full moon around the time of the peak, but some of the bright ones will hopefully shine through for our delight and wonderment.

The reason for getting two separate showers from the debris stream left behind by this comet is because the stream itself has spread out in space over time.

These meteors typically enter earths atmosphere at around 158,880 mph, so their going pretty quick!

These meteors appear at a rate of around 5 per hour and are quite slow compared to others, if you can call 65,000 miles per hour slow of course! They are also bigger than most meteor, around the size of pebbles, and made from heavier materials, they can become very bright and leave smoke trails and have also been called the “Halloween fireballs”.

For more information on why we get meteor showers every year, the best ways to view these meteor showers and for some hints on how to capture them on camera please use the link below and go to page 20. Hope you get to see some, let us know if you do, especially if you capture any on camera, we’ve love to add them in the next issue. August 2013 Newsletter 22


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Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival Spetember 2013

A KICK START IN THE LIGHT (Dark) DIRECTION

explaining what I would need to see me through the night Andy wondered off into the darkness (like he does) to get something. He came back with a remote switch & a dew heater. Two more new friends for the evening! With this all set up and the night time upon us it was time to start looking up, a lot.

By Nathan Wilson (Johnny Alphaa) A few too many bright moons ago, I was given the opportunity to attend my very first Astro Fest! None other than Hersty 2013 (Or Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival 2013 as it's formally known). With thanks to Toby Webb & Jess Hill, I was able to catch a ride & camp on their pitch to embark on what we hoped to be a 'clear night looking at awesome stuff' in basic terms.

After playing around a bit I managed to get a manual focus on a bright star (Vega) and started taking photos. As the night went on i started to get some great shots i was happy with. Aside from a few bumps along the way, where me being an absolute noob I couldn’t work out why my photos started to blur? Turns out the moisture had set in and

I had just purchased my first DSLR and wanted to come along for a laugh, look at some stars & maybe capture a few night sky shots. We set up the kit and 'mooched' about round our pitch talking to the people set up next to us, anticipating the dark skies ahead. Among the people we were camping by, was a Mr. Andy Lee. I was introduced to Andy who kindly offered to help out. After asking numerous of what I felt like at the time as silly questions Andy had given me what felt like a crash course in Astrophotography giving me advice on how to set up, what settings to try etc.

I hadn't turned the dew heater on. Oops! After a little while & a quick clean the lens was clear & the astronomical ball was rolling

After answering all my questions & more & 24


Since Hersty I have been lucky enough to get out again with Toby & Jess to take more great photos of some deep space stuff using an adaptor ring on his telescope. I am officially hooked! It's safe to say without that dew heater & remote switch I wouldn't have made it through the night/morning at Hersty. again.

A massive thanks to Toby Webb & Jess Hill & Andy Lee for making this all possible & Matt the helpful chap who kindly helped out & gave me an IR remote for my camera)

As the night went on I tried out various settings and generally played around to see what was achievable with the set up I had. I took loads of great photos that I’m really happy with. In-between I was getting bombarded with useful knowledge about all the different stars, constellations and deep space wonders that we looked with the human eye & through the scope. It was brilliant.

Also a Big Thank you to everyone that made Hersty 2013 one to remember. I took a lot from that weekend at Hersty, at the very least some wonderful photo's! Wishing you clear, dark skies

With the fun filled night having felt like it had flown by and my head feeling like it was about to explode due to the amount of information it had processed in the previous hours, i decided to take a few more snaps then off to bed, it had been a great result. The last shot of the night and i managed to get one of the domes, pleiades, Jupiter & some milky way in one picture. I was happy! I had an awesome Saturday night/ Sunday morning, met some great people throughout the event and learnt an untold amount which has sparked my new found love for Astronomy & Astrophotography. After getting home and reviewing the nights work I was made up. I had met some awesome people, got some awesome photographs and had an awesome time. 25


ited at the prospect of some good imaging getting done. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be (power problems) and I could almost hear Calvin thinking “this doesn’t happen with my dob” but he was too much of a gentleman to go there.

Herstmonceux 2013...My first festival by Scott Prideaux After what seemed like an eternity the weekend of Hersty 2013 finally rolled around so with car and trailer packed I picked up Calvin an headed south on the 250 mile journey. It was a great chance for the two of us to get to know each other having only ever met once for a couple of hours and chatting on another (gasp) internet forum (burn the heretic). Him being visual, he’s got a stunning 18” hand built dob, and myself con-

Anyway, as the old saying goes, when you’re given lemons, make lemonade....So I did. Calvin had the most amazing case of eyepieces I’m yet to see so we had a play with them in his Telementor and my 8” newt and saw some stunning sights. It also gave me a chance to wander about and meet a few other people and their set-ups and I must say a friendlier bunch you’re unlikely to meet. Saturday was spent wandering the stands, spending a little and admiring a lot. Looking through Gary Palmer and John Slinns solar setups was a real treat and both were so willing to answer questions (that I’m sure they’ve heard a million times before) with real enthusiasm .

centrating on imaging, there was plenty of time for some friendly banter. On arrival, I must confess to slight feelings of trepidation, I mean, I’ve chatted with these folk here and often pestered them with my continual questions, but now I was going to meet them face to face. There was now no way of hiding my astronomical (in every sense) inadequacies. My fears were short lived however. Turning the corner we were greeted by Andy’s Cheshire cat like grin and warm welcomes from David, Dennis, Simon and Brian, along with a very impressive array of scopes, mounts and cameras.

Saturday night, after another failed imaging attempt (don’t ask). We took Calvins ep’s over to Simon and Allen (from sgl) and pop the 21mm Tv in the 16” Dob. I gotta say 100 deg fov in a 16” scope was the most

As the skies darkened on the first night, we were greeted by a best Milky Way I’ve yet to see in the UK and I began to get quite ex26


Another great festival! The weekend of 6th—8th September 2013 came around again so quickly, this was to be the 9th annual festival held at the Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux, Hailsham, East Sussex, UK. Myself, Simon and Dennis arrived on the Thursday afternoon to meet up with Paul Foster and Simon Thorne from East Sussex Astronomical Society (ESAS) to mark out 100 camping pitches on the field in front of the centre, this was made so much easier this year with Paul’s clever use of very long pieces of rope and cable tie markers along the lengths. After a couple of hot hours it was all done, so time to pitch out tent and get the scopes set up for the coming night, clear skies were predicted! And yes clear skies we had until around 2.30am. amazing view I’ve had at the ep. I actually found myself falling forward. On my wanderings around the campsite, I was struck by a lack of female astronomers....until I got back to our site and found them all gathered around one Andy Lee. Don’t know what he’s got but I wish I could bottle it. After a final drool over our member’s setups I called it an early night to prepare for the long drive home. Woke up to another lovely morning, took or time packing up, chatting and saying our farewells. To spend 2 wonderful nights under the stars in such a setting was a wonderful experience. To do it with such friendly, helpful people made it so much more. Driving back up the M6 it dawned on me that I not only learnt so much more about a hobby I love, I left with a few more mates than I started with.

Friday started quietly in the morning but things picked up around midday as people started arriving onsite, the buzz of the festival had started. The forecast for the weekend wasn’t looking good for those of us who had been following it for a week or so leading up to this weekend, but like a lot of us who are used 27


to this wonderful English weather of ours, we didn’t pay it too much notice and decided lets go with what we get on the weekend, and what a weekend we had as well, clear skies each night, well except about a 2hr downpour that did catch a few of us out, otherwise we were treated to some lovely dark skies, a beautiful milky way arching across the night sky and late on Saturday night those of us still up were treated to the most amazing meteor/fireball that streaked across for the sky lasting for what seemed like a good 6 secs and leaving a smoke trail, sadly as far as I’m aware not one person caught it on camera. Over the weekend there was plenty to do inside and out side the centre with trade stands, talks and presentations and some astronomy society stands and of course the amazing telescopes in the awesome green domes of Hersty, those you just have to see and look through. It’s a very special place and holds a lot of British astronomy history there, and to be able to camp by these domes and observe is something very special. It’s also great to catch up with friends and of course make new ones, people now travel from all over the country to come to this festival now. A big thanks has to go to Sandra Voss and her team at the centre, the work they put in behind the scenes is huge! A lot of us are already looking forward to next year and the 10th anniversary of this great astronomy festival, dates will be released in Feb 2014 so keep checking their website and ours and remember to book early if you want to camp, pitches went very quickly this year!. Andy Lee. 28


More images are viewable by clicking here 29


Members Moon Shots

Moon image taken by 8yo Caitlin Cook using her dads Canon 1100D with a 75 300mm on a fixed tripod.

Moon by Nathan Wilson using a Canon 600D at prime focus on a 150mm Skywatcher Newtonian .

Moon captured by Gary Palmer with a Takahashi fs 60 and a Canon 7d camera. 6 panel mosaic using a Canon 50D and APT software by Andy Lee 30


Members Shots

Crescent nebula by Dave Parker

Iridium flare over Hersty by Ashley Fuggle

M31 Andromeda Galaxy by Dennis Butcher

Milky way and Zodiac lights by 不動明王

Simple moon by John Oxford Jr 31


Comet ISON Is Coming Comet C/2012 S1, now known as Comet ISON, was discovered on 21st September 2012 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok unsing the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia.

So where is Comet ISON now, where will it be in the coming months and how bright will it get? Lots of questions and lots of answers from what I can see scouring the web. Well as for where it is right now, thats the easy one, it’s up by Mars and was captured on camera by the Mars reconnaissance orbiter spacecraft on 29th Sept, the images and write up can be found by clicking on this link If you right click and choose “new tab” it’ll save you keep having to come back to this newsletter.

Image credit: Vitali Nevski

There are some experts however that think Comet ISON may not be a new comet at all, but actually a direct descendant of the Great Comet of 1680 (C/1680 V1)or even the very same object because the trajectory of it’s preliminary orbit is very similar. Will we ever find out?

I think for ease of use for everyone, and basically to save me writing/copying/crediting various people and online sources I thought it would be easier to provide you with links for a few of the sites I have found most useful, so to start is one by Nick Howes and his team who are bang up to date with ISON on their blogspot. Next for finder charts and orbital elements try this link and also this one that a friend of mine, Steve O’Donoghue, from Ireland pointed out to my group The SkyLive and of course a good source of info will always come from EarthSky and not forgetting the various online astronomy groups and magazines. Lets just hope it survives the trip around our sun on 28th November, time will tell and hopefully we’ll have a bright comet to view and image! Andy Lee.

The Great Comet of 1680 over Rotterdam by Lieve Verschuier 32


Above image captured by Rolando Ligustri of Comet ISON, Mars and Asteriod 433 Eros on 28th Sept 2013.

Comet ISON track, chart via Seiichi Yoshida at Aerith.net.

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www.bambinosbooks.co.uk My name is Janet Slinn and I am an Independent Usborne Organiser and Team Leader. Please see below a small selection of the marvellous Usborne Astronomy & Space related books and cards, all available to buy from my website. The story of astronomy and space An introduction to the mysteries of space and the secrets of astronomy. Packed with scientific facts about the solar system, comets, the Big Bang theory, telescopes, space exploration and much, much more. Diagrams and amusing illustrations help make complex ideas easy and fun. Includes star charts, a glossary and astronomy timeline, and internet links to recommended websites.

Night sky sticker book A fantastic book with over 120 features of the night sky to spot, with simple descriptions and accurate sticker illustrations. Children (and adults) can spot the various constellations, planets and satellites and place the coloured stickers next to each entry. Doubling as a spotters’ guide, each entry has a space for readers to log where and when they spotted the night sky feature

See Inside Space A flap book of astronomical proportions, packed with facts and information about the stars, planets and the universe. Fabulous double-page topics show our solar system, the Milky Way, how scientists think the universe was created and the latest space travel technology. Over 50 flaps reveal fascinating facts about the universe and there's a little book of star maps tucked in a pocket at the back of the book. Includes internet links to websites with the latest space information, games and photos. “A great introduction designed to stimulate further learning.” Publishing News “Perfectly pitched for Key Stage 2, a mix of facts, humour and novelty flaps...This series is proof that the right non-fiction still sells.” The Bookseller 35


www.bambinosbooks.co.uk 100 Things to Spot in the Night Sky Cards A pack of 50, double-sided, pocket-sized cards to help identify constellations, planets, meteors and other starry sights. Each card shows a feature of the night sky, one to a side, including a detailed picture and description, interesting facts, statistics and position in the night sky. An easy, convenient and informative companion for stargazing, with or without a telescope. With internet links to star maps and websites to find out more.

Astronomy and space sticker book Rocket into the wonders of space with this exciting introduction to astronomy, including over 130 stickers of stars, rockets, planets and much more to complete the pages. Encounter great galaxies, the burning sun and gas giants, discover how stars are born, what it’s like to live in space and much more. A fun and engaging way for children to learn about the solar system.

First encyclopedia of space A bright, lively introduction to space with simple text, amazing photographs and detailed illustrations. Provides simple explanations to questions such as “What are stars made of?” “Why does the Moon shine?” and “What do space toilets look like?” Includes free downloadable pictures and internet links to carefully selected fun websites.

For more information, on these or any other Usborne books, please contact me on 07802 833947, or janetslinn@live.com, or through my website www.bambinosbooks.co.uk 36


October newsletter 2013