Castle Point Astronomy Club
Castle Point Astronomy Club Diary
July 2017 by Dave Stratton
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5th July 2017

Ron was having a clear out and the top table was laden with astro books of all kinds for folk to help themselves from.

Peter said that Saturn was low in the South and well worth a look.

Mike said that he was presenting this evening´s entertainment and the subject was:

Members´ Activity Roundup also known as a Stikfest

He took chairman´s privilege and got us started.

He began with some nice pics of our recently departed member, Colin Munt, who was a great fan of Patrick Moore. Colin got to meet him twice and we saw pics of both occasions.

Mike also showed Colin´s s brilliant sketches of lunar craters Playfair and Archimedes done in April this year. Lovely sky pic of vapour trails and a double rainbow.

Also sundogs which he said were 220 either side of the Sun.

He also showed us his own sketch of M42.

Ed was next with a pic of himself next to his Dob.

Then we saw Saturn through his 80mm refractor.

A nice pic of Patrick Moore´s 15inch reflector, which has a top section that rotates, the image included the great man himself just outside the door of his observatory.

A shot from Kelling Heath that included our club 16inch Dob.

A pic of his friend Clive with his 17inch Dob.

Dave Smith had a superb image of the Bubble Neb and the Lobster Claw Neb

Also Comet 46P Tuttle and Comet 2015V2Johnson

Phil was up next with some shots from his recent visit to Iceland.

He was hoping to see aurora, but was frustrated in this so he showed us numerous pics of pics of aurora that we had the pleasure of seeing.

He finished with a nice shot from his plane on the way home of a sunset gleaming through cloud.

Andy D had an excellent image of the Californian Neb which needed 25hours of imaging. He also included the images that helped create the final one and explained how he did it.

He had a nice image of M81 and M82 that included some fine nebulosity that is just outside our galaxy.

George recommended a book: - Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli.

Peter had recently made a trip to Scotland to see his friend Denis Buczynski who lives on a peninsular in northern Scotland – Tarbatness – rather remote – but splendid skies.

We saw a pic of Denis with his two domes.

Peter showed us the views in N S E and W all were splendidly clear of obstruction.

Denis has several scopes dotted around his garden sitting atop six foot tall metal columns.

He also has several cameras trained on parts of the sky looking for meteors – he is part of the NEMETODE Network that is studying meteors.

He also has a solar scope in his front garden.

One of the pillar mounted instruments is rather special – it is a 4inch F15 refractor – once owned by George Alcock who was a prodigious discoverer of meteors, novae and comets. Peter explained that Denis was actually given the instrument as he would make good use of it.

He has a garden shed stuffed with astro gear. He operates the scopes in the domes from it.

One dome has a 12inch short focus reflector from A E Optics.

The other has a Celestron C14 on a Paramount.

Mike brought us back to reality with the news that next week we have Ed telling us about Proper Motion.

Also he advised that in 2019 the Club would be in its 50th year – so we need some ideas for how this amazing event should be celebrated.


12th July 2017

Mike said that we have next week and then our venue is the Castle in Hadleigh until 6th September when we have our social evening.

Peter said the Sun has a big sunspot that is right in the middle – so we may be hit by a flare.

Mike introduced Ed for his talk:

Proper Motion – Observed

He began by explaining that stars are said to have Proper Motion (PM) when their position relative to the background star field changes over time. He also mentioned the fact that the Earth precesses like a wobbling top over 26,000years which also affects the stars´ position.

Edmund Halley was the first to note PM in 1718.

Ed used Ursa Major to show how this constellation will change over the next 50,000years due to its stars not all moving together.

E E Barnard measured the PM of a star in 1916 at 10.3arcseconds per year which is the largest PM of any known star. The star became known as Barnard´s Star.

Robert Burnham Junior used the same scope as Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto at Lowell Observatory.

He made his own scope and used it to discover comets. His masterpiece was Burnham's Celestial Handbook in three volumes.

His task at the Observatory was to conduct a survey of PM. Sadly when he finished the survey he was offered the post of janitor – he resigned.

He went downhill very quickly.

Eventually a Plaque was set up to honour the discoveries he made.

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel used the Parallax method to establish the distance to 61 Cygni – the parallax method involves viewing an object at 6month intervals so making use of the Earth´s orbit diameter. He found it to be 10.3ly – the current accepted distance is 11.4 so not bad.

Ed showed us a chart depicting the two components (it’s a double star) of 61 Cygni from 2014 to 2024.

Ed showed us his own sketch of its PM from 2015 to 2017 – he used his 10inch reflector at 200X magnification.

Well done Ed.

19th July 2017

Dave our scibe wasn't present this week so here is a quick round up.

Members were reminded that this was the last meeting at the Church before the summer break. The next meeting will be on 6 September 2017.

Peter then gave a roudn up of what can be seen in the night sky over the summer. This included the planets, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the Persied meteor shower in August, the Milky Way and various Messier objects.

26th July 2017

No meeting.

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