Castle Point Astronomy Club
1969-2019 - 50th Anniversary Year
Castle Point Astronomy Club Diary
December 2016 by Dave Stratton

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Wednesday 7th December 2016

Observing Highlights 2017 - Peter Carson and Members Activity Roundup

Ted announced that the set-up for the scouts this Friday will be at 7.30.

Next week it will be our Christmas Social.

Ed said there was a pile of mags at the front which he encouraged us to take.

Mike introduced Peter for his talk:

Observing Highlights 2017

Peter said the highlight will be the US total eclipse on 18th August it will pass right across America and be seen by an awful lot of people. There will also be an annular eclipse on 26th February starting in Africa and ending in the Pacific after crossing South America. It will be over the Atlantic for most of the time.

Peter said he would provide greater detail nearer the time.

With respect to the Moon he said there would be a penumbral eclipse of the Moon on 11th February. He explained that this is when the Earth moves through the outer part of the coneshaped shadow - so whilst it is not exciting it is certainly very interesting.

He said that Mercury is in the evening sky in January and mid August.

Venus is stunning in the SW in the evenings and it will move to be a morning object.

Jupiter will reach opposition in April, Saturn in mid June.

Peter said that Mars was bright but tiny - only 5 seconds of arc - small!

He suggested we have a look at some asteroids with bins - if you Google "asteroids with bins" there's a lot of info.

There are also some asteroid occultations of which more later.

Peter told us about Near Earth Objects (NEO) these are asteroids and 10,000 of them are considered to be NEOs. He added that one known as 2012 TC4 will pass within 0.04 LD (that's Lunar Distance)!

He said we should look at the Minor Planet Website for details.

Peter got onto one of his favourite subjects - meteorites. He said the first one would the Quadrantics which come from an area near the handle of the Plough and could get up to 80/hour in early January (4th). Then in August we will have the Perseids on the night of 12th/13th. The gibbous Moon will stop us seeing the fainter ones but the Perseids are very bright generally. Then in December we will get the Geminids on 14th, expect over 100/hour.

Another of his favourites is comets. He began with 2P/Enke which will be quite close to us in Feb. In June we will have 41P Tuttle, then 45P Honda in Feb. Some could even be naked eye.

Plus he said there were loads of double stars, clusters and galaxies.

However he said his all time favourite thing to look at was the Milky Way.

Then Mike got us set up for the Stikfest.

Jim was on first with NGC 1501 a planetary neb, nicely detailed. He followed this with a narrow band image of the California Neb, Then M27 with another HA image of the Dumbbell Neb. Then we had NGC 801 an edge-on galaxy with a nice dust lane. He said he used his new small refractor for the job.

Phil was next with the Moon on a foggy day with aurora, also the Sun with sunspots. We saw several pics from his visit to the radio dish at Defford. He also went to Space Zone and we saw pics of the engine of a super high speed space plane. He finished with a nice sundog taken at Kelling Heath.

Dave Smith was on next. He started with a lovely clip of Algol changing brightness.

He showed an image of his new scope that is good for solar work. We saw a nice image of the solar limb and NGC 457 the Stickman Neb. Also the Moon, Venus and Mars low in SW.

We saw M37 an open cluster and the Californian Neb taken in two parts and then stitched however in his opinion an older image was still better. Then we had the Witch Head Neb and the Lobster Claw in colour.

Mike was next with some old images; we saw last year's scope fest, a nice sun dog and a pillar. He had some astro camp pics including looking at Venus in daytime. Then we had a series of sketches starting with NGC404 Mirach's Ghost, NGC7741 which is a barred spiral galaxy, M76 the Little Dumbbell Nebula, NGC772 is an unbarred spiral galaxy, then we had the Flame Neb. the Moon Venus and Mars and he finished this excellent selection with Earth Shine on the Moon.

Andy D was on next with a stunning image of Mellotte 15 in the Heart Nebula it was almost 3D.

Ed had a pic of himself in his garden with his trusty 6inch Dob that he made in 1994. He has just refurbished it and in the process added 5inches to the height which he said was better for his back. The work had included a new mirror cell and main bearings. He also rebuilt the secondary mounting and in doing so redesigned the adjustments to work without a locknut as he finds they always suffer from backlash - he used a spring.

He added that the rebuild had cost as much as a new scope!

Wednesday 14th December 2016

Christmas Social

It´s the time when we have our Christmas Social.

Ted and Eileen ably assisted by Allan and Cynthia and not forgetting Mary provided a splendid array of seasonal goodies to tempt us to begin overindulging for the festive season.

Mike was called upon to do some work as a father and son turned up with a 4 inch reflector that they couldn´t get to perform - so out he went and sorted it.

We all had a good natter - What more do you need?

Merry Christmas to all see you in the New Year

Wedsnesday 21st and Wednesday 28th December 2016 - No meetings

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