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Wiltshire Astronomical Society Posts

Monthly Meeting April 7th Cancelled

Due to the ongoing Coronovirus COVID-19 situation, the society committee has cancelled the monthly meeting scheduled on Tuesday 7th April 2020. The scheduled speaker, Pete Williamson, has kindly offered to return next year. Also Andy Burns has will produce the April Newsletter and send via email as normal – thanks Andy.

Chris Brooks will continue to provide updates on scheduled and ad hoc observing via the observing mailing list – please sign up here – as well as on the members private Facebook group, see links below.

We will provide another update in good time ahead of the May meeting as the situation and Government health guidance develops.

As a reminder, you can keep up to date on the society’s public Facebook page here, as well as the private group for members here.

Clear skies

Messier Marathon March 2020

We will be attempting the Messier Marathon on Saturday 21st March which will take place at Pewsey Down Car Park at grid reference SU 11585 63805 (link to map). While subject to confirmation on the day, Chris Brooks is planning to get there for sunset at around 18:30 to set up. If it is called off on the Saturday we will check the forecast for other possible evenings during the week but keep it to the same location and time.

Please sign up to our observing mailing list to follow updates there about this event and our regular monthly observing sessions, the sign up form is on our page.

We hope to see you there!

All messier objects (numbered).jpg
Credit: Michael A. Phillips, source

2020 March Meeting and Newsletter

Tonight, Tuesday 3rd March 2020, we will be welcoming astrophotograher Dr Lilian Hobbs who will be talking to us about the Armchair Messier Marathon, as is the season.

This month’s newsletter, penned by Andy Burns (thanks Andy!), highlights the issue of the new low earth orbit mega-constellations that are causing concern for ground based astronomers, amongst other local updates and information.

Andy also led the society’s outreach efforts with visits to local schools and Scout groups, thanks again.

Also, check out the Group photo taken by Peter at the last meeting.

If that’s not a rogues gallery I don’t know what is …

2020 February Meeting and Newsletter

Tonight, Tuesday 4th February 2020, we’ll be entertained by Jon Gale, as he walks us through observing the mighty Herschel 400.

This month’s newsletter, as always, has been ably complied by Andy Burns (many thanks Andy!) and can be downloaded the link below. Special thanks to Andy Burns and fellow volunteers for the schools outreach events that happened this month.

Silbury Hill during last month’s penumbrial lunar eclipse
Credit: Andy Burns

2020 January Meeting and Newsletter

Greetings and happy new year!

Tonight, Tuesday 7th January 2020, we’ll be hosting the annual beginners forum. This meeting will have no speaker and gives a chance for members to ask questions and learn from other members in the society. If you are attending, feel free to come armed with queries and you’re welcome to bring your equipment too if you can technical questions.

This month’s newsletter, as always has been ably complied by Andy Burns (many thanks Andy!) and can be downloaded the link below.

Venus and Saturn across 40 exposures arcing through winter skies
Credit: Andy Burns

2019 December Meeting and Newsletter

Tonight, Tuesday 3rd December 2019, we’re looking forward to welcoming Dr Dirk Froebrich, from the University of Kent, to our December festival monthly meeting.

Dr Froebrich will be talking about his involvement in the citizen science HOYS-CAPS Project. The project aims to allow amateur astronomers to assist with long term photometric monitoring of young stellar clusters and identical outburst candidate targets for follow up study.

As is customary, after the speaker and notices, there will be festival nibbles, thanks Andy for organising.

WAS very successful Solar Observing from November’s Transist of Mercury

2019 November Meeting and Newsletter

Tonight, Tuesday 5th November 2019, we’re looking forward to welcoming Andrew Lound to our November monthly meeting.

Andrew will be looking at Uranus and the history of William Herschel’s discovery of that fabulous planet. Andrew’s full bio is in this month’s newsletter.

Andy Burns has put together a bumper newsletter, with lots of contributions from members, thanks Andy!

The Palma to Aberdeen flight BY1213 flying across the Moon at 8:57 from Chippenham. Credit: Andy Burns

2019 October Meeting and Newsletter

Hot exoplanet. Credits: ESA/ATG medialab, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Tonight, Tuesday 1st October 2019, we’re excited to welcome Dr Chris Pearson from RAL Space in Harwell, Oxfordshire to our October monthly meeting.

Chris will present the state of the art on what is surely one of the most exciting topics in all of science today, Exoplanets. Chris will also cover his involvement in Esa’s ARIEL mission that is currently in development.

2019 September Meeting & Newsletter

Credit: Peter Chappell 2019

Tonight, Tuesday 3rd September, we kick off our new season with a thanks to Andy Burns for his dedication to the society over 25 years and continuing to publish our PDF newsletter. Here’s to another 25 years!

For our meeting tonight, we will be in the capable hands of Steve Tonkin who will talk about Time and Calendars and the relevance to astronomy. To see more from Steve, check out his website Steve’s talk will be followed by our (short) AGM. Thank you to all the committee volunteers and those that help the society.

Note on this month’s featured image. We had a couple of members travel out to Argentina and Chile for the total solar eclipse in the crisp skies of the Andes. Here is an image from Peter Chappell. Image detail: 3rd Contact: f6.3, ISO 3200, shutter speed (S/S) 1/160 of a second at 400 mm.