First a quick report from our March meeting. We had a good turn out, including a couple of new faces which was good to see. Following the usual news round up, which I'm pleased to say is becoming more of a discussion tha a talk, I gave a presentation on the ife of Robert Hooke, a founder of the Royal Society and someone who made significant contributions to astronomy.
Next month is our Annual General Meeting, which means we have to conduct the formal business of the society including approving the accounts and electing committee members. As I've said at previous meetings we are looking for more people to help out on the committee, so please come with ideas and nominees. The meeting will be on Tuesday 29th April and Dennis has agreed to do a talk on the lifecycle of stars following the formal business.
Also we would like to take the opportunity (weather permitting) for people to bring along their telescopes for a short observing session in Memorial Gardens after the meeting. This will be an opportunity for people to get some help and advice in using their telescopes. That's something a number of people have been asking for.
Space and Astronomy News
There's quite a bit of news about at the moment covering Cassini's recent flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The probe flew just 30 miles above the surface and also managed to get some chemical analysis data of the plumes erupting from the geysers on the surface of the moon. Articles and Bad Astronomy and The Planetary Society give further details.
NASA's Spitzer Space telescope has been producing some spectacular images again. This image if M82 is actually a composite of images from Spitzer, Chandra and Hubble and shows infrared, x-ray and visible wavelengths.
Compared this this Hubble only image you can see additional contribution from infrared (red) and x-ray (blue) make indicating material, largely dust excited by stellar explosions, not normally visible.
Also worth checking out this week, Stuart looks ahead to NASA Phoenix landing on Mars. The lander will land on 25th May this year, and Stuart speculates as to what those first images will be like.