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Saturday, October 11

A New Cumbrian Sky

Stuart has been busy down in Kendal preparing a new version of Cumbrian Sky, as AOL decided to close their Journal service he has been using for the last few years. So check out the new site at http://cumbriansky.wordpress.com

I'm sure you'll agree that the new blog looks very slick, and we can be sure that Stuart's posts will continue to be the excellent quality we've come to expect.

A quick check through my bookmarks shows this is now the third incarnation of Cumbrian Sky, for those intested in a historical perspective the original site dating back to October 2004 is still available.

Friday, October 10

Enceladus close flyby

Phil Plait aka the Bad Astronomer has a this early round up of Cassini's very close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The first pictures look impressive

Enceladus flyby

Just yesterday, the Cassini spacecraft passed an incredible 25 kilometers (16 miles) off the surface of Saturn’s weird moon Enceladus. This icy ball has plumes of water jetting up from its south pole region, emanating from a series of parallel cracks nicknamed tiger stripes. Cassini flew right through these plumes! The images taken have not been fully processed yet, but the Cassini folks have released a few of the raw images. Here’s one:

Cassini raw view of Enceladus

Wow. The surface of Enceladus is entirely covered with ice; see how few craters there are? That means the surface is "new"; if it were older there would be lots more craters. That means the moon is recently (or continuously) resurfaced, which in turn means a dynamic process almost certainly involving water and a liquid interior. The cracks and plates look to be due to ice floes. We see the same sort of thing here on Earth and on Jupiter’s frozen moon Europa.

blog it

What's going on with CAS News?

OK. You'll probably see some strange things happening on CAS News over the next few days, let me explain. . . .

Basically I've switched the CAS Website address (www.cockermouthastronomy.co.uk) over to point at the former CAS News blog (www.casnews1.blogspot.com). That means the blog is now *the* CAS website. So why have I done that and what are the implications ?

Firstly, Why? Well you probably noticed that I haven't had much time to update anything recently. The CAS website hasn't been touched for ages and much of the information on meetings and membership was out of date. As only I have access to update the website, and only from one desktop computer that makes things more difficult. On the other hand the blog can be updated by other from anywhere with web access. So everyone coming to the same place means more likelihood of things being up to date. Also you all get the opportunity to comment on the blog, so can play your part. A second advantage of the blog approach is cost, it should be much cheaper to maintain as we use the services of 'blogger'.

So what are the implications of this move ?
  1. There may be an impact on email subscriptions. If you get CAS News via email then I haven't worked out whether it will still work or not. I may need to do some adjustments behind the scenes to get things back on track.
  2. If you have the former CAS website bookmarked you may still get to the old homepage at http://www.cockermouthastronomy.co.uk/index. If you do you'll need to type www.cockermouthastronomy.co.uk into your address bar (or follow this link) then bookmark that to replace the old bookmark.
  3. As I'm moving some of the old reference data from the old site to this one, you may get email updates of 'old stuff' you don't need. Just bear with me, that should only happen a few times before we are back on track.
  4. I could have broken everything ! Things seem to be working on my PC but if you are experiencing any difficulties please let me know on chris@cockermouthastronomy.co.uk (or cas@darwin.otherinbox.com if I've broken the email as well).
  5. If I've really, really broken it you probably will not be able to read this either !
At the moment I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

[UPDATE: I think I've redirected the feed so that the emails should work now. If you are not getting them let me know. I've noticed that the URL http://cockermouthastronomy.co.uk still links to the old site so if you omit the "www." part you can still get all the old site at the moment.]

CAS Meeting Programme

Below is our latest programme.

Sunday, October 5

September Meeting Report

CAS founder, Stuart Atkinson was our guest speaker this month and gave us an excellent talk on Visions of Mars. Stuarts presentation was packed with fantastic pictures of Mars and gave a real perspective on the way space probes and landers have changed our view of the Red Planet. You can find links to all Stuart's online work, and there's lots of it, over at Cumbrian Sky or Stuart's homepage. It was great to see Stuart and Stella again and we look forward to welcoming them to future CAS meetings.

New CAS member Peter Nicholson also provided an update on the new CAS telescope and some really useful beginners insights into preparing for and observing session.

Chris provided the usual update on space and astronomy news. If you missed it you can use the following link to view September's CAS News Presentation.

Hope to see you at the October CAS meeting.