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Thursday, October 29

November CAS meeting

Just to confirm that the November CAS meeting will be held on 24th November. The agenda will be as follows:

  • Astronomy & Spaceflight News
  • An Introduction to Astrophysics - by Dennis Kelly
  • An Alternative History of Astronomy: The Unbelievable Truth - by Ian Smith

We have an "alternative" agenda this month, with the usual news slot followed by two brief presentations to get your mind going. The first will focus on Dennis' part-time Astrophysics studies. This will be followed by something to tease your imagination and test your knowledge of astronomical history.

See you there at 7.30pm.


Saturday, October 24

CAS forward programme

It's been a while since we've had a published forward programme for CAS meetings, but thanks to Jeremy's efforts we now have a programme of meetings over the next few months. We are working on adding to it for the rest of 2010 so if you have any ideas let us know.

You can find the latest version of the programme by following the "Meeting Programme" link in the toolbar above. Or simply follow this link.


Thursday, October 22

Lots of new exoplanets

A recent announcement of exoplanet discoveries has boosted the number of known planets to over 400. The haul of planets consists of 32 planets including so-called super earths. More details in this Universe Today article (and just about anywhere else you care to look on the web)

More details next week at our October meeting of course.


Tuesday, October 20

October CAS Meeting

Our October meeting is next Tuesday 27th October and this month our guest speaker is David Ramshaw from the Border Astronomical Society. David will be talking about Medieval Astronomy.

Of course we'll also have our usual round up of the latest in space and astronomy news.

See you there,


Saturn: The Big Picture

I talked about the equinox at Saturn at our September meeting. There were some pretty amazing images available at the time. However the Boston Post blog The Big Picture has put together this collection of some of the best images, including many I hadn't seen before.

If you haven't checked out the Big Picture it's well worth a regular check as it covers a wide variety of topics and news stories using just a collection of great images.


Saturday, October 17

IC405 & IC410

IC405, better known as the Flaming Star Nebula is located in the constellation of Auriga. It surrounds the hot blue star AE Aurigae which energises the gas. The nebula is both an emission and reflection nebula region, hence the blue, red and purple colours. The nebula is about 1500 light years away and spans about 5 ly.

Nearby is IC410, 1.5 degrees across the sky from IC405.

The following image is a combination of 14 x 5 minute exposures at 1600ISO.

IC405 & IC410
William Optics ZS80 & Canon 300D
14 x minutes @ 1600ISO
EQ6 autoguided
Approx. fov 3 x 2 degrees

Pleiades shines bright

Another clear night kept me out until 3.30am on Friday/Saturday. The following picture is a combination of 28 x 5 minute exposures.

M45 - Pleiades Cluster
William Optics ZS80 and Canon 300D
28 x 5 minutes @ 400ISO
EQ6 autoguided
Approx. field of view 3 deg x 2 deg

Friday, October 16

More Mars Meteorites

As always Stuart, over at Cumbrian Sky, has been keeping a keen eye on goings on at Mars and points out on his "road to endeavour" blog that Opportunity has stumbled (rolled?) across yet another meteorite.

Check out Stuart's post for more details. I'm wondering just how many blogs Stuart is running now ?

Cassini is back amongst the moons

You might have noticed that we've not seen many of those nice images of Saturn's moons from Cassini over the last few months. That's because Cassini has been orbiting over Saturn's poles and giving us some fantastic views of the rings instead.

However that's changed again as the the spacecraft is back in an equatorial orbits and has already sent back some amazing images including this great image of Tethys below. As usual Emily Lakdawala has much more information and images on the Planetary Society Blog.

Saturday, October 10

3,000 visits and counting

It's traditional to keep a track of visitors to websites and blogs on the Internet and I noticed the other day that Stuart's Cumbrian Sky has passed the landmark of 100,000 (yes one hundred thousand) visitors. That's a fantastic milestone, well done Stu.

That prompted me to check our own counter and we have reached the somewhat more modest milestone of 3,000 visitors. That's not bad for a blog that's really just designed to keep society members up to date on whats going on. We've been going for almost four years (since January 2006) and have over 400 posts on CAS News now.

So to 'celebrate' I've added a search panel to the side bar on the blog to help you search through some of those 400 older articles. It's over there just under the calendar.

While on the topic of posting I'd also like to pass on my thanks to Jeremy who has really picked on the mantle of the blog over the last few months posting news articles and his excellent images, while I've not been so active. Hopefully other things will calm down a bit for me soon and I'll be able to spend a bit more time blogging.

And of course thanks to all of you for keeping coming back.

Don't forget you can contribute by leaving comments on posts, just click on the "x comments" link under the relevant post. It only take a minutes and it doesn't hurt ;-)


Scale model of the Solar System

Today Kendal's Eddington Astronomical Society held an event introducing the solar system in a very interactive way, as a scale model. The event was a great success and I was delighted to be able to go along and help out.

The real attraction of this scale model was that both the distances between planets and the size of the planets were done to the same scale thanks to lots of hard work by Doug Ellison of the Unmanned Spaceflight forum. The scale was really enlightening, even for those of us who have been observing and reading about the solar system for years, you really got an appreciation of how much SPACE there is out there!

Thanks to Stuart's organisational and publicity skills plenty of people turned up to experience the event themselves, around 200 in total.

I spent the day 'orbiting' somewhere around the asteroid belt, talking to people, answering questions and generally trying to convince people that there is more to that part of the solar system than just Mars!

Congratulations to Stuart, Doug, EAS and everyone who turned out to make the event the fantastic success it was.