Welcome to the Cockermouth Astronomical Society website. Hopefully you'll find all the information you need about our society and astronomy in West Cumbria here. If not contact us.

For more regular updates and members images why not join our Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 13

Telescope For Sale

Meade lightbridge 10" deluxe Dobsonian reflector telescope.

Recent best 10" scope in Sky at Night magazine.

Open Truss design that takes apart to transport in car, put in cupboard etc.
Deluxe version has red dot finder and roller bearing mount, main mirror fan cooled.
Crayford focuser that takes 1 1/4" eyepieces as well as 2".

Also with extras of 2" 25mm eyepiece, dust/waterproof cover and light damping sleeve to cover open tube (good for reducing air currents, dewing and stray light) both designed for lightbridge telescope cost around £150.

Great scope, looking for £400. Or swap for good quality refractor - ideally long focal length 4" plus diameter.

Contact Dave on 01900 828217 or e-mail bainbridge-c@sky.com

Saturday, July 10

ESA’s Rosetta mission has has a long a interesting journey through the solar system on its way to its final target Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Launched in 2004 the probe has completed flybys of Earth twice and Mars one and already visited an asteroid as well as taking some fantastic astro-images on the way.

Today it passes asteroid 21 Lutetia at a distance of about 3,000 km. The closest approach takes place at about 1645 BST but as it is happening at a distance of 450 million km from Earth it will take some time for the pictures to be returned and processed. It's unlikely we'll see anything on the web before ten o'clock tonight.

This image from the ESA Rosetta team shows the asteroid seen from the probe yesterday at a distance of 2 million km. More information and updates are available on the Rosetta Blog.

The asteroid itself is relatively large, about 100km in diameter and although classed as an 'M type' asteroid has some characteristics of the much older 'C type' asteroids. Hence there is a bit of a mystery for astronomers to solve from the data Rosetta returns. It is also a great opportunity to test out all the instruments before the final comet encounter in 2014.

The Solar System needs your help . . .

Last year Kendal's Eddington Astronomical Society held a really successful scale model solar system event at Kendal Castle. I went along to help out and it was a really good day. See the video below. .

They are repeating the event this year, in the town centre this time. The aim is to bring the event to even more members of the public. The event takes place on 14th August.

To do this Stuart and EAS could really use your help. They need as people as possible to turn up for as long as you can spare to 'man a planet' as it were. You don't need to be an expert and will be given all the information and equipment you need. The idea is just to have people on hand to talk to the public, answer questions or simply point them in the right direction for more information.

If you think you could help out please get in touch with either myself or Stuart and offer your services. If you can't help then please encourage friends, family and colleagues to go along learn something.

Monday, July 5

Planck produces an new map of the microwave sky

ESA Planck instrument has been observing the sky at microwave wavelengths for 12 months now. This newly released image shows the microwave radiation from both the cosmic background radiation and the milky way.

Credit: ESA, HFI and LFI consortia

The next task for the team is to use the information from Planck's detectors a nine different wavelengths to remove the Milky Way emissions and produced the most detailed map of the cosmic microwave background yet.

More information at the ESA website.

Sunday, July 4

June 2010 Meeting Report

A very big thank you to Professor Ryan Hickox, an STFC Fellow at the University of Durham, who came to speak to us about the Growth of Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes.

Ryan flew in from Paris, having spent several days reviewing the latest data from the Herschel space telescope.

If you'd like to know more about Ryan check out http://www.dur.ac.uk/ryan.hickox/

There was much interest in the talk, which appealed to young and advanced with plenty of opportunity for questions (and a pint in the pub after the talk)!

There will be no meetings in July or August due to summer holidays. So the next society meeting will be 28th September 2010.