Beginners Course

New to astronomy? The Society holds 2 beginners courses during the winter months usually Oct/Nov and Feb/March.
Course places are limited to 20 per course.

See below for more information.

Stargazing Live 2017

The BBC program returns with 3 programs from Australia.

They are on the 28th, 29th and 30th March 2017. 

Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain will be the hosts again.

Check back here for details of any special Observatory events taking place around the time pof the program broadcasts

Comet 45P is in the sky

A moderately bright Comet is in the sky

For most of early part of 2017 there will be a moderately bright Comet in the sky.

The comet is Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova. It will be visible low in the constellation of Capricornus, the Sea Goat, during January reaching a brightness of +6 around mid-month.

Astronomy and Astronometry

Inspired by one of the projects undertaken by our January 2017 Public Lecture speaker, Rob Ince, from Preston; here are a few starter projects to get you to locate some of the smaller bodies of the soar system - Asteroids.

Enclosed are star charts for the track of two of the brighter asteroids, Vesta and Pallas:

Vesta - http://www.space.com/12097-vesta-asteroid-facts-solar-system.html

and

Pallas - https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pallas

Vesta is bright enough to be found with binoculars. Palls is much fainter and will be a challenge in even large binoculars but should be visible with a small telescope.

2017 - the Planets are coming

During 2017, a number of the Planets will appear during quite a few months of this year.

Some will be easily spotted in the sky such as Venus and Jupiter, others such as Saturn will take a little tracking down. A third group including Mars will take a bit more effort to locate.

So, taking each Planet in turn, here are some notes to get you started:

a) Venus - the Morning [and sometimes Evening] Star. 

Between now and March 16th Venus will appear as a brilliant object in the after-dusk sky - visible for many hours after sunset. Between March 17th and April 2nd it will disappear behind the Sun. Then from April 3rd until November 16th it wil be present in the pre-dawn morning sky.

2016-2017 Program of Events - draft

This is a draft program of events for 2016-2017.

Details of the upcoming Public Lectures are still be finalised and program updates will be published when these details are available.

Please check back here regularly for any changes and announcements with regards to the program of events for 2016-2017.

Tuesday Night Meetings

In addition to our weekly Friday events the Society also meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

These meetings are great for astronomy newcomers as well as for the more experienced, they are less structured than the Friday meetings and have a relaxed, sociable feel to them.

We chat about astronomy and science related subjects, share information, and help each other with advice on equipment matters, astrophotography, observing etc.

There is currently a telescope building project on the go (anyone can join in), we have a Tuesday night Facebook group, and we organise observing trips, both to our Observatory and to other dark sky sites in the area.

James Webb Space Telescope - the countdown begins

Many people have been wowed by the amazing images from the Hubble Space Telescope for more than two decades.

But in the not too distant future a new Space Telescope will be ready for launch.

The James Webb Space Telescope [JWST] has been under construction for more than 10 years and with increasing costs has faced many calls for it to be scrapped. However following a current spend of around $10 billion the JWST has got to the final hurdle before ground based testing begins.

Scheduled for launch some time in 2018, the components of the JWST have finally been married together recently with space-frame and mirrors made in the USA, Instruments in Europe - including the UK, and various important electronics and cameras from Canada.

Citizen Science needs you

Dopes your computer stay powered on for some time every day?

Does is stand idle while you go make a cup of tea?

Do you watch as the egg-timer trundles away while you download the latest movie across your slow internet connection?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you could release your PC to do something interesting and cool for the benefit of science.

Mass-participation offline number-crunching is the latest way to get involved in science investigation.

Just turn over your pc to use some of its spare capacity to crunch the numbers from a world-wide science collaboration.

To find out more check this out .... 

The Stars by Night - a guidebook to planning an evenings observations

Ever wondered about doing a  simple observing program.

This one is about as simple as it gets - observe one star each night - for every night for a whole year.

About 150 years ago this was the aim of a local amateur astronomer and he published a guidebook to help other observers undertake the observing plan.

Now the guidebook is being re-released by a local publisher.

For more details check out this blog....

http://www.starlight-nights.co.uk/stars-night-night

 

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