Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 19th, Pedro Castle 2012

Mars will be very close to the crescent moon in the faint constellation of Libra on viewing night.  Libra was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu ("the scales"), or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. The scales were held sacred to the sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice. It was also seen as the Scorpion's Claws in ancient Greece. Since these times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility. In Arabic zubānā means "scorpion's claws", and likely similarly in other Semitic languages: this resemblance of words may be why the Scorpion's claws became the Scales.
    Alternatively, another source says the Romans made it into a separate constellation in the time of Julius Caesar. Since then the Scales of Libra have become regarded as the symbol of justice, held aloft by the goddess of justice, Astraea. One legend identifies Astraea with the neighbouring figure of Virgo.
     The two brightest stars, the alpha and beta of the constellation, are called Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali respectively. Zubeneschamali, the northern one of the two, comes from an Arabic phrase meaning "the northern claw," that of the Alpha star meaning "the southern claw”.
    The illustration above comes from Alexander Jamieson’s Celestial Atlas which appeared in February 1822, with a second edition following in September that same year. For all the fame that the Atlas achieved, its author remains little known. He evidently had a wide knowledge of science, mathematics and languages, for he wrote a number of educational works on subjects as diverse as cartography, logic, rhetoric, algebra, mechanics and hydrostatics as well as editing a Latin dictionary and running a series of private schools
   Jamieson was born in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, west Scotland, in 1782, the son of a wheelwright. He obtained MA and LLD degrees from Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1821 and 1823. In 1825 he became a mature student at St John’s College Cambridge but there is no record that he ever resided there or obtained any degree. In fact, he seems to have spent most of his working life in and around London as a writer, teacher and finally an actuary.
     Venus shines bright in the east before long before dawn, and Jupiter is overhead, close to the red giant star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Update Feb 11th 2011

The Observing period up untill Novembers AGM 2010 had a record of being cloudy on all Observing Nights. The AGM was more enthusiastic than Ive known it for some time.

1. Facebook now has a Cayman Islands Astronomy Site, so events are discussed there in more detail, this will becoame the primary reporting site in future

2. We had an "Introduction To Astronomy Evening" at the UCCI in early December - this was well advertised including a "morning " interview on Day Break TV

3. We had one more members evening in January at the airfeild and two succsessfull evenings at Pedros (Jan and Feb). the last one particualry so in that we now have covers for the flood lights! This returns Pedros to its formar dark sky glory .

4. We also have a new funding/recruitmaent drive - and are looking to buy a new society refractor AND a solar telescope

5. Finally the next indoor meeting is on Friday 11th Feb at UCCI, An evening on Astrophotography.

more later

Saturday, September 11, 2010

July and August Meetings 2010

August :

Private member meeting at our "dark sky site" . Very warm tonight with a moderate to high population of mosquitoes. Some nice fire flies too. Good turn out Lovely dark sky though both large telescopes misted up after a few hours. Sagittarius very good. Saturn excellent. The new Meade is proving difficult to tame,

July :

Nick, George and myself stood outside the locked gates at Pedros and go eaten by our mozzie friends . 15 mins and enough. Visibility pretty poor anyway

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday June 15 Pedros 2010

Although not that clear a very well attended evening - numbers upto 30
Still dodging the clouds we saw
The Moon 3 days old
M4 near Antares (Scorpius was an excellent sight rising in the SE )
Omega Centauri
Southern Cross and the "Jewels"
Alpha Centauri
The Double Star in Scorpio ( Graffias )
Trifid Nebula ( the steam from the teapot rising over the Palm trees! how exotic!)
Apart from the Society Dobsonian I bought my small 60mm refractor along - for a few photos of the moon which came out well

Nick tried to shut the meeting down at 9:pm but with little effect - a very busy evening

Tuesday May Pedros

Not sure why we turned up and why it was attended as well as it was!
Possibly because the very bad run of bad weather on these seeing nights.
Typically bad on the Society night - brilliant the following evening as was the case in April

Spent about 1 hr trying to see the gap between the clouds

Peter bought his refractor along - and then tried to sell it- nice scope but too expensive for me though as have no real need for it at the moment. Buyer needs a good mount for it too

Friday, March 19, 2010

18 March Pedros 2010

The last meeting on the 16th Feb was cancelled due to bad weather.

However this meeting proved much more successfull though not in large numbers . An additional crowd was supplie dby the Fine Arts Society who were also using Pedros - though our meeting had much less wine!

So as the evening grew dark we initally saw Venus and the Moon. Visiblity was clear though slightly hazy . As the evening progressed some cloud started to come in but otherwsise viewing was acceptable.

Apart from out old Friend the Orion Nebula (M41) we also saw a number of Globular and Open Star Clusters : M42 near Sirius , the fairly large open cluster M35 as discussed in the newsletter in Gemini and my current favorite the Salt and Pepper Cluster in Auriga M37

We also saw two satellites but in particular a nice pass of Lacrosse 5 at Mag 2.8 (predicted)

For a double star we chose Castor which is a tight double of only 4 arc seconds- it was nicely resolved in the 10 inch Dob though

We then spent some time trying to identify the constellations to the south of Canopus - in particular groupings in Carina and Vela which misled some members in thinking we had the False Cross.

After most memebers had made their excuses and drifted away we then saw Saturn, which was the highlight of the evening. Thats the way it goes folks!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday 17th January 2010 Pedros Castle

This was the first general meeting of the year open to the General Public.
We have had two members only evenings since our last public meeting - these were held in an alternative dark site further North. On both occasions good dark skies were seen though the second included cloud cover!

On Sunday however we had a typical tropical clear but hazy sky. Jupiter was seen just before Europa disappeared behind the planet iteslf at around 07:15 PM An Iridum Flare satllite was also seen just after (Mag-1) .

The Orion Nebula was particulary fine tonight allowing high magnification.

As the evening progressed a high amount of dew became more apparent on the view finders as well as a fair bit of "tent" dodging due to the the new Governers visit there the previuos Friday The Andromeda nebula and M41 were not "bagged" though we did manage to see the "Salt and Pepper " nebula in Auriga.

At around 8:30 PM Mars was spotted in the East - some surface features were observed but no sign of any of the polar caps.

Much talk is of the new Meade SX 200 telescope just been donated to the Society , We need somewhere to put it!