Just a few items this month as we reach the end of the current season. July saw the last two formal talks and a first for YAS. Don’t worry though as we kick off the new season in September in style and have the Annual YAS Perseid BBQ to look forward to in the meantime. Of course probably the most important thing to face YAS for many years is the proposed move to Beetle Bank and the Planning Application.
Lunar Eclipse Night
Friday 27th July saw the first YAS event at Beetle Bank Farm, the much anticipated Lunar Eclipse Evening. Dave Armeson gave his talk on the Solar System which went down well. Martin Whillock followed this up with some demonstrations to illustrate the scale of the Solar System.
Derek and Suzanne Farmer brought along the ‘crater maker’ and children of all ages had a go.
Graham Moore entertained small groups with info on his array of telescopes and he finished the evening with a short talk on Astrophotography
The special event and observation session at Beetle Bank Farm was to learn about and hopefully experience the total lunar eclipse visible that evening. Unfortunately, the sky was 100% cloudy with some rain and thunder for the entire evening so we saw nothing. However, there were some good talks and telescope displays, and fun space activities for the youngsters. We did kind of see the eclipse due to a live hook-up we established to the Dubai Astronomy Group in the United Arab Emirates. Over 45 members of the public came to Beetle Bank and nobody asked for their money back so that can’t be bad!
Beetle Bank Farm
The planning application to locate the YAS Observatory at Beetle Bank Farm is well and truly under way, with the planning notices finally being posted at Beetle Bank. Our planning application is accessible on the York City Council web site.
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Observing Jupiter and Tour of the Jovian Moons
A fact filled talk by Dave Armeson accompanied by stunning images of Jupiter from the Juno mission along with amazing images of Europa (left), Ganymede, Io and Callisto
Fantastic Planets and How to Find Them
Dr Emily Brunsden of York University gave a very interesting talk entitled “Fantastic Planets and how to find them”. Dr Brunsden is the Director of Astrocampus and an accomplished and experienced lecturer. Her talk covered how exoplanets are discovered by spectroscopy (parent star wobbling) and photometry (planet transits parent star), and revealed that through the wonderful Kepler space telescope and now, the TESS space telescope, we now know that there are more planets in the galaxy than stars! She went on to specifically mention these discoveries, all of which are worth reading about on Wikipedia.
The “super earth” HD40307g
The Trappist-1 system (amazing, and includes three planets in the Goldilocks zone)
Kepler 90 with eight planets!
PSO J318.5-22, a free-floating planet with no parent star. 60 such planets have now been discovered.
For more information see https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/
August 11th – Annual YAS Perseid BBQ. This year at Beetle Bank Farm. You bring the Meat, we provide the Heat. Of course bring other food and drink items as well. Start time 17:30.
September 7th sees YAS celebrate its 1000th public meeting. It will be hosted by St Peter’s School on Bootham. Tell your friends and family that free tickets can be obtained here .The start time is 7:00pm (not 8:00pm)
Current YAS members do not need to book as tickets have already been allocated, just say you are YAS and preferably have your membership card ready.
In the Sky in August
The most important event of the month is the Perseid meteor shower, which will peak around the 12/13th. The moon will be only a slender crescent and will have set hours before the Perseus radiant climbs into the sky. If you can bear to stay up until midnight or later, that’s when you’ll see the best show, and against a very dark sky.
The first half of the month is the last chance to see Jupiter before it’s swallowed by the sunset glow.
Catch Saturn and Mars, low in the south. Mars is very close and is 24 arc seconds in diameter on the 1st, reducing to 21 arc seconds by the 31st.
Venus and the Moon will be a fine sight at about 9pm on the 14th, low in the WSW. Three days after that, Venus will be at greatest eastern elongation and will appear as a mag.-4.5 perfect “first quarter moon” shape, 24 arc seconds in diameter.
Finally, August is when the sky starts to get dark at a reasonable time of night. The summer triangle of Altair, Vega and Deneb is riding high by 10pm, and the wonderful Milky ay star fields stretching from Sagittarius through Cygnus and on to Cassiopeia and Perseus will be well seen. Go out, relax in the warm summer evenings and enjoy the spectacle