Bulletin – December 2018

End of an Era

The YAS Rufforth Observatory is no more!

The remaining PortaKabin unit has been dismantled and suitable materials recovered for recycling or appropriate disposal.  The remaining rotted wood has been burnt. Here you can see Martin Whipp in nostalgic mood watching the burning embers – Martin was there at the beginning and at the end.

November 2nd – Meeting #1004

Philip Jennings returned to YAS after obtaining his degree and the post of Editor of the British Astronomical Association Journal.

Philip appreciates the beauty of the moon so it was logical step to look at Selenology – the scientific study of the moon.  Philip’s talk was fascinating and highlighted some key features using both photographs and his own observational drawings.  Some other YAS lunar experts were later heard to comment that they had also learnt much.

November 3rd – Trustee Meeting and November 9th – Committee Meeting

Both were reported on in detail in the mid November interim bulletin.

November 15th – Knavesmire Star Party

The night started clear and about 50 members of the public turned out with 6 scopes from YAS.  It started to cloud over after about half an hour so Graham Moore and Malcolm Muncaster entertained with images on laptops etc.

November 16th – Meeting #1005

Stu Atkinson presented a talk entitled “Home – Our Place in the Universe”

Stu described his early knowledge of the Solar System and its place within the Milky Way galaxy.   Through a series of slides he explained how our knowledge of galaxies has changed.   The incomprehensible number of galaxies now thought to exist within the known universe has grown in a very few years.  He highlighted this little blue dot in an insignificant system of planets and moons orbiting a small star. One of billions of stars in one arm of a relatively small spiral galaxy, in amongst billions upon billions of other galaxies.

The YAS photo competition finally had some entries on the topic of “People Doing Astronomy”. Unfortunately, Martin Dawson’s entry did not make it through the internet in time, so Neil Moss had a difficult job, choosing Suzanne Farmer’s photograph from the remaining entry.

The topic of the next competition is “Comets”. Entries via Facebook  or email please.

November 17th – A Telescope is not just for Christmas

This event was presented as a free guide to choosing a telescope.  The informative talks by John Rowland, Gerry Fisher, Martin Whipp, Rupert Powell, Dave Armeson and Martin Dawson set up the attendees  for some viewing under moderate conditions, which then misted over a little. The skies did eventually clear again, but unfortunately this was after most had gone home.  We had 50 ticket bookings, but only about 50% of the customers turned up.  We were probably competing with “Strictly”!.  On behalf of the trustees and the committee, thank you to our presenters and all those who brought scopes or helped with chairs, front of house etc. Particular thanks are due to Marcus Grover and helper for supporting the event and for bringing a range of telescopes etc. for sale.

December 2018

December 4th Comet Watch

The Comet Watch  will take place at Beetle Bank Farm.  Gates open 6.30 for a 7.00pm start.  If you are able to bring a scope to try to find and observe Comet 46P/Wirtanen.  Whatever the weather Dave Armeson will give an astronomical talk.  This event is free for YAS members, (email for password)

December 7th – Meeting #1006

Dave Armeson’s Christmas Lecture – MARS Rocks.  This should be a fascinating look at the Red Planet and recent discoveries.

December 8th – Second Saturday Working Party

David Friend is finalising the ‘plan’ for refurbishment of the observatory at Beetle Bank Farm.  Each working party will be focussed on particular planned tasks for which volunteers are needed.  David will be coordinating all aspects.  If you are willing to identify yourself as a potential volunteer and have any relevant skills – carpentry, engineering, electrical and so on (even being willing to wield a hammer or turn a screwdriver may be useful) please contact David via email.

December 13th – Knavesmire Public Star Party

Usual arrangement 7.00pm onwards. Scopes needed if you can make it.

December 14th – Boothferry Primary School

We have once again been contacted by Boothferry Primary School.  Dave Armeson will give a talk for the pupils and parents as part of an event where pupils work on space is displayed.  At a similar event last year, those of us who attended found the pupils to be attentive, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.  If you are able to help out with a telescope I know that the pupils would be appreciative. Please contact by email to confirm your attendance.

December 15th – Comet Watch 2

This event takes place when the Comet 46P/Wirtanen is just about at its closest approach to Earth.  Volunteers with telescopes and or Binoculars are needed to help us show visitors the comet which it is estimated, may be naked eye visible and have an apparent size comparative to two or three times the size of full moon. This event is also free to YAS members (email for password)

December 21st  – Meeting #1007 – Christmas Informal

This is your chance to shine and tell us what you may have been doing, seeing, learning or photographing over the past year.  There are likely to be some mince pies and other nibbles, possibly some drinks, maybe a better raffle and perhaps a surprise or two.

York Astronomical Society is now generously sponsored by