As 2019 dawns we are already witnessing some amazing astronomical events – the New Horizons encounter with Ultima Thule and the China mission Chang’e 4.
2018 ended for YAS with our observatory relocated to Beetle Bank Farm and work under way to recommission.
December 4th – Comet Watch 1
Once again the weather was against us, but a small crowd were entertained by Dave Armeson. We had a few scopes on display and much discussion.
December 7th – Meeting #1006
Dave Armeson’s Christmas Lecture – ‘MARS Rocks’. This much anticipated lecture was introduced by Martin Whipp with a live ‘musical’ rendition of a song loosely based on the Beatles’ classic ‘Yesterday’. Dave’s Lecture itself was filled with stunning images and recent findings from Mars. Dave spent many hours researching new information to share. The lecture took place shortly after the successful landing of the NASA Insight mission and we were able to view recent images. As a finale we all donned 3D spectacles and oohed and aaahed at the final slides. Well done Dave!
December 8th – Second Saturday Working Party
Mainly preparation to make way for later work. Most notably, a new floor panel (8×4) was put into the small container and the AE yoke was moved on the observing deck to make room for moving the hole in the floor.
December 13th – Knavesmire Public Star Party
The weather was not favourable but about 20 members of the public turned up. No scopes were deployed but we were able to talk about scopes and Martin Dawson gave advice on binoculars.
December 14th – Boothferry Primary School. A few of us were able to show views of the moon and Mars to pupils, parents and teachers before Dave Armeson gave a talk to attentive pupils on ‘The Solar System’. There was an excellent display of pupils’ homework with spaceships, model solar systems and sundials.
December 15th – ‘Comet Watch 2’. This event was cancelled due to the adverse weather forecast but primarily because there were no actual ticket sales.
December 21st – Meeting #1007 – Christmas Informal
There was a generous selection of nibbles, soft drinks and mince pies. Mark Baldwyn gave an in depth exploration of ‘Pigs in Space’ (a look at the history and contribution of animals used in space exploration from tardigrades to apes). Mark finally provided some irrefutable facts and figures along with supporting historical evidence that reindeer were in fact the first animals in space. Contemporary evidence from NORAD continues to show the contribution made by these magical creatures.
Martin Dawson gave a short talk on three lesser known stars Dnoces, Navi and Regor. It was a poignant tale and I would recommend that you read this – Apollo 1: Three Stars Commemorate a Sad Anniversary
Martin also reprised his 1000th meeting talk on the Apollo 8 mission, and showed the video of Emma Alexander’s appearance on BBC Breakfast in November, talking eloquently about Oumuamua.
The raffle for Christmas was enhanced with a few more premier prizes including Brian Cox books, wine, chocolates and a scented candle. In addition, Martin Dawson held an extra raffle for a dovetail stop (to help achieve scope balance every time and reduce the risk of your scope sliding unceremoniously to the concrete below).
We were treated to several quizzes: ‘Famous People when they were Young’ provided by Paul Buglass, a particularly tough space anagram collection set by Gerry Fisher and some photos for caption suggestions.
For your Diary, 2019
January 4th Meeting #1008
‘The Search for Alien Life’ by Professor Brad Gibson
Professor Brad Gibson is the Head of the Department of Physics & Mathematics at the University of Hull and Director of its E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics.
January 10th Knavesmire Star Party
People with scopes needed please.
January 12th Second Saturday Working Party
At Beetle Bank from 10am
January 18th Meeting #1009
‘Astronaut Food’ – The Forest School
February 6th (Wednesday) Star Gazing Live @ St Peter’s School
Volunteers needed to support this annual event.
February 23rd – Yorkshire Arboretum
Part of the Dark Skies festival – volunteers needed.