The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 113, No.1: 2003 February


On this page: Notes and News / Articles / Letters / Reviews / Meetings / BAA Update /

Cover photos

The total solar eclipse of 2002 December 4, seen from Australia. Main picture: 09.11.35 and 09.11.41 UT from Lyndhurst, SA. OMC-140 Maksutov, 2000mm at f/14, Nikon D100 digital SLR, 800 ISO, 1/250 sec. Derek Hatch. Top left: David Forshaw; bottom: 200 ISO, 1/4000 sec. Mike Foulkes & Derek Hatch.

Notes and News

From the President: Our astronomical heritage (Guy Hurst)/ The Leonid storms of 2002 (Neil Bone) / Solar Section (Geoff Elston) / The Ridley Grant: new procedures (Ron Johnson) / Venus at inferior conjunction (M. Frassati, D. Parker & R. M. Steele) / The largest Trans-Neptunians (Andrew J. Hollis) / Aurora Section (R. J. Livesey) / The BAA Observers' Workshops (Nick Hewitt)

Main articles

Jupiter in 1999/2000. I: Visible wavelengths... John H. Rogers, Hans-Joerg Mettig, Damian Peach & Michael Foulkes

During this very favourable apparition, there was increased activity in several regions on Jupiter, with interesting events on both large and small scales. The most notable event was the merger of the last two great white ovals in the South Temperate region, in 2000 March, leaving a single oval which is called 'BA'. There was also a remarkable 'South Equatorial Disturbance', developing progressively during the apparition. It had a main complex manifested as a bright rift and dark bluish patch, which grew larger and larger, and a stormy sector spreading on the prograding jetstream which covered more and more of the circumference as the apparition progressed. The appearance of this disturbance was unprecedented, but dynamically it resembled great white spots seen in 1979 and 1879. (22 pp)

Notes on the site-testing of a French observatory, 1901-1902... John N. Brown

In the Comptes Rendus of the French Academy of Science of the year 1903, referring to the 193rd session of that august body on June 15 and beginning at page 1415, is a description of a thorough telescopic testing of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. This site is situated in the Hautes Pyrenees at latitude 43N and is approximately 2,890m above sea level. A meteorological station was established there in 1873 and by 1884 a reflecting telescope was added. By the early 20th century a permanent domed astronomical observatory was planned and the following sequence of events took place. (1p)

Photometry of the semi-regular variable and spectroscopic binary star RR UMi... John Howarth & Kevin West

From 1994 to 2000 West used an Optec SPP3 photometer to obtain magnitude estimates of the SRb variable, RR UMi. Upon analysis, a clear period of 33.575 days was revealed, having an average peak-to-peak amplitude of about 0.11 magnitude. In retrospect, a similar period could be seen in binocular observations made by Howarth and others from 1982 to 1990, though with greater scatter. Moreover both sets of data showed surprising phase stability referred to the newly-revealed period. (3 pp)

The planet Venus: eastern elongation 2000-2001 ... R. M. Steele

This report summarises observations of the planet Venus received by the Section during the 2000-2001 eastern elongation. (3 pp)

Variability in Saturn ... Colin Henshaw

Any attempt to investigate variations in the brightness of Saturn will be a lengthy project covering about thirty years, or one complete orbit of the planet. I set myself this task in 1971, and in 2001 it was finally drawn to a conclusion - my longest on going project. Over 240 observations were made during this period, from which the accompanying light-curve was derived. The planet varied over an extreme range of about 2m.0, with various periodicities superimposed on one another. (2 pp)

Index to Volume 112 (2002) ... R. A. Marriott

(Copies of any of these articles may be ordered from the BAA office.)


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  • The annular solar eclipse of 2003 May 31... Andrew T. Sinclair
  • Light pollution in France ... Roger Pickard
  • Radar reflection from Mercury ... Darren Beard
  • Rivenhall Observatory ... James Abbott
  • Read the letters here

    Meeting reports

  • Ordinary Meeting, 2002 April 27

  • BAA Update

  • The start of the Association's aurora & noctilucent cloud observations ... James Paton
  • CfDS: a team effort ... Bob Mizon
  • The Second European Symposium on the Protection of the Night Sky ... Graham Bryant
  • Obituary: J. Leslie White, 1911-2002 ... Neville Grabaskey


      Sky notes for 2003 February & March by Neil Bone

     Saturn's rings remain wide-open towards the Earth. CCD image by Damian Peach, 2002 December 15.

    A copy of this or any recent issue of the Journal may be ordered from the BAA office.

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