The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 116, No.4: 2006 August

Summary contents page

Detailed contents: Notes and News / Articles / Observers' Forum / Reviews / Letters / Meetings / BAA Update


On the cover: M82, the 'starburst' galaxy

This magnificent image of spiral galaxy M82 and its glowing hydrogen filaments was made in March 2006 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys' Wide Field Channel on the Hubble Space Telescope. It is a composite mosaic of six images, combining exposures with four filters in the visible and the infrared. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin), M. Mountain (STScI), and P. Puxley (National Science Foundation).


Notes and News

From the President (Richard Miles ) / The 2005-2007 OJ287 observing campaign (Gary Poyner) / Solar Section (Mike Beales ) / From methane seas to sand seas: Titan's topography emerging (John H. Rogers) / Venus: Eastern elongation 2005 (Richard McKim)


Refereed papers


The opposition of Mars,1997 ... Richard McKim

The opposition marked the successful return to Mars of lander-type spacecraft, the first since Project Viking two decades earlier. In 1997 the BAA Mars Section helped to provide ground-based coverage for the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) missions. Only small-scale surface changes were evident since 1995, of which the continuing pallor of Cerberus-Trivium Charontis was especially notable. Several dust storms were detected by the BAA, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the spacecraft in martian orbit: these included a large regional event in 1997 November which began in Noachis. The Equatorial Cloud Band (ECB) effect was rather evident around opposition, and its gradual decline was traced. The seasonal behaviour of the NPC was typical, excepting small differences in the timing of the disappearance and reappearance of the polar hood. The recession of the cap was followed in detail.



Measurement of the orbital and superhump periods of the eclipsing cataclysmic variable SDSS J170213.26 +322954.1 ... David Boyd, Arto Oksanen & Arne Henden

The orbital period of the eclipsing CV SDSS J170213.26+322954.1 has been measured as 0.100082150.00000001d using observations of eclipses during the first recorded superoutburst in 2005 October, together with eclipses observed in quiescence in 2003 July. This period puts the system in the centre of the period gap. Observation of superhumps during the 2005 October outburst with a period of 0.104960.00015d confirms this to be a UGSU-type system with a period excess of 4.9%.


The visibility of the dark side of Venus, 1921-1953; a series of observations by M. B. B. Heath ... Richard Baum

A notable series of observations of the dark side of Venus is presented. It was made by the British observer M. B. B. Heath in the period 1921 to 1953, and is undoubtedly one of the most extensive and consistent studies of the phenomenon on record. Heath drew up the tabulation in 1954 at the request of the writer. No analysis is attempted or intended. Some independent sightings are given as notes to the tabulation. Because of their significance, further comments by Heath taken from letters to the writer are also included. The observations were published in 1954 but in an obscure source. Their value however demands a place in the mainstream literature.


The Perseid meteor shower in 2002... Neil Bone

In contrast with conditions encountered over much of Europe, the British Isles were favoured with clear skies close to the Perseid maximum in 2002, allowing collection of a substantial volume of observational data. Analysis suggests a fairly modest peak, with a corrected Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of 60-70 close to the expected peak on August 12/13.




The lightcurve of (150) Nuwa... Fiona Vincent

Photometric observations of the minor planet (150) Nuwa in 2004 December show that its brightness was varying by 0.26 0.03 magnitudes, with a period of 8.1364 0.0008 hours. Its apparent brightness also varied with phase angle, over the range 14.2 to 18.3, at a rate of 0.0386 0.0024 magnitudes per degree.


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BAA Update

  • Obituary: Harold Hill (1920-2005) ... Eric H. Strach & Richard M. Baum
  • New honorary members


    Observers' Forum

  • Deep sky delights of Lyra ... Stewart L. Moore

  • Letters

  • McClean star spectroscopes: the mystery solved ... Brian Manning
  • 'Where have all the observers gone' ... Lorna McCalman
  • Planetary observing has never been healthier ... Martin Mobberley
  • The late Ronald Irving ... J. C. Vetterlein
  • Universal Time and UT1 ... Jean Meeus
  • 'The Revd William Ludlam' ... David Gavine & John Farquharson

  • Reviews

  • Star clusters and how to observe them by Mark Allison
    Springer-Verlag, 2005. ISBN 1-84628-190-3. Pp xi + 211, 22.00 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Nick Hewitt
  • The sky at Einstein's feet by William Keel
    Springer/Praxis, 2005. ISBN 0-387-26130-3. Pp xiii + 246, 19.50 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Roger O'Brien
  • Digital astrophotography - the state of the art by David Ratledge (ed.)
    Springer(Verlag, 2005. ISBN 1-85233-734-6. Pp viii + 177, 22.00 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Nick James


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    Meetings

  • Annual General Meeting, 2005 October 26 ... Dominic Ford
  • Ordinary Meeting, 2005 October 26 ... Dominic Ford


  • Sky notes for 2006 August & September

      by Neil Bone


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