The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 118, No.1: 2008 February

Summary contents page

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

Cover images

Galaxy images by members of the BAA Deep Sky Section. See Stewart Moore's article on page 43.
Top: M81 imaged from Wales by Bob Winter. Takahashi 102 refractor and SXVH9 CCD camera. 20min L + 6 min each RGB.
Bottom: M82 by Gordon Rogers from Long Crendon, Bucks. 16-inch RCOS and ST10ME CCD camera with AO7.

Notes and News

Comet 17P/Holmes surprises us all (Jonathan Shanklin ) / From the President (Roger Pickard ) / Solar Section (Lyn Smith) / Recent BAA studies of Mercury (Richard McKim) / Progress of Jupiter's global upheaval (John H. Rogers) / Skybeams and 'light art' defined as 'advertising' for planning purposes (Martin Morgan-Taylor) / Another Good Lighting Award presented (Bob Mizon) / The 2008 Deep Sky Section meeting (Stewart L. Moore )

[Right: Roger Pickard's 300mm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (with dew shield) prepared for a night of remote observing.]

Refereed papers

The accelerating circulation of Jupiter's Great Red Spot... John H. Rogers

Jupiter's Great Red Spot (GRS) has been evolving, with fluctuations, since it was first observed in the 19th century. It has shown trends of decreasing length, decelerating drift rate, and possibly accelerating internal circulation. This paper documents how these trends have progressed since the time of the Voyager encounters in 1979, up to 2006, from ground-based amateur observations. The trends in length and drift rate have continued; the GRS is now smaller than ever before. The internal circulation period was directly measured in 2006 for the first time since the Voyager flybys, and is now 4.5 Earth days, which confirms that the period is shortening. In contrast, the 90-day oscillation of the GRS in longitude continues unchanged, and may be accompanied by a very small oscillation in latitude.

Edward Walter Maunder FRAS (1851-1928): his life and times... Anthony J. Kinder

The year 2001 saw the sesquicentenary of the birth of Edward Walter Maunder, and 2004 the centenary of the publication of his Butterfly Diagram and the experiment on the canals of Mars. Despite his holding a pivotal place in the history of British amateur astronomy, so far no major treatment of his life has appeared. Although a prolific writer, virtually no reference appears in any modern work today; even his work in solar astronomy and geophysics is generally unacknowledged. Sheehan's portrayal of Maunder as '...a good example of the way in which fame and oblivion are inequably distributed among scientists... though he accomplished a great deal of... work of the very first rank... he is relatively unknown today' is very pertinent. However this appears to be changing as research is currently in progress respecting his work in solar astronomy and his investigations of the history of the origins of constellations. It is however as the founder of the British Astronomical Association that he is remembered.
Click here to obtain a PDF file of either of these articles

Index to volume 117 (2007) ... R. A. Marriott


  • BAA Out of London Weekend, Glasgow, 2007 August 31 to September 2 ... Tom Clackson
  • Special General Meeting & Ordinary Meeting, 2007 March 28 ... Dominic Ford
  • Why not join us at a BAA meeting near you? Meetings are open to all and you will be made very welcome. Click here for the latest Meetings Diary


  • Comet Holmes in 1892 ... Michael J. Hendrie
  • Seeing objects during total eclipses ... R. F. Tindall
  • Slides of historical subjects and portraits wanted ... Anthony Kinder
  • Global warming on Earth and Mars ... John Turley; Richard McKim
  • The solar eclipse of 2008 August 1 ... Peter Macdonald

  • Reviews

  • Patrick Moore on the Moon by Sir Patrick Moore
    Cassell, 2006. ISBN 1-84403-536-0. Pp 239, 14.99 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Ron Johnson
  • Towards Mars! Extra by R. Pellinen & P. Raudsepp (Eds)
    Oy Raud Publishing (Helsinki, Finland), 2006. ISBN 952-9689-18-7. Pp 168, hbk.
    Reviewed by Richard McKim
  • The Herschel 400 Observing Guide by Stephen J. O'Meara
    Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-521-85893-3. Pp x + 370, 35.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Lee Macdonald

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    Observers' Forum

  • A spectacular pairing in Ursa Major ... Stewart L. Moore
  • Comet 17/P Holmes in 2007 ... D. Arditti, M. P. Mobberley, C. L. Calia, J. C. Vetterlein

  • A circumzenithal arc ... Nick James
  • [M81 (left) and M82 (right) in Ursa Major, imaged from Wales by Bob Winter.]

    BAA Update

  • Meeting of the Deep Sky Section, 2007 March 3 ... Dominic Ford
  • Obituary: Donald Fletcher Hedley Robinson, 1935-2007 ... Andrew H. Robinson

  • Sky notes for 2008 February & March by Neil Bone

    [Right: Comet 17P/Holmes on 2007 December 7. Image: Alex Pratt.]

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