The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 120, No.3: 2010 June

Summary contents page

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

Cover image

IC 5067, the ‘Pelican’, a huge diffuse HII emission nebula and star-forming region in Cygnus, imaged by Gordon Rogers in 2005 July. 30 minutes of RGB exposures and 120 minutes of H-alpha taken with an ST10 CCD on a Takahashi FSQ riding on a 16" RCOS, mounted on a Paramount ME.

Notes and News

Look out for noctilucent clouds this summer (Ken Kennedy) / From the President (David Boyd ) / Solar Section (Lyn Smith) / A new Director for the Historical Section (Mike Frost) / The Isle of Man on the ISS (Nick James) / Supernova news (Stewart L. Moore & Guy M. Hurst) / Radio Astronomy group (John Cook) / Johannes Kepler in Prague - and a new museum (Richard McKim) / Robotic telescope observing with the BAA (Peter Meadows)

Refereed papers

British variable star associations, 1848-1908 ... John Toone

The study of variable stars lagged some distance behind solar system, positional (double star) and deep sky research until the middle part of the 19th century. Then, following F. W. A. Argelander’s pioneering work in the 1840s, there was a striking increase in variable star research, particularly in Europe. The transformation was to such an extent that in the second half of the 19th century there were three attempts at forming variable star associations within Great Britain. The first in 1863 was the ASOVS, which never got off the ground. The second in 1883 was the LAS VSS, which was successfully launched but had somewhat limited achievements. The third launched in 1890 was the BAA VSS which was eventually both a resounding and lasting success. This paper is an outline history of these three associations up to a position of one hundred years ago (1908).

Noctilucent cloud over Britain and Western Europe, 2006-2008 ... Ken Kennedy

Sightings of noctilucent clouds (NLC) continued to increase during the period 2006-2008. A remarkable total of 608 sightings was received in 2006, with 349 in 2007 and 362 in 2008. The difference in reported sightings between 2006 and 2007 and 2008 may be accounted for by good weather conditions in 2006 and adverse conditions in both 2007 and 2008.

Variable star photometry with a DSLR camera ... Des Loughney

In recent years it has been found that a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera is capable of accurate unfiltered photometry as well as V-filter photometry. Undriven cameras, with appropriate quality lenses, can do photometry down to magnitude 10. Driven cameras, using exposures of up to 30 seconds, can allow photometry to mag 12.

Anatomy of an illusion: the ‘Alhazen’ of Johann Hieronymus Schröter ... Nigel Longshaw

Late in the 18th century, German magistrate-astronomer J. H. Schröter charted what he took to be a prominent crater on the eastern ‘shoreline’ of the Mare Crisium. Subsequent observers experienced some difficulties in recovering the feature, leading to a presumption of change which still hung over the matter at the dawn of the space age. The observational history of this episode and the controversy it engendered is discussed, and comparisons made with the visual appearance of the isolated mountain peak Alhazen Alpha in a small aperture telescope.

The 2009 outburst of V630 Cassiopeiae ... Jeremy Shears & Gary Poyner

We present observations and analysis of the 2009 outburst of the unusual dwarf nova V630 Cas, which was only the third recorded outburst of this star. The outburst lasted about 104 days, with the rise to maximum being slightly slower than the decline, which we interpret as an inside-out outburst. At its brightest it had V= 14.0, 2.3 magnitudes above the mean quiescence magnitude. The characteristics of the outburst are similar to those of several other long-orbital-period dwarf novae.

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[Right: The Mayor of Greenwich, Cllr Allan MacCarthy, opens the 2009 Exhibition Meeting. Photo: Bob Marriott]

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BAA Update

  • Obituary: Arthur Frank Edwards, 1918-2009 ... R. A. Marriott
  • Neil McIntyre Bone, 1959-2009 ... John W. Mason

  • Letters

  • The only naked-eye asteroid? ... John C. Vetterlein
  • Observing Saturn this apparition: a note to observers ... Alan W. Heath & Paul Abel
  • The South Polar archive of Harold Hill ... Bill Leatherbarrow
  • A Venus green flash ... Richard Baum
  • Captain Ainslie's jack-knife refractor ... Len Clucas

  • Reviews

  • A question and answer guide to astronomy by Pierre-Yves Bely, Carol Christian & Jean-René Roy
    Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-521-18066-5. Pp xiv+280, £18.19 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Bob Mizon

  • The scientific exploration of Mars by Fredric W. Taylor
    Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-521-82956-4. pp xiii+348, £30.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Bill Leatherbarrow

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    Observers' Forum

  • NGC 7008 – a ‘celestial hook’
  • ... Stewart L. Moore

    Image by Andrea Tasselli with an Intes Micro M809 (20cm f/10 Mak-Cass) and SXV-H9 CCD.

    Sky notes for 2010 June & July by Callum Potter

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