The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 120, No.4: 2010 August

Summary contents page

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

Cover image

A bright Perseid streaks down the Milky Way between Deneb and Vega early on 2009 August 12. (Peter Lawrence)

Notes and News

Project Perseid 2010 (John Mason)  / From the President (David Boyd ) / New Honorary Members  / Beyond the International Year of Astronomy (Steve Owens) / Project Neil Bone: a great success! (Richard Miles) / Solar Section (Lyn Smith) / More evidence of increasing solar activity (Paul Hyde) /  Supernova news (Stewart L. Moore)

pdf fileThe total solar eclipse of 2010 July 11 by Hazel McGee, Nick James & John Mason  

The solar eclipse of 2010 July 11 always promised to be a logistical nightmare to observe. The Moon’s shadow first touched the Earth in the southern Pacific, encountering land at Mangaia in the Cook Islands only after 1450km of open ocean. The narrow track of totality then swung northeast, passing tantalisingly close to the islands of Tahiti and Moorea, which experienced a 98% partial eclipse. Beyond Tahiti the track crossed the Tuamotu archipelago of French Polynesia - thousands of tiny coral atolls, of which very few are inhabited, and even fewer have airstrips that make them accessible to visitors. The track then sped across 3300km of empty Pacific to Easter Island, known as one of the world’s most isolated inhabited islands, and after another 3700km it finally made continental landfall at sunset in winter on the rugged and inaccessible coast of Chile. Crossing the Andes, the shadow left the Earth after entering Argentina at the tourist resort of El Calafate, where the eclipsed Sun was a mere 1° above the mountainous horizon.
    According to NASA, nowhere on the track had weather prospects better than 50% of cloud, but the Tuamotus offered the best chances, with Easter Island notoriously experiencing its rainy season in July. Two major UK-based expeditions both based their operations in Tahiti, with its substantial tourist infrastructure, and
chartered aircraft to travel to three inhabited atolls within the eclipse path.... more
Image: the corona at mid-totality, by Martin Mobberley

Refereed papers

Saturn during the 2006/2007 apparition ... Mike Foulkes

There were two major events during this apparition. Firstly, a light spot was observed between the components of the South Equatorial Belt and was followed from 2006 November until 2007 April. A   reliable drift was derived; this spot showed a noticeable prograde (negative) drift with respect to Saturn’s System 3 longitude system. The derived period for this spot may be a potential first for the Section, but this will be confirmed when the analysis of earlier outstanding apparitions has been completed.
Secondly, the initial phase of a rare transit of the satellite Iapetus was successfully observed on the night of 2007 January 6/7.

CSS090530:144011+494734: a new SU UMa-type dwarf nova in Boötes ... David Boyd, Nick Dunckel, Jerry Foote & Ian Miller

We report photometry and analysis of a previously unknown SU UMa-type dwarf nova in Boötes detected in outburst by the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey on 2009 May 30, with the discovery identifier CSS090530:144011+494734. This apparently stellar object had previously been catalogued by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey as SDSS J144011.01+494733.4. We measured its mean superhump period over the first 3 days following detection as 0.06500(4)d, at which point this changed to 0.06438(3)d. We detected a possible orbital period of 0.06322(8)d implying a mean superhump period excess of 0.020(2). After detection, the dwarf nova maintained steady brightness for 5 days before starting to fade. The outburst amplitude was 5.5 magnitudes above its quiescent level.

The comets of 2000 ... Jonathan Shanklin

This report is the eleventh in the annual series which gives for each comet: the discovery details, orbital data and general information, magnitude parameters and BAA Comet Section observations. Further details of the analysis techniques used in this report are given in an earlier paper. Ephemerides for the comets predicted to return during the year can be found in the BAA or ICQ Handbooks.

(Short paper): The first Pic du Midi photographs of Mars, 1909 ... Audouin Dollfus

This short paper comprises an English translation of the article ‘1909; Premieres photographies de Mars au Pic du Midi’, by Audouin Dollfus, published in l’Astronomie, 2009 November, pp. 27–30, and printed here with the assistance of the Director of the BAA Mars Section, Dr Richard McKim.

Click here to obtain a PDF file of any of these articles

Observers' Forum

  • Letters

    BAA Update


    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

    Sky notes for 2010 August & September by Callum Potter

      Jupiter is very favourable these months, as it approaches opposition on Sept 21. At the start of August the planet’s disk will be around 46 arcseconds, which will rise to nearly 50" at opposition. On August 27, the Moon will be just a few degrees away, and may make an interesting photo opportunity.
    The disappearance of the South Equatorial Belt was quite a surprise when Jupiter re-appeared this year, but it will surely be just a matter of time before it returns, and there may be interesting storms to be seen, so regular observations are recommended.  ...more     (Image of Jupiter and Ganymede on 2010 June 3 by Peter Garbett)

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