The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 121, No.6: 2011 December

Summary contents page

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

Cover images - the aurora is back!
Images of the aurora seen from Scotland and southern England in August and September. Top: 2011 Sept 10/11, Thurso, northern Scotland: Stewart Watt.
Bottom left: 2011 Sept 26/27, Whitstable, Kent: John Kemp.
Bottom right: 2011 August 05/06, Thurso: Gordon Mackie.
See Ken Kennedy’s Aurora Section report in Notes and News on page 323.
Bill Leatherbarrow, BAA President

Notes and News

From your new President (Bill Leatherbarrow) / The aurora is back! (Ken Kennedy) / Exmoor - Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve (Steve Owens) / More supernova discoveries for BAA members(Stewart Moore) / Draconid meteor outburst successfully observed (John W. Mason) / Solar Section (Lyn Smith) / The comets of 2012(Jonathan Shanklin) / Venus in 2011–2012: first interim report (Richard McKim)
New BAA President Bill Leatherbarrow

Refereed papers

The 2010 perihelic opposition of Jupiter observed from Barbados ... Damian A. Peach

The year 2010 was set to be a memorable time for Jupiter enthusiasts. After years of being placed low in the sky for northern hemisphere observers, the giant planet would finally move north of the celestial equator. Better still, the opposition of 2010 presented observers with Jupiter at its largest apparent angular diameter since the opposition of 1963. This made an opportunity that was too good to be missed, so I arranged to stay on the tropical island of Barbados in hope of obtaining many excellent images, as had been possible there on previous visits.

GrepNova: a tool for amateur supernova hunting
... Dominic Ford

This paper presents GrepNova, a software package which assists amateur supernova hunters by allowing new observations of galaxies to be compared against historical library images in a highly automated fashion. As each new observation is imported, GrepNova automatically identifies a suitable comparison image and rotates it into a common orientation with the new image. The pair can then be blinked on the computer’s display to allow a rapid visual search to be made for stars in outburst. GrepNova has been in use by Tom Boles at his observatory in Coddenham, Suffolk since 2005 August, where it has assisted in the discovery of 50 supernovae up to 2011 October.

Noctilucent cloud over Britain & western Europe, 2009–2010
... Ken Kennedy

Record amounts of noctilucent cloud were reported in the 2009 season, but they were significantly fewer in 2010. Weather conditions in the UK and Europe may have been poorer in 2010 but increasing solar activity may also have had the effect of reducing the number of nights on which NLC was observed. This report presents observations of NLC received in 2009 & 2010 from western Europe and the British Isles.

The unusual case of ‘asteroid’ 2010 KQ: a newly discovered artificial object orbiting the Sun... Richard Miles

Observational evidence is presented which demonstrates that object 2010 KQ is artificial in nature and is almost certainly the upper rocket stage of a Russian Moon probe. The only possibilities identified are the rocket stages associated with the launches of Luna-1 (1959 January 2), Luna-4 (1963 April 2) or Luna-23 (1974 October 28). The Minor Planet Center has renamed the object RK252A5.

Precursor outbursts and superoutbursts in the SU UMa-type dwarf nova NN Camelopardalis ... Jeremy Shears et al.

We report photometry of three outbursts of NN Cam in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The 2007 event started with a normal outburst, lasting about 4 days, which was a precursor to a superoutburst lasting at least 13 days. Both the precursor and the superoutburst had an amplitude of 4.9 mag above mean quiescence. Superhumps with a maximum peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.22 mag were detected during the superoutburst.

The first confirmed superoutburst of the SU UMa-type dwarf nova SDSS J083931.35+282824.0... Jeremy Shears et al.

We report unfiltered CCD photometry of the first confirmed superoutburst in 2010 April of the recently discovered dwarf nova SDSS J083931.35+282824.0. From a quiescence magnitude of ~19.8 it rose to 14.0, an outburst amplitude of at least 5.8 magnitudes. Only the plateau phase of the outburst was observed, during which superhumps with peak-to-peak amplitude of up to 0.28 magnitudes were present, confirming this to be an SU UMa-type dwarf nova.

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

BAA Update

The 2011 BAA Winchester weekend ... Ann Davies
  • BAA Awards & Medals for 2012 ... Ron Johnson

  • Meetings

    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


  • Exoplanets by by Sara Seager (Ed), assisted by Renée Dotson, with 34 collaborating authors
    University of Arizona Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-8165-2945-2. 282, Pp xviii + 526, $35 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Richard Miles
  • The complete guide to the Herschel Objects: Sir William Herschel’s star clusters, nebulae and galaxies by Mark Bratton
    Cambridge University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-521-76892-4. Pp xiii + 584, £45.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Nick Hewitt
  • Mapping the Universe: the interactive history of astronomy by Paul Murdin
    Carlton Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1-84732-885-4. Pp 124, £30.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Bill Leatherbarrow
  • Deep Sky Companions: The Secret Deep by Stephen J. O’Meara
    Cambridge University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-521-19876-9. Pp xiii + 483, £29.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Owen Brazell

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    Observers' Forum

  • Dust to dust: Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) ... Roger Dymock
  • Jones–Emberson 1, the ‘Headphone Nebula’ ... Stewart L. Moore
  • A bright supernova in Messier 101 ... Stewart L. Moore
  • A spectrum of SN 2011fe ... Ron Arbour
  • Comet Elenin imaged by Roger Dymock on 2011 April 27 using the SSON remotely operated 0.61m f/10 Cassegrain in California.

    Sky notes for 2011 December & 2012 January by Callum Potter

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