The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Volume 122, No.1: 2012 February

Summary contents page

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

On the cover: The Christmas Comet
Image by Lester Barnes of comet Lovejoy, C/2011 W3, in bright dawn twilight on 2011 December 23, taken from Port Lincoln, South Australia. 1 minute exposure at ISO 800 with Canon 20Da camera and Canon 50mm lens at F3.2.
See the article below for full details and more images.
Comet Lovejoy by Colin Legg

Notes and News

A spectacular Christmas comet in southern skies (Denis Buczynski & Nick James) / From the President (Bill Leatherbarrow) / Venus in 2011/'12 - second interim report (Richard McKim) / Solar Section (Lyn Smith) / Communicating astronomy - a special event at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Newbury Astronomical Society)

Comet Lovejoy rising at dawn, 2011 Dec 22, 03:35 AWST (UT+8hrs), from Mandurah Estuary, W. Australia.  Colin Legg.

Observing basics: I

  • Choosing and using Binoculars for the travelling astronomer ... Stewart Moore

  • 'Observing basics' is a new series of articles by BAA Section Directors and other experts, designed to help you get started in observing, whether you are a newcomer to astronomy or an ‘old hand’ thinking of taking up a new area of interest. Look out for further articles in the series in future issues of the Journal!

  • Reviews

  • Patrick Moore’s Yearbook of Astronomy 2012 by Patrick Moore & John Mason,
    PanMacmillan, 2011. ISBN 978-0-230-75984-8. Pp xii + 474, £20.00 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Martin Mobberley
  • Transit of Venus: 1631 to the present by Nick Lomb
    New South Publishing, 2011. ISBN 9-7811742-232690. Pp 228, £47.95 (hbk).
    Reviewed by Mike Frost
  • The casual sky observer’s guide by Rony de Laet
    Springer, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4614-0594-8. Pp xiv + 292, £35.99 (A5 format, pbk).
    Reviewed by Geoffrey Johnstone
  • The chemical cosmos - a guided tour by Steve Miller
    Springer, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4419-8443-2. Pp xii + 236, £26.99 (pbk).
    Reviewed by Roger O’Brien

  • CLICK HERE to read scores more authoritative book reviews from the BAA Journal


    Refereed papers

    Charles Lewis Brook: third Director of the BAA Variable Star Section ... Jeremy Shears

    Charles Lewis Brook, MA, FRAS, FRMetS (1855-1939) served as Director of the BAA Variable Star Section from 1910 to 1921. During this time he was not merely interested in collecting the observations of the members (to which he also contributed), but he also spent considerable amounts of time analysing the data and preparing numerous publications on the findings. This paper discusses Brook’s life and work, with a particular focus on his contribution to variable star astronomy.

    The grazing occultation of Jupiter on 2012 July 15 ... Jean Meeus

    In 2012–2013 there will be a series of occultations of Jupiter by the Moon that will contain 10 events. The first occultation, on 2012 June 17, will be visible in northern Canada. The tenth and last occultation of the series will take place on 2013 February 18 and be visible in southern Australia. Of these 10 occultations of Jupiter, only one will be visible in Europe: that of 2012 July 15, the second event of the series. As this occultation will be a grazing event in England, taking place before sunrise, though at rather low altitude, it is worth providing a detailed description of this event.

    Building a model astrolabe
    ... Dominic Ford

    This paper presents a hands-on introduction to the mediaeval astrolabe, based around a working model which can be constructed from photocopies of the supplied figures. As well as describing how to assemble the model, I also provide a brief explanation of how each of its various parts might be used. The printed version of this paper includes only the parts needed to build a single model prepared for use at latitudes around 52°N, but an accompanying electronic file archive includes equivalent images which can be used to build models prepared for use at any other latitude. The vector graphics scripts used to generate the models are also available for download, allowing customised astrolabes to be made.

    A ‘honeycombed Moon’: O’Neill’s Bridge and other lunar arches and tunnels ... Bill Leatherbarrow

    Superhumps and post-outburst rebrightening episodes in the AM CVn star SDSS J012940.05+384210.4 ... Jeremy Shears et al.

    We report unfiltered photometry of the first confirmed outburst of the AM CVn system SDSS J012940.05+384210.4 during 2009 December. At its brightest the star was magnitude 14.5, 5.4 magnitudes above mean quiescence. Although the first part of the outburst was not observed, six remarkable rebrightening events were observed during the course of the outburst. Forty-one days after the outburst was detected, the star was still 1.7 magnitudes above quiescence. Superhumps were observed during the outburst with a peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.06 mag and Psh = 37.9(2) min. We also used archival data to show that another AM CVn system, SDSS J124058.03-015919.2, has also undergone at least one outburst, with an amplitude of ~4.6 magnitudes.

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


    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

    Observers' Forum

  • Comet C/2009P1 Garradd: the long view ... Denis Buczynski & Nick James
  • Two open clusters in Cancer (M44 & M67) ... Stewart L. Moore
  • The lunar eclipse of 2011 December 10 ... Images by Martin Griffiths and Abdu Arishi
  • Comet Garradd imaged on 2011 July 30.9 by Martin Mobberley. 355mm SCT +ST9XME CCD, 30x60s, at Cockfield Observatory, Suffolk, UK.

    Sky notes for 2012 February & March by Callum Potter

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