The Journal of the British Astronomical Association
Volume 106, No.4: 1996 August
List of Contents
On this page: Notes and News / Articles / Letters / Reviews / Meetings / BAA Update
Notes and News
The fiery death of Ariane 5 by Paul Murdin [12.6 Kb]
Plus: From the President / Unusual observations of Venus / Mars Section (erratum) / Solar Section
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of Mars is the
clearest picture ever taken from Earth, surpassed only by close-up
shots sent back by visiting space probes. The picture was taken on
February 25, 1995, when Mars was at a distance of approximately 65
million miles (103 million km) from Earth.
The dust storms of Mars ... Richard McKim
(Presidential Address 1995)
Mars may be dead in the biological sense, but it is nonetheless a dynamic and fascinating world. Telescopic observers have long followed the variations in the dark areas and the polar caps, and recorded the changing white clouds and the more mysterious yellow clouds, which sometimes conceal the outlines of the dark markings for months on end. This is a review of these yellow clouds, which we now know to be dust storms. It describes their location, development, composition and seasonal occurrence, their influence on the climate of the Red Planet, and demonstrates that they are the sole cause of long-term changes in the dark markings. Members of the Association have contributed significantly to our developing understanding of these phenomena, and it is to be expected that future BAA observations will be important to help resolve ongoing questions. (16pp)
Mary Somerville, mathematician and astronomer of underused talents ... Mary T. Brück
Mary Somerville (1780-1872), self-taught mathematician, expert on theoretical astronomy and successful writer, has been described as 'the most remarkable woman of her generation'. 'Her endowments were enhanced by rare charm and geniality of manner', wrote Ellen Mary Clerke in the Dictionary of National Biography, 'while the fair hair, delicate complexion and small proportions which had obtained for her in her girlhood the soubriquet of the Rose of Jedburgh formed a piquant contrast to her masculine breadth of intellect'. (6pp)
Building a thirty-two inch (0.81m) telescope ... John Wall
A large 0.81m telescope has been built in which thin mirror technology has been used with a bold approach to compacting optical paths. The use of slotted angle steel for the mounting is also a special feature. (7pp)
The Moon through the looking glass ... R. J. Livesey
Traditional text books advise against observing from inside a building or through a window. This paper describes a project to examine the feasibility of 'in house' observing in urban conditions. (2pp)
William Lassell and 'the accident of a maid-servant's carelessness' or Why Neptune was not searched for at Starfield ... Richard Baum [16.9 Kb]
With the discovery of an eighth magnitude object near Delta Capricorni on 1846 September 23, J. G. Galle and H. d'Arrest at Berlin successfully concluded the search for Neptune, then the farthest known planet from the Sun. The event was promptly acclaimed, and designated one of the greatest triumphs of celestial mechanics. News reached England on September 30. Next day J. R. Hind announced the discovery in a letter to the London Times where it was avidly read by the owner of the largest telescope in England, William Lassell (1799-1880), the wealthy Liverpool brewer... (3pp)
(Copies of any of these articles may be ordered from the BAA office.)
- The New Russian Space Programme - From Competition to Collaboration by Brian Harvey. John Wiley/Praxis Publishing, 1996. ISBN 0-471-96014-4. Pp xvi + 408, £24.95 (hbk).
reviewed by Donald Shirreff (4.9 Kb)
- A History of Astronomy from 1890 to the Present by David Leverington. Springer-Verlag, 1995. ISBN 3-540-19915-2. Pp xii + 388, DM 48.00 (pbk).
reviewed by David Conner
- Hubble: A New Window to the Universe by Daniel Fischer & Hilmar Duerbeck. Springer-Verlag, 1996. ISBN 0-387-94672-1. Pp 175, £19.50 (hbk).
reviewed by Richard Mallett
- Compact Data for Navigation and Astronomy, 1996-2000 by B. D. Yallop & C. Y. Hohenkerk. HMSO 1995. ISBN 011-772467-X. Pp 122, £25.00 (pbk).
reviewed by Gordon E. Taylor
- The Observational Amateur Astronomer by Patrick Moore (Ed.) Springer-Verlag, 1995. ISBN 3-540-19899-7. Pp viii + 280, DM 39.00 (pbk).
reviewed by Richard McKim
- The Modern Amateur Astronomer by Patrick Moore (Ed.)
Springer-Verlag, 1995. ISBN 3-540-19900-4. Pp 166, DM 39.00 (pbk) +
Telescopes and Techniques: An Introduction to Practical Astronomy by C. R. Kitchin. Springer-Verlag, 1995. ISBN 3-540-19898-9. Pp 204, DM 39.00 (pbk).
reviewed by R. J. Neville
- Modern Theories of the Universe, from Herschel to Hubble by Michael J. Crowe. Dover Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-486-27880-8. Pp x + 435, $9.95 (pbk).
reviewed by Jon Reynolds
- UK Solar Eclipses from Year 1 by Sheridan Williams. Clock Tower Press, 1996. ISBN 1-85142-093-2. Pp v + 104, £11.95 (pbk).
reviewed by Hazel McGee (3.1 Kb)
- Deep Sky Section meeting, Sutton Coldfield, 1996 March 2
- Ordinary and Special General Meetings, 1996 March 27
- Joint meeting of the Solar and Aurora Sections, Edinburgh, 1996 April 13
- Spring Out-of-London meeting, Manchester, 1996 April 26/27
A copy of this or any other recent issue of the Journal may be ordered from the BAA office.
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