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BAA Observing Sections Meteor

Very bright fireball on Saturday morning, March 30, at 03:52 GMT

A bright fragmenting fireball was picked up by multiple cameras of the BAA/NEMETODE/UKMON video networks at 03:52 GMT on Saturday morning, March 30. Triangulation based on videos from Nick James (Essex), William Stewart (Cheshire) and Jim Rowe (London) showed that the object burned up high over the English Midlands. William's cameras also recorded a spectrum of the object which can be used to determine its composition. The video cameras are operated by the NEMETODE and UKMON networks and they enable automated monitoring of the night sky for meteors and fireballs with the objective of computing meteoroid orbits. Analysis of these videos by William Stewart provides estimates for the meteoroid size (3 - 6 cm in diameter) and mass (200 - 350g) before it hit our atmosphere at a speed of 26 km/s. The fireball was also recorded by Ray Taylor in Yorkshire and Mary Mcintyre. Here is the video from Chelmsford. It shows the complete path including the final fragmentation.

The object is also significant since it was the first fireball detected by multiple stations of the SCAMP/FRIPON/UKMON all-sky cameras. These cameras are designed to detect bright objects which could lead to meteorite falls – see www.scamp.org.uk. Hopes are high that this network will lead to the recovery of a meteorite fall somewhere in the British Isles in the near future. The Natural History Museum’s UKFall initiative (www.ukfall.org.uk) has been set up to lead recovery efforts based on camera data.

If anyone observed or imaged this event or is interested in taking part in the meteor video networks please contact the Meteor Section director using the contact form.

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BAA Articles

Observer's Challenge – Two bright asteroids at opposition

We have two bright asteroids reaching opposition almost on the same night this April, which reason
makes them a suitable observing challenge. Both objects will be highest in the sky around midnight UT
(1.00am BST) on April 5/6, or on April 6/7, so should be easy targets during the late evening.

Here's a diagram adapted from Wikimedia Commons showing the actual sizes of the  two objects, namely (2) Pallas and (7) Iris in comparison with the size of our Moon.

Asteroid (7) Iris reaches opposition on 2019 April 05.5 whilst asteroid (2) Pallas achieves its
opposition on 2019 April 06.8, i.e. about 31 hours later. Both are bright objects visible in
binoculars or in a small telescope: Iris reaches a mean V magnitude of 9.36, whereas Pallas attains V
magnitude 7.87 and will be situated well north of the Ecliptic lying just 3.9 degrees from the bright
star Arcturus (p.a. 241 deg) in the constellation of Bootes. See the finder chart for Pallas at:
https://britastro.org/node/15948

Iris at opposition will be located south of the Ecliptic in the constellation of Corvus some 1.4 deg 

south (p.a. 141 deg) of Messier 104, the Sombrero Galaxy, which it appears closest to on April 9 at a
little under 1 degree so both the galaxy and the interloper should be visible in the same low-power
telescopic field. More details and a finder chart can be found at:
https://britastro.org/node/15946

As part of the challenge, try noting the arrangement of stars in the field containing each asteroid,
or take a photograph of the field. If you do this several times over the space of an hour or two, you
will be able to unambiguously identify the mover in each case. Good luck with the weather.

Richard Miles
Director, Asteroids and Rempte Planets Section

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NGC 2403

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About this observation
Observer
Ollie Garrett
Time of observation
29/03/2019 - 20:34
Object
NGC 2403
Observing location
Dartmoor, UK
Equipment
115mm f7 APO refractor
SBIG STF-8300M CCD camera
SX Lodestar and SX OAG, Baader 36mm LRGB filters
Exposure
LRGB of L: 5x300s, R: 7x300s, G: 7x300s, B: 6x300s
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Copyright of all images and other observations submitted to the BAA remains with the owner of the work. Reproduction of the work by third-parties is expressly forbidden without the consent of the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the webmaster.
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The Aurora Borealis

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About this observation
Observer
Alan Tough
Time of observation
16/03/2019 - 21:12
Object
Aurora
Observing location
Just inside the Arctic Circle
Equipment
Canon EOS 6D DSLR
L-series 17-40 mm lens
Exposure
4 seconds @ f/5 and ISO-3200.
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Members will have watched the events recently when the "MV Viking Sky" came close to disaster off the Norwegian coast. Alan Tough and his wife Anne were aboard, and Alan has sent this fine image, and a first hand account of the events.

On 15th March my wife Anne and I set off from a very wet Bergen and headed north "in search of the northern lights". We were on the MV Viking Sky. On the night of 16th we crossed over the Arctic Circle. The sky soon cleared and we were treated to a fantastic auroral display. I also saw some auroral activity on the following three nights, but the first night's display was definitely the best. By day the snow-covered mountains were spectacular.

On the return leg to Stavanger we were supposed to call in to Bodø, but couldn’t because the weather was so bad. And so to Saturday 23rd March. At around 2 p.m., just at the peak of the storm, the ship arrived at Hustadvika, a notorious 10-nautical-mile stretch of coast known as Norway’s Bermuda Triangle. In winds gusting up to 50 m.p.h and waves up to 30 feet, the ship dived into a deep trough and all four engines stopped.  We were less than 100 metres from submerged rocks. The crew dropped two anchors to stop us drifting any further towards those rocks. Within half an hour they managed to get one of the engines started again and we were able to move away from immediate danger. Then the bow of the ship was turned to face the oncoming waves.  

There soon followed a massive rescue operation. Conditions were too bad to launch the lifeboats. Tugs were sent to support the ship and helicopters started to airlift passengers to Kristiansund and Molde. By the time they stopped the airlifts, around 480 passengers had been winched off the ship. The rest of us spent 26 hours in our muster stations. The ship limped into Molde on Sunday evening. It was only then that we fully realised just what a close call we had.

According to investigators, the reason for the engine failure was low lube oil pressure due to the weather conditions.

Welcome home, both...........

 

Copyright of all images and other observations submitted to the BAA remains with the owner of the work. Reproduction of the work by third-parties is expressly forbidden without the consent of the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the webmaster.
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22-3-19 Solar diagram_20190323_0001

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About this observation
Observer
Monty Leventhal
Time of observation
22/03/2019 - 21:00
Object
Sun
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Copyright of all images and other observations submitted to the BAA remains with the owner of the work. Reproduction of the work by third-parties is expressly forbidden without the consent of the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the webmaster.

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