Next discussion meeting on the topic of “What Shape is the Universe?”.
What’s the current majority opinion?
How do we work it out?
What are the consequences and does the shape affect whether the universe finite or infinite?
There are a number of possible shapes eg:
So, what’s the difference between them and what does it mean for the long term future of the universe.
We will also look at some recent news stories from the scientific press.
Come along and add your thoughts to the pot. Usual venue, The Kings Head, Abergavenny.
Tonight Geoff Hill will give a talk on the constellation of Orion. This iconic constellation is a large an obvious feature in the winter sky – a constellation that everyone with any interest in astronomy will immediately recognise. It is also a constellation that has some of the best examples of star forming nebulae, reflection nebulae and dark nebulae. Many of the stars in the constellation are close and bright and represent stages in stellar evolution from the new born, through middle age to old age. Whether you are a seasoned observer or an absolute novice this will be a talk well worth listening to.
Nick Busby will also present an introduction to observing some easy to find open star clusters. These objects are a great starting point for new observers as they are bright, easy to locate and in many cases can be seen in binoculars. This is also a good time of year for observing them and a great way to cut your teeth in observational astronomy.
Usual venue, the King’s Head, 7:30 pm.
See you there.
For those members that have been following the basic astronomy sessions, that are held after the normal meetings, the slide pack is now available as a PDF. It may be found on the website under the tab “Download” – it is under the “PDF presentations” and called “The life and times of stars”. You may also access it by clicking here
Tomorrow evening we will be pleased to welcome Helen Usher from Cardiff University. Helen will talk to the Society about her work on comets, those mysterious denizens of the outer reaches of the solar system, that for centuries have be portents of disaster and social upheaval. She will also give something of a personal view of her developing relationship with the subject of astronomy. You can find more by clicking here.
Meeting starts as usual at 19:30 upstairs in the Kings Head and everyone is welcome.
Hi all. The meeting schedule continues as before at the same time and venue as before.
Venue: The Kings Head, Abergavenny, next to the Town Hall. 7:30pm
Dates are the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the Month, ie
12th September Cosmology discussion group
26th September General AAS meeting – Topic Solar Observation with Sophie Bartlett
10th October Cosmology
24th October General AAS, Helen Usher
14th November Cosmology
28th November General AAS
12th December Possible joint Christmas do.
All welcome, look forward to meeting up with everyone
As you may have seen from the link on the web page we now have a Facebook page, HERE.
At the moment it mirrors the postings that are on the webpage but we are thinking about how best to develop it. If you are on Facebook perhaps you can like the page, if that is the correct terminology.
Monday 23rd May, Professor Mike Edmunds, from Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy, will be attending the Society’s monthly meeting and will present on the subject of The Great Quasar debate. Mike is no stranger to the many of us that have attended his talks in the past – he is always a star performer (no pun intended!) and is certain to enthrall us again on Monday evening – 7:30 Kings Head.
Quasars – for those unfamiliar with the term (quasi-stellar radio sources) – are extremely bright and distant objects that have provided mystery and fascination in equal measure since their discovery around half a century ago. Mike is sure to show these enigmatic objects in a new light (pun intended).
Modesty prevents me from praising the next speaker:-
In support of the Geopark Festival, next week Wednesday 25th May 7pm, Nick Busby will be bringing the Geopark together with the International Dark Sky Reserve in an inquiry into heavenly bodies. He will be giving a lecture in Brecon entitled “From Pen y Fan to Olympus Mons (The highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons and the highest mountain in the solar system)”
Our Old Red Sandstone is an iron-stained sequence of sandstones and other sedimentary rocks deposited by rivers eroding a mountain chain around 400 million years ago. And it was an ancient body of water that deposited the red sedimentary rocks of Mars billions of years before.
A talk on the geology of the 4 inner planets of the solar system, looking at the forces that have shaped them and made them what they are today.
At Elim Hall, Canal Road, Brecon LD3 7HL
Cost: tickets £5 on door (£3 concessions)
Event sponsored by
Brecon Beacons Park Society
On Monday May the 9th, in the afternoon, there will be a rare opportunity to observe a transit of Mercury. Why not join other members in Usk to enjoy this fascinating event. Find out more below:
What is it? Mercury will be positioned between the Sun and the Earth and will be seen as a small black disk against the brilliant surface of the Sun.
How often does it happen? It happens when Mercury is not only in the correct place in its orbit (every 116 days) but when the inclined orbits of Mercury and the Earth are also favorably aligned. Mercury usually passes north or south of the Sun as viewed from the Earth but the transit alignment happens every 13 or 33 years for May transits and at 7, 13 and 33 years for November transits. There are up to 14 a century, the last one was almost 10 years ago (Nov. 2006).
Why is it important? Today there is not much scientific importance – but it is a fascinating astronomical phenomenon. The transit of Venus, which occurs in pairs of transits 8 years apart but then over 105 years until the next pair, was very important in understanding the size of the solar system.
When will it happen? It will start at 12:12 BST on Monday 9th May and last until 19:42 as seen from the UK.
How can I view it? You must only attempt to view it if you are or are supervised by an experienced solar observer with the correct equipment. You will not be able to see it using simple solar filters – Mercury is just too small and requires a telescope suitably filtered. If you do not have the skills and or equipment Usk Astronomical Society will be hosting an observing session from their observatory in Usk. The observatory is located at the back of the Old Grammar School (opposite the Spar) in Maryport Street, Usk – starting at midday. There will be selection of quality solar instruments that you will be able to look through, with experienced demonstrators. All this assumes it will be clear! As I write this (Wednesday 4th) the forecast is mixed sun and showers. I will update this outlook nearer the time. If you have got this via e-mail you will also get the update via e-mail. Otherwise have a look at the Abergavenny website Abergavenny Astronomical Society
What will I see? Mercury is very small and will appear as a tiny black circular dot on the Sun – it is 1/155th of the Sun’s diameter. It will slowly progress across the face of the Sun. Mercury is always a difficult planet to observe as it is so small and is always close to the Sun. Even many experienced observers will admit to never having seen it – this is your chance! Of course looking at the Sun through solar telescopes is always a fascinating experience in itself. If they are present we will be able to see sunspots, prominences, filament of gas and so on.
And finally – under no circumstances attempt to look at the Sun even with a naked eye. Properly designed filters and suitable instruments must be always used.
The picture below is a mock-up of what we might expect to see.
Are you aware that if you are a member of Monmouthshire libraries you can download e-zine copies of a number of magazines? The MCC website is here
Magazines include New Scientist (UK), Sky at Night (UK) and Astronomy (US).
This week, for example, there are articles in NS on modified MOND (that’s Modified MOdified Newtonian Dynamics!) to explain the formation of our local group of galaxies and in “Sky at Night” on dark skies in Wales. Did you know that Wales has the highest proportion of protected dark skies in the world?
You can probably do the same through other local library services but I haven’t checked.
Monday 21st is our Annual General Meeting, please do attend it is a great opportunity to have you say in how the Society is working and let us know if you want to change something or have other activities. After the AGM Nick Busby will give a talk, illustrated with demonstrations, on how to photograph the Moon. Even if you have never taken an astronomical picture and have little by way of equipment, producing dramatic pictures of the Moon is much easier than you might think. This talk will show you how you can produce pictures with a simple smart phone or compact camera and a very basic telescope. It will conclude with a demonstration on how with a simple webcam you can produce fantastic hi- resolution panoramas. One not to be missed by budding astrophotographers!
Usual place – The King’s Head at 7:30 – see you there!