Next meeting of the Society 19th May at 7:30

Meeting ID: 812 0761 4880
Passcode: 640726

The next meeting of the Society is on Thursday 19th May when Martin Lewis returns to give the second half of his excellent talk on imaging planets, this is one not to be missed. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm and the Zoom link is given above.

Notice:Telescope for sale – one of our members has a 12″ Dobsonian to sell for £425 ONO, there is also a selection of eyepieces for sale as well. If you are interested please email the Chairman via and i will put you in touch with the seller.

Next meeting of the Astronomy Society 12th May at 7:30pm

Meeting ID: 819 4434 9671
Passcode: 004747

The next meeting of the Society will be on the 12th May at 7:30 pm. The Sun has definitely woken up and is providing some wonderful views of prominences, filaments, sun spot groups and plage. An h alpha telescope is the perfect instrument to observe these features and a number of members have expressed interest in purchasing one but are not sure what to buy. in this meeting Nick Busby will explain the different types, what they can be used for, how much they cost and much more. The picture below was taken recently from Abergavenny by Nick, showing some of the increased activity.

James Webb Telescope (13 Feb)

Bob Wright (Usk) gave an interesting talk on the JWST back in January.  In case you wanted a little more on the current situation I came across a video on the “Launch Pad Astronomy” channel on YouTube.

It’s entitled “How James Webb orbits nothing”.  It goes into the theory behind how the JWST can orbit an empty spot in space – just in case you ever wondered.  It also emphasises the task that is faced by the JW team and the number of variables that they have to take into account.
A couple of interesting points from the video are that the telescope elliptical orbit around L2 takes about 6 months and, it’s up to twice the size of the moon’s orbit around Earth (JW orbit 250,000 to 832,000 cf the Moon 360,000 to 400,000km).  The other point was that it isn’t actually orbiting L2 but a point slightly on the Earth side of L2.  Reasons are in the video.
You can access it at this  LINK .

Also, the “Where is Webb” website, HERE, explains how the first photons have been received of star (HD84406, some 260 l.yrs distant in Ursa Major) although, as the mirrors are not yet aligned, the picture isn’t much to look at.

James Webb Space Telescope is now successfully fully deployed

NASA, ESA and CSA (the Canadians) got the Christmas present they wanted, a successful launch of the James Webb ST. and now a successful deployment.

It is now on it’s way to the L2 Lagrange Point, some 1.5 million km (almost 1 million  miles) from the earth.
You can follow the telescopes progress on the NASA “Where is Webb” page <HERE>.

Will the James Webb ST finally make it into space?

James Webb Space Telescope

It’s December 2021 and the final moment in a saga, started in 1996, to build and launch a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.  The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is due to be hoisted aloft by an Arian 5 rocket from French Guiana on the 22nd.  It will then take some 6 months to deploy before any science can be done.
It is a very complex engineering project and there are a host of things that can go wrong during its deployment, so fingers crossed.
JWST is an infra red telescope covering the wavelengths  0.6 to 28.3 µm, cf the visual range of 0.38 to 0.76 µm.  This will enable it to look back to the era of the origin of stars and galaxies.

The main objectives of the JWST mission are:-
1)  To investigate the light from the dawn of the universe some 13 billion years ago;
2)  To study the formation of the first galaxies;
3)  To look for the first generation stars and better understand the formation of stars and their planetary systems;
4)  To study planetary systems in the Milky Way and potentially analyse the atmospheres of and look for signs of life from these planets.

In order to protect the instrument from the Sun, earth and moon, to get its operating temperature as low as possible, and increase its sensitivity, it is being placed at the Lagrange L2 position, some 1 million miles away in line with the sun and earth, with a huge parasol to protect it.  If anything goes wrong then that is it, it cannot be serviced like the HST was!

Further information is at the following LINKs:  NASA, ESA and the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Quanta Magazine has also just published an article, at LINK, and there is a video at LINK.