Next meeting 14th July

This Thursday 14th July will be our last meeting of this academic year and we will resume in September.  For a change we will be demonstrating the new all singing and dancing planetarium in the hall in the Grange Club, Maryport Street, Usk.  The planetarium has a very powerful fan so is incredibly well ventilated for those concerned about closed spaces or being too hot in this weather.

The meeting will start at 7:30 as usual but there will be no Zoom feed available for obvious reasons.

During the summer we have a bunch of outreach activities going on.  If any members that do not presently get involve but feel they might (no commitment) would like to contact the Chairman we will make sure you are kept in the loop on activities coming up during the summer break.  If you are already involved we will have you on our list to contact anyway.  For most of our activities you need no experience and it can just be a chance to join in some stargazing and perhaps help carry some equipment from the car.

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.

Astro Photos

Following my email earlier this week I have had some photos sent to me.
I have included one from Tony P-F on the home page slide show and another of his, M42 the Orion nebula, has been loaded up on the Gallery/Deepsky photo page LINK

Any other photos for inclusion I am more than happy to receive. It would be nice to rotate members photos on the home page, a maximum of 4 photos can be used at any one time. Just email them to me.

Observing group

An observing group is being formed that any members can join. The idea is that you register your details with a WhatsApp group (the Astronomy Observing Group) and from time to time when members are going out to observe and they want some company a notfication will pop up on your smart phone. Obviously you will need a WhatsApp account but that it is. It is open to anyone whatever your experience or equipment – even just a pair of eyes and an interest. You can leave the group anytime to stop the notifications. The issue it addresses is that some members would like to do some observing but may lack experience or just want some company, also to book events more than a day or so in advance given the weather in South Wales is asking for problems.

To join the group simply send your details to Andrew Lohfink, the coordinator. You can do this by texting Andrew on his mobile phone number which is 07506448815. In the message please include your full name, the society you are a member of (if any) and a request to join the observing group, Andrew will then add you to the list. Andrew is the custodian of this data and it will not be used for any other purpose.