Website and Meetings

Apologies for the website which I am sure many of you will have discovered is not working, it is just a blank page.  Please be assured it is being looked into and we hope to have it up and running again soon, hopefully this post will reach you ok.  We have not yet started having in-person meetings yet but have been observing how Usk AS have got on with resumed meetings.  There have been a number of issues to resolve there. A new much larger venue is being used which allows for social distancing, which  Abergavenny AS does not have.  The new venue has had some problems with the bandwidth of the internet connection, which has been responsible for the poor quality of the Zoom meetings.  That is being addressed by the venue.  In the meantime if any members would like to attend the Usk meetings in person they are more than welcome.  For the time being in-person only meetings are being held one week followed by a Zoom only meeting then an in-person only meeting and so on.  The arrangement will be kept under constant review.

The next in-person meeting is to be held tomorrow evening in the large function room at the back of The Grange at the top of Maryport Street, Usk.  It starts at 7:30 and all are welcome.  A group then normally adjourns to the bar and you are very welcome to join in there as well.

The talks are aimed at beginners.  Andrew Lohfink will be discussing binoculars and how to observe with them and Nick Busby will present on finding and observing planets for beginners

Brecon Beacons Virtual Dark Sky Festival – 24th to 26th September 2021

Abergavenny Astronomical Society, Usk Astronomical Society and the Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Board have been working to run the first Dark Sky Festival.  This first event will be held on-line over the weekend of Friday 24th to Sunday 26th September.  There is a great line-up of speakers and authors presenting.

The festival is suitable for anyone with an interest in the night sky, particularly younger audiences over the age of 10.

Please visit https://www.breconbeacons.org/things-to-do/activities/stargazing/dark-sky-festival-2021 for more information and to book. All events are £2 per household.

The programme is as follows:-

Time travelling
24th September 11:30 – To gaze up at the stars is to look back into the past, much as Earth bound geologists do today. Alan Bowring

Where has the night gone?
24th September 14:00 – This talk explores the mounting challenges bats are facing with the increase in artificial lighting at night and how we can practically mitigate this problem. Dr. Henry Schofield

A beginner’s guide to observing planets
24th September 19:00 – This guide for absolute beginners will show you how to find and observe planets and what to look out for. Nick Busby

What’s eating the universe?
25th September 10:00 – Award-winning physicist Paul Davies walks us through the puzzles and paradoxes that have preoccupied cosmologists from ancient Greece to the present day. Paul Davies

Welsh myths and legends of the night sky
25th September 14:00 – In this talk David Thomas explores how the Welsh characters and heroes of the Mabinogion and other folk tales are reflected in the night sky. David Thomas

How stars work
25th September 19:00 – Are other stars like our Sun? If not what are they like – small and peaceful, or large and violent? What makes them the way they are? How long will the Sun be around for and what might happen to it? Keith Moseley

The greatest adventure
26th September 12:00 – The Greatest Adventure traces the events of the 20th century; the first satellite in orbit; the first animal, man and woman in space; the first spacewalk; as well as the ultimate US victory in the race to land on the moon. Colin Burgess

Meteorites and the story of the solar system
26th September 14:00 – This talk will reveal how the solar system was formed, explain why we are made of stardust and provide some surprising facts about the origin of some familiar materials. Nick Busby

Partial solar eclipse on the 10th June

There will be a partial solar eclipse visible from Abergavenny on the 10th June 2021.  It will start at 10:04 am, the maximum is about an hour later at 11:09 am and it will finish at 12:20 pm.  The Sun will be be very high in the sky at over 53 degrees, let’s hope it will not be too cloudy!  Under no circumstances should you look at the Sun with your  unprotected eyes and specially not with any instruments that were not designed for the purpose, if you do it is very likely you will suffer irreparable damage to your eyesight.  You can purchase eclipse glasses for about £5 or project the Sun through a piece of card with a pinhole in it onto a second piece of card.  Of course you can also buy special telescopes and filters that allow you to observe the Sun in safety.  If in any doubt please contact a experienced member for advice (Observing@AbergavennyAS.org.uk).

For more details on timing please visit the website Timeanddate.com

There is some good advice on how to safely observer Sun at this link

Next meeting of the Astronomical Society

Owing to some individuals that decided to log into the meeting on the 1st April and disrupt it we had to close the meeting.  It has been decided to re-run the meeting this coming Thursday 8th April at 7pm.  Bob Wright will present the second half of his talk on the Artemis project (this is the third time we have tried to do this presentation – so let us hope third time lucky!).

The link is in the email sent to you but this will not be available on this website – in order to try and deter the unwelcome visitors we had last week.  In addition, when you join the meeting there will be a “waiting room”and attendees will be admitted to the meeting at around 7pm so if you log on a bit early please be patient.  I will also keep an eye out for latecomers during the meeting.  If you want to join the meeting but do not have the link you can contact me at the following email address        Observing@AbergavennyAS.org.uk

 

Nova in Cassiopeia

A nova has flared up in Cassiopeia.  A nova is caused when a white dwarf in a binary pair has been drawing material from its companion star.  A point is reached where a thermonuclear reaction starts and the white dwarf flares up for a few weeks and is visible right across the galaxy.  It is not to be confused with a supernova which is an altogether less common and more violent affair.  This nova is shining at about magnitude 7.5, that means it is just too dim to see by eye but easily visible in binoculars.  It is also fairly easy to find and the link below gives some clear instructions on how to locate it.  Fortunately it is close to the open cluster Messier 50, and in binoculars it is just below and to the left and in the same field.  These are fairly rare events, astronomers estimate that there are around 50 in the Milky Way each year but only a small proportion are visible from Earth.  There may be some clear nights this week so get your binoculars and go nova hunting!

Bright Nova Erupts in Cassiopeia