AAS

Our inaugural meeting was on the 8th November 2010 and we officially formed in February 2011.
AAS holds monthly meetings with guest speakers.

All guests are welcome!
No knowledge necessary, just a curious mind.

We are able to provide assistance with setting up your telescope or just helping to find your way around the night sky.

AAS is able to host discussions on subjects as varied as Dark Energy through to 'How dark is your sky'.

Come along and get a new perspective on the universe in which you live!

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Meteor watching party this Saturday!

Its that time of year again, time for the Perseid meteor shower.  They are around for the first couple of weeks of August and in Abergavenny tonight it is forecast to be clear so you may see some.  The Moon  is not well placed tonight but certainly worth a try.  Saturday evening is close to the peak, the Moon is much better placed and the forecast is clear.  This year Usk Astronomical Society are having a party! Proceeds will go to support the Velindre Cancer Unit.  It is in a beautiful (and very dark) location next to Llangorse Lake.  There will be a hog roast, planetarium, guided sky tours with telescopes, meteorite talks… what more could you ask for?  The details are as follows:

Location – Ty Mawr Farm (sign posted at the entrance to the drive “Lime Ltd.”), Llangasty, Brecon, LD3 7PJ

Admission including all activities and food – £20pp

Camping facilities £5

For tickets please contact Bethany.evans@lime.org.uk

Event starts at 7pm and goes on as late as you like!

Hope to see you there should be a wonderful evening.  If you are coming and want to bring a telescope or binoculars, maybe you want some help in there use, then bring them along.

Last Session of the Summer – Dr Chris North

A good last session of the summer from Chris North this week and a good turnout.  Lots of questions both technical and on the value of fundamental research

An interesting article has been published recently on the discovery of an orbiting pair of super massive black holes, each around 15 billion times the mass of the sun, around 750 Lyrs distant.  They are estimated to be 24 Lyrs apart and orbiting every 30,000 years.  Although they will merge it won’t be for millions of years yet.
Will give the gravitational wave observers something to look for over the next few years.

One other point from the paper that links to a question that Chris answered on detection systems: “While mergers of SMBHB’s are expected to be common emitters of GW radiation, modulating pulsar timing observations have not yet detected any evidence for a GW signal”. Quote from a 2016 paper, but the authors are hopeful that with the size of these BHs and improved sensitivity that may change.

References:-
Science Daily     :     phys.org     :     Original Paper 

Enjoy your summer and see you all at the next meetings in September.

Next meeting this coming Monday 26th June – Dr Chris North, Gravitational Waves

Monday 26th is the last meeting before we break for the summer and we have a treat in store.  Following the successes in recent years of detecting and interpreting gravitational waves we thought it was about time we invited a speaker that could present authoritatively on the subject.

We will be very pleased to welcome back  Dr Chris North from Cardiff University (School of Physics & Astronomy).  Chris is the Ogden Science Lecturer for Cardiff University and holds an STFC Public Engagement Fellowship, focusing on Gravitational Wave research.  This means that he is engaged with a lot of outreach work, particularly encouraging the take-up of physics by school and university students.

Chris is a great presenter and very knowledgeable so we expect to finish the year with an exceptional evening.

As usual 19:30 upstairs in the King’s Head, all welcome.

Next Meeting 12th June @ 7:30pm

The next meeting is a Cosmology Discussion group.  The topics will be

1)  Recent news stories – around 6 items,
2)  Cosmic Inflation  –  What is it and why is it necessary
This is the theory that the universe underwent a massive expansion in the first micro second after the Big Bang.

I have put some brief notes together that may be of use, NOTES.

In addition there are a couple of you tube videos that may be of interest,
1) Why is the universe flat (5:46)and
2) Space and Time Cosmic Inflation (2:35)

Usual time & place, 7:30pm at The Kings Head.

Come along and share your opinions and knowledge with us, I’m sure we will all learn something new.  All welcome

Is this what is in store for the Milky Way & Andromeda?

I came across a Hubble video recently.  It consists of a computer simulation of 2 galaxies colliding along with 5 pictures of actual collisions as a comparison.
The details are on the “General Items” page.

Observing in June

As we get into summer the nights get very short and it’s tempting to pack away the binoculars and telescopes until the Autumn.  However there is still plenty to see and this month Martin Griffiths has kindly provided a guide as to what you may look for.

The Night Sky in June 2017

This Posting has been moved to the page “Observing”/”2017 Observing” HERE 

 

Next Meeting 22nd May @ 7:30pm

The next meeting is a Cosmology Discussion meeting.
The topics will be
1)   Recent news stories – around 6 items,                2)  Galaxies – formation and evolution

 

A colour coded image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, in the constellation Fornax, reveals thousands of galaxies over the full range of the Hubble Space Telescope’s colour spectrum, from infrared to ultraviolet. The image was compiled from data gathered over 841 orbits of telescope viewing time. 
NASA / ESA / IPAC / Caltech / STScI / ASU

 

 

 

 

I have put some brief notes together, NOTES, and also a video from the Illustris Project, which I have edited down to 3:37, showing a computer simulation of galactic formation, VIDEO.  The full video (6:12) is on Youtube. 

Come along and share your opinions and knowledge with us, I’m sure we will all learn something new.  All welcome

Meeting this evening, Monday 24th April

This evening we welcome back Dr. Fraser Lewis from Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy. Fraser will be discussing the provocative topic “what has astronomy done for us?”

As usual the meeting starts at 7:30 pm upstairs in the King’s Head public house.

Next meeting tomorrow Monday 27th March – X-ray binaries

The Society welcomes back Paul Roche from Cardiff University.  He will be describing X-ray binary stars.  These are binary star groups – two stars orbiting each other – where one star is stealing matter from the other.  The process generates large amounts of X-rays which is how we can detect them.  As usual the meeting is in the King’s Arms and starts at 19:30 BST, everyone welcome.

Artists impression of X-ray binary system courtesy of NASA

Comet hunt time!

The comet with the snappy name of 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak is now quite easily visible with binoculars and is presently very high in the sky, virtually overhead.  it was first discovered by Horace Tuttle in May 1858 and later described again by Michel Giacobini in 1907 and then again by Ľubor Kresák in 1907 – hence its long name.  It is a short period comet and comes around every 5.4 years.  Comets move across the sky and to see where it is on any given night you can find a map here

As I write this on the 21st March 2017 it is high overhead in Ursa Major, near to the star Merak (Beta Ursae Majoris).  Scanning around the area will quickly spot a hazy blob and that is the comet.  It is quite diffuse at the moment and its core is just visible in my 200 mm reflector but not with 80 mm binoculars.

Its magnitude (how bright it appears) is quoted as about 9.1 at present, that is well below naked eye visibility but an easy binocular or telescope object.  It should brighten quite a bit by the end of March as it moves through the body of the Great Bear and ends up in Draco in early April.  It is forecast to reach maximum brightness (mag. 8.65) around the 9th April but will still not be visible without binoculars.

So if it is clear go out and have a look for it, this is an easy comet to find and nice and high.  If anyone manages to image it please send it to me and I will add it to this post.

Nick