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j02840050402Meeting Reports

This page provides quick summary reports of each of our monthly meetings, including any key links to websites or events mentioned at the meeting. The reports should help you catch up if you’ve missed a meeting or give you a flavour of the types of topics we cover.

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November 2005

Our November meeting was very special as Stuart came back to visit and give us a fascinating talk on Meteorites. Given this is (one of) Stuart’s specialist subjects, he has an excellent collection or meteorites and he has given so many talks at CAS, it is surprising that this was his first ‘Meteorites Talk’. We also managed to surprise Stuart with a presentation of a meteorite from the famous Meteor Crater impact in Arizona to add to his collection, as thank you for all his hard work over the last 15 years or so.
After the talk members had a chance to get their hands on Stuart’s collection of meteorites, including a piece of moon dust and a piece of Mars!


Robin presents Stuart with his meteorite

Key Links
Nine Planets Meteorites page
Stuart’s Cumbrian Sky Blog

October 2005

In October we held another of our telescope evenings, this time focusing on providing help and advice to those who might be thinking about buying a telescope for Christmas.
Bill started the evening off with a guide to buying and using binoculars for astronomy. Chris followed up with a guide to telescope for beginners and Robin finished of by bring people right up to date with the latest computerised telescopes.

There was plenty of opportunity for questions and answers as well as a round up of the latest space news.

After the talks an number of members showed people there own telescopes.


Telescope Simulation website

Key Links
Telescope Reviews
Telescope Simulator
Telescope classified ads [1] / [2]

September 2005

Bill covered the latest news including; Mars Express mission extension, NASA's plans for future moon landings, ESA's plans to move an asteroid and the release of the new 3D IMAX film Mmagnificent Desolation'.

Chris covered a round up of Cassini news from Saturn, particularly how the various instruments on the spacecraft have allowed scientists to piece together information about Saturn's moon Enceladus. This was illustrated with lots of the latest fantastic images, but also looked at how instruments like magnetometers have been used to help explain some of the mysteries of this enigmatic moon.



Enceladus “Tiger Stripes” Image Credit NASA

Key Links
Cassini / Huygens Home

August 2005

Our first meeting after the summer break was on 30th August. and our first without Stuart at the helm.. Bill covered the usual round up of news items, including extended coverage of the recent space shuttle return to space and problems still facing NASA. The next shuttle launch being put back until at least March 2006 at the earliest.

Robin talked about the recent discovery of "the 10th planet" in the solar system. Including the debate about the status of the object and the various naming conventions that must be followed. Robin also managed to capture the spectrum of one of the Perseid meteors, back in mid August and was able to identify the various elements making up the meteor as it burned up in the Earths upper atmosphere.

Chris covered the launch of NASA’s Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter due to reach Mars in 2006.


Robin’s spectrum of a Persied Meteor

Key Links
Robin’s Meteor Spectroscopy

March 2005

In March we held our 'telescope evening'. Members brought their telescopes and assembled them at the back of the hall. We started with a round up of the latest news from Stuart, including new pictures from Saturn and Mars. Then Robin gave us the inside story on his visit to Patrick Moore's star party in Selsey, soon to be shown on 'The Sky at Night'.

After a short break we had a tour of the assembled telescopes. We had a good selection of telescopes (about ten in all) ranging from 3" to 10" in aperture, with a range of optical designs and mounts. Each owner gave a short introduction to their telescope pointing out key features and differences between the different types. There was plenty of opportunity for questions.


Some of the telescopes assembled at the meeting

Key Links
Cassini / Huygens Home
The Sky at Night website
Telescope Simulator

February 2005

At our February meeting Stuart gave us his long awaited rundown of the Cassini / Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons.
Including all the latest pictures from Cassini, some released earlier that day from the Titan flyby only a week ago. The talk was comprehensive; covering everything from design and launch of the mission to the latest results from ESAs Huygens lander. For the first time in  . . . well ever really, Stuart didn;t even have time to mention his favourite planet Mars !
We had a quick look at Stuart’s blog (Cumbrian Sky) in its new AOL colours, and discussed some upcoming events.
Chris finished off with a quick look at the history of ‘big’ telescopes - past, present and future - in the light of Hubble’s impending demise.

Saturns moon Dione in front of Saturn as seen from Cassini.

Image Credit:NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Key Links
Cassini / Huygens Home
Amatuer Titan Pictures
Stuart’s Cumbrian Sky Blog

January 2005

With Stuart on a well earned holiday (only the third meeting he’s missed in 12 years!), Chris and Robin held the fort.
Chris covered the usual ‘news’ topics, trying the follow Stuart’s parting brief, “Don’t mention Titan”. Given this was only a week after the historic Huygens landing that proved almost impossible!
Topics covered included Comet Machholz visible in the sky this month, the launch of Deep Impact which will crash into comet Tempel 1 on 4th July and a celebration of one year on Mars for the Mars rovers
Members showed their latest aurora and comet photos. Then Robin finished off with a round up his recent work including measuring the spectra of comet Machholz and imaging Saturn’s moons. He also told us about some sky catalogue websites he had found useful.

Robins spectrum of Comet Machholtz shows distinctive carbon peaks.

Robin’s spectrum of Comet Machholz

Key Links
Linda’s Photographs
Robin’s home page
Cassini / Huygens Home
CDS Astronomical Database
NASA Extragalactic database
SkyView Virtual Observatory
Sloan Digital Sky Survey

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