I count just over 200 member societies in the Federation of Astronomical Societies. Difficult to estimate the number of members… they will range from the small societies (<50 members), through to… well… us! (350 members). I’d guess an average membership of around 75 per society, giving about 15,000 people.
So, not a huge number… but a pretty vocal and well educated population (in my humble opinion!).
The recent “Save Sky at Night” online petition got just over 50,000 “signatures”, so people do feel pretty strongly about the programme. I don’t know about recent viewing figures, but I believe in the old format, the Sky at Night regularly had 1,000,000 viewers per month (if you include iPlayer views). Somewhat concerned that the move to BBC4 will have reduced this figure, and I do share Brian’s well written concerns above.
Hi Tej. From observatory hill, we get great views to the north and east, but the southern and western horizons are obscured by buildings and trees… so it’s far from ideal for an event like this.
We’ll find somewhere.
That’s true Tej… the occultation will start at around 5:05pm BST. But remember, we get to see Saturn reappearing on the other side of the Moon as well.
That will occur just over an hour later at around 6:07pm BST, so the Sun will have set by then, though the Moon will only be 5 degrees above the south-west horizon. Yikes… we will need a flat horizon! Might have to do a recce of Shrewsbury Park at the top of Shooters Hill. The horizon on Blackheath to the south-west may be a little too obscured.
Great stuff… thanks Simon, I’ll be in touch once we’ve finalised all of the lists.
Thank you Simon. Do you want to be considered for all sessions, or are there any you can’t make?
As far as I know, the Sky at Night programme can only be on iPlayer for 7 days because of a licensing agreement with the Sky at Night Magazine. As you may know, if you buy the magazine, the attached DVD contains a copy of the recent programme. That’s the main reason, I understand, why virtually none of the Sky at Night archive is online. A real shame in my view, as it would be fascinating to watch some of the old programmes.
The jury is still out for me on the new format. I enjoy a lot of the content, but (for obvious personal reasons!) would love to see far more focus on amateur astronomy. Jane Fletcher, when she was series producer, made a point of pretty much dividing the programme into two… part astrophysics / “professional” astronomy and part amateur astronomy. Personally, I much preferred this format… but now we seem to be down to Pete Lawrence’s 5-minute slot to satisfy the amateur astronomers. I used to enjoy the ‘double-act’ between Pete and Paul Abel, but that seems to have been dropped now.
Thanks Tej, that’s a very interesting and informative summary of how you’ve achieved these images.
It will be interesting to see what you can achieve with the QHY camera. This “Newton’s Rings” effect that you are seeing is an interference pattern. I believe it can be prevented by tilting the CCD chip very slightly. There are adapters available that enable you to adjust the light angle and eliminate the interference pattern… though others are probably better placed to offer you advice on this!
Thanks Andy, that’s a very nice clear resource. I’m looking forward to 25 October already… the lunar occultation with Saturn should be something pretty special. there was one on 14 May, but only visible in the southern hemisphere… video of the event is here.
The October occultation is visible in the UK.
Probably the best resource for lunar information is the BAA Lunar Section – here. Not a resource for the faint hearted… there is a vast amount of information, and the lunar section circulars are particularly informative. However, it can be a little daunting at times, so the SPA lunar section is probably a little easier for less experienced observers to use.
Ah yes, that will be when it’s clouding over!!
“Spot the Station”…. good website… I wasn’t aware of that one.
The link wasn’t working in your post. The correct link is here.
Best app I know of is SatelliteSafari (by the same people who wrote SkySafari). Covers a huge array of satellites, including the ISS and Iridium satellites. Also gives alerts with a set warning time.
Of course, there is also the excellent website Heavens Above, which is extremely useful, especially if you create an account with your location details.
… you bring the stones!
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