A successful stargazing evening at the Sportsman Inn on Redmires Road before it clouded over at around 21:30. Some visual observations and a bit of imaging going on. Observed the Orion Nebula, the Double Cluster and the Andromeda Galaxy before the moon rose and bleached out all the faint fuzzies.
Saturday 14th January 2017.

Sheffield University IoP lecture programme …

Tue 24/01 – Professor Elizabeth Winstanley – Black Holes at the Large Hadron Collider.
Tue 21/03 – Professor Shaun Quegan – Observing and predicting climate change.
Tue 25/04 – Professor Howard Wilson – Fusion Energy.

Lectures are held at the Sheffield University Hicks Building starting at 5pm.

Normally, a stargazing event wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy, however as the weather has forsaken us time-and-time again, it’s good to be able to report that a successful stargazing event occurred on the evening of Saturday 17th December 2016.
The clear weather forecast from the morning had turned into something of a coin-toss with the various forecasters reporting different conditions later in the day. High clouds came and went a few times, however there was no thick cloud to cause big problems. Seeing was still pretty poor with a great deal of visible turbulence. Even so, we took in a good number of observations and all visitors had a lot of telescope time.
All-in-all, we’ll chalk this impromptu stargazing session as a success, and let’s hope the weather improves for us in the new year!

Over the past year-or-so, two society members have submitted “HowTo” articles to the BBC Sky at Night Magazine which were accepted for publication.

Vince Sellars’ article, “How to make a pinhole camera for solargraphy” was published in the latest December 2016 issue and details how to create extremely long exposure trails of the Sun over a period of months!

Andrew Gilhooley’s article “How to make a pipe spectrometer” was published in the November 2015 issue and details how to construct a simple spectrometer using plumbing materials!

The first of our “Steve Adams” lectures was a great success, thanks to the incredible enthusiasm of our speaker, Professor Vik Dhillon, and the large turn-out of members and visitors.
Vik’s talk concentrated heavily on on the sheer complexity and engineering that is required to construct the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), as well many aspects of the funding, the science, and the choice of location. One of the most staggering facts was that, when complete and housed in its dome, it will be as tall as the Sheffield University Arts Tower. Another incredible fact was that the combined surface areas of all the world’s largest telescopes from the last hundred years would be smaller than the area of the E-ELT.

Thanks to Vik and to everyone who helped out. I am sure Steve would have been very pleased and proud.

You can find out about the E_ELT here: http://www.eso.org/public/unitedkingdom/teles-instr/e-elt/

A profile of Vik Dhillon can be found here: http://www.vikdhillon.staff.shef.ac.uk

Despite the inconsistent weather forecast, we had a good day observing the Sun in Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Sungazing Setup

Credit: Andrew Gilhooley

Sungazing Equipment

Credit: Andrew Gilhooley

Sungazing Hydrogen Alpha

Credit: Andrew Gilhooley

Sungazing White Light

Credit: Andrew Gilhooley

Sungazing White Light with Labels

Credit: Andrew Gilhooley


Credit: Andrew Gilhooley

At the Transit of Mercury event, Stephen Jackson brought along his telescope and the Raspberry Pi camera. This is no normal astronomical imaging device.

The setup of this camera allows anybody armed with an i-device (eg. iPhone, android phone, tablet PC, etc) to view the live image from the telescope directly on their device. The Raspberry Pi acts as the interface to the camera, a web server and a wireless access point. Observers simply connect to the access point, point their web browser at the web server and view the images.

It is an excellent way of doing outreach and Stephen is going to add more functionality to this as there is a new 8MP Raspberry Pi camera recently released which will only improve what we have already seen.

It’s brilliant.

Raspberry Pi Camera installed in the telescope

Credit: Andrew Gilhooley

Image from Raspberry Pi Camera

Credit: Stephen Jackson

More ….

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Weather Forecast

Sheffield England United Kingdom
April 25, 2017, 01:45
Mostly clear
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humidity: 71%
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