"The High-Speed Universe".
One of the best ways of studying compact objects in the Universe, such as white dwarfs, neutron stars, stellar-mass black holes, exoplanets and Solar System objects, is through their brightness variations. This tends to occur on timescales of seconds and below, and hence requires specialised astronomical instrumentation. In this talk, I shall review the design and scientific highlights of a series of high-speed cameras that we have built at Sheffield, including Ultracam, Ultraspec and Hipercam, which have been in operation for over a decade on some of the world's largest telescopes.
Doors open 19:00 Event Starts at 19:45
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.
Gaining a preferential parking spot on Arundel Street ensured that we didn’t have too much work lugging the kit around. Then Darren Swindells and Stephen Jackson showed up, both armed with their own telescopes and imaging equipment, Steve with the Raspberry Pi camera and wireless access point.
Setup was fairly straightforward, although positioning of the newtonian side-by-side with the hydrogen alpha was more art than science, the problem being getting the positioning of the eyepiece easily viewable on both telescopes.
The day was blue skies from horizon to horizon. Sun cream was an essential. First contact was at 12:12, where Mercury started it’s journey across the face of the Sun. Some good sunspots and prominences were also visible.
All the equipment performed well, and special mention should be made of the new Televue and Explore Scientific eyepieces we have recently acquired. The view through the Howitzer/Baader Herschel Wedge/Televue Delos combination was simply spectacular. The new Orion Optics 8″ Newtonian proved to be an excellent purchase with the Seymour Solar glass filter on the front and the Explore Scientific eyepiece, although the focuser did require an extension tube.
We had several hundred visitors through the course of the day including a number of Sheffield Hallam University faculty members, students, commuters (a number of whom I suspect missed their trains), and general passers by. It’s a good location because of the amount of people passing by.
We closed the day when the Sun retreated behind the Saint Paul’s Tower at around 18:30, so we didn’t see last contact. All in all, we had an excellent day.
– Andrew Gilhooley
In his will, our late, former President Steve Adams bequeathed the sum of £300 pounds to the Society with express purpose of paying the annual subscriptions of junior members (currently £6 for a year). The society has also contributed an equal amount, and set up the Steve Adams Bursary, starting at £600. Steve was always extremely keen to encourage an interest in astronomy and spaceflight in the young, and the fund we have established will make it cheaper for young people or families to join us.
The Bursary will pay the renewal costs of existing junior members and the subscriptions of new junior members. A junior member is anyone who joins or renews their subscription before their 18th birthday. This scheme comes into operation on January 1st 2016 and will continue until such time as the fund is fully used up.
Junior members under the age of sixteen must be accompanied by an adult at our society meetings (this does not apply to our free public observing events).