August 2023 – News
Friends Observing: 15 Friends came to the Dome with GKWJ and JAG to try and observe the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Unfortunately, thick cloud and rain prevented any observing in visual wavelengths, but the radio meteor detector live stream was followed in the warm room. Well over 100 meteor events were seen in the two hour session, with some impressive bright and longer duration events occurring. The Wetton meteorite collection was enjoyed by all.
Friends Observing: Three Friends joined GKWJ and JAG at the Dome for a ‘pre-Perseid-peak-peek’ as clearing skies were forecast for the night before the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. The forecast for the peak itself was not clear. Sure enough, despite occasional passing bands of cloud and a general haziness to the sky, it was clear enough for a two hour meteor observing session. 24 meteors were seen in total, including 21 Perseids and 3 sporadics. The meteor logged at 22:33 UT was particularly spectacular with a bright trail and a significant flash at the end, it was deemed mag -3, so not quite a fireball (needs to be brighter than -4). The group lost count of the number of satellites seen through the session.
Summer School Tour 4: The final Observatory Tour of Summer School 2023 started off with heavy rain that eased as the 28 students walked up to the Dome with DGR and a Friend helper. GKWJ welcomed the visitors and split them into two groups, one in the Dome with DGR and one in the classroom with GKWJ. A ‘Moon monitor’ was tasked with checking on the slowly improving sky to see if we could catch a glimpse of the just past Full Moon rising at around 22:00 BST. Sure enough, the thinning cloud allowed both groups to drop everything and head outside at around 22:20 BST to enjoy the Moon rise. The sky continued to clear and a Sky Tour of the main constellations ensued with many satellites seen. The decision was made to head in to the Dome to attempt an observation of M13, the Great Hercules Cluster, with the 10-inch. Unfortunately, the calibration was off, so recalibration was required; Arcturus was selected and seen by the majority of the group. We then slewed to M13 and observers started to admire the great globular cluster. Cloud started to gather again and the session was brought to a close. The Summer School season has been excellent with many delighted visitors to the Observatory.