STFC are currently supporting the UK astronomy community in touring an exhibition showcasing the
Big Telescopes family - both ground and space based - focusing on the UK science expertise and
economic benefits. All are invited to attend the exhibition but registration is required.
More details at: http://www.stfc.ac.uk/2740.aspx
BEGINNERS SESSIONS 2013/2014
The next beginners session will be held at Pyle Church Hall on Friday November 29th and Friday January 24th 2014. All start at 7.30 pm.
BRIDGEND ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY
We are a small club of astronomy enthusiasts and amateurs who share a common passion and curious wonderment for our amazing night skies.
Between September and June, we meet on the second Friday of each month at Pyle Church Hall where guest speakers and club members give talks on various subjects followed by Q&A.
Each talk provides an opportunity to speak with people who are well informed, knowledgeable and are often very highly regarded in their fields of expertise.
In addition (and weather permitting), we hold observation sessions where club members can bring their own telescopes and binoculars or make use of equipment provided by the club itself.
Society members come from all walks of life with wide ranging levels of knowledge and experiences and, as like minded amateurs, we welcome anyone with a genuine interest in astronomy.
Jason Kirk's Citizen Science Links
1. Looking for Aliens
The main SETI Institute page is http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/
There should be a link somewhere at the top of there front page saying
"Download" and that will take people to the page where they can
download the SETI @ Home software.
2. Star Gazing
The software that I showed for this part was called Google Earth and
can be downloaded from http://earth.google.co.uk or just search for
There are dozens, if not thousands, of people and groups writing add
ons for this application -- small scripts that it can load to produce
different effects. This webpage has a little more information and a
link to the Space Debris script I showed:
The Google Sky Map phone app I showed can be found in the Android
App/Market Store (now called the Play Store), but I believe a version
is also available for the iPhone. There are lots of similar products
available, I'm sure your members will be able to recommend their own
favourites to each others.
3.& 4. Galaxy and Cloud Spotting.
These Citizen Science projects can be found at http://galaxyzoo.org
and http://milkywayproject.com However, they are both part of a
consortium called the http://zooniverse.org which coordinates similar
projects across several different scientific fields.
5. Reading Scientific Papers
There were several websites mentioned in this section, including
several from the floor. They all link to each other and all do
SIMBAD is a place to search for information on a particular object. It
is virtually the master database of all astronomical objects. (Not
officially, but to all intents it is).
You can search on SIMBAD for a particular object and it will give you
the option of seeing which scientific papers have been written about
it. The matching isn't perfect -- many studies are missed and some of
the hits are just places where an object is referenced in passing.
Still, it's a very valuable resource. That list of papers links to a
site called NASA ADS which is the master record for all astronomical
papers. It can be found at
The Abstracts for each paper are free to view. The commercial Journal
will usually have an online copy and that will be linked to. Some
Journals let you see the older papers for free, many don't However
there is a site called http://arXiv.org (pronounced archive) that is
linked to from the NASA ADS page on each paper. It will contain a free
copy of each paper so long as the author has uploaded it themselves.
The papers will usually be in PDF format.
The caveat is that the arXiv.org papers can be an earlier draft than
the one that appears in the final journal. Most of the time they are
very similar, but sometimes authors will have uploaded their draft
before the peer review process has finished. In that case the referee
may have asked for chances which are only visible in the final journal
6.0 Be Creative
In this section I used a program called SAOImage ds9 (often just
called ds9) which is available from
http://hea-www.harvard.edu/saord/ds9/site/Home.html It is available
for Windows, Linux, and Mac. It has many features, but we mainly use
it for quickly examining and viewing astronomical FITS images.
The data that I showed can be downloaded from a site called skyview.
It has many data sources on it. However, each of those sources will
also have their own homepage if you Google them. I think I remember
the SDSS having a good homepage will lots of material on it. (googling
"SDSS" should find it).
There are many alternative resources alongside each of those I
mentioned. I'm only really familiar with those I mentioned. I think
Microsoft has their own WorldWide Telescope. Liberal use of Google and
asking around online astronomy forums will probably produce other
examples. I also suspect that many popular astronomy magazines will
have articles about software and databases. The main thing to remember
is that there is nearly always an open source/free alternative to each
software type. It may not be 100% as good, but it'll usually be 70% of
the way there.
Jon Laver FRAS
So you’re interested in astronomy, and are considering buying your first telescope. This is going to cost you some £200-300 as an absolute minimum if it’s to be of any worth. So here are a few points for your consideration and some hints regarding amateur astronomy.