Bringing Astronomy to Cornwall

MESSAGE BOARD

 Located at Court Farm Holiday Camp Site, St Stephen, Mid Cornwall PL26 7LE.

 To contact the Observatory Text only to 07804 036959 or email brians@roselandobservatory.com

Office (01726) 813602 or the Observatory Site   not valid after 22nd July

All the Courses have now run their course,(!) however Tuesday evening remains an informal night for all to plan the future. See you between 7.00pm and 9.00pm. It is open to visitors to the county price £6.00 per adult and £4.00 per child Under 8 yrs Free!

To keep up to date;- follow/like our Facebook page Roseland Observatory

 

Please FOLLOW for updates. For additional information data visit the Contact Page see top tabs.

Then check all the other pages by clicking on the links at the top or bottom of the page.

SS Computer Services when you simply need the best - just telephone 01726 68684.

 

 

         

 

Radio St Austell Bay;

www.rsab.org listen on 105.6 FM and on line for all the local news and events. Including a monthly contribution

from Roseland Observatory.

St Austell Voice;- Your local weekly newspaper carries a regular feature about the Night Sky on the first Wednesday of each month.

Visit the Observatory;-  We have been on the radar for the organisers of youth and adult groups for a while now.

    £6.00 per adult, £4.00 for U 16's and U 8 foc, phone or email for more information.  

For Group bookings for schools, Scout & Guide Association members go to the

News Tab on the top of the page. Please ring (01726) 813602 to book your place. 

Headlines;- 

Work Experience for Year 10 students is now over for the year. It was well enjoyed by students and parents and teachers were full of praise.

 

Noctilucent Clouds are being seen over Europe at this time, they are caused by the already set Sun shining through ice crystals that have formed around micrometeorite particles (or rocket smoke dust) in the upper atmosphere. Check out www.spaceweather.com for more details. (4.07.14)

 

Image Credit "Spaceweather.com"

 

Mapping the Sun Day 12th July at Sterts Arts Centre, Upton Cross. This event went well with about 50 archaeologists attending.  Checked out the orientation of the Rillaton Barrow and found the entrance is open to the Equinox sunrise!

Image credit Mike Carke

Starmus Festival 2014;-  Martin Dykes reminds us that this festival is being held on Tenerife 22nd - 27th Sept with a galaxy of household names in attendance for more information www.satrmus.com . Leaflets are in the Observatory.

The planets;-

 

Jupiter;- is now low in the western sky. Image by Paul Clark.

Saturn;- is still making its presence felt in the southern skies - always a WOW event.

The Ultra Deep Field from Hubble - what an image indeed. Combines images taken in the Ultra violet, Visible and Infra red parts of the spectrum.  The smallest reddest galaxies are among the youngest known when the Universe was a mere 800 million years old.

 

Image credit - Hubble and Universe Today June 3rd

Current  Courses;- 

 

All courses will restart in the autumn;- at 7.00pm and finish at 9.00pm and are £5.00 per night. Courses are 10 weeks long except the GCSE which runs until May.  "Astronomy for interest" and "Life and death of stars" on Tuesday   GCSE Astronomy Wednesday.  Contact Brian Sheen (01726) 813602.  email  brians@roselandobservatory.com

 

UK's very own Space Weather forecast;- From the Met Office Exeter will come the UK's first Spaceweather forecasts, they started in May and will ramp up in the coming months.

Naturally RAL Space the source of many of the instruments on the various Solar Observatories is heavily involved.  However we will have to wait before Solar Orbiter launches in January 2017 to get our closest views of our Star.

 

Prominences and active areas on the surface of the Sun.

An archive image taken through our H Alpha scope.

Mike in the Shetlands; - my main man up there has got his  website www.macastrofix.info  running well - check it out it even links back to this one! He has just added Curiosity to his range of card models you can down load for free. Please note this one is 101 MB - just like the Dalmations. He has just added a solar radio telescope so we can now hear the Sun breathing(!) This is still in its Beta stage.

For the work we did together at Stargazing LIVE 2013 Mike made a model rover as a prize that was won by Thomas. Saw the lad again last week and he has the Rover proudly displayed in his room!

 

 Mike's model of Curiosity - this one is in Shetland not Mars.

Bodiggy School paid us a visit a few days ago here is some of the evidence

 

 

 

 

 

July Night Sky

Constellations;- There is no other asterism to talk about this month – The Summer Triangle of Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, Vega in Lyra the Harp and Altair the Eagle in Altair. Slowly and surely this group takes centre stage as the month moves on. Cygnus contains the lovely double star Alberio, Lyra the flying doughnut better know as the Ring Nebula and Aquila contains a couple of great binocular clusters

The Moon;-, First Quarter 5th, Full Moon 12th, Last Quarter 19th, New Moon 26th

 

The Planets;-

Earth;- is furthest from the Sun on the 5th. A good crowd turned up at our talks about the Hurlers in Portsmouth a few days ago. A much better session is being held at Sterts on the 12th July, we continue to find out new things all the time.

Mars;- is shrinking day by day as it distance between Earth and the planet steadily increase.

Saturn;- Is in Libra and therefore close to the horizon when seen from the UK, never the less its rings are always good to see. Already past its best- ‘scope it before it goes.

Uranus and Neptune;- improve in visibility as the month goes on but are never very easy to spot, a telescope is required.

Meteor Shower;- the southern delta Aquariid shower although a minor shower is well placed this year as the Moon is only just past new on the 30th.

Astronautics Badge;- The UK Space Agency have sponsored a new Scout Badge. We are investigating the best way of delivering this to Cornish Scouts.

Good News;- The Par Community Association has been supported by a grant of £660.00 towards installing the Sphere. Cornwall Council is working out the best way to get the Sphere sited to great advantage. Now getting down to a Business Plan! Now have quotes in and a number of options so things are on the move.

Part of the Paralympics is in Cornwall - it is an Armillary Sphere

Image credit Sonia Clyne.

 

Joe Warrener who spent a few nights at Court Farm took this excellent view across the site.

 

 

 

The Pelican Nebula an emission nebula in Cygnus.

 

Image Credit Paul Hughes

 

To see all of Paul's images at full resolution go to www.zenfolio.com/paulh101  a lot of detail has been lost on the web page. His favourites file can be run as a slide show covering a range of deep sky objects.  

 

 

 

 

If you go down to the woods tonight .....! Image credit Anne-Marie

 

Shetland Astronomical  Society;   I was in Shetland in the summer 2011 working with the SAS.  Check out www.shetlandastrosoc.org.uk   To see Mike's - austroastro's video made from Chris Brown's images of the Northern Lights click on the link. For other U tube videos by austroastro do a Google search.
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIGyM227g6M&feature=plcp&context=C4accb4aVDvjVQa

 

Science Technology Engineering Maths Ambassador;-  or STEM for short. Mainly for those wishing to get involved teaching with the Observatory. This is a National approval scheme that allows us to teach/demonstrate in schools and youth groups. Any one can apply (including those outside our team) is is good for those asked to go into schools to represent the companies they work for, Includes a DBS.  To learn more contact us via any of the Observatory links.

A great link from an American fan;-  Matthew H. found A kids Space Centre - Fun with Model Rockets - (http://orlandofuntickets.com/a-kids-space-center-fun-with-model-rockets.php) while working with his local library.

 

Mike working on the magnetometer

 An image credit Rob Stidston

Have your telescope in two places at once? Well with Slooh you can.

A good way to be able to image almost anywhere any time with your "own" Robotic Telescope. The Observatory has a "Commander" Membership.  www.slooh.com   

 

 The ISS;-  

The Space Station  is visible in our  skies  from time to time. See www.heavens-above.com for exact times for you.   There are chances to see it in the daytime and towards dusk when it is getting dimsy.  

It Is so bright that it will flare as the Sun strikes one or two of the large solar arrays.     H-A are now giving suitable times for daylight passes. 

   Regular Opportunities for schools

 For more information about the courses see the "NEWS" page and then contact the Observatory.   

  Key Stage One, Two and Three Astronomy. Opportunities throughout the Year  just phone and book, more  under News page on this site.

 Earth & Beyond; Doing Space this term then school teachers should see our News section. 

Gifted & Talented sessions for years 10 & 12 at the Observatory.

GCSE Astronomy Practical Project work. Having successfully guided many students through the GCSE Course work we  offer opportunities on a regular basis. Opportunities throughout the year  just phone and book. Only £5.00 per session. In each case email brians@roselandobservatory.com or phone (01726) 813602 to learn more.  

 Extended project A Level std. Global Dimming. This experiment was extended this year into the IR as it  produced a clearly measurable change in light levels through the previous Christmas period.

 For Scouts, Guides and other youth groups see the separate News Page.

RESEARCH AND SPECIALS

 The Neptune Saga;- Continues with a new book about Le Verrier which fills a black hole in our knowledge of 19th cent. French Astronomy.  Written  a review for publication in a number of journals. Also the long awaited paper on the subject has now been published see below in the main Neptune section. Anyone wishing to read it please request a PDF copy.

Neptune's orbits - a paper  by Norma Foster is also in the Antiquarian Astronomer and compares the actual orbit that Adams calculated and puts right a  view,  long held,  by some that the position he predicted was a long way from that calculated by Le Verrier.  Those wishing to read it please request a PDF copy.

 Our Neptune research has reached the august pages of the Antiquarian Astronomer issue 7 March 2013.  it covers some 11 pages and is described as "incisive".

 

 

 Taken during the Society for the History of Astronomy autumn conference 2011.

Neptune's special year;- The year 2010 opened in January with a special presentation in Seattle, USA. NB The Blue Planet is close to opposition at the moment so a good time to observe given clear skies.

Image credit "a friend" 

Note the Cornish Flag!

 

 

 

 

Neptune from Voyager  2                         Credit;- Jocelyn Murgatroyd and Cornish Cross Laneast

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images by John Chiswell from two cameo reliefs. The lady is Eliza Adams nee Bruce  - It is believed to be the only likeness in existence. The sculpture was by Albert Bruce-Joy a relative and well known artist.

 

 

This image is of the memorial in Westminster Abbey and is also by Bruce Joy. Image Credit Westminster Abbey.

 

 Bill Sheehan's Neptune  with 10" RC.

 

Neptune discovery story. For a short film of the Neptune story visit Maarten Roos website. http://www.lightcurvefilms.com 

Have continued my researches by contacting the Chinese University in Hong Kong (been there got the T.Shirt). Some 10 years ago they did some excellent work on Neptune's orbit which I now have permission to use in my talks.

For Canoe Africa see below.

The Hurlers;- 

World Heritage Site;- We are currently working with Caradon Archaeology on The Hurlers.  (Minions is the  nearest village) This work is centred on how to best interpret these ancient sites to an interested general public. At the moment we are helping with an APP to interpret the area in a modern way. Thanks to Cornwall Council and Cornwall Heritage Trust for their support. The App is now on a an APP store but in a Beta Version to be tested by those involved.

The  background;-  The Hurlers can be found on Google Earth 500 30' 58.67"N   40 27' 29.69" W, the aerial view is  supplemented by a number of photographs and some text. Until recently people studying the various monuments around the country would look closely at one aspect or site and not regard those near by. The Hurlers are the focus of a much larger complex of ancient structures.

Back to the Hurlers. Lead by Gary and supported by Amanda we measured the elevation of Rillaton Barrow above the horizon step by step using a professional level.  We had good results although more work needs to be done. We have proved which star it celebrates and when it was built. We seem to have identified the Processional Way referred to by John Barnatt in "Prehistoric Cornwall".

The Calendar Stone is to be found in the Centre Circle and to the south of centre. For all time people  have noted that shadows cast by trees or stones change their length and direction during the day and throughout the year. The length marked at midday once a month requires only 7 marks to define the solar year. A more complete explanation of this system is available.

Archaeologists are often rightly sceptical of two point alignments and require either a Back Sight or Fore Sight to support the evidence. Extend the Hurlers SW - NE line northwards about a kilometre to arrive at Tumuli. Due north is Stowe Hill due  south is Minions Mound with more Tumuli. (Tumuli are Bronze Age burial sites.) Due East is Kit Hill due west is a large barrow. If you turn your back on Kit Hill and look towards the Pipers you will find they lie one behind the other i.e. due west. Stand between the Pipers and look towards Stowe Hill and you look North. Are the Pipers contemporary with the Hurlers - the evidence points in a positive direction. 

The N - S line can be extended on to Long Tom,  Menhirs or Long Stones predate Stone Circles and this one has had a Cross carved on it at a later date. Although not exactly due south of the Hurlers it is south of Stowe Hill which is a long ridge of high ground.

Vernal Equinox;- To celebrate this we  visited the Hurlers  on the Sunday 25th March 2012    Sunday AM was good in that it was clear and we saw the Sunrise, close to Kit Hill although Kit Hill itself was not visible to the naked eye due to general murk. Sunday PM saw the Sun setting due west close to a couple of burial mounds as predicted. 

Summer Solstice;- It so happens that the midsummer Sun rises above Stowe's Hill and sets over Brown Willy. Summer Solstice 21st June and we were at Craddock Moor Circle for the event.  A first for us was an observation of a special Standing Stone on Stowe Hill It seemed to mark the actual position of sunrise. (June 2010)

From Craddock Circle the Sun rose behind the Cheesewring on Stowe Hill as predicted, what was new to me was to see the Sun hitting Tregarrick Tor before it rose for us, this confirms that Tregarrick marks the winter solstice sun set. (June 20th 2012)

 

 

                                      The Sun rising over Stowe Hill    (2012)                                       

Image by Amanda King of the Roseland Team.

 

Summer Solstice 2013;- The group ambled out Craddock Circle. It is a circle of fallen stones close to gorse bush atop a featureless hillock. The Sun had shown signs of remaining visible until sunset but it was not to be. However it appears to set just west of Brown Willy. Images had been taken a couple of days before and will be examined in the Observatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7th June                                                                                                             19th June

Many thanks indeed for the images from Robin Paris of Darite - excellent and revealing sunsets. A CD has just arrived with more images all adding to our overall knowledge of the Bronze Age calendar.

Autumnal Equinox;- The Sun rose and set as per the Vernal Equinox, although on the date we were there (21st Sept. 2011) the fog was so thick it was impossible to see across the Circles!

This time using a solar filter in conjunction with a small telescope it was possible to determine that the Sun rose just a bit to the right of Kit Hill stack. The sunset was impossible due to thick cloud. 22nd Sept 2012. Same situation Sept 2013.

Winter Solstice;- The three stone circles known as the Hurlers near Minions, Bodmin Moor. Appear to mirror the well known asterism of Orion’s Belt in the centre of the Orion constellation.

21st Dec Mid Winter Solstice 2013;-  Usual pea souper of course up on the Hurlers - Bodmin Moor, so we were unable to do much until after breakfast. The modified compass worked well to gave us a real baseline for the first time. Checked out Kit Hill again as due East and established the position of the "4th circle". We were unable to do the Sun rise from Craddock Circle. Just too foggy at sunrise.

In the 21st cent. this constellation, including Orion’s Belt, is due south of the Hurlers on the  winter solstice (Dec 21st) at midnight. In the Bronze Age circa 2000 BC this transit occurred earlier in the evening due to precession.  Remember the actual day of the winter solstice was marked from Craddock Circle. Due north was marked by Stowe's Pound and the “ever present” pole star, in those days Thuban in Draco and later Kocab in Ursa Minor. Directly north of the Hurlers is Stowe Hill with its Neolithic enclosure and Rillaton Barrow, the Bronze Age users of the Hurlers would have recognized that the stars directly above the Hill did not move and were therefore special. Today the star that occupies that place is called the Pole Star, North Star or Polaris.

 There is no doubt that the view of the Hurlers would have been very special before the Quarry removed much of the viewing area. However even today the torch lit Circles look impressive indeed.

                

             Paul Hughes of the Observatory Imaging Team

The Three Circles lit by torches, giving a very atmospheric effect.  It seems that at this time the winter solstice was celebrated all over Europe by the lighting of bonfires. It consists of four individual images merged into one.  It was normal for special events to be marked by lighting fires. We carry this practice forward today with our Torch Light Processions and lights on Christmas Trees and in public places.

The role of Craddock Stone Circle;- One question often asked is, how did the people of 2000BC know which was the shortest day of the year? It just happens that one of very few winter solstice alignments on the Moor is between the nearby Craddock Stone Circle (1 kilometre distant) and Tregarrick Tor.  There is even a raised embankment avenue joining the Stone Circle to the Hurlers complex - problem solved.

Clearly the Hurlers were very important in the Bronze Age and this should be more widely recognized and appreciated.

 Update;- A summary of work carried out in the county appears in "The Hurlers an Archaeological Assessment" published by the Historic Environment Dept of Cornwall Council.

Mapping the Sun Project Sept 2013;-

The Equinox problem solved - Maybe?;- The Sun  does not rise due East (above Kit Hill) on the Equinox but does rise early, these two problems are linked.  Refraction is well known as the reason for the Sun to become visible while still below the horizon. It also causes the image to be displaced laterally North or South depending on which Equinox (Vernal or Autumnal) is being observed. This effect can be demonstrated by placing a stick in a clear sided tank filled with water, with the stick against the near side of the tank no effect is apparent, move it towards the far side and the displacement is apparent. The degree of displacement will be increased at time of high humidity and decreases with altitude - this means that the Sun is due East after it has risen for about an hour.

The Hurlers;- A combined project with the county archaeologists culminated in a nine day "Summer School" on the Hurlers. Called "Mapping the Sun" Involved survey work and mapping the Sun rise and set positions. We have created a Bronze Age Landscape map - working with a range of specialist kit new and old to achieve this. New Discoveries were made and new Legends were born. The archaeologists uncovered, examined, photographed and recorded a quartz pavement that last saw the light of day in 1938 and using modern techniques will learn so much more.

 

 

 Orion's Belt on Bodmin Moor. The image was taken, with great expertise, by Tony Piper located on  Caradon Hill. Single torches were placed in each of the circles. The result shows how closely the torches resemble the stars in Orion's Belt.

 

This lovely sunset picture showing two of the Hurlers lit torches was taken by Paul Hughes of the Observatory team

 

 

 

Martin, a German visitor to Cornwall filming the Hurlers from his Quadrocopter.

His You Tube videos can be found on Thesnaptin Image Credit Robin Paris

 

Canoe Africa;-  To find out more about my attempt to spread the astronomy word  click on my link Canoe Africa   and visit our special Canoe Africa page. See also www.universetoday.com check out the reports filed under IYA 2009. The dates are Sept 9th 2008 and Feb 12th 2009 - Thanks to Tammy Plotner.  

Last updated;-??

 

Work experience for years 10 & up;- Interested students should contact their school coordinator as soon as possible. See also the News Page. All letters and correspondence must go to the Par Office, 92 Par Green, PL24 2AG. and not the Observatory site.   Work Experience years 10 & 12;- Our very successful WE programme enables students to take a genuine part in the work of the observatory as trainee astronomers. Apply now for 2015 to the Par Green address and not the Observatory site.

 

    BRINGING ASTRONOMY TO CORNWALL

 

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