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HH and Flame Bill Bonar

Newsletter 18 December 2022

Dear Members,

That was a great talk to end our 2022 season on! Really interesting and very well delivered by Dr Jenifer Millard. Nigel has written a meeting report and you can watch the video there too. A big thank you to Nigel and the team for arranging such a variety of excellent talks throughout the year. It really isn't easy and takes up a fair bit of time. 2023 already looks great!
This will probably be the last newsletter of 2022 (unless I get bored, Betelgeuse explodes or it starts raining meteors). I hope you've found these newsletters informative, interesting, fun... or at least not too intrusive. Let me know what you'd like to see in them and if you want to add a few paragraphs, or an article for the website, I'd love to hear from you.

In the Sky

The Geminids definitely were great this year, despite the moonlight interference, and with the meteorcams (sorry to bore you with them yet again) even more interesting. The rates have been so high, probably surpassing the Perseids, although that could be down to the longer nights and we were fortunate to have icy clear skies at maximum too. Here are a selection of image stacks from members' cameras:
1671020737 (1)
1671021256 (1)
The UKMON report for the Geminids in 2022 shows this for 60 minute interval rates, peaking over 300 on both 14/15 December. Over 30,000 Geminid meteors were matched and had orbits computed this year. Just amazing!
03_stream_plot_timeline_matches (1)
From Alan's Sky Diary:
The Sun is furthest south at the winter solstice at 21:48 on the 21st, giving us our shortest day and longest night of the year. Edinburgh’s sunrise/sunset times vary from 08:19/15:44 on the 1st, to 08:42/15:40 on the 21st and 08:44/15:48 on the 31st.Edit this to insert text.
Winter Solstice 2022


If you're going to have a look at Mars this year, now is the time. The next few apparitions will not be as good and it's going to be quite some time before it is well-placed for us again, so don't miss out.
Mars is actually closest to Earth, 81 million km, on the 1st and at its brightest, magnitude -1.9, on the 6th, surpassing the brightest star Sirius which clears our south-eastern horizon soon after our star map times. By Hogmanay, Mars has halved in brightness to magnitude -1.2 and receded to 95 million km. Meanwhile, telescopes show its small disk shrinking in diameter from 17 to 15 arcseconds.


Our old friend Orion is becoming more prominent and starting to dominate the evening sky. I always find it comforting - if cold - to see him again.
Orion Stellarium
As many of you have, I've been trying to take images of the Orion Nebula for many years and a few years ago I put the ones I could find together in one composite. Always interesting to see how different equipment, filters, techniques, processing, experience... shows M42 in very different ways.

President's Challenge

(OK so I just made this up :) Why not have a go this Winter at imaging - or drawing, M42 - and let's put them all together in one composite? Not in any way as a competition or to compare how good we are, but to see how people interpret it differently, how far we have come, where we want to get to maybe, and just to enjoy this wonderful object. Put them on Flickr or send them to me directly, I'll put them together and let's see what we come up with. After all, many of us will be doing this anyway so let's give it a focus.

The furthest back image of M42 in our Flickr group I can find is by Duncan Hale-Sutton, who I'm sure some of you will remember, from 1 Feb 2011 (yes our Flickr group has been going on that long!):
M42 Duncan Hale-Sutton
Remember there is a lunar occultation of Uranus on 1 January 2023 if you've nothing better to do.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break, however you choose to spend it, and see you all in 2023. Our first meeting is on 6 January.

Stay warm, clear skies and keep looking up.
President / Webmaster

Main banner image credit: Horsehead and Flame Nebulae, Bill Bonar
Footer banner image credit: Western Veil, Eros Tang
Western Veil Eros Tang
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