The RASNZ Email newsletter is distributed by email on or near the 20th of each month. If you would like to be on the circulation list This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy.

Affiliated Societies are welcome to reproduce any item in this email newsletter or on the RASNZ website http://www.rasnz.org.nz/ in their own newsletters provided an acknowledgement of the source is also included.

Contents

1. Graham Blow ONZM
2. Call for nominations to Council
3. Murray Geddes Memorial Prize Nominations
4. TTSO8 - Call for Presentations
5. Stardate South Island, Feb. 28-Mar.3
6. The Solar System in February
7. NACAA and TTSO8, Melbourne, April 18-21
8. RASNZ Conference, Whakatane, June 6-8
9. John Dobson
10. Supernova Double Resolved
11. Closure of Major U.S. Telescopes Proposed
12. Tiny Asteroid Hits Earth
13. How to Join the RASNZ
14. More Signs

1. Graham Blow ONZM

Graham Blow was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, ONZM, in the New Year's Honours List. The award is formally for 'Services to astronomy.'

Graham's interest in astronomy developed early in life while he was at secondary school in Auckland. He joined the Auckland Astronomical Society and was soon participating in their scientific programmes at the Auckland Observatory (now Stardome).

While at the University of Auckland in the mid-1970s, Graham established the National Committee for Student Astronomy. With much work and travel he helped form branches in several NZ centres. This organisation encouraged interest in astronomy at secondary school level.

Graham joined the staff of the Carter Observatory, Wellington, around 1977. There he developed his observing programme in lunar and asteroid occultations. These involve precise timing of stars being hidden by the moon or by an asteroid. The timings give detailed information on the shape and position of the moon and the size and shape of asteroids. During this time he was a guest of McDonald Observatory in Texas, then an international centre for this work.

In the late 1970s Graham formed the Occultation Section of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ). This continues to be a very productive scientific group involving many amateur astronomers in Australia and New Zealand. The group includes developers of instrumentation and software as well as observers. The range of its work is seen on the Section's webpage at http://occsec.wellington.net.nz/

In 1983 Graham organised a nation-wide tour of New Zealand by the famous British astronomy educator Patrick Moore.

Graham greatly supported NZ astronomy during his time at the Carter Observatory running both public education and scientific programmes. He also worked hard for the Royal Astronomical Society of NZ, serving on its council for many years and as President 1988-90. Graham has been awarded the Society's Murray Geddes prize and was made a Fellow of the RASNZ in 2008.

After leaving the Carter Observatory Graham formed Sky Data services Ltd. His company provided astronomical tables and widely-used graphs of planetary visibility.

Outside astronomy Graham is well-known as a photographer. His sports photography, particularly motor racing, has been widely published.

2. Call for nominations to Council

Council and Executive Nominations Closing date for receipt: 7 March 2014

2014, being an even numbered year, is an election year for the RASNZ Council. Nominations are requested for all officers and council positions. The positions for which nominations are required are:

President
Incoming vice-president
Executive secretary
Treasurer
5 Council members.

In addition the Fellows need to nominate a Fellows representative.

Affiliated Societies will elect two representatives at the affiliated societies' committee meeting held prior to the AGM.

The current president, Glen Rowe, automatically becomes a vice-president. The rules do not allow the president to serve a second consecutive term. By the terms of rule 74, nominations, including any for the fellows representative, need to be sent in writing to the Executive Secretary by 7 March 2014

The nomination must specify the name of the candidate and the office sought. It must be signed by the proposer and seconder and be accompanied by the written consent of the nominee.

The address to which nominations should be sent, as soon as possible, is:

RASNZ Executive Secretary
662 Onewhero-Tuakau Bridge Rd
RD 2
TUAKAU 2697

A postal ballot will be held in April 2014 for any position for which the number of candidates exceeds the number of appointees required.

-- Rory O´Keeffe, Executive Secretary.

3. Murray Geddes Memorial Prize Nominations

Nominations are called for the the Murray Geddes Memorial Prize 2014. The prize is awarded for contributions to astronomy in New Zealand. Normally the recipient is a resident of New Zealand. More information can be found on the link RASNZ Rules and Bylaws on the RASNZ website(www.rasnz.org.nz/Council/Rules2013.pdf) Nominations should be sent to the RASNZ Secretary at the address below by 7 March 2014.

-- R O'Keeffe, Secretary RASNZ, 662 Onewhero-Tuakau Bridge Rd, RD2 TUAKAU 2697.

4. TTSO8 - Call for Presentations

Dave Gault, Convenor, 8th Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations, writes: I wish to invite applications for a presentation proposal to the 8th Trans Tasman Symposium on Occultations (TTSO8).

Naturally, the subject of the presentation needs to be associated with the topic of Occultation Observing in some way.

There are three opportunities for your presentation to occur:

Friday 18th - Introducing Occultation Observing Workshop - a ½ day Workshop

Presentations need to be tailored to suit the novice observer, who may be unsure of exactly how to get started on making accurate observations.

Topics might include

  • how to get a "good enough" Time-Base
  • how to set up and find the target star efficiently
  • how to make predictions
  • how to make observation reports

Sunday 20th PM only - in NACAA Parallel Stream (with NACCA approval)

Monday 21st - TTSO8 Main Program

Presentation durations - broadly speaking, durations should be of 15 minutes or 30 minutes duration and the presenter should allow for a 3 to 5 minute question time at the end. Presentations will be timed and cut short if the schedule is tight.

Typically, presentations are aided by a file created by yourself that will run on Windows Power Point that will be projected onto a screen. This will consist of a number of slides that include text (please keep to a minimum) photos, diagrams, video files, audio files sufficient to aid the description of your topic. For simplicity it´s best to provide your data on a USB memory stick and allow the presentation to run using the symposium PC and data projector however, if you MUST run your presentation on your own PC, please advise the organisers well before your presentation is scheduled. Please advise if your require any special needs, like internet connection.

Please consider submitting a separate Paper (i.e. a .doc file) that might describe in detail the individual slides of your Power Point file rather that writing reams of text on your slides. Both files (the Power Point and the Paper) will be included in the TTSO8 DVD.

To submit a presentation proposal, please use the NACAA facility available at http://www.nacaa.org.au/2014/submit Note: A brief abstract will need to be included with your submission. Also you will need to list any special needs for your presentation, like internet connections or PC sound.

Deadline for the applications of submissions is Monday, 17th February.

It would be appreciated if you would send a final, or almost final draft of your presentation files by 14th April.

Registrations for NACAA XXVI and TTSO8 will commence in January 2014

-- Dave Gault, Convenor, 8th Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Important Links: o NACAA Main Page: http://www.nacaa.org.au/ o Submit a Proposal to NACAA: http://www.nacaa.org.au/2014/submit o TTSO8 Main Page: http://www.occultations.org.nz/meetings/TTSO8/TTSO8.htm

5. Stardate South Island, Feb. 28-Mar.3

Stardate SI will be held at Staveley between Friday February 28th and Monday March 3rd.

Stardate SI is held at a hostel and campsite. It has the following facilities: Full toilet & showers, bunkrooms, auditorium, kitchens with shared fridges and freezers, large cafeteria, plenty of space for tents and caravans. The viewing area has excellent horizons in all directions, and space (no pun intended) for many telescopes.

The surrounding countryside is beautiful, with fine walks through beech forests - we recommend you restrict the walks to daytime 8-).

Stardate SI has the following schedule:

Start - Friday February 8th; Registration - from 3:30 pm;
Speakers - Fri 8 pm to 9 pm;
Viewing - Fri night;
Speakers - Saturday 10 am to 11 am;
Soapbox - 11 am to noon
Group photograph - noon;
Update on SI astronomical organisations - 12:30-1 pm;
Free time and solar observing workshops - 1 to 5 pm;
Trade table - 5 to 6 pm;
Telescope walk - 6 pm; Pot luck tea Saturday - 7 to 9 pm;
Viewing - Saturday night;
Speakers - Sunday 10 am - 12:30 pm;
Packup - Sunday or Monday at noon (depending on registrations)

REGISTRATION FEES: Approx. $15 per night per person from school age on and free per child under 5 years (actual amounts to be determined). There is no charge for a caravan point. After the refund cut-off date, 24 February 2014, there will be no refunds for cancellations. You can register after this date, however.

Please register on-line at http://www.treesandstars.com/stardate/

NB: Even if you are using a tent you need to register so that we can plan effectively

6. The Solar System in February

All dates and times are NZDT (UT + 13 hours) unless otherwise specified.

Phases of the moon (times as shown by guide)

New moon:      January  31 at 10.38 am (Jan 30, 21:38 UT)
First quarter: February  7 at  8.22 pm (Feb  6, 19:22 UT)
Full moon:     February 15 at 12.53 pm (Feb 14, 23:53 UT)
Last quarter   February 23 at  6.15 am (Feb 22, 17:15 UT)
New moon:      March 1      at 9.00 pm (Mar  1, 08:00 UT)

There is no New moon during February 2014.

The planets in february

Apart from Jupiter, the major planets are best viewed in the morning sky during February.

Mercury starts the month as an evening object, setting about 45 minutes after the Sun. As a consequence it will be too low for observing in the evening twilight.

The planet reaches inferior conjunction with the Sun on February 16 when the planet will be 0.646 AU, 96.7 million km, from the Earth and 0.34 AU, 51.7 million km from the Sun. From the position of the Earth, Mercury will appear to pass 3.7° north of the Sun.

After conjunction Mercury becomes a morning object. The possibilities of viewing the planet by the end of the month are better due to the steep angle at which it rises. On the 28th it will rise about 100 minutes before the Sun and be some 8° above the horizon 50 minutes before sunrise. Look for the planet a little to the south of east. The crescent moon, less than 4% lit, will be 3° to the left of Mercury on that morning.

Venus is in the morning sky moving away from the Sun and so higher into the morning sky. On the 1st it will rise just under 2 hours before the Sun. 30 minutes before sunrise the planet will be about 14° above the horizon a little to the south of east. By the end of February, Venus will rise an hour earlier and be 30° up half an hour before sunrise. At magnitude -4.6 it will be an easy object.

On the morning of the 26th the 17.8% lit moon will be 6° above Venus. An occultation of Venus by the moon is visible along a broad band from equatorial Africa to India, most of the southeast Asian countries and central China.

Mars will become visible in the later evening sky during February. It rises just before midnight on the 1st, advancing to a little after 10 pm by the 28th. During the month Mars´ magnitude brightens from 0.2 to -0.5. The planet will be a few degrees from Spica throughout the month, the two are closest on the morning if the 4th when they are 4.6° apart.

The planet and star are joined by the moon on the night of 19/20 February. In the late evening the 82% lilt moon will 6° from Mars and 3° from Spica. The following morning the moon, now 80 % lit, will be 2° from Spica and 4° from Mars.

Saturn rises about 1 am on the 1st and about 11.15 pm on the 28th. The planet will be in Libra. On the morning of the 22nd the 61% lit, waning, moon will be 3° from Saturn. A few hours later, well after sunrise, the moon will occult Saturn as seen from New Zealand. The planet will disappear behind the lit limb of the moon about 12.15 pm and reappear some 40 minutes later. Actual times will vary considerably in different parts of NZ. The event may be visible through a medium sized telescope. Anyone wishing to attempt to view the occultation needs to obtain precise local predictions of the times. These can be obtained using the Occult program written by Dave Herald.

Jupiter is the only major planet visible throughout the evening during February. It rises before sunset and sets well after midnight. On the 1st the planet transits and so is at its highest to the north a little before midnight. On the 28th transit is about 9.45 pm. Jupiter is on the part of the ecliptic well north of the equator so is at the altitude of the winter Sun.

On the 11th, the 89% moon, 3 days before full, will be 4.8° from Jupiter.

Outer planets

Uranus remains in Pisces during February. It will set a little after 11 pm on the 1st and around 9.30 pm on the 28th. Particularly by the latter date, the planet will be very low in the sky as the sky darkens following sunset. So observation will be difficult. The planet is in Pisces.

Neptune is at conjunction with the Sun on the 24th, so will be too close to the Sun to observe during February. The planet is in Aquarius.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres and (4) Vesta remain as a pair of close objects near Mars, best seen in the morning sky. Spica, Mars, Vesta and Ceres are almost in line and in that order. On the 1st Vesta is at magnitude 7.2, Ceres 8.2. Vesta will be 7° from Mars and 4.2° from Vesta. By the 28th the magnitudes of the two asteroids are 6.6 and 7.8, with Vesta now 8.5° from Mars and 3.3° from Vesta.

(2) Pallas is in Hydra at the beginning of February. At magnitude 7.3 it is almost as bright as Vesta. Towards the end of February, Pallas starts to cross a corner of Sextans. On February 28th the asteroid, now magnitude 7.0, will be 4° from alpha Hya, magnitude 2.0. Earlier in mid February, Pallas makes a close pass of upsilon1 Hya, magnitude 4.1. The two are 22´ apart on the night of the 14/15 February. Pallas will be the closest binocular object to the star, making its detection fairly easy.

-- Brian Loader

7. NACAA and TTSO8, Melbourne, April 18-21

The National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers (NACAA) is in Melbourne in Easter 2014, 18-21 April.

NACAA aims to bring together amateur (and not-so-amateur) astronomers from Australia, New Zealand, and beyond to share in learning, disseminating and planning cutting-edge astronomical work in the region. We always plan to have a full weekend, Friday to Monday, of various streams of presentations covering a great width of astronomical work including observing, instrumentation, education, research, history and local activities.

If you would like to be emailed details then go to http://www.nacaa.org.au/2014/interested and sign up for info as it comes available.


The Eighth Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations (TTSO8) will be held over Easter 2014, in conjunction with the 26th National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers (NACAA) which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, hosted by the Astronomical Society of Victoria. More information on the NACAA meeting is available on its website: http://www.nacaa.org.au/

See Item 4 for the programme outline.

8. RASNZ Conference, Whakatane, June 6-8

A New Year's resolution: register for the 2014 RASNZ conference as soon as possible - and book accommodation. The conference is from Friday 6th June to Sunday 8th June. It is followed by the third Variable Stars South Symposium (VSSS3) which will take place on Monday 9th June following the conference.

The conference will be held at the Whakatane War Memorial Hall situated in Rex Morpeth Park off Short Street. More information can be found on the RASNZ web site. The venue for the symposium is the Eastbay REAP centre in O´Rourke Place. This is about 5 minutes walk from the Rex Morpeth Park.

RASNZ members will have received a conference registration and brochure with their December issue of southern Stars. Registrations can be made on line: <http://www.rasnz.org.nz/wiki/doku.php?id=conference:start>

There is no accommodation at the conference venue, but plenty is available in Whakatane, some within a few minutes walking distance of the venue. Some possibilities are listed on the brochure. Early booking is advisable.

The Whakatane Astronomical Society, are acting as hosts and marking the society's 50th anniversary in 2014. On the Friday afternoon before the conference opens, the Whakatane local organising committee is arranging a bus tour which will include a visit to the Whakatane Society Observatory. More details are in the brochure.

The guest speaker for 2014 is Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, renowned for making the first observations of a Pulsar in 1967. The title of her talk is "Transient astronomy - bursts, bangs and things that go bump in the night".

The 2014 Fellows´ Speaker is Philip Yock, associate professor in the Department of Physics at Auckland University. The title of his talk is "From Particles to Planets".

Further information about the speakers is on the web site

Paper Submissions

The RASNZ SCC is now inviting submissions to present a paper at the 2014 conference. Papers may be presented orally or as posters. All those active in any aspect of astronomy are invited to make a submission to present a paper. Affiliated Societies and RASNZ Sections should take the opportunity to publicise their activities to other members of the RASNZ and the NZ astronomical community by making a presentation at the conference.

Details and a submission form are available on the RASNZ Wiki: http://www.rasnz.org.nz/wiki/doku.php?id=conference:start. Even if you are only thinking about presenting a paper, please let us know by completing a submission form now and giving a likely title.

Best wishes for 2014. We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

-- Brian Loader, Standing Conference Committee chairman.

9. John Dobson

John Dobson, inventor of the Dobsonian telescope, died on January 15. The following message was placed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Sidewalkastro/posts/10153646888390012

"It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we have to report the passing of Mr John L. Dobson. He died peacefully this morning, January 15th, 2014, in Burbank, California. He was 98. John leaves behind a son, many close friends, and legions of friends, fans, and admirers around the globe.

ISAN 7 (International Sidewalk Astronomy Night) will be held in honor of John on March 8th. Amateur astronomers worldwide can join in and celebrate his life by carrying the torch that John lit back in 1968 when he co- founded the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers.

John was a friend and mentor to all who met him. He will be dearly missed."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dobson_%28amateur_astronomer%29

-- Forwarded by Robert McTague

10. Supernova Double Resolved

On July 24 last year Stuart Parker of Oxford, Canterbury, discovered a supernova in the galaxy NGC 6984. It appeared in exactly that same position as another supernova had a year earlier. As Stu has discovered more than 60 supernovae, his reports are acted on quickly. The supernova was confirmed as a new object by spectroscopy with the South Africa Large Telescope (SALT) and designated SN 2013ek. However, its identical location with the earlier SN 2012im was intriguing. Could the two be related?

Images with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) showed SN 2013ek with a fainter star-like point 0.17 second of arc east of it. Assuming the fainter star is the remnant of 2012im then the two stars are about 160 light years apart. (NGC 6984 is around 210 million light years from us.) The separation of the explosions in both time and space shows that they were not related, just coincidence. Later HST images will show if the two remnants are fading as SN remnants should.

The below, slightly edited, is Stu's summary of the discovery and the follow-up.


Astronomers Discover a Double Take of Exploding Stars in a Distant Galaxy - by Stu Parker.

As stories go the Supernova in NGC 6984 has a really good blend of amateur and professional involvement and just goes to show the value of amateur discoveries and a quick response by professionals to get real science done.

When I first saw the new possible supernova in NGC 6984 I ignored it as I knew there had been a previous SN in that galaxy (SN2012im) in the past and thought that it was just the same one that was still visible. After a few minutes of thinking it over I went back to the image and blinked it against the previous discovery and sure enough it was right on top. But this seemed strange as I looked at the date of sn2012im and it was nearly a year to the day that the last one had been found. This is not normal and it was not visible in the previous image of only a week previous. After talking it over with the BOSS [Backyard Supernova Search] guys and doing all the normal background checks I decided to send an alert out to the professional astronomers who do the spectra for us. Eric Hsiao at Carnegie Observatories was the first to contact me back. He informed me that this may be an important event and thought it may be a good idea to release an Atel to inform the wider professional community so they had the information as soon as possible. With his help we released Atel #5225.The Boss group had never released our own Atel [Astronomers Telegram] before and this alone was a pretty big deal for us.

Here is the Atel:

ATel #5225; Stu Parker, Greg Bock, Peter Marples, Colin Drescher, Patrick Pearl, Brendan Downs, and the BOSS team Distributed as an Instant Email Notice Supernovae Credential Certification: Eric Hsiao We report a new supernova candidate in NGC 6984. TOCP Designation: PSN J20575390-5152245 Observation Date: 2013 07 24.457 J2000 Position: 20 57 53.90 -51 52 24.5 Magnitude: 16.9 U Offset (arcsec): 1W 10S Locale: NGC 6984 It was detected at mag 16.9 on two 30 second images taken on the same night, July 24.457, 2013. Nothing was visible on the previous image taken on July 13.552, 2013 and 15 images taken during the past year down to mag 19. Another supernova, PSN J20575392-5152248 (SNhunt142), was discovered one year ago very close to this position by the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey and Stan Howerton. It was discovered on July 25.540, 2012 at the position 20 57 53.92 -51 52 24.8 at mag 17.7. It was then typed as a SN Ic around peak on August 8, 2012 by PESSTO (ATEL 4300).

Around this time Dan Milisavljevic at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) contacted me with the great news that SALT had a spectra and it was a new SN. All this in ½ a hour!!. Dan and SALT had done a lot of spectra for us in the past.This was fantastic news and to be honest a real relief as we didn´t want to release an ATel with a false alert for the professional community.

This set off a chain of events which is explained below in Dan Milisavljevic´s release which is a great summary of events. It was fantastic to be involved with this. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to see the Hubble Space Telescope raw fits files of NGC6984 and process the image.

There has been a delay in releasing this as Dan and others needed to get everything ready to present these results at the 223rd annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society taking place in Washington, D.C. between January 5-9, 2014.

I make special note here of Dan Milisavljevic who got use of Director's Discretionary time on the HST. His quick thinking along with others who saw an urgent need to interrupt regular operations with the HST and to be granted time is by itself pretty amazing credit to him and his team for this fantastic effort. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Dan and Professor Robert Fesen when he asked me to be a guest at the 4 metre telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in October what a fantastic guy and I had a great time so here is a little bit about Dan.

"I completed my PhD studies at Dartmouth College in June 2011 and started work at the Harvard-Smithsonian center for Astrophysics in September 2011. My interests surround observational research on supernovae and supernova remnants at optical and NIR wavelengths. I focus on understanding the progenitor stars (i.e., what were they before they blew up?) and explosion mechanisms (i.e., how did they blow up?) of core-collapse events."


Stu's 67th SN discovery, 2014I, was officially reported today in IAU Central Bureau Electronic Telegram No. 3791.

11. Closure of Major U.S. Telescopes Proposed

The U.S. National Science Foundation's (NSF) budget for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) is shrinking at 4% a year in purchasing power. Thus the Division of Astronomical Sciences (MPS/AST) has had to make hard choices so that new projects must be funded.

Because of the discrepancy between the decadal survey budget assumption and the actual MPS/AST funding levels, MPS/AST undertook a community-based Portfolio Review in 2011 and 2012 (See http://www.nsf.gov/mps/ast/ast_portfolio_review.jsp). This review was carried out under the Federal Advisory Committee Act by a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee of the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (http://www.nsf.gov/mps/advisory.jsp).

The report recommendations included significant divestment of facilities from the MPS/AST portfolio in order to retain the balance of capabilities needed to deliver the best performance on the key science of the present decade and beyond. The Portfolio Review Committee (PRC) recommended that these divestments take place expeditiously, in order to restore portfolio balance by Fiscal Year 2017. "Divestment" in the PRC context meant removal from the MPS/AST base budget, and the PRC recommendations made no presumptions about what form that removal might take.

MPS/AST presently funds five distinct federal facilities, some with multiple telescopes, for carrying out astronomical research. They are the Arecibo Observatory (Arecibo), International Gemini Observatory (Gemini), National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and National Solar Observatory (NSO). The PRC made specific divestment recommendations for four of these five facilities, whereas a budget cap (but no divestment) was recommended for Gemini.

Telescopes specifically recommended for expeditious divestment by the PRC were the following:

  • NOAO 2.1-meter telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona.
  • NOAO Mayall 4-meter telescope on Kitt Peak.
  • NOAO share in 3.5-meter WIYN (Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO) Telescope on Kitt Peak.
  • NRAO Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), located in Green Bank, West Virginia.
  • NRAO Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), with 10 telescope locations including Saint Croix, Hawaii, and eight continental U.S. sites.
  • NSO McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope on Kitt Peak.
  • Approximately one half of the NSO Integrated Synoptic Program (NISP), with telescopes located at various sites including Kitt Peak and several other U.S. and international locations.

On a somewhat longer time scale, divestment-related recommendations included the following:

  • Reconsider status of Arecibo for the time frame following the expiration of the current cooperative agreement, after 2016.
  • Reconsider the NOAO partnership in the SOAR (Southern Astrophysical Research) telescope at the time of expiration of the SOAR collaboration agreement in 2018.
  • Divest the NSO Dunn Solar Telescope (DST), located on Sacramento Peak in New Mexico, in approximately 2017, two years before the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) comes on line.

-- Extracted from the full announcement at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14022/nsf14022.jsp Passed on by Laurence Marschall via Karen Pollard.

12. Tiny Asteroid Hits Earth

A small asteroid, likely 1-4 metres diameter, probably hit the Earth on January 2. It was discovered by the 1.5-metre Mt. Lemmon Survey telescope in Arizona on Jan. 1.26 UT and tracked by them for 70 minutes. During that time it moved 2.6 minutes of arc, a tenth of the full moon's diameter. That is relatively slow for a near-Earth object as, subsequent calculations showed, it was coming straight at us. At discovery it was 400,000 km from Earth, about the moon's distance.

Unfortunately no follow-up observations were obtained so the object's exact orbit was not determined. However independent calculations by Bill Gray, the Minor Planet Center, and Steve Chesley of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory all indicate that the object hit Earth on Jan. 2.2 +/- 0.4 UT. It has been designated 2014 AA.

According to Chesley, the impact locations are widely distributed, most likely falling on an arc extending from Central America to East Africa, with a best-fit location just off the coast of West Africa on Jan. 2.10. 2014 AA was unlikely to have survived atmospheric entry intact, as it was comparable in size to 2008 TC3, the only other example of an impacting object observed prior to atmospheric entry.

-- From Minor Planet Electronic Circular 2014-A02, 2014 Jan. 2.

13. How to Join the RASNZ

A membership application form and details can be found on the RASNZ website http://www.rasnz.org.nz/InfoForm/membform.htm. Please note that the weblink to membership forms is case sensitive. Alternatively please send an email to the membership secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

The annual subscription rate is $75, not including the Yearbook. For overseas rates please check with the membership secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

14. More Signs

In a laundromat: Automatic washing machines - please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.

In an office: After tea break staff should empty teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.

Notice in health food shop window: Closed due to illness.


Newsletter editor:

Alan Gilmore   Phone: 03 680 6000
P.O. Box 57   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lake Tekapo 7945
New Zealand