BRIDGEND ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY
The new Bridgend Astronomical Society season got underway on Wednesday 21st September 2022 with our regular monthly meeting held at the Bridgend Tennis, Squash and Bowls Club.
Our speaker, Martin Chick, gave an excellent presentation on “Beginning with binoculars” followed by our regular Observation slot, giving details of what to look out for in the month ahead, presented by Jason Mead.
The Society has recently purchased 4 sets of binoculars and 3 tripods which will be available for use by members at our observation sessions and these were on display – unfortunately it was too cloudy outside to put them to the test.
The meeting was well attended with some new faces, and hopefully those that came found the evening useful and informative.
On Wednesday the 17th August, BAS held a rocket science event at Newbridge Fields. The event was enjoyed by both members and non members who got to launch our stomp air rockets, water pressured rockets and witness the power and excitement of our solid fuel rockets!
This event followed the success of our free Perseid Meteor shower viewing evening just a few days prior with many attending both events. It was clearly evident that our older attendees had just as much fun as our young astronomers on the night!
The evening was capped off perfectly with the launch of our solid fuel rockets that impressed and surprised our guests by reaching dizzying heights of around 700ft before sailing back to earth under their recovery parachutes. Good job we had some young legs on standby to retrieve the rockets that sailed almost the length of the nearby rugby pitch on descent! If you’d like to get involved with BAS and future BAS events then please get in touch!
A Bridgend Astronomical Society visit to the Spaceguard Centre
The most significant natural danger to life on Earth comes from asteroids and comets. The Spaceguard Centre UK is a working observatory, tucked away in a remote part of Wales surrounded by extremely dark skies. The site, owned and run by former Army Officer, Jay Tate, provides the main source of information about near Earth objects (NEO’s) in the UK.
Members enjoyed a fun and informative guided tour from Jay, learning of the dangers that potentially threaten Earths existence and how Spaceguard plays a role in spotting, recording and monitoring such threats. During the tour we experienced many types of telescopes that are used on site to observe the skies including the 13” apochromatic refractor housed in the main observatory. We also got brief tour of the skies in Jay’s ‘Mini-dome’ planetarium. We also learnt about and saw samples of the different types of space rocks that have been raining down on Earth for thousands of years. Did you know that the yellow ‘jewel’ at the centre of King Tut’s famous scarab was formed from Libyan Desert Glass?! The glass was formed as a result of a comet that entered Earths atmosphere and exploded mid-air over the desert. The explosion caused an intense heat burst that melted the sand below resulting in the rare ‘yellow glass’ that was later shaped as a jewel that was fit for a king!
The professionalism and dedication of Jay and his team was clear to see. Despite little funding, the centre is growing through funds raised by sponsorships, donations and the dedication of a hard working team of volunteers that share Jay’s passion and enthusiasm. It was exciting to hear about the DRAX project. The project involves the acquiring and setting up of the UK’s largest Schmidt Camera/Telescope at the Spaceguard site. With suitable funding difficult to come by, the project is slow but steady. However, with the current team of volunteers and sheer dedication, project DRAX is making progress. The aim of the project is to use the 24”/17” telescope/camera to further aid and improve the centres search for NEO’s by conducting wide field sky surveys.
We encourage anyone with an interest to pay a visit to the Spaceguard Centre and make a donation where possible. The Society will be making another visit in the near future with new members and members who missed out last time. Why not join us?!
Spaceguard Centre video