“Moved by claims that it will help the metabolism and productivity of his fellow citizens, President Hugo Chávez said clocks would be moved forward by half an hour at the start of 2008.”
Google has announced Google Sky, a new feature in Google Earth that lets you browse the entire night sky. Download the latest version of Google Earth, and you'll find a new button on the toolbar, which switches you to the sky view.
Sky mode includes clickable layers containing the complete Yale Bright Star Catalogue, Messier Catalogue and Dreyer's New General Catalogue of nebulae. Deep sky objects, such as the Horsehead Nebula, are accompanied by handy explanatory notes from Wikipedia. Other layers include a showcase of photos from the Hubble Space Telescope and a tour of stellar evolution, from star formation in a molecular cloud through to death as a planetary nebula.
Let me introduce you to the Flamsteed Astronomy Society at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG). I’ll be reporting on the Flamsteed’s activities and plans regularly in this blog.
The Flamsteed is an amateur astronomy society based at the ROG and National Maritime Museum (NMM), Greenwich. It’s named after the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed. We feel very privileged to meet on a site of such historical significance and enjoy the superb facilities of the ROG and NMM. We now have just over 100 members who represent the full range of experience and interests in astronomy. Many are beginners and we pride ourselves that the Flamsteed programme is very enjoyable for people just starting out to learn more about the subject. Several members are professional astronomers, and we have access to the full-time astronomy staff at the ROG.
The Flamsteed programme includes first-class talks by ROG staff and other eminent speakers. The talks cover all aspects of astronomy including cosmology, recent discoveries and space missions, as well as the history of the subject. Talks take place monthly between September and May in the NMM Greenwich. We also arrange visits to the new Peter Harrison Planetarium, sessions with the 28-in Great Equatorial Telescope at the ROG, and telescope workshops on using small scopes. Observing meetings take place using members’ own equipment, both on Blackheath SE3 and at darker sites in Kent. Most recently we met in Kent for the Perseids meteors.
One aim of the Society is to make donations to help the educational work at the ROG. We donated an H-alpha solar telescope, and volunteers from the Society use it to stage public solar viewings at the ROG on weekends and holidays when the weather’s clear. We also arrange visits to outside locations, for example, most recently to Jodrell Bank; last year to Rutherford Appleton Labs, and the Paris Observatory.
Our new season starts on September 1st. You can find full details of the Flamsteed’s upcoming programme, and reports from previous events and meetings, on the Flamsteed website. There’s also information on subscriptions and how to join, and you can be sure of a warm welcome, whatever your interest in astronomy or level of experience.