North Essex Astronomical Society
Promoting Astronomy in Essex
North Essex Astronomical Society
Solar Gazing
North Essex Astronomical Society
The friendly astronomy society

About Us

Membership

Outreach

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Our regular events fall into three groups – our monthly public lectures, our star gazing (solar in the summer) events at Great Notley Country Park and Abberton Reservoir and members-only events. We also run occasional online Live Astronomy events.

All our events are listed on our calendar. Links to events at individual locations can be found by following the above links.

 

Date Time Event
13/10/2018
6:30pm - 9:30pm
Star Gazing at Abberton Reservoir Abberton Reservoir Milky Way
   
17/10/2018
7:30pm - 9:30pm
Public Meeting - October 2018
   
18/10/2018
8:00pm - 11:30pm
Club Night at The Observatory (Members Only) neas thursday meetings
   
20/10/2018
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Star Gazing at Great Notley Star Gazing at Great Notley
   
25/10/2018
8:00pm - 11:30pm
Club Night at The Observatory (Members Only) neas thursday meetings
   
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

 

Talk at Henry Dixon Hall Cancelled (16th May 2018)

We are deeply sorry to have to cancel May’s talk at The Henry Dixon hall by Mike Barrett.
Sadly Mike has been taken unwell and is unable to attend.

We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to hearing his Space X talk later in the year.

CANCELLED – Stargazing at Great Notley (17th March 2018)

Tonight’s FREE stargazing event at Great Notley Country Park is cancelled due to the snow.  Our next event is at Abberton Reservoir on 24th March (Booking Essential).  Please see our events page for more information.

Stargazing at Great Notley (24th February 2018)

Tonight’s FREE stargazing event at Great Notley Country Park will be going ahead as planned (Feb 24th).The weather is looking good, but temperatures will be close to zero and breezy so please wrap up warmly! See you there from 6:00PM. Please note that normal car parking fees apply.  More information is available here.

Wendy Clark – Cometwatch on Astronomy.FM

Listen to NEAS member and newly elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society Wendy Clark in this January edition of the Astronomy.fm podcast:

Cometwatch 2018/01/28 with Wendy Clark

Stargazing at Great Notley Cancelled (20th January 2018)

Unfortunately, tonight’s stargazing event at Great Notley Country Park is cancelled (Jan 20th) due to rain being forecast all day with a risk of it continuing this evening. We’re sorry for any disappointment, but we hope to see you at our next events (Abberton Reservoir on Sat 27th Jan, Abberton Reservoir on Sat 17th Feb and Great Notley on Sat 24th Feb).

Live Astronomy – 8th January 2018 – Galaxies

In this Live Astronomy event we take a look at a number of nearby (and not so nearby) galaxies. We show you live views of galaxies from right here in Essex, as well as discussing facts and physics about them. You can find out more about our Live Astronomy events on our Live Astronomy Information page or check the Event Calendar for the date and time of the next Live Astronomy event.

Important: The sound on this video is muted by default – move your mouse over the video and use the volume control that appears at the bottom right to turn up the volume. We also recommend using the fullscreen button to enlarge the video stream.

Live Astronomy Event.

Posted by North Essex Astronomical Society

 

Archives of all previous events are also available via our Live Astronomy Archives page. Recordings are also available on our YouTube Channel.

Live Astronomy – 8th December 2017 – The International Space Station

In this Live Astronomy event we watch the International Space Station pass over Essex. You can find out more about our Live Astronomy events on our Live Astronomy Information page or check the Event Calendar for the date and time of the next Live Astronomy event.

Important: The sound on this video is muted by default – move your mouse over the video and use the volume control that appears at the bottom right to turn up the volume. We also recommend using the fullscreen button to enlarge the video stream.

Live Astronomy Event.

Posted by North Essex Astronomical Society

 

Archives of all previous events are also available via our Live Astronomy Archives page. Recordings are also available on our YouTube Channel.

Live Astronomy – 28th November 2017 – The Moon

In this Live Astronomy event we view the moon from the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. You can find out more about our Live Astronomy events on our Live Astronomy Information page or check the Event Calendar for the date and time of the next Live Astronomy event.

Important: The sound on this video is muted by default – move your mouse over the video and use the volume control that appears at the bottom right to turn up the volume. We also recommend using the fullscreen button to enlarge the video stream.

Live Astronomy Event.

Posted by North Essex Astronomical Society

 

Archives of all previous events are also available via our Live Astronomy Archives page. Recordings are also available on our YouTube Channel.

Free Guide to Observing Meteors

Free Meteor Guide
Free Meteor Guide

Stories about spectacular meteor showers often appear in the news. We know that editors like to exaggerate a bit to entertain their readers, so what will you see in reality?

In this free guide, we explain what a meteor is and how you can easily go about observing them. Meteor watching is fun for all the family and best of all it doesn’t require any specialised equipment.

So why not head over to our Free Astronomy Resources page and download your copy today?

Voyager

NEAS member Terry Regan is the Chief Spacecraft Model Builder for the Institute of Interstellar Studies. He has built many incredible models which he often brings to our events at Abberton

It’s truly amazing the amount of detail these models have and it’s safe to say that these photos don’t do them justice – you have to see them in real life to fully appreciate them.

Following on from his models of the Magellan, Cassini-Huygens and Galileo spacecraft, Terry Regan went on a grand tour of the Solar System and guides us through his scratchbuilt scale model of the famous Voyager spacecraft.

Voyager 1 & 2 – The Grand Tour

THE MISSION

The planetary grand tour was an ambitious plan to send  two unmanned  probes to the outer planets of the Solar System. The idea was conceived at NASA & JPL in the 1960s when it found that all four gas giant planets could be visited using gravity assists while needing a minimal amount of propellant and a shorter travel time between planets.

The original proposed mission was to send four probes under the Mariner programme:  the first two, with proposed launch dates in 1976 and 1977 were to fly by Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto and the other two with launch dates in 1979 were to fly by Jupiter , Uranus and Neptune. The spacecraft were to have been designed with multiple redundant system onboard to ensure they would last over the missions spanning up to 12 years.

 

Image: Paul Kemp/NASA/JPL
Image: Paul Kemp/NASA/JPL

 

Due to NASA budget cuts in 1972, the grand tour missions were downsized to two “mini Grand Tour” probes and the Voyager programme was born.

The two Voyagers were launched in 1977 on board Titan 111E/Centaur rocket s – Voyager 2 on 20th August 1977 and Voyager 1 on 5th September  1977 on a faster trajectory which enabled it to reach Jupiter and Saturn sooner but at a cost of not visiting the outer planets. Although Pluto was possible destination in its trajectory, while examining Saturn it was decided to make a close flyby of Titan  which would remove the chance for the Pluto flyby.

On 17th February 1998, Voyager 1 overtook Pioneer 10 to become the most distance man-made object from Earth – at the time it was 6.5 Billion miles from Earth. Pioneer 10 and Voyager 1 are heading almost in the opposite direction outward from the Solar System.  One 18thDecember 2004, Voyager 1  passed the “termination shock” – the point where the solar winds slow to subsonic speeds and the tenuous point where the solar system can be said to end.  Now in 2012, Voyager 1 is 10 billion miles from Earth travelling at about 38,200mph and it takes over 33 hours to transmit and receive radio signals.

Image: Paul Kemp/NASA/JPL
Image: Paul Kemp/NASA/JPL

Voyager 2 is currently 9.1 billion miles from Earth and is travelling at about 35,000 mph, taking over 27 hours to transmit and receive radio signals.

Each Voyager probe carries a Golden Record – a gold-plated copper phonograph disc containing sounds and images selected to portray the Earth and its inhabitants. They were intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms, or even for future humans life, who may find them.

Both are still sending back information and are expected carry on until 2025 when their power runs out (or when they can no longer be monitored) –  what an amazing pair of spacecraft!

THE MODEL

This is the fourth spacecraft model to be made in my collection and as with the last three all have been scratchbuilt from plans available online and using plans from a card model.

I first started to build the main body using styrene plasticard, the material that professional model makers use . A ten sided body,  12mm high and 55mm in diameter,  was made and glued, and then shaped and cleaned up to form the main body. I added detail around the sides to represent the four thermal control louvres, and also not forgetting the famous gold record.  I then added three V-shaped struts that supports the antenna dish, and another four to support the rocket engine to give which powered the probe’s thrust. The struts was made from plastic rod and the whole thing was then sprayed black, with the louvres sprayed in chrome silver .

Next I made the R.T.G or Radioisotope Thermo Generator. 6mm diameter plastic rod was cut to a length of 50mm and formed into cooling fins. The RTG was sprayed a metallic black and the support structure chrome silver and then attached to the body.

Image: Paul Kemp
Image: Paul Kemp

Next came the long magnetometer boom  which holds two sensitive instruments away from any electrical  interference of the space craft. This boom on the model is about 400mm long and made out of 0.5mm plastic rod formed into a triangle – over a thousand pieces and three days of work went into making the boom, which was then sprayed metallic dull yellow. The science boom, which is mounted opposite from the RTG, holds cameras, sensors, various instruments  and a large Infrared  Interferometer  Spectrometer / Radiometer .The boom was again made from 1.2mm rod made into a square lattice frame work and which supports the plastic instruments sprayed up in black.

Now for the antenna dish – I clamped a piece  of 0.030mm plasticard over a large piece of plywood with a hole in it, softened the card and plunged the bottom of a truck oil filter through to form a dish shape.  The dish sits on a tripod, and was sprayed in Appliance White which makes a great antenna dish white.

Finally, Voyager was mounted on a square piece of varnished wood, which has the Voyager mission badge and NASA logo on it.