Derby and District Astronomical Society

The Journal of the Derby and District Astronomical Society
September - December 2005


Aries September-December 2005 Hello again! Welcome to this edition of Aries.

It is with great pleasure that I present this edition of Aries to you all after a break of about two years. Before I go any further I must offer my thanks to someone, and that someone is the former Editor of this journal, Kevin Woodward.

Kevin Woodward Kevin (right) took over the Editorship of Aries from myself in 1999. In his time as Editor he transformed Aries from an A4-sized journal to an A5-sized publication with a very eye-catching format and style. With Kevin at the helm Aries went from strength to strength, producing it with far more regularity than before. The articles were varied and entertaining, there were 'Fun Pages' with questions to test the most astronomically minded brain, memberís observations pages, an astro-news section, and sky maps.

All in all Aries was shaping up to be a very well rounded journal, something the Society should be proud of. I only wish I managed to write more articles for Kevin than I did. I really wish I had finished my 'Mining the Sky' article series for him, maybe Iíll get to finish that in this latest incarnation of Aries? Kevin finally stood down as Editor of Aries in 2004 at his own request - he just could not find the time to devote to it. So he thought it would be for the good of the journal that he step down as Editor. I was sad that Kevin decided to do this, as I think Kevin was one of the most successful Editors Aries ever had. Even though I was sad at Kevinís decision, I did respect it. So, thank you Kevin for all you hard work as Editor of Aries, Iíll look after it for you, and by the way, do you fancy submitting an article? (Evil Laugh Ė Ed).

So, what happened next? After a time, with no Aries being produced, the membership began to ask if it was ever going to return. There were discussions at committee as regards to finding a successor to Kevin as Editor, but no one came forward, but then myself and our Chairman, Mike Lancaster, decided to include Aries as part of our Society web-page, an idea which would not only keep Aries going, but would bring the journal to a wider audience. Then it was pointed out that not everyone in the Society has access to the Internet, so the plan was hastily revised to produce a 'hardcopy' version of Aries to service those with no Internet access. But that still left the question of who would be the Editor? With still no resolution to this issue and still no Aries produced, a committee member threw his hat into the ring as we approached the May 2005 AGM.

That committee member was me, I felt that it was high time for Aries to make a re-appearance, and I always considered Aries to be a vital part of the life of the Society. I felt a personal responsibility to get Aries resurrected, being a past Editor myself. I was Editor for the first time in 1994 and I gave it up to concentrate on my undergraduate degree course at the University of Derby in late 1997. I must admit, I really enjoyed my time as Editor, researching articles, writing them, receiving contributions from the membership for incorporation into the journal, setting out crossword puzzles and so on. I think that being Editor was the most enjoyable job I have ever done during my time on the DDAS committee. So when the May 2005 AGM came around and the question of the Ariesí return was tabled I was ready to put myself forward. I had already announced to the membership at large my intention of taking Aries on if no one else came forward, so at the May 2005 AGM, I became Editor of Aries.

So what does the future hold for Aries? Well, I hope to expand upon the solid foundation that Kevin generated, I will keep the A5 size format of the journal for the hardcopy version. Aries will now become a creature of two media, as mentioned before, there will be a number of hardcopy editions of Aries to be made available to members who do not have Internet access, but Aries will have a presence on the Internet. With the support of Mike Lancaster, our Chairman and Webmaster, Aries will form part of the DDAS website. This will allow Aries to reach more readers than ever before and will show the online community what kind of Society we are and what we are currently thinking and doing.

As for content, there will be the usual collection of articles, written by members, and yes I will be twisting arms at meetings in an effort to drum up submissions for the journal, so get your running shoes ready ladies and gentlemen for I shall be on the prowl! There will be a news desk page that will feature items of space news that has caught the eye of the Editor. I would also like to invite the membership to submit any news pieces you may come across. A memberís observations section page will appear also, I will keep Kevinís fun page idea going, and I may possibly bring the crossword page back as well. A memberís review page is also planned, so if you have read a good book recently, or bought a new telescope, CCD camera and so on, then please feel free to submit a review.

Finally I wish to reinstate an idea I had when I was Editor for the first time, I would like to have a 'Letters to the Editor' page, this would be a page in which the members of the Society can debate amongst themselves concerning space-related issues, swap observing hints and tricks, or suggest events and speakers for future Society meetings, or even suggestions for the future of the DDAS! The list is endless. I want the letters to the Editor pages to become the 'Town Hall' of the Society, where members can voice anything that is of concern to them in the space/astronomy field and the life of the Society in general.

So, Aries is back! It is your journal. Tell me what you want to see within its pages, please contribute to it and donít feel that you have to be a great writer to appear within its pages, it doesnít matter, any contribution is a good contribution. Also if we have any budding artists or poets in the Society, then please by all means send me a copy of your work and I will make sure that it is published, both in hardcopy and on the web. I will be publishing my web address within Aries so you can send contribution to me via .

Aries has a bright future ahead of it, but that future depends on your support. Aries has the potential to become a wonderful showcase for our Society and I want us to all have a journal that it we can be proud of. So join with me in the exploration of our Universe through the pages of Aries!

So what do we have in this issue?

Well as you can probably tell from the index, this issue is quite busy! We have five articles appearing in this issue. Maurice Batchelor has produced two very good articles for this edition of Aries, the first deals with the problem of determining stellar distances and the other is a brief look into the life and work of Johannes Kepler. Malcolm Neal has been rooting around the web and come up with a NASA article concerning the generation of rainbows on Saturnís largest moon, Titan. I have two articles in this issue, the first is a brief round up of the highly successful Deep Impact mission to Comet Tempel 1 and the other is a brief mission report on STS-114 (as I write this editorial piece we are waiting for the second the launch attempt for STS-114/Discovery on 26th July, the first attempt was scrubbed on July 13th, three hours from launch). Finally we have a book review by Malcolm Neal, it is a review of a science fiction novel by British author Stephen Baxter, the novel is entitled Titan. Finally there is the usual Society News the Astro News Desk features.

So enjoy this edition of Aries and itís great to be back!

Anthony Southwell

July 2005