Tuesday 25 June 2024

June 25th 1964 test flight of X15A-2

 On June 25th 1964 Major Bob Rushworth makes the first flight in the modified number two X-15 research rocket craft. In this flight , X-15A-2 reached a top speed of 2,966 mph and a maximum altitude of some 83,000 feet.

Before this flight the aircraft had undergone a mating checkout test flight in which it remained attached to the parent B52 (conducted June 11th ) , followed by a free fall flight to evaluate further the craft’s capabilities before a powered test.


Monday 24 June 2024

The unpredictable June Bootid Meteor Shower

 I know we are in summer and that it does not get dark until very late in the evening but there is the possibility of seeing one of the most unpredictable meteor showers of the year this week.

On the night of June 27th/28th the June Bootid meteor shower will be active. Normally not a very inspiring meteor shower, occasionally in the past  it has sprung surprises on astronomers. Could this happen this year?

A meteor shower is named after the constellation where all the meteors seem to start from, in this case the June Bootids are named after the constellation of Bootes the Herdsman

Meteor showers relate to comets which are dirty snowballs travelling around the Sun. They leave a trail of dust behind the, If the Earth passes through such a dust stream we see a meteor shower.

Some people however call them shooting stars, they are nothing to do with stars. They are simply grains of dust burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The comet associated with the June Bootids is comet Pons Winnecke. On a normal year maybe 1 or 2 meteors per hour are seen, but there have been outbursts of meteor activity in 1916, 1921, 1927 and most recently in 1998 when around 100 meteors per hour were seen.


What about this year? We don’t know but if it is clear on the night of June 27th/28th have a look outside when its dark and if you see any meteors the chances are they are June Bootids,


The Astronomy Show

 Join me, Martin Lunn MBE tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, probably the only regular astronomy show on any radio station in the country. 

I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations

 The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio live on line at www.drystoneradio.com DAB radio in Bradford and East Lancashire, or 102 and 103.5 FM and can also be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.

Sunday 23 June 2024

P Eridanus and a Cooke telescope

 The star p Eridani (not rho) is one of the most interesting double stars in the southern hemisphere. It is a double stars that had been observed since 1826. 

 Two astronomers making observations up until 1908, Mr Nangle using a 6.5 inch telescope and Mr Hirst using a 4.5 inch telescope both made by Thomas Cooke & Sons of York, agree that the distance between the two components of p Eridani are getting closer.

 Today we know that the system contains 2 K class main sequence stars orbiting each other every 475 years.


Saturday 22 June 2024

New appointment at British Aircraft Company in 1964

 In June 1964 The British Aircraft Company announces that Mr A R Adams B.Sc (Encom) FCIS has been appointed secretary of the British Aircraft Company (Guided Weapons) Ltd.


Friday 21 June 2024

Alpha Centauri seen from Australia in 1906

 Alpha Centauri one of the leading double stars in the southern hemisphere was observed by G D Hirst using his 4.25 inch Cooke telescope and James Nangle using his 6.25 inch Cooke telescope in Australia in June and July 1906.




Thursday 20 June 2024

A Dark transit of Titan

On November 5th / 6th 1907 Mr A B Cobham and Mr G D Hirst using a 4.5 inch Thomas Cooke & Son telescope in Australia saw a dark spot on Saturn. This was afterwards ascertained to be Titan. 

They also both commented that they caught glimpse of the edge of the ring at flashes, the impression indicating the extreme fineness and delicacy of the rings when seen edgewise