31 AUGUST 2016 @ 19H00:

West Rand Astronomy Club Meeting

  • Dutch Reformed Church,
  • 844 Corlette Avenue, Witpoortjie
  •  Werner Kirchoff.
  •  Ancient History How the Greeks used the power  to determine the basics of the Solar System.

Cost: Donation of R10 for the use of the venue which includes tea and coffee.

Telescopes will be set up for viewing (weather permitting). Members are encouraged to bring along telescopes, you can bring along observation sheets and any of your favourite astronomy books for discussion. Ask questions, share information and enjoy!

On Line Shopping and walk in shop


Notice to members:

Wrac does on going Outreach programs from month to month throughout the year.

Any members who have telescopes and who wish to enjoy the excitement of  showing others the night skies, please leave your name and number with Jess by e-mail so that you can be included in the program.

  • Secretary@wrac.org.za
  • sales@telescopeshop.co.za

Thank You:

WRAC  wishes to thank the club members who constantly give up their time, making themselves available for Outreach programs.Thank you: Kenny Neville, Claire Flanagan, Doryn Jolly, Dave Jolly, Neil Naude, Dave Phillips,Johan Grobler and  Neil Viljoen.

Next viewing:  Montrose School at Agterbergh  : Thursday 1 September

Little Bean School :  Wednesday 7 September





NASA prepares to sample an asteroid

NASA is leading an international collaboration that will soon launch a seven-year sample return mission to an asteroid. The asteroid, called Bennu, is of the near-Earth variety. Its orbit brings it near our planet occasionally, for good or ill (good because asteroids contain possible useful resources, ill because earthly astronomers have come to realize that asteroids still can and do sometimes collide with Earth). Launch of the new mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is scheduled for September 8, 2016, but there’s a 34-day launch window, so there’s plenty of time. The mission is called OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer), and NASA said it will:

Saturn’s moon Titan has flooded canyons

They’re steep-sided canyons with liquid in them, but the liquid isn’t water. Instead, it’s liquid hydrocarbons.

Orbiting Saturn since 2004, the Cassini spacecraft has transformed our understanding and mental image of this world and its many rings and moons. Now the Cassini mission is scheduled to end in a grand finale in 2017, but scientists will be analyzing Cassini’s data for years to come. In a new paper published August 9, 2016 in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers described how they used Cassini’s radar data to discover deep, steep-sided canyons on Saturn’s moon Titan that are flooded with liquid hydrocarbons. The researchers drew parallels on this distant moon to processes taking place at Arizona’s Grand Canyon and at Lake Powell, which straddles Arizona and Utah. NASA said in a statement:

The finding represents the first direct evidence of the presence of liquid-filled channels on Titan, as well as the first observation of canyons hundreds of meters deep.


DATE                       SUNRISE                           SUNSET               LENGTH OF DAY

25 AUGUST                6:27                                   17:53                 11:25:25

30 AUGUST                6:22                                   17:55                  11:32:32


READ MORE…….http://www.hartrao.ac.za/other/sundial/sunriseset.htm

Looking at the sun through a telescope or binoculars without the necessary equipment or protection Will Blind You.

Moon in AUGUST:

04 JULY      –        New Moon             Rise 06:32          Set 17:44

20 JULY      –        full Moon               Rise 18:16          Set 6:56

  • http://www.timeanddate.com/moon/south-africa/johannesburg

Planets in August:

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter: Look well placed in the west as they slowly depart from the winter skies. It is our last chance to see Mercury placed close by( about two fingers) to the left and westward. Jupiter and Venus will light your way but Mercury might be harder to spot.

Mars and Saturn:  are still brightly visible each night. Keep observing them if not just for their spectacular beauty alone. Mars and Saturn are brightly visible.  If one has the opportunity to see Mars  at the head of Scorpius, take another look at Antares, the heart of Scorpius and make a comparison between the redness of  Mars and that of Antares. One a planet and one a star, they almost match in glowing redness.

Jupiter: Still popping out brightly in dark skies. Jupiter, heading westward, is lying noticeably lower in the sky each evening but is still most spectacular to see.


 Deep-sky objects:

In Ophiuchus, you can find M9, M10, M12, M14, M19, and M6, which provide examples of different concentrations of stars. Also visible is IC 4665, a big but often overlooked open cluster located near Beta Ophiuchi. On a dark night, it is visible to the naked eye as a hazy splotch nearly I degree across.

M4 – NGC 6121  ( Scorpious) M4 is the Milky Way’s Largest globular cluster, Omega Centauri, sparkling with ten million stars.

M1 – NGC 1952   ( Taurus) the Crab Nebula is 6500 light years from Earth. It really was a massive star that exploded as a supernova in AD 1054.. This one is not in our Southern skies in winter.

M44 -NGC 2632   ( Cancer)  The Beehive Cluster a wondrous cluster of stars, in constellation Cancer.

M8 – NGC 6523    (Sagittarius) The Lagoon Nebula

M6 – NGC 6405    (Scorpious) The Butterfly Cluster

M20 – NGC 6514  ( Sagittarius) Trifid Nebula

M104 – NGC 4594 ( Virgo) Sombrero Galaxy.



 Meteor Showers:

Most important: A dark sky, is what is needed to observe meteors.Moonlight is a chaser. A dark sky is important so patch in to see what the moon is doing and schedule your dates and times for meteor sightings.

The Delta Aquarids can be seen from 15 July to 20 August. The maximum occurs around 6 August. The Delta Aquarids have no known parent comet. ZHR: 20

The Perseids begin around 23 July and max. around 11 August ending the shower about 20 August. the Swift-Tuttle comet is the Perseids parent comet. ZHR: 75

DID YOU KNOW?:  ZHR means Zenith Hourly Rate.  This is the number of meteors expected to be seen under ideal conditions. The observed rate is always much less because ‘ ideal conditions’ are never fulfilled.



Halley’s Comet
Halley’s Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is a short-period comet visible from Earth every 75–76 years.
Orbital period: 75 years


Image result for astronomy pictures of southern hemisphere

Do you remember 1986? That was the last time we saw Halleys Comet. It might be your luck in about 30 years time.

 Satellite movement:

Satellite movement can be viewed on:


All your photographs are uploadable on our WRAC website and your photos are memories worth keeping, so share happiness with others. send your photos to our website manager, Neil.   e-mail: sales@telescopeshop.co.za

Unfortunately there are no current wrac website pictures to up load : Come on members, Please send in your pictures!

 Dress to beat the cold, keep warm and spend your nights under our star spangled, beautiful winter night skies!!

M35 m17

Winter is nearly over but we can still have fun,

on the 1st. of September,

with solar glasses we’ll watch the sun.

Write the date down, just to remember.

Gaze in awe and snap the splendour.

Enjoy your pastime!

“reason is the natural order of truth but imagination is the origin of meaning.”  C.S.Lewis


Regards Wrac.