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25 JANUARY 2017 @ 19H00:

West Rand Astronomy Club Meeting

  • Dutch Reformed Church,
  • 844 Corlette Avenue, Witpoortjie
  • SUBJECT:    Astronomy and cosmology in famous ancient Egyptian, Mayan, European, Asian and African sites.
  • Bring your telescope if you would like to share the evening with the stars ( weather permitting)

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!


VENUE: Kromdraai Shooting Range. The Shooting Range closes at 5 pm.

DATE: Sundown on 10 DECEMBER 2016.  Arrive after 5pm.

Bring along a telescope if you have one, A supper basket including crockery and cutlery a blanket to sit on, or chairs.

Braais are permitted. If you have a braai you are welcome to bring that too.

Please remember, while star gazing the use of white light is not encouraged. Please bring a torch covered with red cellophane or a red headlamp. Also, as part of the star gazers etiquette, please do not litter.


On Line Shopping and walk in shop



We have come to the end of the year 2016.

Each year comes and each year goes but the Universe continues on its’ set course giving Planet Earth exactly what it needs, exactly on time in accordance with the great plan of perfection. A little change every season to begin each year anew so we share time with our heavens above.

The WRAC committee would like to thank all members for their loyal support the whole year through. May the holiday season bring to you and your families, happiness, joy and contentment, spread with health and prosperity to whole new year through.


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
  • Last outreach of the year: The Dominican Convent at Achterbergh


Club members show, talk, tell and help: schools, clubs, old age homes and many who wants to know about astronomy and view the night skies.

19 JANUARY:     at Achterbergh –  Belieu Prep.  view the night skies.


“Twinkle, Twinkle little startwinkling-stars
how I wonder what you are.”

I follow your pinpoints of light,
millions and millions of them
make a brilliant night.


Every single beam of starlight is refracted. This means, as we look through a telescope, every single stream of light gets bent and a slight change of direction is caused by various temperatures and density layers in Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, light travels a zig-zag path to our eyes. Assuming that Earth did not have an atmosphere, then that light would travel in a straight line.

Planets are nearer to Earth than what stars are and are seen as discs of light. Once again, the light gets refracted  by  Earth’s atmosphere. The light from one side of the disc gets bent in one direction while from another side it gets bent in the opposite direction so the light from the disc or planet cancels each other out and therefore planets do not twinkle.

If, by any chance one is gazing at stars and planets placed low on the horizon rather than higher up, or directly above one, then one is looking through more of Earths atmosphere and consequently there  will be more twinkle to the stars.

read more…http://earthsky.org/space/why-dont-planets-twinkle-as-stars-do


A New Theory of Gravity:

Theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde has a new theory of gravity, which describes gravity not a force but as an illusion. The theory says gravity is an emergent phenomenon, possible to be derived from the microscopic building blocks that make up our universe’s entire existence. This week, he published the latest installment of his theory showing that – if he’s correct – there’s no need for dark matter to describe the motions of stars in galaxies.

Verlinde, who is at the University of Amsterdam, first released his new theory in 2010. According to a statement released this week (November 8, 2016):

gravity is not a fundamental force of nature, but an emergent phenomenon. In the same way that temperature arises from the movement of microscopic particles, gravity emerges from the changes of fundamental bits of information, stored in the very structure of spacetime.

Dark matter – the invisible “something” that most modern physicists believe makes up a substantial fraction of our universe – came to be necessary when astronomers found in the mid-20th century they couldn’t explain why stars in galaxies moved as they did. The outer parts of galaxies, including our own Milky Way, rotate much faster around their centers than they should, according to the theories of gravity as explained by Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. According to these very accepted theories, there must be more mass in galaxies than that we can see, and thus scientists began speaking of invisible matter, which they called dark matter.

Read more……….  http://earthsky.org/space/erik-verlinde-gravity-theory-no-need-dark-matter

Is Electricity Faster than Light:


It may come as a shock, to most students of science, to learn that there are still in the world some scientists who believe that there are speeds greater than that of light.

Since the advent of Einstein, most scientists and physicists have taken it for granted that speeds greater than 186,300 miles per second are impossible in the universe. Indeed, one of the principal tenets of the relativity theory is that the mass of a body increases with its speed, and would become infinite at the velocity of light. Hence, a greater velocity is impossible.

Among those who deny that this is true, there is Nikola Tesla, well known for his hundreds of important inventions. The induction motor and the system of distributing alternating current are but a few of his great contributions to modern science. In 1892, he made his historic experiments in Colorado; where he manufactured, for the first time, artificial lightning bolts 100 feet long, and where he was able, by means of high-frequency currents, to light electric lamps at a distance of three miles without the use of any wires whatsoever.

Talking about these experiments recently, Dr. Tesla revealed that he had made a number of surprising discoveries in the high-frequency electric field and that, in the course of these experiments, he had become convinced that he propagated frequencies at speeds higher than the speed of light.

read more………..http://www.teslauniverse.com/nikola-tesla/articles/faster-light



THE SUN IN  December

DATE                       SUNRISE                           SUNSET               LENGTH OF DAY

01/12/2016                 5:07                                 18.47                              13:39

05/12/2016                 5:08                                 18:50                              13:42

15/12/2016                 5:10                                 18:56                              13:46

25/12/2016                 5:15                                  19:01                             13:46

30/12/2016                5:18                                   19:04                             13:45

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

SUNSPOT CYCLE AT LOWEST LEVEL IN 5 YEARS: The sun has looked remarkably blank lately, with few dark cores interrupting the featureless solar disk.  This is a sign that Solar Minimum is coming.  Indeed, sunspot counts have just reached their lowest level since 2011.     http://spaceweather.com/


Moon in December

DATE                     MOONRISE             MOONSET

1/12/2016              06:39                        20:22

14/12/2016            05:33                         18:33        FULL MOON

29/12/2016           05:23                          19:08        NEW MOON

31/12/2016            07:07                          20:40



Planets in December:

Expect to see Venus,  Mercury and Saturn in December.

Venus is very low in the western sky and disappears early in the evening.Venus is a daytime star for now, being straight above us by midday.

Jupiter returns in the morning sky, low on the eastern horizon and is well placed for visibility after midnight.

Saturn hovers around Scorpius low in the west setting early December.

Mars is following Scorpious and will be departing from the western sky.



 Deep-sky objects:

The Large Magellanic Cloud – The Sword in Constellation Dorado. Constellation Dorado has many nebula to observe and photograph:

The Bean Nebula NGC 1760, The Tarantula Nebula, the Tulip nebula, the Dragons head nebula. N70 a supernova remnant  and HGC 1929.

The small Magellanic Cloud -M47 The Toucan in Constellation Tucana.

The Triangulam Galaxy in Constellation Triangulam Australis

NGC 55 The Sculptor in constellation Sculptor

NGC 6744  in Constellation Pavo


 Meteor Showers

Meteor       Duration                       Max. Date                   Observation Prospect 

Geminids     December 13 to 24        December 13-14          maybe hampered by the full moon



To read more visit:    http://www.space.com/16149-night-sky.html

 Satellite movement:

Satellite movement can be viewed on:      http://www.heavens-above.com


Before Cassini-Huygens began its focused study of Saturn’s largest moon, we knew Titan as a hazy orange ball about the size of Mercury. Scientists had determined it had a nitrogen atmosphere—the only known world with a dense nitrogen atmosphere besides Earth. But what might lie beneath the smoggy clouds was still largely a mystery.

 Until the Cassini mission, little was known about Saturn’s largest moon Titan, save that it was a Mercury-sized world whose surface was veiled beneath a thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere. But Cassini mapped Titan’s surface, studied its atmospheric reactions, discovered liquid seas there and even sent a probe to the moon’s surface,completely rewriting our understanding of this remarkably Earth-like world.NASA’s Cassini spacecraft would eventually complete more than 100 targeted flybys of Titan, sending European Space Agency’s Huygens probe to land on the mysterious, alien world—the first landing on a surface in the outer solar system. As it descended for two and a half hours, Huygens took measurements of Titan’s atmospheric composition and pictures of its surface. The hardy probe not only survived the descent and landing, but continued to transmit data for more than an hour on Titan’s frigid surface, until its batteries were drained.

read more….https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/titan/


Remembering Carl Sagan:

November 9, 1934: The day of the 82nd anniversary of the birth of astronomer and astronomy popularizer extraordinaire Carl Sagan. Most of us are familiar with this late American astronomer through his books and television series Cosmos. Sagan also contributed greatly to the field of planetary science and monumentally – perhaps immortally – to the American space program.

Carl Edward Sagan was born on November 9, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York. He studied physics at the University of Chicago and earned his doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960.

In the 1960s, one of Sagan’s earliest works in professional astronomical research shed light on the atmospheres of our solar system’s planets. The atmospheres of Mars and Venus, for example, are known now to resemble that of Earth. But in Sagan’s day, scientists were still trying to understand how come Mars could be so cold while Venus is so hot. Sagan successfully confirmed that Venus could be a greenhouse furnace by using data from tables for steam boiler engineering.

Around this same time, Sagan became interested in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and contributed much to it. He proved that the building blocks of life could be easily created by exposing simple chemicals to UV light. In 1966, he helped I. S. Shklovskii, a Soviet astronomer and astrophysicist, revise and expand his classic book on extraterrestrial life, Intelligent Life in the universe.


read more……http://earthsky.org/space/carl-sagan-birthday-november-9-1934


All your photographs are uploadable on our WRAC website and your photos are memories worth keeping, so share happiness with others.


A new book written by Edmond Furter.

Title: Stone Print.

Edmond explains what his book is all about:

“Cosmology is everywhere, not just in the sky

The new book Stoneprint, the human code in art, buildings and cities, reveals that we subconsciously express the same set of archetypes in myths, artworks, temples, calendars, constellations, pyramid fields and site plans. The 16 archetypes always express some of their optional features (like nuclear particles or Schrodinger’s ‘cats’); in the same sequence; and with their eyes on an axial grid, analogous to the ecliptic grid. See more at the January meeting.”

“The distance is nothing: it is only the first step that is difficult.” Unknown


Regards Wrac.


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