28 JULY 2017 @ 19H00:

West Rand Astronomy Club Meeting

  • Dutch Reformed Church,
  • 844 Corlette Avenue, Witpoortjie
  • 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!


For July we do not organise a monthly star Party, instead:


Visitors are welcome to join us. Contact Mountain Sanctuary Park and book in for the event. By day we are ‘sun bugs’. We scour the hills and commune with nature. By night we watch the velvet skies sparkling at us from above. Things amazing come to light, leaving us speechless in wonderment and; in deeper thought we consider our origins.


As from July 2017, all members are required to complete a membership form annually.This form will be available can be down loaded from the website, from 1 August 2017.

Once completed please either hand it in at the next meeting or e mail to:  sales@telescopeshop.co.za



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.

An annual occasion takes place at KLOOFENDAL. 4 pm on Saturday 29 July. Members come along with your telescopes and share the wonders of the night with Kloofendal visitors and the friends of mother Earth and nature.

VENUEKAZI FARMS:    for the Friends of the Farmers evening.The GPS:    26° 00’ 31.11” S & 27° 40’ 36.02” E.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Kazi Farms viewing took place on the weekend of 24 June:  A memorable evening! and an event that might possibly happen on a regular basis, so, if you want some fun, unpack your telescope and come along. Just watch our news for the next event.This is what the organisers said of the last evening:

“What a huge success!  Thank you so much! I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as the guests did,Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your passion,  for sharing a cold evening with us and  for making it such a pleasure, working with you and your club………”


Friday 23June, Saturday 24 June and return Sunday 25 June. 

There is some magic happening when going to Rights Farm for star viewing. Certainly,coming from Johannesburg, we breathe the cleaner air, filling our lungs with lightness. We feel an overload of stress just melting away in the warmth of the sun and a feeling of being free and loose of joint. It happens every time we arrive, despite the severity of labour in setting up camp and telescope. When all is done and darkness overtakes the noctilucent sky; campers gather around the braai, enjoying a friendly chat and meal, before we become one with our telescopes and the stars. Perhaps the magic comes in just being there, knowing, whatever happens, we are going to see some lovely night skies.

The canopy of stars shines with brilliance against a very dark backdrop. This year the Milky Way is exceptionally pure and white in its milkiness, a beautiful thick white rainbow stretching right across the sky, packed with stars shining like diamonds, with black holes so dark and mysterious. The night air filled with the zzzz.. and click of telescopes, red lights flickering around in surface darkness, like lights on a Christmas tree. The occasional call of a jackal and the ‘moo’ of a cow in the field close by. All this is magic which we hope to find each time we visit Rights Farm.





On Line Shopping and walk in shop




Hubble Eyes a Powerful Galaxy With a Password Name

Not all galaxies have the luxury of possessing a simple moniker or quirky nickname. This impressive galaxy imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is one of the unlucky ones, and goes by a name that looks more like a password for a computer: 2XMM J143450.5+033843.  Read More…..www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/hubble-eyes-a-powerful-galaxy-with-a-password-name

Hubble Captures Massive Dead Disk Galaxy that Challenges Theories of Galaxy Evolution

By combining the power of a “natural lens” in space with the capability of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers made a surprising discovery—the first example of a compact yet massive, fast-spinning, disk-shaped galaxy that stopped making stars only a few billion years after the big bang.

Finding such a galaxy early in the history of the universe challenges the current understanding of how massive galaxies form and evolve, say researchers………… Read more   https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/hubble-captures-massive-dead-disk-galaxy


  • Animation of Jupiter
    Earth-based Views of Jupiter to Enhance Juno Flyby
  •   Read more……..https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/

News| June 30, 2017

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft to Fly Over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot July 10

› Full image and caption

Just days after celebrating its first anniversary in Jupiter orbit, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the gas giant’s iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm. This will be humanity’s first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature — a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

Read more……….https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6891

April 13, 2017
RELEASE 17-042

NASA Missions Provide New Insights into ‘Ocean Worlds’ in Our Solar System

Two veteran NASA missions are providing new details about icy, ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn, further heightening the scientific interest of these and other “ocean worlds” in our solar system and beyond. The findings are presented in papers published Thursday by researchers with NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn and Hubble Space Telescope.

In the papers, Cassini scientists announce that a form of chemical energy that life can feed on appears to exist on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and Hubble researchers report additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa.  Read more….




DATE                    SUNRISE                        SUNSET                     LENGTH OF DAY

1/7/2017                  6:56                            17:27                            10:31:26

7/7/2017                  6:55                             17;29                           10:33:55

14/7/2017                6:54                              17:32                           10:38:09

21/7/2017                6:52                               17:36                           10:43:41

31/7/2017                 6:47                               17:41                           10:53:30


Space Weather News for July 7, 2017

BIG SUNSPOT TURNS TOWARD EARTH: A new and large sunspot is rapidly growing on the solar disk, temporarily arresting the sun’s plunge into Solar Minimum. Stretching more than 70,000 km from end to end, the active region numbered AR2665 has more than doubled in size in 24 hours. This makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. So far the growing sunspot has not produced any strong flares, but this could change if its rapid growth continues apace and destabilizes the sunspot’s magnetic field. Visit Spaceweather.com for movies and updates.



DATE                     MOONRISE             MOONSET

01/07/2017               13:11                   00:23

09/07/2017              17:35                     06:28           FULL MOON

17/07/2017               0.00                     12:20

24/07/2017              06:56                    18:03            NEW MOON


Archimedes is a large lunar impact crater on the eastern edges of the Mare Imbrium.The diameter of Archimedes is the largest of any crater on the Mare Imbrium. The rim has a significant outer rampart brightened with ejecta and the upper portion of a terraced inner wall, but lacks the ray system associated with younger craters. A triangular promontory extends 30 kilometers from the southeast of the rim.

The interior of the crater lacks a central peak, and is flooded with lava. It is devoid of significant raised features, although there are a few tiny meteor craters near the rim. Scattered wisps of bright ray material lie across the floor, most likely deposited by the impact that created Autolycus.




The most visible planets in the sky this month are:

Jupiter: is our very bright evening star for the better part of the whole night. Brilliant in our night sky where it will stay until about October. It currently lies in the constellation Virgo and then eventually passes into Libra.

Venus:Is visible in the very early morning sky before dawn. It is dark in Gauteng until late in winter so one can see Venus from your garden as late as 5:45 am. We do not get to see Venus because she has become a daytime star for the time being.

Mercury: is visible at sunrise just after sunset and low on the horizon.

Saturn: The planet  Saturn rises after dark and stays the night in our skies. In July Saturn is almost directly overhead.

Uranus:It is only possible to see Uranus low in the sky, just before dawn. It enjoys a time in the morning sky from end April until October when once again, it moves into the evening sky. So for a time, with a good telescope it might be possible to see Uranus in the very early dark dawn hours, very low in the sky.

Neptune:Reappears in the morning sky and stays there until September. It is a very small dot in the sky.

Normally, if one wants to see Uranus or Neptune: look in the sky and once you think you have found the planet, search in the same place each night for four nights. If the dot does not appear to have moved, then it will be either of those very distant planets and they appear to look bluish or greenish in colour.


Picture: courtesy of NASA Jupiter



NAME                                        CONSTELLATION                                       TYPE

NGC 3532                                  CARINA                                                      STAR CLUSTER                                                    CENTAURUS A                            CENTAURUS                                              ELIPTICAL GALAXY

NGC 253                                     SCULPTOR                                               SPIRAL GALAXY

NGC 3372                                    CARINA NEBULA                                       EMISSION NEBULA                                               HOMUNCULUS NEBULA               CARINA                                                     EMISSION NEBULA                                                SOUTHERN RING NEBULA           VELA                                                        PLANETARY  NEBULA                                                        NGC 3114                                                                                                      PIN CUSHION CLUSTER





Meteor                  Duration                                Max. Date                   Observation Prospect 

Piscis Australids      19 July to 17 August              28 July                              good

s. Aquarids              21July to 21 August               29 July                               good

a Capricornids        15 July to 29 August               30 July                              good

SA Sky Guide 2017


To read more visit:    http://www.space.com/16149-night-sky.html  &  http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html


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


The Higgs bang: The particle that blew up the universe

It gives everything mass, and now some people think the Higgs boson sparked the stupendous split-second inflation that made the cosmos we see today/

big bang
Pop went the universe, but what blew it up?Henrik Sorensen/Getty

THEY say it started with a bang, but in truth it misfired. The universe began as a hot speck of energy and, for an instant, remained just that. Then it blew up: from this initial seed, trillions upon trillions of times smaller than an atom, everything suddenly ballooned into the gargantuan proportions of a Tic Tac. In a mere fraction of a second, the universe expanded by nearly as many orders of magnitude as it would in the following 13.8 billion years.

Believe it or not, this burst of cosmological inflation, followed by a slower, tamer expansion, is the most sensible way to explain how the universe looks today. But there’s something missing: what did the inflating?

The answer could be everywhere, and right under our noses. When a long-sought particle finally appeared a few years back, it seemed to close a chapter in physics without giving any clue about what happens next. Read between the lines, though, as some theorists recently have, and you see that the famous Higgs boson – the particle that gives mass, or inertia, to all other particles – might have an explosive secret. “If the Higgs gives inertia to particles,” says Juan García-Bellido at the Autonomous University of Madrid, “can it give inertia to the entire universe?”



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


Recently, WRAC received  many CD’s donated to our little library.  When visiting our meetings you are welcome to use our books and CD’s.

Our Library is not a cupboard full of amazing books. It is a cupboard full of knowledge to be shared.We are constantly amazed, by the knowledge we read and the knowledge we can share.

“There is a power inside every human against which no earthlyforce is of the slightest consequence.” Neville Goddard



Stars and Deep Space  joy to all!

Regards Wrac.


Share This