28 JUNE 2017 @ 19H00:

West Rand Astronomy Club Meeting

  • Dutch Reformed Church,
  • 844 Corlette Avenue, Witpoortjie
  • SPEAKER: Heysteck Grobler
  • SUBJECT: Radio Astronomy
  • 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!


VENUEKAZI FARMS:    for the Friends of the Farmers evening.The GPS:    26° 00’ 31.11” S & 27° 40’ 36.02” E

DATE: Sundown on  24 JUNE 2017.  Arrive after 5pm.

Bring along a telescope if you have one, A supper basket including crockery and cutlery or buy delicious Farmers Food

 a blanket to sit on, or chairs and PLENTY OF WARM CLOTHING.

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




Are you looking for dark skies – a place to go to and a place to camp for a weekend? You are welcome to join us for a weekend away. Beautiful dark skies, fine weather and lots of peace and joy with out telescopes!

Friday 23June, Saturday 24 June and return Sunday 25 June.  Bring your tent or caravan, your telescopes and cameras. Your food and plenty of warmth. Peace of mind and a determination to see as much as possible in the night sky.The sky is clear and open, there is so much to share and see. By day,soak up the warmth of the Free State Sun with walks in the fields, laughter and fun.

You are welcome to join us for the Senekal Star Party on this weekend. Visit the WRAC website, the front page will give you all the details and maps of how to get there.

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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


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.

Visit the Walter Sisulu  Botanical Gardens on Saturday 17 June.WRAC members will be there for a show of the Night Skies with their telescopes and an astronomy talk by Jerome Jooste from ASSA johannesburg.
Visit Kazi Farms as: friends of Farmers on  Saturday 23 June. In the evening, WRAC members will be there to show you the night skies.

See more meets in the July newsletter


Any night for the next several months, watch for the ringed planet Saturn. You’ll find it near the bright star Antares, Heart of the Scorpion in the constellation Scorpius. Both Saturn and Antares rising into the eastern half of the sky:    read more…….http://earthsky.org/tonight/best-time-to-see-saturn-is-approaching

A new mission to monitor solar activity is now making its way to an orbit one million miles from Earth. The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 6:03 p.m. EST Wednesday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.   read more…….https://www.nasa.gov/content/noaa-s-new-deep-space-solar-monitoring-satellite-launches

Humans have long been shaping Earth’s landscape, but now scientists know we can shape our near-space environment as well. A certain type of communications — very low frequency, or VLF, radio communications — have been found to interact with particles in space, affecting how and where they move. At times, these interactions can create a barrier around Earth against natural high energy particle radiation in space. These results, part of a comprehensive paper on human-induced space weather, were recently published in Space Science Reviews.   read more…….https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasas-van-allen-probes-spot-man-made-barrier-shrouding-earth

Our sun is a chaotic place, simmering with magnetic energy and constantly spewing out particles. Sometimes the sun releases solar flares and coronal mass ejections — huge eruptions of charged particles — which contribute to space weather and can interfere with satellites and telecommunications on Earth. While it has long been hard to predict such events, new research has uncovered a mechanism that may help forecasting these explosions.   read more……….https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/waves-on-sun-give-nasa-new-insight-into-space-weather-forecasting

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached the main destination of its current two-year extended mission — an ancient fluid-carved valley incised on the inner slope of a vast crater’s rim.”The science team is really jazzed at starting to see this area up close and looking for clues to help us distinguish among multiple hypotheses about how the valley formed,” said Opportunity Project Scientist Matt Golombek of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.  read more…….https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6844

A study combining observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes reveals that the distant planet HAT-P-26b has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Located about 437 light-years away, HAT-P-26b orbits a star roughly twice as old as the sun.

The analysis is one of the most detailed studies to date of a “warm Neptune,” or a planet that is Neptune-sized and close to its star. The researchers determined that HAT-P-26b’s atmosphere is relatively clear of clouds and has a strong water signature, although the planet is not a water world. This is the best measurement of water to date on an exoplanet of this size.   read more…..https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6843


DATE                        SUNRISE                           SUNSET               LENGTH OF DAY

01/06/2017                06:47                               17:23                    10:35:56

05/06/2017                 06:49                               17:23                    10:33:43

15/06/2017                06:53                               17:23                    10;30:17

21/06/2017               06:54                                 17:24                    10:29:45    WINTER SOLSTICE

30/06/2017                06:55                                17:27                   11:31:07


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

Watch:     http://spaceweather.com/


21st. June

The Winter Solstice represents our shortest day and longest night. This day is three hours and seventeen minutes shorter than the summer time on the same date in the northern hemisphere.


DATE                     MOONRISE             MOONSET

01/06/2017               13:11                   00:23

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

17/06/2017               0.00                     12:20

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


Aristoteles is a lunar impact crater that lies near the southern edge of the Mare Frigoris and to the east of the Montes ALpes mountain range.

The impact crater was officially named in 1935 after the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle by the International Astronomical Union, using the classical form of his name.

This crater is best seen six days after new moon or five days after full moon. The inner walls of the crater display some of the most complex terracing in any crater on the moon.

Sky Guide Africa South 2017 .


The most visible planets in the sky this month are:

Jupiter: is our very bright evening star from sunset to midnight. 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. We do not get to see Venus because she has become a daytime star.

Mercury:  seen in our morning skies before sunrise.

Saturn: The planet in the news at the moment as Cassini dives between the rings. Satrn rises after dark and stays the night in or skies.

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.


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                                                               In Saggittarius the elegant Swan Nebula, M 17 can be seen. It is worthy of a photograph or two as well.



Meteor       Duration                                Max. Date                   Observation Prospect 

The Ophiuchids and the June Lyriads but the visibility chance in the Southern Hemisphere is: unfavourable to poor.


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


.What our Milky Way might look like to alien astronomers: This image of NGC 2683, a spiral galaxy also known as the “UFO Galaxy” due to its shape, was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Since trying to find out what the Milky Way looks like is a bit like trying to picture an unfamiliar house while being confined to a room inside, studies like this one help us gain a better idea of our cosmic home.Credit: Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Astronomers have long known that the most prominent features of a typical spiral galaxy such as our Milky Way — a central bulge surrounded by a disk and spiral arms — account only for the lesser part of its mass. The bulk of the missing mass is suspected to lie in so-called dark matter, a postulated but not yet directly observed form of matter believed to account for the majority of matter in the universe. Dark matter emits no electromagnetic radiation of any kind, nor does it interact with “normal” matter (which astronomers call baryonic matter), and is therefore invisible and undetectable through direct imaging.

The dark matter of a typical galaxy is thought to reside in a more or less spherical halo that extends 10 to 30 times farther out than the distance between the center of our galaxy and the sun,

read more…..https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170418111504.htm


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.

“A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.”  C.M.Schwab



Stars and Deep Space  joy to all!

Regards Wrac.


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