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31 MAY 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!


VENUEKromdraai Shooting Range. The Shooting Range closes at 5 pm.

DATE: Sundown on  27MAY 2017.  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



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.

swartruggendmaycomp4_20100516_1509828263 swartruggendmay2010comp2_20100516_1749978184


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.


As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft continues exploring Ceres, evidence mounts that the enigmatic dwarf planet retains a significant amount of water ice. A new study in the journal Nature Geoscience adds to this picture, showing how ice may have shaped the variety of landslides seen on Ceres today.

“Images from Dawn show that landslides, many of which are similar to those seen on Earth, are very common on Ceres, and further the case that Ceres has a lot of water ice involved in its structure,” said Britney Schmidt, who led the study. She is an associate of the Dawn science team and assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Schmidt and colleagues identified three types of landslides. Type I, which are relatively round and large, have thick “toes” at their ends. They look similar to rock glaciers and icy landslides on Earth. Type I landslides are mostly found at high latitudes on Ceres, which is also where the most ice is thought to reside just beneath the surface, suggesting they involve the most ice of any of the flow features. Three small Type 1 flows are found in Oxo Crater, a tiny bright crater in the northern hemisphere that hosts an ice deposit at the surface.

Type II features are often thinner and longer than Type I, and are the most common type of landslide on Ceres. The landslide deposits appear similar to those left behind by avalanches seen on Earth.

Ceres’ Type III features may involve a brief melting of some of the ice within the soil-like regolith, causing the material to flow like mud before refreezing. These landslides are always associated with large impact craters, and may have formed when an impact event melts subsurface ice on Ceres. These features have similar appearances to ejected material from craters in the icy regions of Mars and on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

“The locations of these different types of features reinforces the idea that the shallow subsurface of Ceres is a mixture of ice and rock, and that ice is most plentiful near the surface at the poles,” Schmidt said.

Scientists were also surprised at just how many landslides have occurred on Ceres in general. About 20 to 30 percent of craters greater than 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide have some type of landslide associated with them. Such widespread “ground ice” features, which formed from of a mixture of rock and ice, had only been observed before on Earth and Mars.

read more…….https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6820


DATE                        SUNRISE                           SUNSET               LENGTH OF DAY

07/05/2017                 06:19                               17:59                    11:39:42

12/05/2017                 06:22                               17:54                    11:32:19

19/05/2017                06:25                                17:47                    11:22:47

28/05/2017               06:30                                 17:40                    11:11:22

30/05/2017                06:31                                17:38                    11:07:29


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

Watch:     http://spaceweather.com/



DATE                     MOONRISE             MOONSET

03/052017               12:39                   23:46           LAST QTR.

10/05/2017              18:20                     06:19           FULL MOON

19/05/2017               0.00                     12:58            FIRST QTR.

25/05/2017              06:09                    17:59            NEW MOON

The MAY lunar highlight:  


A substantial mountain range intersected by numerous deep valleys. It marks the boundary between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Imbrium. It extends for some 536 Km.and reaches a height of 3.6 kmThough without peaks so lofty as those pertaining to the Alps, there is one, immediately west of the ring-plain Calippus, which, towering to 19,000 feet, surpasses any of which

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 our evening star again,in the morning sky before dawn, where it will stay until June.

Mercury:  seen in our morning skies before sunrise.

Saturn: Is “Our Queen of the Night” visible in the morning sky anything after midnight up to  just before dawn until mid-June.

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.

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                                                                NGC 3132                                                                                                                                                                                                    M83 PINWHEEL GALAXY               HYDRA                                                    SPIRAL GALAXY

small magellanic cloud


Meteor       Duration                                Max. Date                   Observation Prospect 

Aquariids       21 April – 12 May                     5 May                        Good from  4.00 to 5:30 am

http://news.spaceweather.comAdd New/2016/03/




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: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Cosmology allows us so much more opportunity to understand our galaxy and how Earth fits into the Universe.
“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”.



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.

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ” Mahatma Gandhi.


Starlit skies to all,

Regards Wrac.



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