Ean Ean Thornett

Noctilucent clouds galore!

Ean Ean and I viewed an amazing display of noctilucent clouds which was seen best out of our bedroom window (I feel like Roger although I did have window open) in the centre of Lichfield today at 3:30am. The pictures below were taken with either my Samsung S7 phone or Sony A350 DSLR. It was morning twilight and getting quite bright sky in the west just before sunrise with Belt of Venus visible.the clouds extended from approx. 15-60 degrees altitude – over massive area from almost direct north to nearly direct west.

I need to thank Damian who called Ean Ean and myself to make us aware of this incredible display and allowed us to see our first good noctilucent clouds.

Incredibly exciting!

Andy






Butterflies in Lichfield

On Friday evening after RAG, members of the astronomy group were invited to walk down to the Moth Group’s moth-observing area further in the forestry centre. It’s fantastic when scientific groups can share information and experiences. They showed us many beautiful moths but they did not have any examples of this intimate pair which Damian, Ean Ean and I saw on Saturday evening on a walk in Lichfield (the day after RAG) – these two are Six Spotted Burnet moths and were visible in broad daylight – I had not known that was possible until the moth folks told us that some moths were active in the day, and indeed Six-Spotted Burnets are one such species.

Andy

The following information comes from https://butterfly-conservation.org/1034-1540/six-spot-burnet.html

Six-Spotted Burnet Moths. Scientific name: Zygaena filipendulae

June – August. All over Britain, mainly coastal in Scotland. Medium-sized black moth with six red, occasionally yellow, spots. Frequents flowery grassland, woodland rides and sandhills.

The only British burnet moth with six red spots on each forewing, although care must be taken with identification, as in some cases the outermost spots can be fused. Rarely the red colour is replaced by yellow.

Flies with a usually slow buzzing flight during sunshine and is attracted to a range of flowers including thistles, knapweeds and scabious.

Size and Family

  • Family – Burnets and Foresters (Zygaenids)
  • Medium Sized

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Particular Caterpillar Food Plants

Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil, but also occasionally on Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil.

Distribution

  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • The commonest and most widely distributed burnet moth in the UK. Well distributed in England, Wales and Ireland, becoming more coastal in Scotland and found on the Outer Hebrides. Also found on the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Habitat

Frequents flowery grasslands, including downland, cliff-edges, woodland rides, roadside verges and sand-dunes

Site of the Peter Bolas Observatory 27/5/2018

Heather told us all on Friday night that building of the new Peter Bolas Observatory at Rosliston Forestry Centre will start soon. It has taken such a long time to get to this point. The family and I (Hannah, Ean Ean, and Rhys) felt this was a good time to record what the site looks like prior to the start of building for prosperity!

The observatory is going to be build on the corner of the archery field near the bird of prey centre and next to the tree trail and large sundial, and not far from the café and seminar room.

Andy

Visit to Herschel Museum in Bath

Ean Ean, Rhys and Hannah and I visited the Herschel Astronomy in Bath on the way back from a weekend trip to Wells. The Herschel Museum of Astronomy at 19 New King Street, Bath, England, is located in a preserved town house that was formerly the home of William Herschel and his sister Caroline. Its patron is Queen’s Brian May and the introductory video is narrated by Patrick Moore. It was from this house, using a telescope of his own design that William discovered the planet Uranus in 1781, and below are some pictures from the garden from which this observation was made. The photos are from our visit today.

The objects in the pictures below are in some cases the Herschels’ own or those of people close to them. Other aspects of the house are re-creations to give idea of what life was like when the Herschels lived there, including items from the same era.

Andy, Ean Ean, Rhys and Hannah

 

Stoney Littleton Long Barrow

Ean Ean, Rhys, Hannah and I visited the Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, on our way to visit the Herschel Astronomy Museum (see next post for our visit to that museum). A long barrow is a prehistoric monument dating to the early Neolithic period. They are rectangular or trapezoidal tumuli or earth mounds traditionally interpreted as collective tombs. The Stoney Littleton Long Barrow (also known as Bath Tumulus and the Wellow Tumulus) is a Neolithic chambered tomb with multiple burial chambers, located near the village of Wellow, Somerset. It is an example of the Severn-Cotswold tomb. The barrow is about 30 metres (98 ft) in length and 15 metres (49 ft) wide at the south-east end, it stands nearly 3 metres (10 ft) high. Internally it consists of a 12.8 metres (42 ft) long gallery with three pairs of side chambers and an end chamber. There is a fossil ammonite decorating the left-hand door jamb. The site was excavated by John Skinner in 1816-17 who gained the entry through a hole originally made about 1760. The excavation revealed the bones (some burned) of several individuals (https://www.heritagedaily.com/2017/11/seven-must-see-long-barrows-in-england/100889).

A south-east north-west orientation is very common for Mendip barrows (http://www.ubss.org.uk/resources/proceedings/vol24/UBSS_Proc_24_3_187-206.pdf). A discussion of possible Stoney Littleton Long Barrow Winter Solstice Alignment can be found at https://www.silentearth.org/stoney-littleton-long-barrow-winter-solstice-alignment/

Andy, Ean Ean, Rhys and Hannah

             

Meteorites in Melaka, a full moon but very few stars

Today we visited Melaka (Malacca) in Malaysia. Amongst the many sights to see at the World Heritage area was the Muzium Rakyat (people’s museum) and within that we found the Galeri Meteor. This is the only gallery displaying and selling meteorites in Malaysia. There was a wonderful opportunity to hold a large and heavy stony iron meteorite, view the typical etched markings on a slice of an iron meteorite, and to take on the challenge of identifying which of two similar looking rock’s was a meteorite after a brief educational session by the lady in charge. We learnt how to identify the fusion crust, use a magnet to find out which rocks had a significant iron content (stony iron and iron meteorites). We also looked at iron and nickel dense inclusions and the markings seen with etching on iron meteorites (it turns iut iron meteorites contain iron and nickel which is often separated out). A great experience and some incredible meteorites!

Andy

Visit to Galeri Meteor:

Testing a large stone to find out if it is a meteor using a magnet:

 

Photographing the Moon with Samsung S7 phone in Malacca:

View from hotel window at Night – lot of lights and cloud – although it is a spectacular view:

I did manage to find this one star although I am not sure which one it is!