As a member of the Society you are able to come and join us at our Darker Skies site at Mugdock Country park, just outside Glasgow.  We meet there monthly from October to March.  ASG members bring their own and the society's telescopes for use by the group.  This is a great way to learn about the different types of telescopes, and if you're thinking of buying, what better way to 'try before you buy'.

On the occasions when the skies are not clear, we have the use of the lecture theatre at Mugdock, which is very comfortable, with tea and coffee facilities and excellent AV setup to allow us to run presentations and talks on all topics of astronomy. If you're not already a member, then what are you waiting for ... join now and come along to our Mugdock sessions.

Mugdock dates will be visible in the ASG Calendar once you have logged-in.

An Asteroid named 'Glasgow'

The Asteroid was discovered on 18 December 1985 by Dr Edward Bowell at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Originally recorded as Minor Planet No. 5805, it was officially redesignated 'GLASGOW' on 19 October 1994 for both the City and the Astronomical Society of Glasgow.

This event was publicly announced on 23 November, 1994 at a civic dinner marking the 100th Anniversary of the Society, hosted by Glasgow City Council.

The asteroids are minor planets which lie between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. By 1868 only a hundred asteroids had been found, but now the list contains tens of thousands.

Asteroid 'GLASGOW' orbits the sun at semimajor axis 2.6AU, has an modest eccentricity of 0.11 and an inclination of 12 degrees. Its diameter is about 19 km if a C-class asteroid or 10 km if S-class (equally likely). Thus its surface area is larger than that of the city for which it is named.

Malcolm Kennedy wrote the following poem to celebrate the naming of Minor planet No. 5805 to Glasgow.

A Rosey, Rosey Glow
I was just a wee asteroid in space all alone
and did not have a name -
A nonentity known just as five eight zero five
Until GLASGOW I became

Now I'll orbit in the wintertime
and the summertime also;
And my presence will let members of the ASG
Be surrounded by a rosey, rosey GLOW!

An Asteroid named 'Archieroy'

The Asteroid was discovered on 11 January 1986 by Dr Edward Bowell at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Originally recorded as Minor Planet No. 5806, it was officially redesignated 'Archieroy' on 19 October 1994 in honour of Archibald Edmiston Roy (1924-2012), Scottish Astrophysicist, teacher, writer and President of the Astronomical Society of Glasgow.

Asteroid 5806 'ARCHIEROY' is a somewhat unusual Hungaria-type asteroid orbiting at 1.96 AU with an eccentricity of 0.04 and an inclination of 21 degrees. It is likely to be an 'E' Class asteroid of 5 km diameter.

An Asteroid named 'Kennedy 7166'

The Asteroid was discovered on 15 October 1985 by Dr Edward Bowell at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The asteroid was named 'KENNEDY 7166' on 8 August, 1998 by the International Astronomical Union in memory of Malcolm Kennedy (1944-1997), Secretary of the Astronomical Society of Glasgow, who died in a road accident in Hungary, November 1997, on a mercy mission carrying aid to eastern Europe.

A Guide to Star Hopping

After Clare presented her guide to naked eye observing at the 2009-2010 session Members Night, she had a number of requests to make the slides available. That in itself caused the creation of the beginners area on the website. The Star hopping section was the first section to be created. We hope you enjoy the guide, and find something useful here. Clicking on any of the images will open a larger version of the image so you can see each in more detail.

Thanks to Clare Fowler for providing the slides on this page.


Orion - A few hops to get us started

Having found Orion, the hunter in the night sky, there are quite a few stars we can find using Orion as our Start point. Let's start star hopping!

Following the three stars of Orion's belt from Alnitak - the eastern most star through Alnilam - the centre star and Mintaka - the westmost star, we will hop to Aldebaran, the red eye of Taurus the bull. And from there on to the Pleiades (M45).

By tracing a line from Saiph, Orion's left foot, hopping through Alnitak, the left star in his belt, we'll reach Capella in the constellation Auriga. Capella is Alpha Aurigae, the brightest star in the constellation of Auriga.

By starting at Mintaka, the rightmost star in Orion's belt and hopping through Betelgeuse (Alpha Orion), his left shoulder, we'll hop to Castor in the constellation of Gemini. Castor is Alpha Geminorium. Castor is the second brightest star in Gemini, despite it's Alpha designation, Pollox is actually brighter.

Hopping across Orion's shoulders from Bellatrix on the right to Betelgeuse on the left will take us to Procyon. Procyon is Alpha Canis Minoris.

Finally, we can hop along Orion's belt in the opposite direction we did to find Aldebaran to get to Sirius. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky with a visual magnitude of -1.46, and is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star. Sirius is Alpha Canis Major.

The Plough - A few more hops, and a link to Orion

The Plough in Ursa Major is one of the most useful asterisms in the northern sky, allowing travellers to find north.

Hopping through the 'pointer stars' Merak and Dubhe will take us to Polaris, the Pole Star. If you're facing Polaris, then you're looking north. Polaris has the common reputation as being the brightest star in the night sky, however with a magnitude of 2.02, it only ranks 48.

Starting at Megrez, the first star in the 'blade' of the plough, and hopping through Dubhe, we will get to Capella. You'll remember getting to Capella from Orion, so now you should be able to get between Ursa Major and Orion!

Again, starting at Megrez, and this time hopping through Merak, we can hop to Castor. As before, we were able to get to Castor from Orion, so now you have two ways to link Ursa Major and Orion.

Back to Megrez again, and this time we'll hop to Phad on our way to Regulus. Regulus is Aplha Leonis, the brightest star in the Constellation Leo.

The next set of hops is a little different to those we've done before, and this time rather than forming a line, we're going to form an arc with our hops. A nice way to remember this one is to remember that we 'Arc to Arcturis'. Start hopping at Alioth, and then hop to Mizar (which is a naked eye double star with Alcor), then on to the only star we've not used yet in the plough, Alkaid, before continuing the arc to hop to Arcturis. Arcturis is Aplha Bootis, the brightest star in Bootes.

The last star we can get to from the plough is Vega in Lyra. Starting at Phad, then intersecting Megrez and Alioth, we can hop to Vega, Alpha Lyrae which is the second brightest star in the northern hemisphere, and the fifth brightest in teh night sky with an apparent magnitude of 0.15

The story of Glasgow’s astronomical societies begins in 1809 when the Glasgow Society for Promoting Astronomical Science was inaugurated. Ambitious plans were prepared for an Observatory to cost £1,500 and a site was chosen on Garnethill. The Convenor, Dr Andrew Ure, went to Largs to confer with Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane and also went to London to confer with leading scientists of the day. The Observatory was built - an ornate Egyptian-style building, equipped with some excellent instruments. However, the Society ran out of funds, the Observatory was surrounded by new building and became unsuitable for its purpose. The Society was disbanded in 1822 and some of the instruments were identified as being sold off although others just ‘disappeared’. Around 1830-32 the building was demolished.

A West of Scotland Branch of the British Astronomical Society was founded in 1894 and based in Glasgow. The inaugural meeting took place on 23 November that year when members were addressed by E. W. Maunder, founder of the BAA and Editor of the Journal. His subject was ‘In Pursuit of a Shadow’ - an account of the recent eclipse expedition.

The first of the Branch visits was to the then new Observatory at Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, where they were conducted personally over the buildings by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, and received from him much valuable information about the instruments. (The Society continues to have annual outings to places of astronomical interest and has returned on a number of occasions to the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh).

For some years the Branch continued to have a relatively small membership although the high standard of the papers read and the subjects treated was well maintained. In 1904, the Branch requested permission to enrol associated not directly connected with the BAA. The resulting increase in membership was so great that it was found necessary to seek a new meeting place. In October 1905, the Branch met for the first time in the new buildings of the Royal Technical College, Glasgow. (This association has happily been maintained and to this day the Society meets within the University of Strathclyde). Also about 1905, the Branch obtained authority to enrol members resident in any part of Scotland and eventually in 1937, the name was changed to ‘Scottish Branch’.

The Branch celebrated its silver jubilee in September 1919 and although the War was over, railway restrictions still prevailed and prevented a visit to the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. Later on, a second World War was to affect the membership and attendance at meetings, but throughout this difficult period there was no interruption to the programme of the Branch.

Accounts of the meetings make interesting reading. For example, Professor A. D. Rowes of the University of Western Australia, while on a visit to this country, gave a paper on Star Groups; by contrast, a novelty was reading of a paper by Mr. J. R. Simpson on references to astronomy in the poems of Robert Burns! (Indeed, Mr David Sinden and his brother, Mr Frederick Sinden, presented the 1996 O'Neill lecture entitled 'The Stars o' Robert Burns').

With the close of the session 1943-44, the Branch completed fifty years of useful life and this was celebrated, amongst other things, by the re-election of Professor Smart to the Jubilee Chair. There was a civic reception in the City Chambers, and a Dinner was held. The Astronomer Royal, Sir Harold Spencer-Jones, addressed the Branch.

About ten years later, it was decided to wind up the Branch and reconstitute it as The Astronomical Society of Glasgow, affiliated to the BAA. This took effect on 30th April 1954.

Thanks to Margaret Morris