Graham brought in some more books loosely related to the theme of the talk for sale and refreshments were provided by Andy.
Following the break and in the absence of our Director of Observations, Ken provided sky notes for February and explained that he and Jim were introducing a "Three target observation", a set of three selected objects for members to observe with whatever equipment they have, to make notes, drawings and/or photographs do demonstrate and compare the scope and definition of their findings.
The objects for this month are the Great Orion Nebula (M42) to determine how far out people could see nebulosity with their telescopes, whatever the size, the cluster M37 in Auriga, again to see what could be seen with various sizes of telescope and M1 the Crab Nebula to see if anyone could see it at all! - and if so what aperture telescope was being used.
It would be interesting to see the results.
Martin described the methods use in measuring the cosmic scale of the universe and how his research brought in the link to HM Queen Elizabeth II's 60th anniversary, our society's anniversary and gravitational waves. He showed slides to demonstrate his project to devise the largest scale mode of the Solar System which spread from Glasgow through Dundee, Edinburgh and beyond to the the Shetlands, with Galloway mentioned in the model as well. Humerous tales of the venture included the sad story of primary school children and a giant red balloon!
He related the history of how the solar system was measured, which lead on to the methods used to measure the distances to further galaxies and onward to the distances and volume of the entire universe.
Martin's talk was well illustrated with slides and diagrams throughout. The entire slideshow can be viewed below and can be downloaded for future viewing. Sound is not perfect but better than my last effort.
Thanks to Martin for an excellent talk.
Listen online or right click and download.
27th January 2017. Martin Hendry, Glasgow University. "Powers of 60"