New- Star Chart For Cayman

A new feature as of June 2015 has been added - look at the bottom of this web page and there is a new Star Chart exclusively for Grand Cayman

December Newsletter 2015

Greetings star watchers.

Thanks to all who stepped forward to help put at The Marriot last week especially our newest member Janet Rush, the bad news is she is a migratory visitor to the Islands and not back until April.

Meanwhile recently in Jamaica I was lucky enough to meet up with Errol and Martin Rickman of the Jamaican Astronomical Association of Jamaica – this Compass article appeared as a result of the meeting.
We were given a number of small telescopes which will be used to get our local schools to be inspired enough to start their own Astronomy Society. I intend to have a meeting in the New Year on how we do this, what schools should be involved etc. Ideally we want the schools to approach us as these schools have the best chance to do this. . We know already the schools that have done that – and better it’s a mixture of private and Government Schools – but it does bother me some schools appear to have no interest in Astronomy at all .

So lets move on to Decembers Skies.

Firstly there’s a comet in the morning sky – and as its Christmas its one of the candidates for the Star of Bethlehem of course. Comet Catalina seems to have two tails and to find it look at the chart to the left. Two mornings in particular will help you find the comet, On Dec 8 th the Moon and Venus will form a triangle, but on January 1st the comet will be very close to the star Arcturus!  As I type this newsletter the comet is only magnitude 5.5. As we know comets are notoriously fickle and mostly end as a damp squib. However sometimes they are utterly stunning. Fingers crossed.

December also brings a rare event in the afternoon of December the 7th when the planet Venus will disappear behind the disk of a slim 1 percent illuminated phase of the Moon –In Cayman (see chart below) the Start is 12:40 and a reappear 14:40 PM.  Its not very well known but it is possible – with the right pointers - to see planets during the day time. So this event should be possible to see with binoculars BUT Please keep your vision well away from the Sun!
It will also be worth catching Venus and the Moon in the early morning sky on that day too.

The New Moon is on the 11th so the meeting to be confirmed will be around the 13th which is lucky because this year is particularly good for the Geminid meteor shower with a maximum on December 13th to the 14th. There’s no moon to interfere with the peak hour (just after midnight) and a maximum of 120 per hour is predicted this year.

The following star chart for Grand Cayman is for the evening of the 13th at around 8 PM. In the West Cygnus is now setting – The Great Square of Pegasus is almost overhead and Orion and the two twins (Gemini) are in the East.  Planet wise Jupiter is rising late in the evening. It will be possible to get a glimpse of Mercury right at the end of the Month just after sunset. Again take care with binoculars

December the 22nd is the Winter Solstice and a day length of 10 hours 58m – not bad at all

So that leaves me to say a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year- one I feel will have lots of changes for me at least.

November 12th Star Watch Meeting At St Pedros: 7 PM onwards

Greetings Everyone

The next meeting of the Cayman Islands Astronomical Society will be from 7:00 PM on Thursday November 12th - at Pedro St James Castle Savannah.

All are welcome and there is no charge for the occasional visitor. Membership of only 25 CI is encouraged thereafter.
Non-members are asked to park outside and walk in.

Without doubt the rainy season has now started so be aware the meeting will be cancelled if there is more than 50 percent cloud cover- ring me (not text) on 925 7657 for a weather update at around 6:30 PM if in doubt.

Astronomy Sky Watch meeting this coming Sunday Oct 18th 7:30 PM at St Pedro's Castle


The next meeting of the Cayman Islands Astronomical Society will be on Sunday October 18th at St Pedros Castle, starting at 7:30 PM. All are welcome and there is no charge for visitors and first timers.

People are encouraged to park outside and walk in.
In the event of more than 50 percent cloudy cover the meeting will be canceled.

If in doubt ring me (Chris) on 925 7657

Newsletter to follow later tonight

Clear Skies everyone!

September Newsletter

Hi Everyone
The next meeting of the Cayman Islands  Astronomical Society is next WEDNESDAY 16th September at  7:30 PM - to be held at St Pedro's Castle.
All are welcome. Nonmembers are asked to park outside and walk through. NO parking is allowed on the grass
In the event of the sky being more than 50 percent cloudy the meeting will be canceled. If in doubt please phone (not text) at 7:15PM   - 9257657

Karen will be looking for people to join the Society!  Remember the society can only exist if people support it.
The Society is still looking for somewhere easily accessible to allow me to store  the various scopes etc. other than in my house- which is on the market at the moment.
The Society T shirts for those who have ordered will also be available from  Karen for collection (and payment for those not already paid)

Later this month there is a Lunar Eclipse on Sunday 27th September . For accurate times see this link
It's the last of a series of Lunar Eclipses called a Tetrad and this particular eclipse is going to be a good one
To celebrate such event the Astronomical Society will be having  a members only evening Lunar Eclipse Barbeque Party - there will be a separate email for members
The series of 4 "Blood Moons has not yet resulted in the end of the world- but we have one more Moon to go.
Certainly those who have "foretold" such events have one more chance financially to sell their books on the topic

Rest assured - the Monday morning crawl to work will come soon enough 
Here's a picture taken the other morning - its facing WEST  - so the Sun is behind me in the East.
What you are seeing here are Anticrepescular rays - good word for Scrabble that.
Seen quite a few recently in the evening skies but early in the morning quite rare.

Finally the email list is growing all the time but  let me know if you want you name removed.
If you persist it will be removed eventually - I'm human  after all and not a machine
Clear Skies, Keep looking up! 



The next meeting of the Astronomical Society is on Tuesday 18th August 7:30 PM 2015

The next meeting of the Cayman Islands  Astronomical Society is on

Tuesday 18th August 7:30 PM - to be held at St Pedro's Castle.

All are welcome. Non members are asked to park outside and walk through. 
In the event of the sky being more than 50 percent cloudy the meeting will be canceled. If in doubt please phone (not text) at 7:15PM  
Karen will be looking for people to join the Society! Remember the society can only exist if people support it.
Before then of course we will pass through the Perseid Meteor shower- the moon is well out of the way this year
The peak is likely to be  in the early hours of the 12th,13th and 14th  in the dark hours before dawn. 
You might see 50 meteors per hour but do remember that this meteor shower - which always gets so much media attention -  favours North Hemisphere observers - of which we are only just in the North! . The radiant or the point where the meteors appear to come from is in the constellation of Perseus - and at our latitudes it really is quite late (or early depending on your point of view) to see the constellation high in the sky . But don't let that put you off and please tell me if you see any
 Hoping for clear skies! 
 Chris Cooke 9257657 ( cpcooke@aol,com)


Next Meeting At St Pedros Castl is on Monday 20th July starting at 7:30 PM

The next meeting of the Cayman Islands Astronomical Society will be on Monday July 20th at St Pedros Castle, starting at 7:30 PM. All are welcome. On arrival please dip headlights. In the event of more than 50 percent cloudy cover the meeting will be cancelled. If in doubt ring 925 7657 (no text messages please)

Coming up in the next newsletter - see the note on an extra members only evening to chase a comet!

Unfortunately  we had to cancel the Barbie - but  we made the newspapers instead....

Clear Skies Everyone 

CIAS June Newsletter - Events in June

CIAS Newsletter June Newsletter 2015

Events in June in Cayman
The public next meeting of the Society at Pedro’s Castle,  will be Wednesday 17th June starting at 7:30 PM All welcome.  As always especially this time of the year if the weather is cloudy – that means more than 50 percent cloud cover - then the meeting will be cancelled.  This can be a tricky one to call so phone at around 7 PM if in doubt. (925 7657)  Don’t text, as I never see them until too late.  Last month for example was a great success
Non members please park outside the gates and walk in as parking is limited and headlights will dazzle the evenings viewing session.

There will be a  Astro Barbeque on Saturday 27th June located in Patrick’s Island- 5:30 PM till 9 PM Much thanks to Carole Jones for offering to host the event.  The idea is to “bring a bottle” (of course) and one other item….

I         If you have a small telescope – an ETX or something similar please feel free to bring it along IF you want to (its not compulsory) and if you aren’t sure what to do with it we will help you out with it too.  
      You are encouraged to bring a side dish.
Members and Partners without a dish will be charged 10 dollars. Non Members 10 dollars – but you can of course become a member or renew your membership (25 dollars). Children are free. Please contact Karen (our new membership co-coordinator)  who will “sort you out”.
Please let me know by email ( of you are planning on coming and how many and Ill pass the information onto Carole

The aim of the evening is to encourage membership and growth of the Society to meet each other in an environment which isn’t usually pitch black.. We have many ex-members and potential members on our current email distribution list and the plan is to wake them up!

The Night Sky In June
Summer officially begins with the June solstice on June21st, certainly the rainy season as started already as evidenced by the rain in the past few days.   The night sky when clear has much to see this month.
Below is a star chart for 8PM the 17th June .Venus and Jupiter are in the West.. On the 18th Venus, Jupiter and the star Regulus will form a nice “triangle“ in the evening sky with a small moon. But on the 30th July the two planets will be almost touching and will be quite a sight. This event is called a conjunction. The distance between the two planets will be 1/3 of a degree, to try and give an idea of how close this will be if you hold your little finger at arm’s length it will cover one degree of sky.

We have Saturn too in East in the constellation of Scorpius and to the South we still have a chance to see the Southern Cross. Interestingly I’ve wondered if the Southern Cross is visible from Miami, well it is just, it’s very low on the horizon so South of Miami’s lights and buildings and down towards Key West I think… perhaps it is just possible 

To the North is the Big Dipper or Plough depending on what side of the Atlantic you prefer – these stars do not make a constellation – they are in fact part of the bigger constellation – the Great Bear (Ursa Major).  Its smaller companion the Little Bear (Ursa Minor) circles the star Polaris, the Pole star – which lies at an angle of 20 degrees with the horizon and is indeed our latitude.

Next month brings the Milky Way more into view in the South and wonderful skies. Clear Skies!

 Chris Cooke 925 7657

CIAS Dates for your Diary May

Hi All

Tuesday 19th May
The next General Public meeting will be next Tuesday  19th May At Pedro’s Castle starting at 7:30 PM
Please dim your lights on arrival. Last month  we had a fantastic turn out but too many cars, so I will now request that  from now on visitors park outside and walk in.
This also removes the issue of car head lights- which used to dazzle observers on entry.
As usual the  evening will be canceled if there is any rain or the sky is more than 50 percent cloudy. Please ring me (NOT TXT) to confirm at around 7 PM
(Phone 925 7657)

Friday 22nd May
We have been asked to give a viewing for Cayman Prep School – this is at the Prep site in Smith road. I'm looking for helpers for the evening. We will be using the 10 inch Dob and one other

Tuesday 26th May AGM
This will be based at the UCCI W Hrudey Observatory at will start at 7:00 PM – to finish hopefully at 8:00 PM and then to Sunset My Bar.
This will be an important evening as there are various people leaving the island and hopefully new people join us too. Ill email an Agenda out next week along with a map if needed

June Members “Bring a Scope and a Bottle” evening
We also have a members barbeque evening planned – Id like to  to see this as bring a scope and a bottle. Venue and date to be decided at the AGM – but very much in early June AND MEMBERS ONLY

Clear Skies  every one!

Chris Cooke 925 7657

The next CIAS meeting will be on Wednesday 22nd April at Pedro’s Castle

The Cayman Islands Astronomical Society April newsletter 2015
The next general public meeting will be on Wednesday 22nd April at Pedro’s Castle, viewing will start at 7:00 PM usual rules apply - dip headlights on arrival and no parking on the grass 
If more than 50 percent cloudy the meeting will be cancelled - If in doubt please phone me (not text) at 925 7657 at around 6 PM 

This month’s date was chosen by the usual few days period after the new moon but also because its Earth Day -not Earth Hour which was last month .  
Earth Hour which this year fell on March 28th was organized by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) and involves turning off all non-essential lights for one hour between 8:30 and 9:30 PM local time to raise awareness Global environmental issues. Over 7000 cities and towns word wide are involved. We did try here and the CIAS went to support the National trust at Camana Bay. The weather was not kind and Bill and I had a somewhat rapid exit with the new 12 inch scope as the rain started.
Earth Day is was suggested by a peace activist John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO conference and later sanctioned at the United Nations is now celebrated in more than 192 countries worldwide. After much discussion and several committees later the date April 22nd was finally agreed on. The aim of Earth Day demonstrates support for environmental protection. It now also coincides with International Dark Sky Week which to us as Astronomers in Cayman is in my opinion a big environment issue.   The list goes on as International Dark Sky Week is part of Global Astronomy Month – which is part of the celebrations for Earth Month (April) So now we know! I cant help feeling Ive missed someone out here as well
So what can be seen at Pedros on Wednesday 22nd April?
The Lyrid meteor shower will be at its maximum but the best observing hours are around 2 AM with typically 10 to 20 meteors – so we may see one or two in the evening. The radiant will be in the low North East late in the evening. 
The Sky Chart below comes from the excellent site and is for 7:30 PM on the 22nd
Venus is seen in the West and Jupiter is overhead.  As the evening progresses we will hopefully get a glimpse of the Southern Cross. 
This time of the year is good for galaxies too and I’m hoping with the 12 inch telescope we should finally see a few. The Constellations of Leo and Virgo are rich in galaxies. They are faint objects although can be quite large in angular size. 

Finally the Sun has been quite active – some of the flares captured recently by Bill Hrudey at the UCCI Observatory have been posted on this web site below- a kind of daily weather report for the Sun. Heres a link to one of the great pictures taken
Remember photos like this can only be taken with the correct equipment and astronomical filters People should not attempt to look directly at the sun through a telescope or a camera.  The Society has of course this equipment too and Im thinking of holding another daytime Solar viewing event soon
Clear Skies!
Chris Cooke 925 7657  Visit Us of Facebook or