Kindly note that all meeting, outreach and viewing evenings have been cancelled due to lockdown
The Durban chapter of The Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA) represents a community of like-minded people interested in the widely varied fields encompassed under the umbrella of astronomy; affiliated to the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, the “parent body” generally referred to as ASSA.
If you have an interest in or have a passion for looking at the night sky; are keen to learn about the science of astronomy, dabble in cosmology or are just curious and want to find out what astronomy is all about; then you will greatly enjoy the meetings amongst enthusiasts who come from all walks of life and share a common interest in astronomy.
Meetings – ASSA Durban meets at 7:30 p.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at St Henry’s Marist College school hall, located at Mazisi Kunene Road, Durban. Location available on the adjacent Google map. Please refer to the “Calendar” tab for all scheduled meetings and upcoming events.
The meetings generally consist of a report back on the ASSA Durban’s committee meeting, a Space Update informing all on the latest space agencies and astronomical events over the past month, including a summary of what to look forward to in the night sky in the upcoming month. Followed by a half hour talk given by a guest speaker, presentation, debate or a film show on various astronomical subjects of interest and latest space developments. Following which tea and coffee is enjoyed, whilst members socialise.
You are welcome to attend a meeting as a guest at no charge. We would love to meet you, discovering your interests whilst introducing you to fellow astronomers and astrophotographers, all of whom have varying levels of astronomical knowledge.
Membership – There are several benefits in becoming an ASSA member beside attending our monthly meetings and receiving a copy of the electronic ‘nDaba Newsletter. These include access to our observatory, library and telescopes. Participating in other astronomical events and activities, such as viewing meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses. On the fun side, Star parties are held, as well as the free year-end function as a final get together until the New Year. All this whilst learning or imparting your knowledge with fellow enthusiasts.
As a member, there are first rights to and special rates for any ASSA organised trips, for example; the trip to see the SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) in Sutherland in the Northern Cape or experiencing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Norway.
To become an ASSA member, please continue to the “Membership” tab to enroll with the society.
Viewing – Weather permitting, the observatory, which is also located on the grounds at St Henry’s Marist College, will be opened for viewing on a Friday evening, closest to the new moon. To learn more about the observatory and viewing evenings, please go to the “Viewing & Events” tab or refer to the calendar. In addition, click on the RSS Weather icon above for a 7 day forecast.
Outreach Events – ASSA Durban is committed to the education of learners and the public in astronomy, holding regular outreach events at various locations and functions on request. Further information is available under the Viewing & Events” tab, and all are welcomed to assist.
Clyde’s Spot – by Clyde Foster, – ASSA Shallow Sky Director
Juno images from last Tuesdays Perijove flyby(PJ27) have been downloaded from the spacecraft and are being circulated, including some preliminary results showing the outbreak that I have been credited with detecting only 2 days before the flyby (currently being referred to as “Clyde’s Spot”). Given the timing, the fact that Juno is in a 53 day highly elongated orbit, and only able to capture a thin slice of Jupiter during flyby, it is a remarkable coincidence.
The images show fascinating structures within the storm system that is already causing excitement within the Planetary Science community.
Note: An “outbreak” is a plume of gas that erupts out of and above the normal upper cloud layers of Jupiter, and is most easily detected in methane wavelengths where they show as bright. Outbreaks are common in the North and South Equatorial belts, but are rare in the South Temperate belt region where this one is, hence the interest.
I have also included my “discovery” image, where the outbreak is seen as a bright spot just to the lower right of the Great Red Spot(which is also bright at this wavelength)