Thursday, 22 October 2015

Pre-order your astronomy wall calendar now!

Click to enlarge and read the pre-order information

Last year's astronomy wall calendar was extremely well received and I've decided to make one for 2016 (yes, it's almost next year already...).

Attached are the details and the October 24 pre-order offer.

If you think your members may be interested, please pass this on to them - thanks!

Send email to Auke (auke(at) with your information.

Best regards,
Auke Slotegraaf

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Loss of the Night citizen science project

 App for Android (also iPhone)
Loss of the Night citizen science project: A step by step guide to using the Loss of the Nigh...:
This is a step by step guide to using the Loss of the Night app for Android (v2.0). If anything is unclear, let me know in the comments and...

Usefull Links...


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Get your 2016 - Sky Guide

 2016 - Sky Guide

 The Sky Guide is the astronomical handbook for southern Africa, and is an invaluable practical resource for anyone who has even a passing interest in the night skies of southern Africa.
Read more.....

Exclusive 2016 Sky Guide competition!

To stand a chance to win a pair of magnificent Celestron SkyMaster binoculars, turn to page 128 of the Sky Guide, answer the competition question and submit the original competition coupon (via snail mail!) to us. The competition closing date is 2016 March 20. The winning entry will be drawn by an ASSA Council Appointee and the winner will be notifi ed telephonically. Good luck! 

How to get your copy of the Sky Guide

ASSA Country Members receive a copy in the post as part of their membership benefits.

Members of ASSA Centres may approach their Centre committee to enjoy a reduced price for a copy for their own personal use (but not for onward selling).

The Sky Guide is also available from bookshops or on-line bookshops such as, or

Bulk orders of the Sky Guide (for bookshops and other re-sellers) may be negotiated directly with Lucille Bester at Struik Nature: (e-mail: lucilleb, phone: 021 460 5400).

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Lunar Eclipse ( Image copyright: Carol Botha)

Lunar Eclipse
A sequence of images showing the eclipse from start to finish

 Image copyright: Carol Botha
On September 28th, The Moon passed through the Earth’s shadow while at perigee, an event which trended on social media as #SuperBloodMoon.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

UFS 101 - Science Fair - UFS Qwaqwa Campus - 12 September 2015

ASSA Bloemfontein joined forces with the UFS 101 team from the University of the Free State to make the Science Faire on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus a success. Learners from nearby schools and students looked at sunspots with a telescope.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

13 September 2015 partial solar eclipse from Bloemfontein

Observing the 13 September 2015 partial solar eclipse from Bloemfontein, South Africa. Canon 40D; Bader Photographic Solar Filter; 1/500 sec; ISO 1250; Orion Apex 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope; Mirror up. Sunspots AR2412 and 2414 visible. 07:48 SAST. (Hannes Pieterse)

Sunday, 2 August 2015

A Southern Comet in August - C/2013 US10 Catalina

C/2013 US10 Catalina (Click to Enlarge. Map created wit Skytools3

Source: Richard S Pearson

In 2013 we had comet ISON which put on a splendid display in the winter sky travelling along it's celestial path. ISON then embarked on a perilous journey towards the center of our solar system. ISON came to perihelion on 28 November of that year and broke apart due to the Sun's immense heat and tidal forces. That was the last we seen of this Christmas comet.
In the autumn of 2013 as comet ISON was putting on a display for amateur astronomers in the northern hemisphere, and the media were gearing up in preparation for a spectacular view of the comet in the first days of December, astronomer R. A. Kowalski identified a new comet; C/2013 US10 from images using a 0.68-meter (27 in) Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope of the Catalina Sky Survey.
C/2013 US10 Catalina was then at Mag +19 and very faint. It is a long period comet originating from the region of the Oort's Cloud with an orbital period of 7 million years. The Oort's cloud lies far beyond the orbit of Pluto.
Since then it has travelled in towards the Sun, and today (2 August) it lies 106,900 miles from the Earth, and is putting on a show for amateur astronomers living in the southern hemisphere. At the beginning of August comet Catalina is in the constellation of Tucana, and will pass through the adjacent constellation of Pavo from 8 -18 August, before moving through the constellation Apus during the end of the month.
During August the comet is easily within range of a pair of 10x50 binoculars. It is now shining at Mag +7.0 and will brighten to Mag +6.5 by 31 August.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

New Horizons Pluto Spacecraft Sends Photos As Excitement Builds for Flyby

Dwarf planet Pluto, shown here in the latest high-res image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, will get its close-up in less than a week.

By Nadia Drake, National Geographic
PUBLISHED July 07, 2015

Pluto will get its closeup in less than a week, despite a heart-stopping glitch that briefly silenced the New Horizons spacecraft over the holiday weekend. Now, the craft is back in action and entering what NASA calls encounter mode—where gathering data about the frosted world trumps just about everything else.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Monday, 18 May 2015

Dunlop and Lacaille - Deep-sky Marathons at FS Star Party

The Guidelines for the two Deep-sky Marthons in progress....  The James Dunlop Catalogue (150 objects) and the Lacaille (1755) - Southern Nebulous Objects (41) are the two marathons on our deep-sky menu at the Free State Star Party (12 - 16 June 2015).

Visit the ASSA Marathon section

 Read more about the first ever marathon we have completed in Central South Africa in 2014 in Nigtfall.

 "Nightfall" (2015 April) is the current newsletter of the Deep-Sky Observing Section of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa.
- Download the free PDF from the ASSA website at

Friday, 8 May 2015

Free State Winter Star Party - Vrystaat Winter Sterrefees

A Star Part in the warm heart of Central South Africa
12 – 16 June 2015

On the farm Gansvlei close to Brandfort (13km)
GPS Coordinates:  28°47'48.63"S   26°28'25.66"E

 Highlights at the FS Star Party
- Observing and Astrophotography
- Deep-sky Marathon
- A visit to Boyden Observatory (Museum and old telescopes)
- A show in the Digital Planetarium on Naval Hill.
- 3 Astro Guest Speakers

Vrystaat Winter Sterrefees
Sterpartytjie in die warm hart van Sentraal Suid-Afrika

Op die plaas Gansvlei by Brandfort (13km)
GPS Koördinate  28°47'48.63"S   26°28'25.66"E

Hoogtepunte by die VS Sterrefees: 
- Waarneming en Astrofotografie
- Besoek Boyden Sterrewag met sy museum en ou teleskope

- Vertoning in die Digitale Planetarium op Naval Hill
- 3 Astro Gassprekers