The Deep-Sky Observer: Issue 191

Deep-Sky Observer - DSO 191

The Deep-Sky Observer 191 Cover

In this issue

Object of the Season: Galaxy M82 in Ursa Major by Wolfgang Steinicke

The Webb Society Annual Meeting Report 2022 by Bob Argyle

Book Review: Herschel Guide by Ronald Stoyan reviewed by Owen Brazell

The NGC 3158 Galaxy Group by Mark Bratton

Deep Sky News by Owen Brazell


Welcome to the new issue of DSO. I am sorry that they frequency of publication is now becoming so erratic but it really comes down to when I get enough material to publish one. Certainly, in the UK this has not been helped by the poor weather we seem to be experiencing on a frequent basis now, at least for those doing visual observing. When we do have clear nights, they always seem to be around full moon as well.

The Society has put out two new publications, one on Wolf-Rayet Shells thanks to Reiner Vogel and we will also have a new booklet on Asterisms from Magda Streicher available shortly. We have also managed to get some Willmann-Bell publications for sale as well. The AAS has finally announced the release of Annals Vol. 9 devoted completely to the Magellanic clouds. It seems they are also going to include more constellations in each volume so Vol 10 will include Fornax and be larger. a stretch.

The various shows we have been to have also been disappointing both in terms of sales and the numbers of people turning up. Unfortunately, we also don’t see many new people at these events and we may have saturated the market for advanced texts. People often look at the books but don’t buy. This is unfortunately reflective of the fact that people seem to be less interested in astronomy per-se nowadays and more interested in how to process their images. New entrants to the hobby seem far more interested in the imaging side and much of their interest is fuelled by online forums and social media. The society has had a stand at a number of shows this year but unfortunately one of the major ones will not take place this year due to venue issues so we will really only be at one show again in October, which is the Kelling Heath autumn star party.

I note that the Deep Sky Section of the BAA has also stopped publishing its deep sky diary due to lack of contributions. This is sort of reflective of the way the old Deep Sky magazine folded. People would send in images but no text and hope someone would write the text. The editors no longer had time to do that and even though it still had a circulation of around 25000 at the time the magazine was pulled. It seems that most observational material is now published on forums and blogs, although some of the observations appear to be getting more and more difficult to believe. Strangely a number of those observers seem to be given credibility by Sky and Telescope which suggests issues with their observing editor, either that or I need to get hold of whatever drugs they are using.

On a positive note the society membership seems to be at one of the highest levels for a long time. We have an excellent program for the Annual meeting at the IOA in Cambridge but I think it maybe touch and go as to whether we can get this DSO out before the meeting in June. I apologise but the meeting will not be streamed as we do not have the expertise to do so. The programme and pricing will be on the website. We also seem to have an online sales business going and my thanks to Steve Rayner for handling this and the endless issues with the Royal Mail in the UK.

With the world apparently going to hell in a hand basket it is good to see that the James Webb Telescope is starting to bring down some exciting new images and data and as hoped starting to provide some new questions into how galaxies in particular are formed.

Owen Brazell - Editor of The Deep-Sky Observer