More Success at Trysull

16th January 2024 By Richard Our observing/social event on Tuesday January 16th was the first time we’d used Trysull Village Hall since winter 2021. The event was a resounding success, and … Read more

Obituary: Frank Barretto.

26th of April 1925 to 22nd of September 2022.

An image of Frank Barretto
Frank Barretto

Frank was born in Nagara, Nairobi, Kenya in 1925 to parents Theodoro Augusto and Cecilia Carmelina Pegado Barretto. He was the oldest sibling to Ida, Judith and Willie.

At the age of 12 he moved to Goa, a Portuguese colony in India where he was brought up by his grandmother. During this time he contracted meningitis and it was his grandmother who nursed him back to health. At the age of 18 and looking for work he made the trip to Calcutta.

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Tribute to: Frank Barretto

26th of April 1925 to 22nd of September 2022.

A Tribute and Remembrance by Phil Barnard.

Frank Barretto with Sir Patrick Moore
Frank Barretto with Sir Patrick Moore

We were saddened to learn the news, which came somewhat belatedly, that Frank Barretto, who was a well-remembered Life member of Wolverhampton Astronomical Society, had passed away on 22 September 2022.

I had spoken to Frank on the telephone in October 2020, because at the time the Society didn’t have an email contact address for him. He was 95 years of age, but even then he said he would love to give us another talk – providing he had time to complete the necessary research!

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Wolvas visit to The Herschel Museum, Bath – 19th Nov 2022

by Cath Adams

On 19 November 2022 19 members of the society visited the Herschel Museum in Bath.

The weather was sunny and travelling separately we had arranged to meet at the museum at 2pm, which was closed to the public at that time for us, so that we could have a private tour conducted by two members of staff, Charlotte and Les.  Also on hand was Simon Holbeche of Bath Astronomers who knew the museum very well and not only shared information and stories about William Herschel and his telescopes, but answered all our questions.  We had a good old look round and were permitted to take photographs but not touch the exhibits.

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Partial Solar Eclipse Event – 25 October 2022

By Doug Bickley

Collage of group shots at the observatory

Whilst astronomers aren’t afraid of the dark it’s lovely sometimes to get together during the day for an event and a chinwag with other members. This partial eclipse, even though the obscuration was only about 15%, seemed a good opportunity, so we arranged a meeting at our observatory. This was combined with induction training and reminders for the observatory pod plus a bit of ground clearance.

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Presentation to Wolverhampton Archaeology Group (WAG) on 22 January 2022

By Doug Bickley

Watercolour painting of the Wrottesley Observatory, reproduced by permission of the Royal Astronomical Society library

Some of you may remember a talk that I gave a while ago about Lord Wrottesley (1798-1867) and the observatory that he built and operated near Wolverhampton. I was approached a couple of years ago by Wolverhampton Archaeology Group to give a presentation to them. Since then lockdown has come and gone and we rearranged the talk. This was fortuitous in some ways because Steve Wootton and I had made a couple of site visits since and I could bring the talk up to date. The observatory, or what is left of it after 180 years, is on private land and I invited the landowners to the talk.

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Recent Club Activities

Halfpennt Green event

By Richard Harvey

Alongside our internet lectures and Zoom meetings, the society has arranged several observations sessions and outreach events in the past few months. Here’s a quick overview of what’s been going on ‘off-line’ recently.

On 12th August we met once again at Halfpenny Green Vineyard for a meteor watch, on the evening of the peak of the Perseids. This was a most successful event, with quite a crowd turning up. We were blessed with clear skies for once, and over sixty Perseid meteors were seen over three hours. Some were bright fireballs with smoke trails, and one showed a bright green hue. This was a real fun event, as many people got excited as they spotted Perseids streaking across the sky, it was like a cosmic piece of theatre! Using the BAA meteor observing forms I tried to keep track of them all, and some of us also managed to do some deep-sky and planetary observing as well. Quite a few members tried to capture an image, and Doug’s photo shows a Perseid in Aquarius, above Jupiter (there’s an un-cropped version of Doug’s photo on the society’s Flickr page).

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