October 1994

and western plains of LACUS MORTIS

Drawn by Vaughan Cooper

10th January 1992
17.35 to 18.35 U.T.
Telescope; 6.5" Cooke Refractor.

The crater BURG lies at 45°N, 28°E in the Lacus Mortis, it is 40km in diameter.  To the west of the crater runs a 100km rill called the Rimae Burg

Editors Bit

A letter off Vaughan Cooper adds another item to the list of Cameras Obscura which Mike Frost supplied.  It is at the Astronomy Centre, Bacup Road, Todmorton, Lancashire. Vaughan is sure this was in operation a few years ago, so does any member know if it is still in working order or if it still exits? Also he adds that, "..the late Horace Dell had one installed in the roof space of his house in Luton. I visited Horace once, a few years ago and saw it in action. What's happened to it now I have no idea."  Again does anyone know? As well as Cameras Obscura, other possible visits with an astronomical theme could be to Planetaria.  In this country, only the ones at London and Greenwich are well known, with a recent addition of the Jodrell Bank planetarium.  But a letter from Carl Zeiss Jena Ltd., dated December 1984, lists small Planetarium which have been installed by them at Glasgow Nautical College, Liverpool Merseyside Museum, Plymouth Nautical College, Wandsworth Comprehensive Schools and Rickmansworth School along with the Science Museum in London.  I have not heard of any of these.A school's planetaria will be, I imagine, private to that particular school, but what of the others?  Has any member of the society heard of any or visited any of them and when?  Did any one see the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts on Jupiter?  I did look and I think I saw a faint smudge near the terminator just before the planet disappeared behind a bush, so was that one of the impact sites swinging into view, or was it just wistful thinking?
The seeing was very bad with the planet being so low in the evening sky.  But it was clear - which is quite a change because most of the other interesting astronomical events which come along during the year are on some of the cloudiest, wettest days of the year.

Ivor Clarke


By Mike Frost

On May Day I found myself standing on the Great Orme in Llandudno, looking at a sign pointing to the "Camera Obscura", and I remembered my promise to try and compile a definitive list of cameras obscura around Britain and beyond, following my talk at the last member’s evening.  New readers may like to know that a camera obscura or "dark chamber" is a darkened room into which is projected an image of the outside world - like being on the inside of a pinhole camera.  Before this century large scale cameras were popular tourist attractions, and smaller or even portable cameras were much used by artists to record their subject in comfort.  The modem usage of the word camera derives from a portable camera obscura with a photo-sensitive plate to record the image.
The current camera obscura in Llandudno is not the first, as the curator explained to me. He used to nm the old camera for the council, but unfortunately it was closed down, and the lens went missing in storage.  Never mind - the curator built his own camera obscura, with a four inch lens, which he now operates privately - he’ll demonstrate it on payment of a pound.  The construction is very reminiscent of back garden observatories the nation over, except perhaps for the globe-like structure on top housing the aperture, which looked to me as if it had been adapted from a motorcycle helmet.  The new camera stands next to the site of the old one, on a rise above the putting green.
The curator believed that there were 7 or 8 cameras in existence around Britain, and I reproduce his list here:

Location            Country                Notes

Llandudno            Wales                     4 inch aperture, on site of older, larger camera

Portmerion           Wales

Aberystwyth         Wales                      Claimed to be the world’s largest aperture - 22"
                                                       I think

Douglas               Isle of Man               12 separate fixed apertures, giving a 360 degree
                                                        panorama.      Built during the 1880s.
Edinburgh           Scotland                    Built 1856

Dumfries             Scotland                    Built 1836

Bristol                England                      On the Clifton suspension bridge - built 1829

Brighton             England                      Originally at the Gateshead garden festival -
                                                        12" aperture

Cameras obscura come in all shapes and sizes, so there are a large number of portable examples, for example:

Bradford England Indoor cameras at the photographic museum

I have also heard of one overseas camera:

Paris                France                       On the Bois de Boulogne

(I thought there was one in Alice Springs, but on re-reading my guidebook, this turns out to be a painted panorama and nothing to do with cameras obscura)

Finally, for completeness I note the former location of some cameras which didn’t survive:

Brighton          England                    By the Palace pier

Eastbourne      England

Margate          England

Ramsgate        England

Do let me know if you visit any of these, or indeed find one I haven’t heard of.

Happy hunting!


How is your latin on the names given to the different Lunar features?  The following list of names of various features gives the Latin and English meanings of them.  They are the modern names now given to the lunar surface which were substituted in 1972 for the older original names.


Lacus Aestatis   Summer Lake
Lacus Autumni   Autumn Lake
Lacus Bonitatis   Lake of Good
Lacus Doloris   Lake of Suffering
Lacus Excellentiae   Lake of Excellience
Lacus Felictatis   Lake of Happiness
Lacus Gaudi   Lake of Joy
Lacus Hiemalis   Winter Lake
Lacus Lenitatis   Lake of Tenderness
Lacus Mortis   Lake of Death
Lacus Odii   Lake of Hate
Lacus Perseverantiae   Lake of Persistence
Lacus Somniorum   Lake of Dreams
Lacus Spei   Lake of Hope
Lacus Temporis   Lake of Time
Lacus Timoris   Lake of Fear
Lacus Veris   Spring Lake

Mare Anguis   Serpent Sea
Mare Australe   Southern Sea
Mare Copnitum   Known Sea
Mare Crisium   Sea of Crises
Mare Fecunditatis   Sea of Fertility
Mare Frigoris   Sea of Cold
Mare Humboldtianum   Humboldt's Sea
Mare Humorum   Sea of Moisture
Mare Imbrium   Sea of Rains
Mare Insularum   Sea of Isles
Mare Marginis   Border Sea
Mare Nectaris   Sea of Nectar
Mare Nubium   Sea of Clouds
Mare Orientail   Eastern Sea
Mare Serenitatis   Sea of Serenity
Mare Smythii   Smyth's Sea
Mare Spumans   Foaming Sea
Mare Tranquillitatis  Sea of Tranquillity
Mare Undarum   Sea of Waves
Mare Vaporum   Sea of Vapours


 By SJ Payne

Out into the dark I go 
It's Dark . . . . . . It's Dark 
All goes quite in the dark 
Owls like it dark 
I like it Dark.

Under the Stars 
All those Stars as points of light 
I like the Stars at night in the Dark 
Its nice in the Dark 
I like it Dark.

Got my Torch 
Got my Pencil 
Got my Paper 
Got my Eraser 
Ohh I do like it Dark.

Off with the Big cover 
Off with the Small 
Off with the small Big cover 
Off with the small Small cover 
Ohh, Ohh I do like it Dark.

Got it on the North point 
Got it in the Finder 
Got it in the Cross Hairs 
Got it in the Eyepiece 
Ohh, Ohh, Ohh I do like it Dark.

Under the Planets 
All those Planets as circles if Light 
I like the Planets at night in the Dark 
It's Great in the Dark 
Ohh, Ohh, Ohh, Ohh I do like it Dark.

Out of the South they come 
It's Clouds . . . . . . It's CLOUDS 
All goes Quiet in the Dark under CLOUDS 
Owls can stay in the Dark 
I don't like it Dark under CLOUDS.

I like my bed at times like these.


I am but an Atomy 
Only an Atom I be in this world of ours 
Being an Astronaut up beyond the Atmosphere is my only want 
To be Astral or an Astro is my need 
An Astronomer of Astronomy 
Down the garden with my telescope or binoculars is my Asylum.

According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary
ASTRO   Star, heavenly body
ASTRONOMY   Science of the heavenly bodies
ASTRONOMER   Person who studies or practices astronomy
ASTRAL   Connected with or consisting of stars
ASYLUM   Sanctuary, place of refuge and safety
ATOM   Smallest partial of a chemical element
ATOMY   Tiny being
ATMOSPHERE   Gaseous envelope surrounding heavenly body
ASTRONAUT   Space traveller