Astronomy & Planetary Science

Astronomy (a term originating from the Greek language: "astron" - star and "nomos" - law) is the scientific study both of celestial objects such as galaxies, nebulae, stars, planets, planetary satellites, comets and asteroids and of beyond-Earth phenomena such cosmic background radiation, dark matter and energy and gamma ray bursts. Uniquely, the discipline has the entire observable Universe as its laboratory.

Planetary science is the scientific study of planets (like the Earth), planetary satellites (like the Moon) and planetary systems (like the Solar System) and of the physical processes that form and act on them.


Littrow High Resolution Spectrograph (LHIRES) III

LHIRES III"Back to the roots of modern astronomy"

This omnibus order closed on 30 November 2009 at 12:00 CET. Those, who have participated, benefited from the maximum discount on the spectrograph and all of its accessories, translating for the average order into several hundred Euros. Congratulations to all and thank you again to the manufacturer, Shelyak Instruments.

Welcome to the omnibus order for the Littrow High Resolution Spectrograph (LHIRES) III coordinated by the Professional Group for Spectroscopy of the Swiss Astronomical Society. The LHIRES III is a field-proven high-resolution spectrograph for small telescopes with flexible connectivity to all types of CCD and SLR cameras and webcams. It also doubles as a spectroscope for viewing spectra live through an eyepiece. The instrument is a must-have for astronomy clubs, individual astronomers and educational institutions wanting to introduce a variety of audiences to the rich information transmitted by light. The spectrograph has been a key instrument of astronomical practice in the modern era. Here is your chance to acquire one at an affordable discounted price. The LHIRES III performance depends on the specific configuration. For instance, the LHIRES III would show the following performance parameters with a 8'' f/10 telescope, 1h exposure, 30µm slit size, target signal/noise ratio of 100 and a KAF400 CCD chip.


The Observers' List

Amateur Astronomers

The Observers' List - Observe the Universe! The purpose of this List is to enable subscribing members to easily announce and coordinate astronomical observing runs. Send an e-mail message to a special address or reply to a message received and they'll be immediately broadcasted to all other members. Unless otherwise explicitly stated, we observe the Universe from the Observatory Guentisberg. This service is offered by me to all active observers of the region at no charge.

Die Beobachterliste - Beobachte das Universum! Diese Liste hat zum Zweck das Bekanntmachen und die Koordination von gemeinsamen astronomischen Beobachtungsläufen fuer angeschlossene Mitglieder stark zu vereinfachen. Sende eine E-Mail an eine spezielle Adresse oder antworte auf eine erhaltene Nachricht und diese werden sofort allen anderen Mitgliedern weitergeleitet. Sofern nichts anderes angegeben, beobachten wir das Universum vom Observatorium Güntisberg aus. Diese Dienstleistung wird von mir allen aktiven Beobachtern der Region kostenlos zur Verfügung gestellt.


Cassini Scientist for a Day 2009

Cassini"Cassini Scientist for a Day" is an international essay contest designed to give students a taste of life as a scientist. Students study three targets that the Cassini spacecraft will image during a given time set aside for education. Students are to choose the one image they think will yield the best science results and explain their reasons in an essay no longer than 500 words. The next opportunity reserved for this educational activity is October 11, 2009.


European Community Proposal

Solar SpectrumAmateur spectroscopy has come to age. Amateur astronomers in the hundreds throughout Europe are enjoying the analysis of light from stars and other astronomical objects. It has been a grassroots movement at the local level over the last decade. Where there was critical mass, amateur spectroscopists have organised at the national level. Well organised groups exist now in France, Germany and Switzerland. Amateur spectroscopists in other European countries are unfortunately left out in the cold. There is also much duplication of effort. There now at least 3 national internet forums for the exchange of information. The current state of affairs is neither effective not efficient. The proposal is for all amateur spectroscopists and their national groups to join forces and establish an European-wide community to the promotion of amateur spectroscopy.


SAG Proposals

Faulkes TelescopeAt the 2009 Delegate (General) Meeting of the Swiss Astronomical Society, I made two proposals. In fact, these were the first proposals from an individual member of the Society for decades. Indeed, the Society has ceased to be a driving force in Swiss astronomy. The Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy, founded in 1968, occupies that role now. Hence, I knew that both of my proposals would fail and that I would have to look to the latter or other institutions for support. Nonetheless, I wanted to at least present the proposals to the Swiss Astronomical Society out of courtesy. The first proposal aimed to increase engagement of pupils and students in astronomy, the second proposal to fund an estimated CHF 10 million investment and annual operation costs of CHF 0.5 million for a large remote-controlled telescope at a darksky site abroad mainly for educational use.