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Mercury & Venus section.

Following the solar transit last June, Venus passed into its western (morning) elongation and reached greatest elongation on 2012 Aug 15. This recent western elongation was fairly well observed, but we again note that Venus attracts fewer visual observers these days, despite all efforts to encourage them. On 2013 Mar 28 Venus reached superior conjunction. The evening elongation of 2013 is of course closely similar in terms of presentation to those of 2005, 1997, etc. Observation of the large gibbous phase at the start of this elongation will be favourable, as early indications from 2013 May onwards have already shown, but when the planet reaches greatest elongation on 2013 Nov 1 it will be in extreme south declination.

A Short Paper from the undersigned appeared in the 2012 December Journal to mark the 50th anniversary of publication of the Mercury mapping by American amateur Gary Wegner. Turning to current work, David Gray made some very good drawings of Mercury at the morning elongation of 2012 November-December, which were published in a Section Note in the 2013 April Journal. The display at the 2013 BAA Exhibition showcased some previously unseen observations of the 2012 transit of Venus. The Director is presently compiling a short biography of the Suffolk-based amateur astronomer Roland L. T. Clarkson, who sent many observations of Venus to the Section from the 1920s to the 1950s, and whose notebooks have been preserved in the Association's archives.

The Section remains in a healthy state. Its Web pages are kept updated by David Arditti, and we expect that this area will be expanded further in the next session. Paul Abel has joined the Section Committee; this group has recently discussed the Section programme in some detail, and all other aspects of its work.

Richard McKim, Director

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Title Annotation:Sections
Author:McKim, Richard
Publication:Journal of the British Astronomical Association
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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Next Article:Mars section.

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