What’s Up! August 2020

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Well what a month July was, mainly because of the justified excitement over comet Neowise, but also because Jupiter and Saturn were prominent from early evening. Society members managed to get some photos of the comet, many of which have been posted on our Facebook Chat Group page.


What to look out for in August – a summary

You may have noticed that the nights are starting to draw in. This increase in the length of the night is noticeable in the late evenings in August and heralds the ‘shoulder season’ for astronomical observations – August is the month when one begins to notice the stars again. And with it being predominantly warm, it is probably the month with the best combination of evening comfort and  darkness.

The Perseids meteor shower is the highlight of the month, but with the Moon present it will make viewing challenging. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be easy to spot. The Andromeda Galaxy makes a re-appearance and you can also look for the Double Cluster and the Cygnus Star Cloud. Also prominent is the Summer Triangle of Deneb, Altair and Vega.

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What’s Up! June 2020

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Space news – stop press

Elon Musk’s attempt to ferry two astronauts to the ISS has been successful! The first attempt was halted after poor weather, but the second on Saturday was a success. Observers in the UK could see the shuttle playing tag with the ISS as it went overhead later in the evening. After 19 hours in space the Endeavour capsule docked with the ISS on Sunday. Thus opens a new era in manned space exploration. See Space.com for up-to-date news.

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What’s Up! May 2020

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Well, were you able to take advantage of that wonderful run of clear, moonless nights during the second half of April? I hope so, because from about May 3rd right through to the end of July, it doesn’t get astronomically dark at all. And this prevents observation of all but the brightest deep sky objects, and even those can only be seen between midnight and 0200 BST.

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What’s Up! April 2020

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Oh dear! Those jobs we’ve put off doing for years and for which we can no longer use the excuse that we haven’t got time to do, will have to be done. There are no excuses left; we’re confined to barracks! So in this era of social distancing, are there any reasons for us astronomers to be cheerful? Well, maybe.

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What’s Up! December 2019

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

One really has to wonder whether we are “poco loco” to choose astronomy as our hobby. We’ve just had the cloudiest and wettest couple of months that I can remember for some time, and although we may have a few clear nights in the first week of December, the Met Office isn’t forecasting much in the way of clear and stable conditions for the rest of the month. Still, mustn’t grumble. Let’s at least take advantage of the odd observing night that happens to come our way and be grateful for small mercies. Important thing is to make sure that telescope is in tip-top condition and ready for action if the opportunity presents itself.

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What’s Up! November 2019

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Well, it’s arrived: the astronomy season for real. Suddenly, shockingly  for some, now the clocks have gone back it’s getting dark by just after 5 p.m. and that’ll be 4:30 p.m. at the end of the month. No longer do we have to wait until after bedtime to see anything. The whole evening is at our disposal. So what’s up there?

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