Society for Popular Astronomy

Latest news from the observing sections

As well as offering observing advice and producing reports on members’ observations, the SPA’s Observing Sections publish occasional news items about their field of astronomy. Here are the latest. You can read more on each Section’s individual area of this site.

  • Quiet Sun Broken by AR2699
    by Geoff Elston on 11th February 2018 at 2:37 pm

    As we near Solar Minimum, we have seen a lot of blank solar discs recently, but we now have a sunspot group, Active Region (AR) 2699 is currently crossing the Sun. AR2699 is even quite active and might produce someRead mor […]

  • Looking Forward; The Planets in February and March 2018
    by Alan Clitherow on 28th January 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Mercury moves into superior conjunction behind the Sun on the 17th of February and is not visible again until the early evening skies at the end of the month. However for UK observers, March gives the best opportunity to seeRead mor […]

  • Remote Imaging and Telescope Hosting in Australia
    by David Finnigan on 24th January 2018 at 10:21 am

    From the end of January, Martin Pugh will be offering remote imaging, data subscription, and telescope hosting opportunities from his property in rural New South Wales, Australia. For further information go to Martin’s website: […]

  • The Annual Report for 2017 is available
    by Tracie Heywood on 23rd January 2018 at 11:21 am

    The Variable Star Section report for 2017 has now been published. It can be viewed via  this link It includes light curves for the stars on the section’s programme, based on observations submitted by section members. Here, as an example,Read mor […]

  • Impressive work on Geminid spectra by Bill Ward
    by Tracie Heywood on 14th January 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Bill Ward has continued to work on the images that he captured during his trip to Tenerife to monitor the maximum of the 2017 Geminids (you may already have seen his impressive Geminid  timelapse video  in the earlier section report)Read mor […]

  • Mira is approaching maximum
    by Tracie Heywood on 14th January 2018 at 11:51 am

    Omicron Ceti (Mira) has brightened rapidly in recent weeks, with mid December observations placing it around magnitude 5.1 and early January seeing it around magnitude 3.7. Mira has an average brightness range of around six magnitudes. The average peak brightnessRead mor […]

  • New issue of the magazine eMeteorNews
    by Tracie Heywood on 10th January 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Congratulations go to the SPA’s Paul Sutherland whose image of a Leonid fireball from 2017 Nov 19th was chosen to appear on the “cover” of the 2018 January issue of the on-line magazine eMeteorNews. This can be downloaded from […]

  • Bright Moonlight set to hide many Quadrantids
    by Tracie Heywood on 31st December 2017 at 12:04 pm

    The Quadrantid meteor shower is active during the first week of the year, with peak activity set to occur during the night of Jan 3-4. The radiant of the Quadrantids is located in a rather bland area of sky betweenRead mor […]

  • A very favourable year for the Geminids
    by Tracie Heywood on 10th December 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Weather permitting, 2017 should be a great year for observing the Geminids, with peak activity due to occur durig the night of Dec 13-14 (Wed-Thurs). Geminid rates will also be quite high during the night of Dec 12-13 and also fairly good during the nights of Dec 11-12 and Dec 14-15, butRead mor […]

  • Section Report for October and November 2017
    by Alan Clitherow on 1st December 2017 at 1:46 pm

    This was a more interesting reporting period than the last one with contributions by amateurs, including one from the SPA, establishing the rotation period of atmospheric features on Neptune as well as the first observation of Mars in its comingRead mor […]