Exclusive to members – Popular Astronomy Magazine
The March–April 2024 issue of our bimonthly magazine is out now. It is packed with interesting articles, but you won’t find it in the shops. That’s because Popular Astronomy is available exclusively to members of the Society for Popular Astronomy.
To get your own copy, plus all the other benefits of belonging to Britain’s brightest astronomical society, click here now to become a member of the SPA!
There’s a comet in the evening sky at the moment! But don’t go out and hope to see something whizzing across the sky, like in some movies. Although it is huge, and is indeed whizzing, it’s actually about 240 million km away from us, so right now it’s actually quite faint and can only be seen to move very, very slowly against the starry background. But it’s getting brighter and should be visible with binoculars so it is worth a look.
During early 2024, Jupiter appears to be heading for Uranus. This gives a great opportunity to find the elusive Uranus in the evening sky, even from city locations, using just binoculars. And don’t worry – there’s no risk of a collision!
On clear February evenings, the variable star Algol (Beta Persei), in the constellation Perseus, is high overhead from central UK locations. An eclipsing binary, this star “winks” in brightness every 2.87 days, dipping from its normal magnitude 2.1 to a minimum of around 3.4, as its dimmer orange-yellow secondary passes in front of, or eclipses, the brighter bluer primary.
Here is a map of the sky as it will appear from the latitude of London (51° 50′) this month, at 20h UT (GMT).
The SPA runs an annual weekend course where members can observe and learn together.
If you’re interested in astronomy, it stands to reason that you need a telescope, and the bigger the better. But for most of us, there’s a lot of research to do before you can make the plunge. There is a bewildering range of instruments available, but the good news is…
Whatever your interests, we’ve a section to suit you. Get expert advice and send in your own observations.
Learning the sky might seem tricky at first. There are so many stars, and unlike visiting a new town or city, the stars keep on moving around! But don’t give up! With a few tips and tricks, you’ll soon start to tell your Aries from your Aldebaran. The first step is to look at…
The SPA usually holds regular Saturday meetings every three months in London.