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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 Returns – For Now…
    by Geoff Elston on 2nd January 2021 at 5:38 pm

    With AR2794 and AR2795 nearing the west solar limb, a spotless Sun looks set to return, but for how long?

  • Planetary Section Report; October and November 2020. The Opposition of Mars
    by Alan Clitherow on 28th December 2020 at 9:04 pm

    For the UK, early October saw one of the best oppositions of Mars for many a long year. Martian oppositions happen in a cycle with the relative positions of Earth and Mars returning to about the same place every 15thRead more Source

  • AR2794 Appears Over East Solar Limb
    by Geoff Elston on 21st December 2020 at 4:24 pm

    A new Active Region has just popped into view over the east limb of the Sun.

  • Meteor Outlook for January-March 2021
    by Mark McIntyre on 8th December 2020 at 12:00 am

    There is only one shower of note in the first three months of the year. The Quadrantids have a short sharp peak centred on 04 Jan, and unfortunately this year it coincides with a nearly full Moon so the displayRead more Source

  • The planets in December 2020 and January 2021
    by Alan Clitherow on 3rd December 2020 at 12:31 pm

    For UK observers Mercury starts December very low in the south-eastern morning sky and will be hard to catch before sunrise. It moves into Superior conjunction, behind the Sun, on the 20th and may just be glimpsed in the westernRead more Source

  • Images of AR2783, AR2785 and AR2786
    by Geoff Elston on 26th November 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Bob Steele made this drawing on November 23: Cliff Meredith captured this whole disc image on November 25:   John Fathers captured these images on November 26:     Keith Moseley also captured this image on November 26:

  • Large New Sunspot AR2786 Comes Into Full View
    by Geoff Elston on 25th November 2020 at 4:17 pm

    AR2786 is now starting to move away from the east solar limb and it’s a bit of a whopper! Situated 15 degrees south of the Sun’s equator and sunspot type Cko, AR2786 is much larger than the Earth and couldRead more

  • Large New Sunspot Comes Into View Over East Limb
    by Geoff Elston on 23rd November 2020 at 6:04 pm

    A large Sunspot Cycle 25 sunspot has just appeared over the east limb of the Sun. Undesignated as yet, of sunspot type Hsx, it lies 23 degrees south of the solar equator. This new sunspot follows hot on the heelsRead more

  • AR2781 Approaches West Limb
    by Geoff Elston on 14th November 2020 at 4:30 pm

    AR2781 is just a single sunspot and pore and both are now approaching the west limb. AR2782 is over by the east limb, type Bxo and at the high southerly latitude of -31 degrees. Mick Jenkins captured this image onRead more

  • Latest Images of AR2781
    by Geoff Elston on 10th November 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Here are two images taken today of AR2781 (both images were taken by Carl Bowron).     When I observed AR2781 earlier today I thought it had decayed and was no longer visible to the protected naked eye.