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 Sunspot Crosses Sun
    by Geoff Elston on 3rd January 2019 at 5:12 pm

    AR2732 is currently crossing the solar disc. It is a quiet type sunspot from Cycle 24 and is not thought to be solar flare active. The post Quiet Sunspot Crosses Sun appeared first on Solar Section. […]

  • Two Eclipses for New Year’s Day
    by Matthew Barrett on 31st December 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Happy New Year! Weather permitting, astronomers in the UK can start the new year by observing both RZ Cassiopeiae and U Cephei on the same night. There will be two eclipses visible from the UK on the evening of JanuaryRead more The post Two Eclipses for New Year’s Day appeared first on Variable Star Section. […]

  • Get ready to see Comet Wirtanen pass the Hyades and Pleiades this coming weekend
    by Stuart Atkinson on 11th December 2018 at 9:36 am

    There’s a big weekend coming up for everyone hoping to see Comet Wirtanen drifting between the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters. If the weather co-operates we should be able to see the comet with the naked eye, but regardless ofRead more The post Get ready to see Comet Wirtanen pass the Hyades and Pleiades this coming weekend appeared first on Comet Section. […]

  • Comet Wirtanen heads for the Hyades and Pleiades…
    by Stuart Atkinson on 9th December 2018 at 10:50 am

    Above: Comet Wirtanen 46P photographed from Shap, Cumbria, late on Dec 3rd, using a Canon 700D DSLR with a 135mm lens, on a sky-tracking. The image is a processed stack of 30 individual images. Photo: Stuart Atkinson   After teasingRead more The post Comet Wirtanen heads for the Hyades and Pleiades… appeared first on Comet Section. […]

  • Planetary Section Report; October and November 2018
    by Alan Clitherow on 3rd December 2018 at 11:22 am

    This was an interesting reporting period in which Mars received significant attention as it slowly rose, night on night, from its lowly altitude when at opposition back in late July. Despite steadily reducing in apparent size and brightness, the settlingRead more The post Planetary Section Report; October and November 2018 appeared first on Planetary Section. […]

  • The Planets in December and January.
    by Alan Clitherow on 26th November 2018 at 11:36 am

    With Mercury and Venus on show in the morning sky, Mars still observable in the evening and Uranus showing new storm features at night, there is plenty to see in this observing period. Mercury emerges from conjunction between the EarthRead more The post The Planets in December and January. appeared first on Planetary Section. […]

  • Comet 46P/Wirtanen Update…
    by Stuart Atkinson on 21st November 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Image: (c) Rolando Ligustri It’s never a good idea to poke fate in the eye with a sharp stick, and astronomers know better than anyone how unwise it is to count your chickens before they’ve hatched, but seasoned comet watchersRead more The post Comet 46P/Wirtanen Update… appeared first on Comet Section. […]

  • New Storm Feature Found on Uranus
    by Alan Clitherow on 21st November 2018 at 9:54 am

    I have been informed by the well-respected European amateur Marc Delcroix that a new large-scale storm feature has been discovered in the atmosphere of the planet Uranus by American Blake Estes. The storm appears as a patch on the borderRead more The post New Storm Feature Found on Uranus appeared first on Planetary Section. […]

  • Two Eclipses in November.
    by Matthew Barrett on 12th November 2018 at 1:12 pm

    For observers in the UK, the 14th of November will be an opportunity to observe two eclipsing variable stars in one night. RZ Cassiopeiae will be in mid-eclipse at approximately 22:00 UT; as will Beta Persei. The duration of RZRead more The post Two Eclipses in November. appeared first on Variable Star Section. […]

  • Three Long Period Variables Visible in Binoculars.
    by Matthew Barrett on 1st November 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Three of the long-period variables (LPV) on the sections observing program are now visible in binoculars. T UMa, S UMa and Chi Cygni (Mira) are now all visible in binoculars. All three stars are typical LPV and show a variationRead more The post Three Long Period Variables Visible in Binoculars. appeared first on Variable Star Section. […]