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.

  • Planetary Section Report: February and March 2022.
    by Alan Clitherow on 26th April 2022 at 12:07 pm

    This is an unusual report in that I have no actual images of the major planets taken within this reporting period that I can show you. However I do have some interesting work, done by section members, including the detectionRead more Source

  • Sunspots AR2993 and AR2994 Dominate
    by Geoff Elston on 22nd April 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Active Regions 2993, 2994 together with AR2995 and AR2996 farther east, dominate the solar disc currently. My thanks to Carl Bowron for these excellent images.

  • Meteor Notes May and June 2022
    by Mark McIntyre on 14th April 2022 at 11:00 pm

    Spring is the season of day-time showers. If you’re operating a radio detector, look out for the many Arietid showers which peak in May and June and can have a combined rate of around 30: the eta Arietids (DEA) atRead more Source

  • Possible Tau Herculid Outburst at Dawn on 31st May
    by Mark McIntyre on 5th April 2022 at 1:59 pm

    In 2022 there’s a possibility of a brief but intense meteor shower around 05:00UT on 31st May. On the night of 30th/31st May, the Earth is scheduled to pass through the debris trail left behind by comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann.  This isRead more Source

  • Changes to Programme
    by Matthew Barrett on 3rd April 2022 at 3:59 pm

    Three stars have been added to the Variable Star Section Programme: Mu Cephei, Gamma Cassiopeia and W Cygni. Both Mu Cephei and Gamma Cassiopeia were originally on the SPA programme, and I’ve decided to reinstate them, as they are easyRead more Source

  • Looking Forward to the Planets in April and May 2022.
    by Alan Clitherow on 30th March 2022 at 2:48 pm

    In this period Mercury has its best eastern (evening) apparition of the year for UK observers and the ongoing dance of planets in the morning sky gives us a number of beautiful close conjunctions to observe. Mercury starts the periodRead more Source

  • Annual Report 2021
    by Matthew Barrett on 17th March 2022 at 3:07 pm

    The Annual Report for 2021 is now available for download. Look under the Section Report heading, or click on the link below: Variable Star Reports Source

  • Meteor Sky Notes March and April 2022
    by Mark McIntyre on 5th February 2022 at 9:39 pm

    The least said about March the better. All we can hope for is a sporadic fireball leading to a Winchcombe type find! Luckily April is better. The April Lyrids (LYR) peak on the afternoon of 22nd April. Hourly rates ofRead more Source

  • The Planets in February and March 2022.
    by Alan Clitherow on 28th January 2022 at 4:29 pm

    In this period we have lost long line of planets previously visible in the early evening sky as some sink deeper into the glow of sunset and others move steadily past the Sun to become morning objects. In February MercuryRead more Source

  • 14th December Fireball
    by Mark McIntyre on 9th January 2022 at 8:33 pm

    David Stuart reports that on 14th December, his great niece was watching the Geminids from her South Oxfordshire garden when she was lucky enough to witness – and video – an amazing fireball.  Eleanor had popped out into the gardenRead more Source