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.

  • 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.

  • AR2781 Reaches Naked Eye Visibility
    by Geoff Elston on 7th November 2020 at 4:59 pm

    AR2781 is now really coming into full view as it heads towards the centre line of the solar disc. It is now visible to the protected naked eye (only use a safe solar filter viewer if you look at theRead more

  • Big Sunspot Appears Over East Solar Limb
    by Geoff Elston on 5th November 2020 at 5:17 pm

    AR2781 appeared over the east solar limb a few days ago and it is quite a whopper compared to what we have been used to seeing recently. It is now sunspot type Ehi (5th) and lies south of the solarRead more

  • Planetary Section Report for August and September 2020
    by Alan Clitherow on 26th October 2020 at 2:25 pm

    This was a very enjoyable period for planetary observation with lots going on. Venus was at its greatest morning (western) elongation from the Sun on the 13th of August and Jupiter was receiving a lot of interest with the JunoRead more Source

  • Meteor Outlook for November and December 2020
    by Mark McIntyre on 9th October 2020 at 11:00 pm

    The winter months bring long hours of darkness and two of the year’s highlights, the Geminids and Quadrantids. The Geminids peak on 13-14 December and this year they coincide with the nearly-new Moon, so conditions are perfect. If skies areRead more Source

  • Fireball and possible Fall over Mexico, 6th October
    by Mark McIntyre on 8th October 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Earlier today local news outlets in northeastern Mexico reported a very bright fireball had been seen by many observers in the state of Nuevo Leon. The meteor was seen at 10.14pm local time, and was caught on numerous security cameras,Read more Source

  • Possible Draconid Outburst 6-7th October
    by Mark McIntyre on 6th October 2020 at 8:03 am

    The IMO reports that there is the possibility of an outburst of the Draconids this year on the evening of 6th October. In early October the Earth passes through the debris trail of comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Usually this produces little activity,Read more Source

  • Earthgrazer Meteor 22nd September 2020
    by Mark McIntyre on 1st October 2020 at 8:42 pm

    On 22nd September at 03h54m UT, multiple stations across Europe detected an earth-grazing meteor. Earth-grazers are meteors that hit the atmosphere at a shallow angle, and so instead of burning up, they pass through and return to space a littleRead more Source