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.

  • The Planets in October and November 2020
    by Alan Clitherow on 28th September 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Mercury is at its greatest eastern (evening) elongation from the Sun on the 1st of October but is very poorly placed for observation from the UK and therefore well placed for equatorial and southern-hemisphere observers. For mid-UK latitudes it willRead more Source

  • Tiny Sunspot AR2773 Is Solar Flare Active
    by Geoff Elston on 26th September 2020 at 3:26 pm

    New sunspot AR2773 appeared today at latitude +27 degrees and although a single small sunspot (sunspot type: Axx) it is also minor solar flare active, producing a C-class flare earlier today. AR2773 may develop further.

  • Mira Returns.
    by Matthew Barrett on 31st August 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Mira, or Omicron Ceti, is now visible to the naked eye. Mira was predicted to return to maximum brightness in October, but is already visible with the naked eye at around magnitude four. Hopefully, Mira will remain visible to theRead more Source

  • Meteorite fall in Brazil
    by Mark McIntyre on 20th August 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Reports have come in of a meteorite fall in Brazil on the morning of 19th August 2020. Fragments of the meteorite broke a roof and were found on a bed! As it happened during daylight, it was caught by securityRead more Source

  • Planetary Section Report for June and July 2020
    by Alan Clitherow on 19th August 2020 at 11:33 am

    Mercury is often overlooked for observation so I’m pleased it started section contributions in June. The smallest of the planets reached its greatest eastern (evening) elongation from the Sun on the 4th when it was 9 arcseconds in apparent sizeRead more Source

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

    September’s showers are once again impacted by the Moon. The Aurigids peak on 31st August just before the Full Moon, and so will be best viewed before dawn when the radiant will be high in the East. A week later,Read more Source

  • The Planets in August and September 2020
    by Alan Clitherow on 30th July 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Mercury starts this period very well placed, just past the peak of the best morning apparition of the year for UK observers. Catch it in the first 5 days of August when it should be rising at or shortly afterRead more Source

  • NEOWISE now fading…
    by Stuart Atkinson on 26th July 2020 at 8:22 am

    If you haven’t managed to see the lovely Comet NEOWISE F3 with your naked eye yet you might have missed your chance. At its brightest a couple of weeks ago, as F3 was barrelling towards us after surviving its whipRead more Source

  • Comet NEOWISE Delights Northern Observers
    by Stuart Atkinson on 13th July 2020 at 11:55 am

    It’s been a long time coming, but northern hemisphere comet observers finally have a naked eye comet to see and photograph! Northerners have had a bit of a frustrating time recently. Just a month or so ago, comets SWAN andRead more Source

  • Finally – a naked eye comet in the northern sky!
    by Stuart Atkinson on 5th July 2020 at 10:12 am

      Exciting news – Comet NEOWISE F3 survived its perihelion passage around the Sun and is now bright enough to be seen with the naked eye from mid-northern latitudes. And it is reported to be a “lovely sight” in binocularsRead more Source