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.

  • Section Report; December 2019 and January 2020.
    by Alan Clitherow on 10th February 2020 at 11:44 am

    This period started with the receipt of a report of the transit of Mercury from veteran observer Alan Heath. Too late to be included in the previous section report, I am glad to include Alan’s excellent observations here as itRead more The post Section Report; December 2019 and January 2020. appeared first on Planetary Section.

  • The Planets in February and March
    by Alan Clitherow on 26th January 2020 at 11:47 am

    Mercury is an accessible planetary target in February but is best seen from as far south as possible. For northern observers it will be at low altitude in twilight. It reaches greatest eastern (evening) elongation from the Sun on theRead more The post The Planets in February and March appeared first on Planetary Section.

  • Annual Report 2019
    by Matthew Barrett on 25th January 2020 at 4:39 pm

    The Annual Report for 2019 is now available for download. Look under the Section Report heading, or click the link below:   Variable Star Reports The post Annual Report 2019 appeared first on Variable Star Section.

  • The Penumbral Lunar Eclipse of 2020 January 10th
    by David Graham on 24th January 2020 at 12:03 pm

    A penumbral lunar eclipse, the first of four visible in 2020, occurred early in the evening of January 10th, for observers in the British Isles. As this was a penumbral, and not a total or partial lunar eclipse, none ofRead more The post The Penumbral Lunar Eclipse of 2020 January 10th appeared first on Lunar Section.

  • Chi Cygni Approaches Maximum
    by Matthew Barrett on 13th January 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Chi Cygni is a favourite long-period variable on the SPA programme and it is due to reach maximum at the end of January. It has already reached the sixth magnitude, so should be easily seen in binoculars. It may evenRead more The post Chi Cygni Approaches Maximum appeared first on Variable Star Section.

  • January eMeteorNews is out
    by Mark McIntyre on 1st January 2020 at 7:51 pm

    The January 2020 edition of eMeteorNews is now available online for this who are interested. January 2020 issue of eMeteorNews online!   The post January eMeteorNews is out appeared first on Meteor Section.

  • Betelgeuse Has Faded
    by Matthew Barrett on 30th December 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Betelgeuse, or Alpha Orionis, has been usually faint over the past few weeks. Usually, Betelgeuse varies between magnitudes 0.2 and 1.0, however, Betelgeuse is now below the first magnitude. This is not unprecedented behaviour for Betelgeuse, but it is theRead more The post Betelgeuse Has Faded appeared first on Variable Star Section.

  • Look out for the Quadrantids
    by Mark McIntyre on 26th December 2019 at 11:13 pm

    The first meteor shower of 2020 is just around the corner, with the Quadrantids (QUA) expected to peak on the morning of the 4th of January. This is a short-lived but often intense shower. The quoted hourly rate is aboutRead more The post Look out for the Quadrantids appeared first on Meteor Section.

  • Planetary Section Report; October and November 2019
    by Alan Clitherow on 26th December 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Sadly this period was a poor one for observing the planets and, consequently, there is rather little to report. With the popular targets of Jupiter and Saturn languishing very low in the western evening sky, joined by Venus late inRead more The post Planetary Section Report; October and November 2019 appeared first on Planetary Section.

  • Meteor Outlook for January and February 2020
    by Mark McIntyre on 25th December 2019 at 7:00 am

    The first shower of the year, the Quadrantids (QUA), is usually a pretty good one. The peak this year is on 3rd/4th January. Thewaxing gibbous Moon will set around 1am, so the best time will be in the hours beforeRead more The post Meteor Outlook for January and February 2020 appeared first on Meteor Section.