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.

  • 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

  • Spotless Sun Returns
    by Geoff Elston on 6th October 2020 at 4:08 pm

    The Sun is currently spotless.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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