After been contacted by Elizabeth Labelle, Assistant Head Teacher (Phase3) of Ayresome Primary School & Lego Innovation Studio, we shall be hosting an event for visiting pupils up at the Whitby Youth Hostel on April 3rd /4th You may recall we did a similar event last yearThe start time is around 20:15h. [Read more about Star party, Visits and Events]

Together with other events at Dalby Forrest and Sutton bank, this was part of the NY National park’s dark sky awareness programme.  February is always a tricky month weather wise, it could be anything, so it came as a relief that Saturday 17th proved to be a pretty quiet, clear day, a little chilly, but you expect that. [Read more about Danby Moors Centre – Dark Sky Party]

This was a last minute event – organised by the youth hostel.  Conditions on the evening were actually very good with clear skies and little wind.  Initially we thought hardly anyone was going to turn up, but by 18:30h a sizeable gathering had mustered on the front quadrangle in front of the Abbey Visitor centre... [Read more about Dark Sky Week – Whitby Youth Hostel Event]

The start of April offers up an interesting stellar challenge, testing the observing dexterity of astronomers; casual or otherwise in a race against time.This is all about spotting first magnitude stars; those ranked brightest in the sky.

Piercing the spring twilight dotted around the sky, no less than thirteen of these are currently visible, more than at any other time of yearHowever the window of opportunity in which to identify these stellar jewels rapidly diminishes as we head deeper into April... [Read more about The Stellar Baker's Dozen Challenge 2018]

Spring Equinox 2018

The date of the Vernal Equinox and officially the start spring in the northern hemisphere falls on March 20th this year.  This is when the Sun's path - the ecliptic, first crosses the celestial equator on its apparent journey northwards into the skyThe orientation of the Earth at the spring or autumnal equinox is such that neither of the poles are inclined towards the Sun and all locations experience equal hours of daylight and darkness - hence the term equinox... [Read more about Spring Equinox 2018]

Sky Notes - March 2018

In this month's edition:

  • Planetary Skylights: Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and two Lunar Occultations
  • Meteors: perhaps some Viginids
  • March 2018 Sky Charts

As part of the Dark Skies festival held throughout February half term across North Yorkshire and beyond, our society will be hosting a ‘star party’ at the Danby Moors Centre.  And the RAF Fylingdales event planned for January 18th, and organised by York A.S, the base, with assistance from us, had to be cancelled, victim of the wintry conditions... [Read more about Dark Sky Night – Danby Moors Centre]

Continuing the tour of stellar objects crossing the meridian line this month: a double-star in Canis Major, a unique object called "The Intergalactic Tramp" takes the place of our galaxy; we present the Eskimo nebula and the Heart-shaped cluster.

  • Star - h 3945 (145 Cma) in Canis Major: the ‘winter Alberio’.
  • NGC 2419: "The Intergalactic Tramp or Wanderer".  At almost 300k lightyears from the centre of our galaxy, this globular cluster is nearly twice as far as the Large Magellanic Cloud. 
  • Nebula: The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392) or Clown face nebula.  A disk of material containing a number of comet-shaped objects appearing to stream away from the nebula’s central star.

In this month's edition:

  • Planetary Skylights: Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Neptune, Venus and Mercury
  • Meteors: Alpha Aurigids
  • February 2018 Sky Charts

Christmas Meal 2017

Our Christmas meal at the Hare and Hounds once again proved a great success with ten members making it to the banqueting table.  The food was excellent, the wine flowed (favouring certain parts of the table more than others) and the company, most convivial.  Crackers, crackers... [Read more about Christmas Meal 2017]

Continuing our new feature, we take a brief look at this month’s selection of objects of particular interest crossing the meridian line.

  • Star: 119 Tauri (CE Tau) – The Ruby star in the constellation Taurus.
  • Cluster: The 37 cluster – it would have been very easy to go for the Pleiades, however I'd like to highlight an object you may not have heard of, yet it certainly deserves scrutiny.
  • Nebula: The nebula Messier 78 (or NGC 2068) is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion.

In this month's edition:

  • Planetary Skylights: Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Saturn
  • Earth Reaches Perihelion
  • Supermoon and Blue Moon
  • Meteors: Geminids, Ursids
  • January 2018 Sky Charts

Starting this month is a new feature in which we take a brief look at various celestial objects of particular interest for one reason or another.  These are a star, a galaxy, a nebula and a cluster.  To keep matters simple all the objects are located on or close to the meridian line, due south, around mid month at 20:00h ( GMT time).  The objects are ranked as Easy, Medium or a Challenge to observe with the type of optical aid required to spot them... [Read more about Crossing the Line: objects of the month]

We have now booked the Hare and Hounds for Dec 15th (Friday).  The booking is initially for a dozen at 19:30h. 

If you would like to come along (the food is excellent and the evening most enjoyable) we shall continue taking names, rank and serial numbers at the December society meeting on the 5th, failing that please contact Mark Dawson.  First come, first serve. 

Taxi arrangements will be discussed at the meeting. [Read more about Society Christmas Meal 2017]

The Winter Solstice

The Sun reaches its lowest position in the sky on December 21st this year; the date of the winter solstice and officially the start of winter in the northern hemisphere.  From our latitude the Sun arcs little more than 12 degrees above Southern horizon at local noon, standing before the stars of Sagittarius.  Useful daylight amounts to just 7½ hrs - ’the shortest day’... [Read more about The Winter Solstice]