The lighter evenings of April offer up an interesting stellar challenge, testing the observing dexterity of astronomers - casual or otherwise - in a race against time. 

Fear not, this is not a 'faint fuzzy blob' hunt, like the Messier marathon, the exact opposite in fact, more of a sprint really and should only take a few minutes to complete given suitable horizons, a fair wind and some sky knowledge.  This is all about spotting first magnitude stars; those ranked brightest in the sky at the same time... [Read more about The Stellar Baker's Dozen Challenge 2017]

The Man: Charles MessierBorn into aristocracy in 18th century France, Charles Messier stood at the threshold of a great observational age. Comets were the fascination of astronomers - their discovery and subsequent observation occupying many observatories; bringing fame and fortune to their discoverer...

The Menagerie: Messier once wrote: “what made me produce this catalogue was the nebula I had seen in Taurus 1758 while I was observing the comet of that year. The shape and brightness of that nebula reminded me so much of a comet, that, I undertook to find more of its kind to save astronomers from confusing this nebula with comets...

The Marathon: At least a score of messier objects can be seen on any given night, but due to their distribution in the sky, early spring, especially around the equinox, is best suited for observing as many as possible over the course of one night... [Read more about Messier - the man, the menagerie and the marathon]

Sky Notes - March 2017

In this month's edition:

  • Planetary Skylights: Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn
  • Meteor Showers: Virginids
  • March 2017 Sky Charts

The Spring Equinox

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 sky... [Read more about The Spring Equinox]

Boggle Hole Event(s)

The first of the events (a last minute unscheduled event on the 18th) was predominantly clouded out.  Mark and Keith therefore enrolled the scouts in helping to demonstrate the scale solar system. 

There were certainly plenty of them, so they had to be split into two groups.  The demos went well and no scouts were lost in the sea. [Read more about Boggle Hole Event(s)]

It's going to be a busy late-March and into April. 

  • Another ‘Star Night’ hosted by Eskdale School
  • A visit the Whitby Scouts to help them prepare for their Astronomy badge
  • An event at Whitby Youth Hospital for students of Ayresome Primary School
  • A new star party venue: Northcliffe and Seaview Holiday parks at High Hawsker

- and possibly more... [Read more about Star party, Visits and Events]

All being well Paul is set to return to Whitby in May.  The venue will be the college main hall (Whitby college as was) May 9th is the date ‘inked in’ and we will be looking to start around 19:30pm.  No definite topic as yet, although Paul has suggested an updated talk on Voyager, to coincide with its 40th anniversary since launch. [Read more about Paul Money Lecture 2017]

March 2017 Space News

It's been a big news week for space, so let's have a round-up in the Newsletter.

Events

Observe the night sky with us at the Bruce Observatory, Whitby School.

Observing Nights are held weather permitting: check for a relatively clear sky before leaving home.  If in doubt, Mark can be reached on tel 01947 605516.

Date:
5 February, 2017 - 19:00
Address:
Bruce Observatory, Caedmon School Normandy Site (Whitby School)
Prospect Hill
YO21 1LA Whitby
United Kingdom
GB

The fifth society meeting of the season, in newly renamed Caedmon College Normanby Site (you may know it as Whitby College or Whitby School), Room H1.

In Members' monthly meetings we usually take a tour of the night sky for the coming month using the Planetarium program, sometimes have other topics for discussion, etc.

Date:
7 February, 2017 -
19:30 to 21:15
Address:
Room H1, Caedmon College, Normanby Site (Whitby School)
Prospect Hill
YO21 1LA Whitby
United Kingdom
GB

Observe the night sky with us at the Bruce Observatory, Whitby School.

Observing Nights are held weather permitting: check for a relatively clear sky before leaving home.  If in doubt, Mark can be reached on tel 01947 605516.

Date:
12 February, 2017 - 19:00
Address:
Bruce Observatory, Caedmon School Normandy Site (Whitby School)
Prospect Hill
YO21 1LA Whitby
United Kingdom
GB

Observe the night sky with us at the Bruce Observatory, Whitby School.

Observing Nights are held weather permitting: check for a relatively clear sky before leaving home.  If in doubt, Mark can be reached on tel 01947 605516.

Date:
19 February, 2017 - 19:00
Address:
Bruce Observatory, Caedmon School Normandy Site (Whitby School)
Prospect Hill
YO21 1LA Whitby
United Kingdom
GB

A Star Party at Boggle Hole Youth Hostel (weather dependent).  Anybody Members who can attend, please contact Mark.

Date:
25 February, 2017 -
19:00 to 20:30
Address:
Boggle Hole Youth Hostel
Boggle Hole Fylingthorpe
YO22 4UQ Whitby
United Kingdom
GB

Observe the night sky with us at the Bruce Observatory, Whitby School.

Observing Nights are held weather permitting: check for a relatively clear sky before leaving home.  If in doubt, Mark can be reached on tel 01947 605516.

Date:
26 February, 2017 - 19:00
Address:
Bruce Observatory, Caedmon School Normandy Site (Whitby School)
Prospect Hill
YO21 1LA Whitby
United Kingdom
GB