September 2020 What’s Up!

Week of 28th September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20:42 BST at the beginning of the week and at 20:28 BST by the end of the week
  • The planets continue to impress in our evening sky. Mars (-2.5) is climbing ever higher, rising at around 19:30 BST this week. Jupiter (-2.4) and Saturn (0.5) are in the West, setting at around midnight
  • The Moon will be Full on Thursday 1st October – the Harvest Moon. Occuring so early in the month allows a second Full Moon to fall in October, the 31st will see a ‘Blue’ Moon
  • The Sun currently has no visible sunspots. Active Region 2773 lasted for three days during last week, but has now settled down
  • The ISS makes multiple evening passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 20:48, W to S, max 73°
    Tuesday: 20:01, W to ESE, max 85° & 21:38, W, max 19°
    Wednesday: 19:14, W to E, max 87° & 20:51, W to SSW, max 43°
    Thursday: 20:03, W to SE, max 57° & 21:41, W to WSW, max 12°
    Friday: 19:16, W to ESE, max 72° & 20:53, W to SSW, max 23°
    Saturday: 20:06, W to SSE, max 32°
    Sunday: 19:18, W to SE, max 43° & 20:57, WSW to SSW, max 11°

Week of 21st September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:00 BST at the beginning of the week and at 20:45 BST by the end of the week
  • The September Equinox is on Tuesday and marks the start of autumn for the Northern Hemisphere. The Sun will cross the celestial equator at 14:15 BST on the 22nd and continue its journey appearing ever lower in the sky as we head towards winter. Day and night will be equal at 12 hours each and the Sun will rise due East and set due West, one of only two days in the year when this occurs. The nights are becoming longer, which is only a good thing for astronomers!
  • Mars is a beautiful evening object, shining at mag -2.3 with a distinct orange-red colour
  • Jupiter and Saturn continue to impress and will be joined by the Waxing Gibbous Moon on Friday
  • The Moon will be First Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots – this spotless stretch is now at 30 days
  • The ISS makes multiple evening passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 19:52, SW to E, max 32° & 21:28, WSW to WSW, max 46°
    Tuesday: 20:41, WSW to E, max 73° & 22:18, W, max 14°
    Wednesday: 19:54, WSW to E, max 58° & 21:30, W, max 43°
    Thursday: 20:43, W to E, max 87° & 22:20, W, max 12°
    Friday: 19:56, WSW to E, max 85° & 21:32, W, max 36°
    Saturday: 20:45, W to E, max 86°
    Sunday: 19:58, W to E, max 84° & 21:34, W, max 28°

Week of 14th September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:19 BST at the beginning of the week and at 21:03 BST by the end of the week
  • Mars is appearing ever higher in our evening sky. It is shining a fabulous orange-red colour and is currently at magnitude -2.1; this will brighten to -2.6 when at opposition in October
  • There is only a month or two left to observe Jupiter and Saturn. They are both in our western sky now and have set by about 01:00 BST
  • The Moon will be New on Thursday
  • The Sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots – this spotless stretch is now at 23 days; the deep solar minimum continues
  • The ISS returns to our evening skies with passes this week as follows:
    Thursday: 21:25, SW to SSW, max 14°
    Friday: 20:38, SSW to SSE, max 23°
    Saturday: 19:51, S to ESE, max 16° and 21:26, WSW to SW, max 33°
    Sunday: 20:39, SW to ESE, max 43° and 22:15, W, max 14°

Week of 7th September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:38 BST at the beginning of the week and at 21:22 BST by the end of the week
  • Jupter (-2.5) and Saturn (+0.3) continue their journey westwards across our evening sky and make fabulous observing targets
  • On Tuesday, Venus reaches its highest point in the morning sky when it will be at about 35° altitude at sunrise, shining brightly at mag -4.2
  • Neptune reaches opposition on Friday and will be well placed at about 24° altitude in the southeast at 22:30 BST. Being only around mag +8, binoculars or a telescope will be required to observe the outermost planet in the solar system
  • Mars, shining at mag -2 in the East, is becoming an increasingly evident player on the stage of our evening sky as it moves towards opposition in October
  • The Moon will be Last Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots – this spotless stretch is now at 16 days
  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

August 2020 What’s Up

Week of 31st August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:59 BST at the beginning of the week and at 21:41 BST by the end of the week
  • The planets offer the best observing targets this week with Jupiter at mag -2.5 transiting at around 21:30 BST, Saturn at mag +0.3, transiting at around 22:00 BST and Mars at mag -1.9 that transits at around 04:00 BST
  • The Moon will be Full (Harvest Moon) on Wednesday
  • The Sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots – this spotless stretch is now at 9 days
  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

Week of 24th August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22:20 BST at the beginning of the week and at 22:02 BST by the end of the week
  • Jupiter (-2.6) and Saturn (+0.3) continue to dominate the night sky in the South. They transit at around 22:00 and 22:35 BST respectively, so are well placed for observation in the evening sky
  • Mars is the rising centrepiece as it moves towards opposition in mid October. It will be at perigee in early October, making this apparition particularly favourable for observation. Mars is currently shining at mag -1.7 and brightening. It rises at around 22:00 BST and transits at 04:30 BST
  • The Moon will be First Quarter on Tuesday
  • The Sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots
  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

Week of 17th August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22:43 BST at the beginning of the week and at 22:24 BST by the end of the week
  • Seven Planet Challenge: It will be possible to see seven of the eight solar system planets this week. Start with Jupiter (-2.6) and Saturn (+0.2) in the southern evening sky. Next is Neptune (+7.8), which will be in the southeast around midnight. Mars (-1.5) will be at about 24° altitude in the East at 01:00 BST. Uranus (+5.8) is approx 16° further East. Venus (-4.3) rises at 02:08 BST. Finally, look to your feet for the seventh planet! Unfortunately, the full set is not possible as Mercury is hiding in the glare of the Sun
  • The Moon will be New on Wednesday
  • The Sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots
  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

Week of 10th August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23:07 BST at the beginning of the week and at 22:46 BST by the end of the week
  • The Perseid meteor shower peaks on Wednesday afternoon. Watch out on both Tuesday night (11th) and Wednesday night (12th) for this wonderful annual display of shooting stars as the Earth crashes through debris left behind by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. The Last Quarter Moon makes for good observing conditions and the shower can generate over 100 meteors per hour. Unfortunately, the current weather forecast is for thunderstorms, so grab your chance between clouds to spot a few Perseids
  • Jupiter and Saturn continue to shine brightly in our southern evening sky. On Tuesday, the shadow of the Gallilean moon Callisto will transit Jupiter’s disc, starting at 19:43 BST and moving off the disc at 23:55 BST
  • Venus reaches Greatest Elongation West on Wednesday, visible in the eastern morning sky at an altitude of about 32° just before sunrise, shining at mag -4.3, making it the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon
  • The Moon will be Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • The Sun has one active region, AR 2770, which belongs to the new Solar Cycle 25
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

Week of 3rd August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23:29 BST at the beginning of the week and at 23:06 BST by the end of the week
  • The Perseid meteor shower (Tears of St Lawrence) peaks in the afternoon of Wednesday 12th August. Usually one of the best showeres in the year, this year is favourable with a waning Moon and 80+ meteors an hour are predicted at peak. There is usually a good build up to the peak, so it is worth looking out for early shooting stars later this week and next week-end. Government guidlines and weather permitting a small gathering at the Dome may be permitted on 12th. Watch the website for updates.
  • Jupiter and Saturn continue to shine brightly in our southern evening sky. On Monday to the West of the Full Moon.
  • The Moon will be at Full (Sturgeon or Barley Moon) on Monday
  • The Sun has two active regions, AR 2767 and a fast growing spot 2769 on the NE limb, both belonging to the new Solar Cycle 25
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week.

July 2020 What’s Up!

Week of 27th July

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00:08 BST at the beginning of the week and at 23:37 BST by the end of the week
  • Goodbye Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3)! The comet passed perigee on the 23rd and is now travelling away from both the Earth and Sun. It is fading and has dropped to about mag +3. This, along with the waxing Moon, will make it increasingly difficult to spot. This comet is not due to return to our skies for about 6,800 years. For a last look, find the comet after sunset in the northwest below the Plough
  • The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks on Wednesday night. However, with only about 25 meteors per hour at its peak, which will reduce to around just 9 visible per hour due to the bright Moon, this is unlikely to be a particularly spectacular shower. The radiant is in Aquarius and the parent body responsible for the shower is thought to be comet P/2008 Y12 (SOHO)
  • Jupiter (-2.7) and Saturn (+0.1) continue to shine brightly in our southern evening sky. The pair are joined by a 97% waxing Moon on Saturday, when Jupiter will lie just 2° above the Moon
  • Mercury reaches its highest point in the morning sky on Monday. At sunrise, 05:24 BST, it will be at an altitude of 12° in the East. Take great care to avoid the Sun if trying to observe this event
  • The Moon will be at First Quarter on Monday
  • The Sun has one active region, AR 2767, in a high southerly latitude belonging to new Solar Cycle 25
  • The ISS makes visible evening passes this week as follows:
    Monday – 21:42, W to ESE, max 73° & 23:19, W to SSW, max 23°
    Tuesday – 22:31, W to SSE, max 32°
    Wednesday – 21:43, W to SE, max 44° & 23:21, WSW to SW, max 11°
    Thursday – 22:32, W to S, max 17°
    Friday – 21:44, W to SSE, max 24°
    Sunday – 21:46, WSW to SSW, max 12°

Week of 20th July

  • This week sees the return of astronomical darkness. On Monday night, starting at 00:51 BST, we will enjoy 54 minutes of ‘proper’ darkness. By Sunday, astronomical twilight will end at 00:14 BST, with astronomical darkness lasting for two hours
  • Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) continues to put on a fabulous display, though it is now starting to dim as it travels away from the Sun. It is best viewed in the evening sky, at 23:00 BST it is at an altitude of about 20° above the northwestern horizon. At the start of the week it is sitting around 15° below the Plough, by the front paw of the Great Bear, by the end of the week it will have moved West to sit behind the Bear’s back paw. Whilst it is still visible with the naked eye, the best views are gained with binoculars
  • Jupiter and Saturn make excellent evening targets in the southeastern sky this week. They are low to the horizon at an altitude of about 12°. Jupiter is mag -2.7 and Saturn is mag +0.1. Saturn reaches opposition on Monday, meaning it lies opposite the Sun from Earth and is best placed for the largest and brightest views. Look out for the transit of Jupiter’s moon Callisto on Saturday night, it moves across the gas giant’s disk from 22:55 BST until 03:00 BST on Sunday morning
  • Mercury is at Greatest Elongation West on Wednesday and will be visible at about 05:00 BST, just before sunrise, in the northeast at an altitude of about 9° shining at around mag +0.5. Venus is also a morning object, rising at around 02:30 BST and shining as the bright ‘morning star’ at mag -4.4
  • The Moon is New on Monday
  • The Sun has no active regions, with the current spotless stretch at 8 days
  • The ISS makes visible evening passes as follows:
    Monday – 22:27, W to E, max 87°
    Tuesday – 23:16, W to E, max 87°
    Wednesday – 22:28, W to E, max 84°
    Thursday – 23:17, W to ESE, max 72°
    Friday – 22:29, W to ESE, max 85°
    Saturday – 23:17, W to SSE, max 44°
    Sunday – 22:29, W to SE, max 58°

Week of 13th July

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July
  • Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) is the finest comet to appear in our skies for many years. It is now circumpolar and is visible from sunset to sunrise. However, it is very low to the northern horizon, so you need to choose your observing location accordingly. Through the week it increasingly becomes an evening object. It is at 10° altitude and 338° azimuth at 23:00 BST on Monday evening, moving to 8° alt, 10° az by 02:00 BST that night. By Friday, it is at 16° alt, 330° az, at 23:00 BST and 9° alt, 359° az, at 02:00 BST on Saturday morning. This is a must see object, let’s hope for clear skies!
  • The planets make an impressive line up across the southern sky this week. Jupiter (mag -2.8) reaches opposition on Tuesday, it is also at perigee, making this the best time to observe Jupiter at its largest and brightest in our sky. It is visible along with Saturn (mag 0.1) at an altitude of around 14° above the southeastern horizon throughout the evening. For the night owls and early risers, Mars appears above the eastern horizon after midnight, followed by Venus, which rises in the northeast at about 02:45 BST. The waning crescent Moon rises within 3° of Venus on Friday morning and will make an impressive sight
  • The Moon is waning and starts the week at Last Quarter on Monday
  • The Sun currently has no active regions
  • The ISS is visible in our skies again with evening passes as follows:
    Monday – 23:13, SSW to E, max 25°
    Tuesday – 22:26, S to E, max 18°
    Wednesday – 23:13, 23:13, SW to E, max 47°
    Thursday – 22:26, SW to E, max 34°
    Friday – 23:14, WSW to E, max 76°
    Saturday – 22:26, WSW to E, max 61°
    Sunday – 23:15, W to E, max 86°

Week of 6th July

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July
  • The Gas Giants, Jupiter and Saturn, are visible in the southeastern evening sky, with Jupiter rising at 21:41 BST and Saturn following close behind at 22:00 BST. Jupiter appears at about mag -3, while Saturn is some 16 times dimmer at mag 0. Watch as the Full Moon forms a right angle triangle with the two planets on Sunday night into Monday morning. Jupiter and Saturn both reach opposition later this month
  • Mars is starting to appear in our night sky, rising at around 00:30 BST. The best views will be later in the year as it reaches opposition in October
  • Venus continues to grace our morning skies, rising at around 03:00 BST and shining at mag -4.5 towards the northeast in the Hyades
  • The Moon is Waning Gibbous all week
  • The Sun has one small active region near its equator. The low latitude and magnetic polarity identify it as a member of the old Cycle 24, which still has a bit of life in it yet
  • There are no ISS evening passes visible this week

June 2020 What’s Up!

Week of 29th June

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July
  • The Earth reaches aphelion on Saturday, the furthest point from the Sun in its annual orbit. It will be at a distance of 1.02 AU. Summer in the Northern hemisphere has nothing to do with the Earth – Sun distance, it is due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis being towards the Sun at this time of year
  • Venus is now a morning object, rising at around 03:30 BST and shining at about mag -4 in the East
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Sunday
  • The Sun has one active region, AR 2766, in the southern hemisphere approaching the off going limb. This is the tenth Solar Cycle 25 sunspot this year, which indicates that the new cycle is gaining strength
  • There are no ISS evening passes visible this week

Week of 22nd June

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July
  • Jupiter and Saturn are now late evening risers. On Thursday there is a shadow transit of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede. The transit commences at 23:35 BST and continues until 02:50 BST. Look about 8° above the southeastern horizon with binoculars to find Jupiter and observe this event
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Sunday
  • The Sun is quiet again and has no active regions
  • There are no ISS evening passes visible this week

Week of 15th June

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July
  • A lunar occultation of Venus occurs on Friday morning. Venus will be hidden from view at around 08:37 BST as the Moon passes between it and the Earth. It will re-emerge just over an hour later at about 09:42 BST. As this all happens in daylight with a thin waning crescent Moon, it will be quite tricky to spot the reappearance of Venus, but the start of the occultation should be easier to observe
  • The Summer Solstice is on Saturday. At 22:27 BST the Sun will be at its highest declination of around +23.5°, making 20th June the longest day this year in the Northern Hemisphere. This marks the astronomical start of summer. This day also sees the Sun setting at its most northerly point on the horizon, about 41° north of due West. The Sun used to be in the constellation of Cancer on the Summer Solstice, creating the Tropic of Cancer, the most northerly line of latitude on Earth which sees the Sun directly overhead. However, nowadays, due to precession (the wobble of the Earth on its axis over a 26,000 year period) the Sun is actually in Taurus
  • There is an annular solar eclipse on Sunday morning between 04:47 and 10:34 BST, but it will not be visible from the UK. Only observers in Africa and Asia will be direct witness to this spectacular heavenly event
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Sunday
  • The Sun has one active region, AR2765, at a high southerly latitude
  • There are no ISS evening passes visible this week

Week of 8th June

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July
  • Keep an eye out for noctilucent clouds towards the northern horizon in the hour after sunset and before sunrise
  • Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are currently rising at around midnight to 1 am. They will become evening objects in about a month
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun has one active region, AR2765, at a high southerly latitude
  • There are no ISS evening passes visible this week

Week of 1st June

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July
  • Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation on Thursday. Look to the northwest in the hour after sunset to spot Mercury at around 10° altitude
  • Reports suggest that Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) has dimmed significantly and is possibly disintegrating. Another comet that has failed to live up to the stories
  • Noctilucent cloud season has started. Look to the North in the hour after sunset to spot these opalescent clouds. They reside in the mesosphere some 80 km above the ground and are formed by water vapour crystallising around particles in the high atmosphere. They reflect the sunlight still able to reach those altitudes as the Sun has not sunk far below the horizon
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Friday
  • The Sun has no active regions, with the current spotless stretch at 29 days
  • The ISS makes just one evening pass this week:
    Monday: 22:12, WSW to SSW, max 13°

May 2020 What’s Up!

Week of 25th May

  • Astronomical twilight does not end until 21st July as the Sun does not sink lower than 18° below the horizon
  • Mercury reaches its highest point in the evening sky on Sunday. Look to the northwest in the hour after sunset to see Mercury climb ever higher this week
  • Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) reaches perihelion on Friday. Look to 18° altitude above the northwestern horizon at around 10pm BST. It is about mag +6, on the border of naked eye visibility, but given its low altitude and the lack of darkness, binoculars will be required
  • On Wednesday evening at 9.32pm BST you should be able to watch the NASA/SpaceX Demo-2 live launch online. The first launch from US soil to the ISS since 2011
  • Binocular Deep Sky Target of the Week: M13, The Great Hercules Cluster. This globular cluster is the brightest in the Northern Hemisphere sky and is easily visible in binoculars at mag +5.8. Look on the western side of the Keystone asterism in the constellation of Hercules. It lies about 25,000 light years away and contains some 300,000 stars
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun has no active regions, with the current spotless stretch at 22 days
  • The ISS makes the following evening passes this week:
    Monday: 22:55, W to ESE, max 62°
    Tuesday: 22:07, W to ESE, max 76° and 23:44, W to SSW, max 25°
    Wednesday: 22:57, W to SSE, max 35°
    Thursday: 22:09, W to SE, max 47° and 23:46, WSW to SW, max 13°
    Friday: 22:58, W to S, max 18°
    Saturday: 22:10, W to SSE, max 26°

Week of 18th May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00:16 BST at the start of the week. From Saturday, Astronomical Twilight does not end until 21st July as the Sun never sinks lower than 18° below the horizon
  • Mercury starts to climb into the western evening sky. On Thursday and Friday it is in conjunction with Venus, separated by less than 2° (Be careful of the setting Sun if you attempt to spot Mercury with binoculars)
  • Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) is now low in the northern horizon and is at around mag +6
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Friday
  • The Sun has no active regions, with the current spotless stretch at 14 days
  • The ISS makes multiple bright evening passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 22:03, SW to E, max 42° and 23:40, W to E, max 87°
    Tuesday: 22:52, WSW to E, max 84°
    Wednesday: 00:29, W to ESE, max 87°, 22:04, WSW to E, max 71° and 23:41, W to E, max 86°
    Thursday: 22:53, W to E, max 84°
    Friday: 00:30, W to S, max 61°, 22:05, W to E, max 88° and 23:42, W to ESE, max 76°
    Saturday: 22:54, W to E, max 88°
    Sunday: 00:31, W to SW, max 31°, 22:06, W to E, max 86° and 23:43, W to SSE, max 47°

Week of 11th May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23:39 BST at the start of the week and 00:09 BST at the end
  • Venus is appearing to change rapidly as it moves towards inferior conjunction; it starts the week as a 15% crescent and finishes at 10%. It is increasing in apparent size and will appear about 50 arcseconds by the end of the week. For comparison, at the end of 2019 it appeared only about 12 arcseconds in size
  • Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) is expected to be at its brightest on Wednesday as it moves through Camelopardalis towards Ursa Major. It is a binocular target at around mag +8
  • Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) will become visible low to the northeastern horizon in our morning sky from the middle of the week. It has been exciting observers in the Southern Hemisphere as it is on the border of naked eye visibility at mag +6 and has a very elongated tail. It will be fascinating to watch how this comet develops over the coming weeks
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun has no active regions, with the current spotless stretch at 8 days
  • The ISS returns to our evening sky this week with passes as follows:
    Friday: 22:50, SW to E, max 31°
    Saturday: 22:03, SSW to E, max 23° and 23:38, WSW to E, max 72°
    Sunday: 22:51, WSW to E, max 57°

Week of 4th May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23:12 BST at the start of the week and 23:35 BST at the end
  • While Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) may have disappointed by breaking up, comets C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) and C/2020 F8 (SWAN) may give observers something to enjoy. PANSTARRS reaches perihelion on Tuesday and is well placed in Camelopardalis; however, at mag +8, binoculars or a telescope will be needed. Comet SWAN is not visible in the Northern Hemisphere yet, but should appear in our skies towards the end of May
  • Venus will appear in its crescent phase this week, shining brightly at mag -4.5 in the western evening sky
  • The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on Wednesday, though the Full Moon will drown out the majority of meteors. The shower is a result of the Earth passing through the stream of debris deposited by Halley’s Comet
  • The Moon will be Full on Thursday. This will be the ‘Flower Moon’, the fourth and last supermoon of the year
  • The Sun has no active regions, with the current spotless stretch at 2 days
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

April 2020 What’s Up!

Week of 27th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22:48 BST at the start of the week and 23:08 BST at the end
  • Venus continues its orbit around the Sun, now moving closer to Earth, reaching its 25% illuminated phase on Friday. It appears larger and brighter in the evening sky, shining at mag -4.5. It will be at inferior conjunction on 3rd June, when it passes between Earth and the Sun. Unfortunately, the three will not be in syzygy this time; the next transit of Venus is not until 2117
  • The Moon will be First Quarter on Thursday, at this phase for the second time this month
  • There is one small sunspot on the Sun, AR 2760; it is close to the equator and part of Solar Cycle 24
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

Week of 20th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22:27 BST at the start of the week and 22:45 BST at the end
  • The peak of the Lyrid meteor shower is on the 22nd April, with meteors possible all week. It generates only around 17 to 18 meteors per hour, so is not as spectacular as the Geminids or Perseids with their maximum ZHRs of 80 to 100 meteors, but given the lack of moonlight, those that appear should be easy to spot. As the name suggests, the radiant is in the constellation of Lyra. The shower occurs as the Earth passes through debris left behind by comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher)
  • The Moon will be New on Thursday
  • There are currently no active regions on the Sun, with the spotless stretch now at 14 days
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

Week of 13th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22:09 BST at the start of the week and 22:25 BST at the end
  • Unfortunately it appears that Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) is not going to give us the display that was anticipated. Reports are of it dimming and of the nucleus disintegrating. It will be interesting to follow its progress over the coming days
  • On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, the waning Crescent Moon will pass by the line of the superior naked-eye planets: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Look in the southeastern pre-dawn sky
  • Monday April 13th is the 50th anniversary of those famous words: “Houston, we’ve had a problem…” when an oxygen tank blew two days in to the Apollo 13 mission, threating the lives of the astronauts aboard the spacecraft. Quick thinking, bravery and determination turned the threat of defeat into victory and the crew safely returned to Earth on April 17th
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • There are currently no active regions on the Sun, with the spotless stretch now at 7 days
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

Week of 6th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:51 BST at the start of the week and 22:06 BST at the end
  • As Orion appears ever closer to the western horizon, it is interesting to note that Betelgeuse is well on its way back to ‘normal’ brightness. Reports now suggest it is at magnitude +0.9. Have a look for yourself before it is too late and see how much brighter it now appears
  • Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are a treat for the early risers as they appear in a line across the southeastern pre-dawn sky within 15° of eachother
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Wednesday
  • There is one active region on the Sun, AR 2759. It is at a high northerly latitude and has reversed magnetic polarity, identifying it as a member of new Solar Cycle 25
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

March 2020 What’s Up!

Week of 30th March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:35 BST at the start of the week and 21:49 BST at the end
  • On Saturday evening, Venus will appear close to the Pleiades in Taurus, passing within about 15 arcminutes of the open cluster. Venus will be at mag -4.4 while the Pleiades will be at mag +1.3
  • For the early risers, the three naked eye superior planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, make a spectacular sight as they all appear in the sky within 7° of eachother. Look towards the southeast horizon at around 5am. On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, Mars and Saturn will be within 1° of eachother, around this time appearing in conjunction when they share the same right ascension
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Wednesday
  • There are no active regions on the Sun, with the current spotless stretch at 19 days
  • There are multiple evening ISS passes this week:
    Monday: 21:32, W to S, max 46°
    Tuesday: 20:44, W to ESE, max 61° and 22:21, W to WSW, max 15°
    Wednesday: 21:34, W to SSW, max 25°
    Thursday: 20:46, W to SSE, max 34°
    Friday: 21:37, WSW to SSW, max 12°
    Saturday: 20:49, W to S, max 18°

Week of 23rd March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20:21 UT at the start of the week and 21:33 BST at the end
  • British Summer Time starts on Sunday 29th March, clocks go forward one hour at 1am
  • Venus is at Greatest Eastern Elongation on Tuesday, when it is at maximum separation from the Sun. It reaches a peak altitude of 41° above the horizon on Friday evening, shining at mag -4.4. Observation of Venus through binoculars or a telescope at this time will show it in dichotomy phase, the equivalent of a Quarter Moon phase
  • Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation on Monday, appearing before sunrise in the southeastern morning sky. Unfortunately it will be difficult to spot at only 6° above the horizon. Take care of the rising Sun if you do try to spot it. Mercury will be at aphelion on Friday, the furthest point from the Sun in its orbit
  • A new comet, C/2019 Y4 (Atlas), was discovered in December last year and is brightening as it approaches the Sun. It is currently at magnitude +8.3, so binoculars are needed to see it. Look above the head of the Bear in Ursa Major. It will reach perihelion on 31st May, so will hopefully become increasingly bright through the spring. For full details about this comet, visit theskylive.com and search for ATLAS
  • The New Moon is on Tuesday
  • There are no active regions on the Sun, with the current spotless stretch at 11 days
  • There are multiple evening ISS passes this week:
    Monday: 19:36, WSW to E, max 55° and 21:13, W, max 27°
    Tuesday: 20:25, W to ENE, max 88°
    Wednesday: 19:38, WSW to E, max 84° and 21:15, W, max 30°
    Thursday: 20:27, W to E, max 86°
    Friday: 19:40, W to E, max 84° and 21:17, W, max 29°
    Saturday: 20:29, W to SE, max 76°
    Sunday: 20:42, W to E, max 87° and 22:19, W to WSW, max 24°

Week of 16th March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20:07 UT at the start of the week and 20:19 UT at the end
  • The Vernal Equinox is on Friday and marks the first day of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the point when the Sun, travelling along the ecliptic, crosses the celestial equator, heading North and has a Right Ascension of 00 hours and a Declination of 0°. It is also known as the First Point of Aries; however, due to Earth’s precession, the Sun is no longer in Aries at this time, but is in Pisces – apologies to all those who swear by their daily horoscope!
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Monday
  • There are no active regions on the Sun, with the current spotless stretch at 5 days
  • There are multiple evening ISS passes this week:
    Thursday: 19:33, S to SSE, max 15°
    Friday: 20:21, SW to SSW, max 30°
    Saturday: 19:33, SSW to ESE, max 30° and 21:10, WSW, max 19°
    Sunday: 20:22, WSW to SSE, max 69°

Week of 9th March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19:53 UT at the start of the week and 20:05 UT at the end
  • Venus continues to appear high in the southwest evening sky at magnitude -4. It will be about 2° from Uranus (mag +6, binoculars required) at the start of the week
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Monday
  • Breaking a string of 34 spotless days, a new sunspot is emerging in the Sun’s southern hemisphere. The high latitude and magnetic polarity of this sunspot identify it as a likely member of new Solar Cycle 25
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

Week of 2nd March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19:41 UT at the start of the week and 19:52 UT at the end
  • Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) is currently visible through a telescope at magnitude +9 in Cassiopeia
  • Venus is high in the southwest evening sky
  • The Moon is waxing and will be at First Quarter on Monday
  • The Sun has no visible active regions, current spotless stretch is 28 days
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

February 2020 What’s Up

Week of 24th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19:29 UT at the start of the week and 19:39 UT at the end
  • Venus is ever higher in the southwest evening sky
  • The waxing Crescent Moon will pass by Venus in the evening, appearing closest on Thursday when they will be about 6° apart. Look towards the southwest horizon to spot this appulse
  • Reports suggest that Betelgeuse has stopped dimming and could be increasing in magnitude again. Get out, have a look and see what you think
  • Star Count 2020 is running from the 21st to 28th February. It is a ‘Citizen Science’ project to assess light pollution levels across the country. Count the number of stars you can see by naked eye within the ‘four corners’ of Orion and report your observation online. Search ‘Star Count 2020’ for full details
  • The Moon is waxing and will be at First Quarter next week
  • The Sun has no visible active regions, current spotless stretch is 21 days
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

Week of 17th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19:17 UT at the start of the week and 19:27 UT at the end
  • Venus continues to dominate the southwest evening sky
  • For the early risers, the waning Crescent Moon will appear close to Mars on Tuesday, Jupiter on Wednesday and Saturn on Thursday. Look in the southeast at around 6 am
  • The Moon will be New on Sunday
  • The Sun has no visible active regions, current spotless stretch is 14 days
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

Week of 10th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19:05 UT at the start of the week and 19:15 UT at the end
  • The Moon reaches perigee (closest point to Earth) on Monday; it is waning and will be Last Quarter on Saturday
  • Venus, the ‘Evening Star’, is bright (mag -4) and clear to spot in the southwest evening sky
  • Mercury (mag -0.5) will be at Greatest Eastern Elongation on Monday, placing it perfectly for a rare sighting. It will be at its highest point in the sky on Friday, when it reaches a peak altitude of 15° above the horizon. Look in the southwest just after sunset (take care as Mercury is still within 20° of the Sun)
  • Neptune is also in the southwestern evening sky, though at magnitude +8 will require binoculars to be seen. It is in close conjunction (about 2 arcminutes) with the star Phi Aquarii and comes to about 5° of Mercury
  • Keep observing Betelgeuse, which is at its dimmest since records began, currently at about magnitude +1.7. February 21st is a key date as this is when the star’s variable periods are predicted to turn and it should start to brighten again
  • The Sun is currently spotless
  • There are no visible ISS passes this week

Week of 3rd February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:54 UT at the start of the week and 19:04 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Sunday
  • Venus is climbing ever higher in the southwest evening sky
  • Mercury is starting to become visible in the evening sky, look low on the southwestern horizon just after sunset (take care as Mercury is still within 20° of the Sun)
  • The Sun has one current active region (AR 2757), which is departing around the western limb
  • The ISS makes visible evening passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 18:31, W to E, max 87° & 19:08, W to S, max 34°
    Tuesday: 18:21, W to SE, max 46° & 19:59, WSW to SW, max 12°
    Wednesday: 17:33, W to ESE, max 60° & 19:10, W to S, max 17°
    Thursday: 18:22, W to SSE, max 24°
    Saturday: 18:25, WSW to SSW, max 12°

January 2020 What’s Up!

Week of 27th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:44 UT at the start of the week and 18:53 UT at the end
  • There is an unusual conjunction of Neptune (mag +8) and Venus (mag -4) on Monday evening. Look low in the southwest sky between 17:00 and 19:30 UT to see the two planets just 4 arcminutes apart. You will need to use a pair of binoculars or a telescope to observe the conjunction. On Tuesday evening, the Crescent Moon comes within 4 degrees of the pair, making an interesting combination to look out for
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Sunday
  • Look to the southwest just after sunset to see Venus dominate the twilight sky at mag -4.0
  • The Sun has one Cycle 24 active region near the equator (AR 2757). A region of interest belonging to Cycle 25 is developing high in latitude around the southeast limb
  • There are multiple visible evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 18:14, WSW to E, max 72°
    Tuesday: 17:26, WSW to E, max 57° & 19:03, W to WNW, max 70°
    Wednesday: 18:16, W to E, max 87° & 19:52, W, max 20°
    Thursday: 17:28, WSW to E, max 85° & 19:05, W, max 73°
    Friday: 18:17, W to E, max 86° & 19:54, W, max 20°
    Saturday: 17:30, W to E, max 84° & 19:07, W to SSW, max 60°
    Sunday: 18:19, W to ESE, max 75° & 19:56, W to WSW, max 18°

Week of 20th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:34 UT at the start of the week and 18:42 UT at the end
  • Betelgeuse continues to appear dimmer than its normal magnitude of +0.5. Compare with Rigel (+0.3) and Bellatrix (+1.6). The lower brightness is only in the visible wavelengths, in infrared it continues to shine as brightly as ever
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Friday
  • Venus continues to dominate the western evening twilight sky at mag -4.0
  • The Sun has no spots, with a current spotless stretch of 7 days
  • There are multiple early evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Wednesday: 18:59, SW to S, max 25°
    Thursday: 18:11, SSW to ESE, max 23°
    Friday: 17:24, S to E, max 16° & 18:59, WSW to SSW, max 47°
    Saturday: 18:11, SW to E, max 42°
    Sunday: 17:23, SSW to E, max 31° & 18:59, WSW, max 70°

Week of 13th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:25 UT at the start of the week and 18:32 UT at the end
  • Betelgeuse, the red giant star at Orion’s left shoulder, has dimmed significantly since the autumn. Normally it shines at magnitude +0.4, but it is currently at mag +1.4, about two and a half times dimmer. Compare its brightness with the star at Orion’s right heel, Rigel, which is mag +0.3 and the difference is very clear. Many theories about what is causing the change abound, but the most widely accepted is that Betelgeuse, as a variable star, is experiencing a period of swelling, which leads to its luminosity being spread across a larger surface area, therefore appearing dimmer to us
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Friday
  • Venus continues to dominate the evening twilight sky at mag -4.0
  • The Sun is currently spotless again after a recent period of increased activity
  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

 

Week of 6th January 2020

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:17 UT at the start of the week and 18:23 UT at the end
  • Watch The Sky at Night at 10pm on BBC4 next Sunday (12th) to see CEB and observing on the College playing fields feature
  • There is a penumbral Lunar eclipse on Friday 10th as the Full Moon passes through the faint outer edge of the Earth’s shadow (the penumbra). Maximum eclipse occurs at 19:11. It will not be very obvious to the naked eye, but comparative photos will show the difference
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Friday
  • Venus continues to dominate the evening twilight sky
  • The Sun has one, reversed polarity, Cycle 25, active region (AR2755)
  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

2019 – What’s Up

Week of 30th December

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:10 UT at the start of the week and 18:14 UT at the end
  • The Quadrantids meteor shower peaks on Saturday morning, with best viewing once the Moon has set in the early hours. Meteors are already appearing and will be building in number during the week, though only reach good numbers in the hours leading up to the sharp peak. The shower is potentially one of the best in the year with fast meteors being seen at rates of one a minute or more. The radiant is at high declination, above the end of the ‘saucepan’s’ handle. It now lies in the constellation Bootes (originally it was in the, now declassified, constellation of Quadrans Muralis, Mural Quadrant). The parent body was identified in 2003 as asteroid 2003EH1
  • The Earth reaches its closest point to the Sun (Perihelion) just before 8am next Sunday
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Friday
  • Venus continues to dominate the evening twilight sky with the waxing Moon
  • The Sun is blank again after 2 sunspots from the new Cycle 25 briefly appeared on Christmas Eve
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of 23rd December

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:05 UT at the start of the week and 18:10 UT at the end.
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Thursday
  • Venus continues bright in the evening twilight sky and is nearly (-4 magnitude). Look towards the southwest horizon between 16:00 and 17:30 UT
  • The Sun is still blank – current stretch 39 days
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of 16th December

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:02 UT on Monday 16th and 18:05 UT on Sunday 22nd
  • The Winter Solstice occurs on Sunday 22nd when the Sun’s path reaches its lowest point in the sky. The noon Sun will reach a maximum altitude of 15 degrees. Sunrise and sunset occur at their most southerly extremes and it is the shortest day of the year, with the Sun above the horizon for only 7 hours 51 minutes.
  • Venus continues to appear bright in the evening sky. Look towards the southwest horizon between 16:00 and 17:30 UT
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Thursday 19th
  • The Sun is still blank – current stretch 32 days
  • The ISS makes one visible pass this week:
    Saturday – 06:55:34, S to ESE, max 14 degrees

 

Week of 9th December

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:01 UT on Monday 9th and 18:02 UT on Sunday 15th
  • Venus is bright in the evening sky at mag -4.0 and passes by Saturn (mag +0.6) through the week, with closest conjunction on Wednesday 11th when it comes to within 2 degrees. Look in the southwest at around 16:00 to 17:00 UT
  • Geminid meteor shower is active from 4th to 17th December, with its peak at 01:00 UT on Saturday 14th. Meteors appear to originate from the constellation Gemini, but are best observed by looking away from the radiant. They are caused by the Earth hitting a stream of debris left by asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Peak hourly rate can be as high as 120 meteors, but the bright Moon present this year will reduce visibility to only the brightest
  • The Moon is Full on Thursday 12th
  • The Sun is still blank and has been for the past 24 days, giving 261 spotless days so far this year
  • The ISS makes several visible passes this week:
    Monday – 16:35:41, W to ESE, max 57 degrees and 18:13:02, W to S, max 16 degrees
    Tuesday – 17:24:13, W to SSE, max 23 degrees
    Wednesday – 16:35:33, W to SE, max 33 degrees
    Thursday – 17:25:03, WSW to SSW, max 12 degrees
    Friday – 16:35:44, W to S, max 17 degrees

 

Week of 2nd December

  • Look out for bright Venus (mag -3.9) along with Jupiter (-1.8) and Saturn (+0.6) in the southwest at dusk around 4pm, while Mars and Mercury will be visible in the southeast just before dawn at around 6am
  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:03 UT on Monday 2nd and 18:02 UT on Sunday 8th
  • The Moon is at First Quarter on Wednesday 4th
  • The Sun is still blank
  • The ISS makes multiple passes this week as follows:
    Monday – 17:24:40, W to E, max 85 degrees
    Tuesday – 16:36:12, W to E, max 88 degrees and 18:12:58, W to S, max 83 degrees
    Wednesday – 17:24:27, W to E, max 88 degrees
    Thursday – 16:35:57, W to E, max 84 degrees and 18:12:42, W to S, max 55 degrees
    Friday – 17:24:10, W to ESE, max 71 degrees
    Saturday – 16:35:38, W to ESE, max 84 degrees and 18:12:30, W to S, max 31 degrees
    Sunday – 17:23:52, W to SE, max 43 degrees

 

Week of 25th November

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.06 UT at the start of the week and 18.03 UT at the end
  • The Moon is New on Tuesday and waxing to a crescent by the end of the week
  • The Sun is still blank – 2019 has seen 252 spotless days so far
  • There are multiple ISS passes this week as follows: On Monday at 18.13.53 from SW to SSE reaching 38 degrees, Tuesday at 17.28.43 from SSW to ESE to 28 degrees, Wednesday at 18:13:26 from WSW to SSE to 66 degrees, Thursday at 17:25:06 from SW to E to 51 degrees, Friday at 16:36:51 from SW to E to 37 degrees and at 18:13:11 from W to E to 89 degrees, Saturday at 17:24:43 from WSW to E to 79 degrees and on Sunday at 16.36.18 from WSW to E to 64 degrees and at 18.12.59 from W to N to 84 degrees

 

Week of 18th November

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.11 UT at the start of the week and 18.05 UT at the end
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Monday and then wanes to New at the start of next week
  • The Sun is again blank
  • The ISS returns this week with passes as follows: On Friday at 19.02.41 from SSW to SSW reaching 11 degrees. Saturday 18.14.47 from SSW to SSE to 19 degrees and Sunday 17.27.14 from S to ESE and 19.02.04 from SW to SW to 24 degrees

 

Week of 11th November

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.19 UT at the start of the week and 18.11 UT at the end
  • The Moon is Full (Frost Moon) on Monday
  • The planet Mercury reaches Inferior Conjunction at 3pm on Monday. The resultant transit, last seen in 2016, won’t happen again till November 2032. 1st contact should be soon after 12.31pm at about ‘8.45’ on the solar disc (ie Eastern limb) The Sun will be high in the Southern sky (Azi 192.5 degrees and Alt 20.25 degrees) The planet will then cross the disc, nearly centrally, and will be viewed until sunset (just after 4pm), though will be below 10 degrees by 2.50pm. The black dot is tiny and is not visible except through a small telescope. WARNING !!It is totally unsafe to view the Transit unless professional Solar filters are in use !!(projection will not show a large enough image)
  • The Sun is blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 4th November

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.30 UT at the start of the week and 18.20 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Frost Moon) at the start of next week
  • Next Monday (11th) see the next Transit of the planet Mercury. Last seen in 2016, this won’t happen again till November 2032. 1st contact should be soon after 12.31pm at about ‘8.45’ on the solar disc (ie Eastern limb) The Sun will be high in the Southern sky (Azi 192.5 degrees and Alt 20.25 degrees) The planet will then cross the disc, nearly centrally, and will be viewed until sunset (just after 4pm), though will be below 10 degrees by 2.50pm. The black dot is tiny and is not visible except through a small telescope. WARNING !!It is totally unsafe to view the Transit unless professional Solar filters are in use !!(projection will not show a large enough image). Mercury will be at Inferior Conjunction at 15 UT
  • The Sun is basically blank with an old cycle spot 2751
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 28th October

  • British Summer Time (BST) has ended we are now on Universal Time (UT) till the Spring
  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.40 UT at the start of the week and 18.30 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter at the start of next week
  • The Sun is blank again. Now we are at deep Solar minimum the Cosmic Ray count is at an all time high (highest for nearly 50 years)
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 21st October

  • British Summer Time (BST) ends next-week end in the early hours of Sunday morning. The clocks go back 1 hour to Universal Time (UT). We will enjoy lighter mornings for a while
  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.53 BST at the start of the week and 18.40 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New at the start of next week
  • The Orionids meteor shower peaks at the start of the week. The waning Moon will interfere with the best early morning meteors. Pre dawn on Tuesday should be the peak of these fast meteors
  • The debris is left over from passes of Halley’s comet
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 14th October

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.07 BST at the start of the week and 19.53 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Monday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 7th October

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.23 BST at the start of the week and 20.07 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Hunters Moon) on Sunday
  • The Sun is blank again, having had a small old cycle 24 spot last week. There are already reversed polarity active regions being detected so we can expect a cycle 25 spot soon
  • The ISS makes its last 2 passes for sometime: Monday 20.32.04 W to SSE to 27 degrees and Wednesday 20.32.22 WSW to S to 14 degrees

 

Week of 30th September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.39 BST at the start of the week and 20.23 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Saturday
  • Saturn is in Conjunction with the Moon, less than 1 degree to north at 9pm on Saturday
  • The Sun is totally blank again, so far 26 days on end
  • The ISS makes further good evening passes as follows: Monday 21.21.21 from W to ESE reaching 87 degrees and 22.58.11 W to W to 13 degrees. Tuesday 20.32.49 W to E to 85 degrees and 22.09.35 W to WSW to 36 degrees. Wednesday 21.21.01 W to SE to 62 degrees. Thursday 20.32.27 W to ESE to 77 degrees and 22.09.25 W to WSW to 23 degrees. Friday 21.21.42 W to SSE to 36 degrees. Saturday 29.32.05 W to SE to 49 degrees and 22.09.49 WSW to SW to 13 degrees and Sunday 21.21.38 W to S to 19 degrees

 

Week of 16th September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.15 BST at the start of the week and 20.57 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Sunday
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS returns this week making evening passes as follows: Thursday at 22.11.44 from SSW to SSW reaching 13 degrees. Friday 21.23.54 from S to SE to 18 degrees an 22.59.12 WSW to WSW to 10 degrees. Saturday 22.20.50 SW to SSW to 34 degrees and Sunday 21.22.35 SW to ESE to 33 degrees and 22.58.49 W to W to 17 degrees

 

Week of 9th September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.35 BST at the start of the week and 21.18 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Harvest Moon) on Saturday
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 2nd September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 2059 BST at the start of the week and 2035 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Friday
  • >The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 26th August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 2017 BST at the start of the week and 1958 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Friday
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 12th August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 2303 BST at the start of the week and 2242 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Thursday
  • The Perseids meteor shower (aka Tears of St Lawrence, first seen in 36AD) peaks in the early hours of 13th August but, due to the nearly Full Moon, only the brightest will be seen, reducing the normally high hourly rate. Luckily, perhaps due to the large size of the parent Comet (Swift-Tuttle) nucleus, the shower is often full of bright fireballs (more than any other shower). It is worth watching out on Monday and Tuesday (look NE after 10.30pm, when the sky is dark enough and the Radiant in Perseus is high) when the Moon is less evident
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 5th August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 2328 BST at the start of the week and 2303 BST at the end
  • The Moon will wax and will be First Quarter on Wednesday
  • The Perseids meteor shower (aka Tears of St Lawrence, first seen in 36AD) peaks in the early hours of 13th August but, due to the nearly Full Moon, only the brightest will be seen, reducing the normally high hourly rate. Luckily, perhaps due to the large size of the parent Comet (Swift-Tuttle) nucleus, the shower is often full of bright fireballs (more than any other shower). It is worth watching out all this week (look NE after 10.30pm, when the sky is dark enough and the Radiant in Perseus is high) when the Moon is less evident
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

 

Week of 29th July

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 0002 BST at the start of the week and 2350 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Thursday
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS makes its last passes for a while: On Monday at 23.39.58 from W to SSE reaching 41 degrees. Tuesday 22.50.35 W to ESE to 56 degrees. Wednesday 23.38.13 W to S to 23 degrees. Thursday 22.48.41 W to SE to 32 degrees. Friday 23.37.15 WSW to SSW to 12 degrees and Saturday 22.47.03 W to S to 18 degrees

 

Week of 22nd July

  • Astronomical darkness returns on Sunday 21st July from 0048 BST. At the end of the week it will be dark at 0002 BST
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • There ISS makes super late evening ISS passes: Monday at 22.58.23 from WSW to E reaching 69 degrees. Tuesday 23.45.43 W to E to 84 degrees. Wednesday 22.56.21 W to E to 89 degrees. Thursday 23.43.43 W to E through the Zenith at 90 degrees. Friday 22.54.20 W to E to 84 degrees. Saturday 23.41.39 W to ESE to 68 degrees and Sunday 22.52.16 W to ESE to 83 degrees

 

Week of 15th July

  • Astronomical darkness returns on Sunday 21st July from 0048 BST,li>The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Thunder Moon) on Tuesday. The Moon will rise partially eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow at 21.40 BST following Saturn in SE. It will be darkest at 22.30 BST and will return to full brightness at midnight
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • There ISS returns with late evening ISS passes: Monday at 23.57.57 from ESE to E reaching 16 degrees altitude. Tuesday 23.06.33 SSE to ESE to 12 degrees. Wednesday 23.51.38 SW to E to 33 degrees. Thursday 23.02.42 SSW to E to 23 degrees. Friday 23.49.07 WSW to E to 57 degrees. Saturday 22.59.52 SW to E to 42 degrees and Sunday 23.46.49 WSW to E to 83 degrees

 

Week of 8th July

  • Astronomical darkness does not return till 21st July
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First on Tuesday
  • The Sun has a small emerging spot. The reversed magnetic polarity sigals it out as belonging to the new Cycle 25
  • There ISS returns with late evening ISS passes from 15th

 

Week of 1st July

  • Astronomical darkness does not return till 21st July
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Tuesday, when there is a Total Solar Eclipse (visible from Chile and Argentina)
  • Saturn reaches Opposition next week, but is low in the sky
  • The Sun remains blank
  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

 

Week of June 24th

  • Astronomical darkness does not return till 21st July
  • We are now in the second quarter of the Astronomical Year and the Sun has just moved into Gemini
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • The Sun has been totally blank for 34 days and is now in deep miminum
  • Noctilucent Clouds (NLC): These iridescent electric blue tendrils are particularly seen close to the Solstice and are now thought to be formed by ice crystal collecting on ionisation trails left by meteoroids at high altitude (80km). NLCs are being seen at lower latitudes (even being seen in Rome). It is worth looking out 30 to 60 minutes after sunset in the North, if the sky is clear
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of June 17th

  • Astronomical darkness does not return till 21st July
  • The Summer Solstice falls on Friday, when the Sun culminates at its highest altitude at Noon (62.5 degrees). The Sun rises and sets at its furthest north points on the horizons, giving the longest hours of daylight
  • The Moon is Full (Solstice moon) on Monday
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • 2019 is turning out to be excellent for Noctilucent Clouds (NLC). These iridescent electric blue whisps are particularly seen over the Solstices and are now thought to be formed by meteor trails at high altitude. NLCs are being seen at lower latitudes. It is worth looking out 30 to 60 minutes after sunset in the west on a clear night
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of May 27th

  • Astronomical darkness returns on 21st July
  • The Moon is waning and will be New at the start of next week
  • The Sun is totally blank again
  • The ISS makes its last passes for a while: Monday at 23.22.16 from W to ESE reaching 85 degrees. Wednesday at 23.20.00 from W to ESE. Friday 23.17.45 from W to SE and Sunday at 23.15.44 from W to S to 19 degrees

 

Week of May 20th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00.25 BST at the start of the week. From Wednesday, Nautical twilight does not end till 21st July, as the Sun is never far enough below the Northern horizon
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Sunday. The Moon and Jupiter will be in close Conjunction on 20th. Jupiter is approaching Opposition on 10th June
  • The Sun is basically blank again as 2741 disappears over the Western limb
  • The ISS makes good late passes: Monday at 22.46.35 from SSW to E reaching 30 degrees altitude. Tuesday at 22.31.39 from WSW to E to 68 degrees. Wednesday 22.40.50 SW to E to 51 degrees. Thursday 23.26.17 from W to E to 89 degrees and Saturday 23.20.54 from W to E to 84 degrees

 

Week of May 13th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.45 BST at the start of the week and 00.25 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Flower Moon) on Saturday. The Moon approaches Jupiter from the West during the week and they will be in close Conjunction on 20th
  • The Sun is still slightly active again with spot 2741 and decaying 2740
  • The ISS returns later this week with late evening passes: Friday at 23.42.42 from SSW to SSE reaching 10 degrees altitude. Saturday at 22.52.30 from S to E to 17 degrees and Sunday at 23.36.44 from SW to E reaching 42 degrees

 

Week of May 6th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.16 BST at the start of the week and 23.45 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be NeFirst Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun is active again with spot 2740 (returning active spot 2738) on its Eastern limb
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of April 29th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.52 BST at the start of the week and 23.12 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Saturday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of April 22nd

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.31 BST at the start of the week and 22.49 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Friday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of April 15th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.12 BST at the start of the week and 22.31 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Paschal Moon) on Friday, so that Easter Sunday can follow on 21st
  • The Sun is active again with an Earth facing sunspot 2738. This single huge spot (3 x Earth size) is beginning to break apart. This may herald more activity
  • As Mars disappears in the west, Jupiter will soon be an evening object in the East; currenly rising at 00.30 BST
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of April 8th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.54 BST at the start of the week and 22.12 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Friday
  • The Sun is blank but a new spot group is emerging on the Eastern limb
  • The ISS has made its last passes fro a few weeks

 

Week of April 1st

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.36 BST at the start of the week and 21.52 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Friday
  • The Sun is completely blank
  • The ISS makes final passes this week: Monday at 21.47.05 from W to ESE reaching 81 degrees altitude and 23.23.50 from W to WSW to 20 degrees. Tuesday 22.33.00 from W to S reaching 40 degrees. Wednesday at 21.42.14 fro W to SE to 55 degrees and 23.19.32 WSW to WSW to 14 degrees. Friday 22.28.22 W to S to 23 degrees. Saturday 21.37.25 W to SE to 33 degrees and Sunday 22.24.21 WSW to SSW to 12 degrees

 

Week of March 25th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.23 UT at the start of the week and 21.36 BST at the end
  • The clocks go forward by one hour next Saturday night to British Summer Time or UT+1
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun is becomming quiet again after spot 2736 disappears
  • The ISS makes good passes this week: Monday at 19.15.50 from SW to E reaching 35 degrees altitude and 20.52.00 W to W to 45 degrees. Tuesday 20.01.21 WSW to E to 76 degrees and 21.37.57 W to W to 16 degrees. Wednesday 19.10.44 WSW to E to 59 degrees and 20.47.15 W to WSW to 69 degrees. Thursday 19.56.32 W to E to 87 degrees and 21.33.09 W to W to 21 degrees. Friday 19.05.50 WSW to E to 84 degrees and 20.42.27 W to WSW to 86 degrees. Saturday 19.51.44 W to E to 85 degrees and 21.28.21 W to W to 22 degrees and Sunday at 22.37.36 from W to S reaching 65 degrees

 

Week of March 18th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.09 UT at the start of the week and 20.21 UT at the end
  • The Vernal Equinox falls this year on Thursday 21st. This is the start of the Astronomical Year. The Sun rises due East and sets due West and we have equal day and night. From now the Northern Summer season begins. The Sun is at 0h RA and 0 degrees Declination, known as the First Point of Aries, due to precession of the Earth’s axis, the Sun is now in front of the constellation of Pisces. At noon on 21st the Sun will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer, where, at noon, there will be no shadow. At any other latitude on Earth the shadow length at noon gives an estimate for the curvature and hence the circumference of the Earth. This year an International experimental repeat of Eratosthenes’ original expriment will be carried out and the College has been invited to take part
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Spring Moon) on Thursday
  • The Sun is completely blank again though there is Geomagnetic activity (often seen near the Equinoxes)
  • The ISS returns on Friday with low passes: Friday 20.11.48 from SSW to S reaching 23 degrees. Saturday 19.21.21 SSW to ESE to 20 degrees and 20.56.44 WSW to WSW to 22 degrees and Sunday at 20.05.48 SW to SE to 49 degrees and 21.42.11 W to W to 10 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of March 11th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.56 UT at the start of the week and 20.07 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun actually had activity last week with spot 2734. This is now fading, though a couple of CMEs were released and may cause minor storms on Monday
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of March 4th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.43 UT at the start of the week and 19.56 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Wednesday
  • The Sun remains completely blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of February 25th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.31 UT at the start of the week and 19.41 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • The Sun remains blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of February 18th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.19 UT at the start of the week and 19.29 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Snow Moon) on Tuesday
  • The Sun remains blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There is one super bright evening Iridium flare on Wednesday at 18.26.45 at 57 degrees in NNE

 

Week of February 11th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.56 UT at the start of the week and 19.06 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing from Monday and will be First Quarter on 12th
  • Take part in the annual star count to build a light pollution map of the UK; see https://www.cpre.org.uk/what-we-do/countryside/dark-skies/star-count-2019
  • The Sun is blank
  • The ISS makes its last pass this week: Monday 18.35.00 W to SE reaching 62 degrees altitude and 20.12.01 W to WSW to 12 degrees. Tuesday 17.43.35 W to ESE to 79 degrees and 19.20.19 W to SSW to 27 degrees. Wednesday 18.28.47 W to SE to 39 degrees. Thursday 17.37.18 W to ESE to 54 degrees and 19.14.34 WSW to S to 15 degrees. Friday 18.22.41 W to SSE and Sunday 18.17.12 WSW to SSW to 12 degrees
  • There is one super bright evening Iridium flare on Wednesday at 17.37.03 at 68 degrees in SSE

 

Week of January 28th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.44 UT at the start of the week and 18.55 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New at the start of next week
  • The Sun has pne active sunspot 2733<br.
    </br.
  • The ISS makes very good passes almost every night this week: On Monday at 18.08.36 from WSW to E reaching 55 degrees altitude and 19.45.01 W to W to 21 degrees. Tuesday at 18.53.37 W to ENE to 89 degrees. Wednesday 18.02.15 WSW to E to 80 degrees and 19.38.48 W to W to 27 degrees. Thursday 18.47.23 W to E to 84 degrees. Friday 17.55.57 W to E to 86 degrees and 19.32.31 W to W to 34 degrees. Saturday 18.41.05 W to ESE to 85 degrees and 20.17.44 W to W to 12 degrees and Sunday 17.49.38 W to E to 86 degrees and 19.26.12 W to WSW to 39 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare on Tuesday at 18.14.44 at 55 degrees in NE

 

Week of January 21st

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.35 UT at the start of the week and 18.44 UT at the end
  • The Moon is Full on Monday and a ‘supermoon’ as the press like to call it. In the early hours the Moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow and a Total Eclipse will be visible. The Moon is at perigee, so will be brighter and larger than usual. Sadly the sky is likely to be cloudy. The Moon will then wane to Last Quarter at the start of next week
  • The Sun is totally blank
  • The ISS returns to make evening passes this week: Wednesday at 19.12.47 from SSW to SSW reaching 16 degrees altitude. Tuesday 18.22.03 S to SE to 19 degrees and 19.57.19 WSW to WSW to 11 degrees. Wednesday 17.31.51 SSE to ESE to 12 degrees and 19.06.04 SW to SSW to 34 degrees. Thursday 18.14.57 SW to ESE to 33 degrees and 19.50.59 W to W to 16 degrees. Friday 17.24.02 SSW to E to 23 degrees and 18.59.36 WSW to SW to 64 degrees. Saturday 18.08.16 WSW to E to 55 degrees and 19.44.40 W to W to 22 degrees and the best on Sunday at 18.53.13 W to ENE to 89 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares

 

Week of January 14th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.26 UT at the start of the week and 18.34 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Ice Moon) at the start of next week
  • The Sun is totally blank
  • Venus and Jupiter make a fine pair in the early morning pre dawn sky (Venus at nearly -4.5 magnitude) and much brighter than Jupiter which is nearer the horizon
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares

 

Week of January 7th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.18 UT at the start of the week and 18.25 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter at the start of next week
  • The Sun is basically blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares

2018 – What’s Up

Week of December 30th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.10 UT at the start of the week and 18.14 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Sunday
  • The Sun is blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares

 

Week of December 24th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.06 UT at the start of the week and 18.10 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun is blank. 2018 has been 60% and we are in deep miminum awaiting the start of the new cycle
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare on Monday at 17.22.26 at 61 degrees altitude in NE

 

Week of December 17th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.03 UT at the start of the week and 18.06 UT at the end
  • Friday sees the Winter Solstice. The Sun rises and sets at its southerly extremes on the horizons. At midday it is only 27.5 degrees above the horizon at midday. The days will then start to lengthen
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Yule Moon) on Saturday
  • Comet 46P is now visible by eye (just) as a grey smudge between the Hyades and Pleiades. Its coma is the size of the Full Moon but with only an integrated brightness of +4
  • The Sun is again blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of December 10th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.01 UT at the start of the week and 18.03 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun is again blank after spot 2729 departs
  • Comet Wirtanen (46P) is now an easy target in binoculars (grey fuzzy smudge) and at the start of the week is close to magnitude 4.7 Menkar (lambda Cetus) before it heads into Taurus. This short period comet (5.4 years) which only gets as far out as Jupiter is returning to make a very close pass to Earth. The closest for a long while. It was the original target for the Rosetta and Philae lander mission. On December 16th, at its closest, it will be only just over 7 million miles from Earth or 20 Lunar Distances. It should then be easy to locate at this stage between the Hyades and Pleiades in Taurus. Over Christmas and into January it will fade and head towards a vanishing point in Ursa Major. The comet was discovered in 1948 and, due to its frequent solar passes is realtively small at just over one km in diameter
  • China has launced a mission to land the first rover on the far-side of the Moon. It is heading for the South Pole-Aitken basin
  • The ISS makes its last passes for a while this week: Monday at 18.04.08 from W to SSE reaching 26 degrees altitude. Tuesday 17.11.47 W to SE to 38 degrees. Wednesday 17.56.46 WSW to S to 15 degrees. Thursday 17.04.03 W to SSE to 22 degrees and Sunday 16.56.51 WSW to SSW to 12 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of December 3rd

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.02 UT at the start of the week and 18.01 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Friday<br.
    </br.
  • The Sun is again blank
  • We are getting ready for Comet Wirtanen (46P). This short period comet (5.4 years) which only gets as far out as Jupiter is returning to make a very close pass to Earth. The closest for a long while. It was the original target for the Rosetta and Philae lander mission. On December 16th, at its closest, it will be only just over 7 million miles from Earth or 20 Lunar Distances. It should reach naked eye visiblity, but will be best in binoculars. It should be easy to locate at this stage between the Hyades and Pleiades in Taurus. Over Christams and into January it will fade and head towards a vanishing point in Ursa Major. The comet was discovered in 1948 and, due to its frequesnt solar passes is realtively small at just over one km in diameter
  • The ISS makes good passes this week: Monday at 17.43.08 W to E reaching 87 degrees and 19.19.39 W to W to 14 degrees. Tuesday 16.50.58 WSW to E to 83 degrees and 18.27.29 W to W to 52 degrees. Wednesday at 17.35.17 W to E reaching 85 degrees and 19.11.48 W to W to 16 degrees. Thursday 16.43.05 W to E to 85 degrees and 18.18.35 W to SW to 63 degrees. Friday at 17.27.22 W to ESE to 83 degrees and 19.03.59 W to WSW to 19 degrees. Saturday 16.35.09 W to E to 86 degrees and 18.11.40 W to S to 43 degrees and Sunday 17.19.24 W to ESE to 60 degrees and 18.56.25 W to SW to 17 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of November 26th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.06 UT at the start of the week and 18.02 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Friday
  • Sun is again basically blank
  • The ISS makes low passes this week but better passes next week: Monday at 17.24.45 from SSE to ESE reaching 12 degrees and 18.58.53 SW to SW to 17 degrees. Tuesday 18.07.00 SW to SSE to 32 degrees. Wednesday 17.15.20 SSW to ESE to 22 degrees. Thursday 17.58.43 WSW to SE to 53 degrees. Friday at 17.06.44 SW to E to 37 degrees and 18.42.50 W to W to 35 degrees. Saturday 19.27.07 WSW to E to 77 degrees and 19.27.20 W to W to 12 degrees and Sunday 16.58.27 WSW to E to 60 degrees and 18.34.51 W to W to 42 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of November 19th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.11 UT at the start of the week and 18.06 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Friday (Frost Moon)
  • Sun is again basically blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of October 29th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.38 UT at the start of the week and 18.32 UT at the end. Note that BST ended on 28th October and we have returned to UT (GMT)
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Wednesday
  • The Sun is again blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of October 15th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.05 BST at the start of the week and 19.53 BST at the end. Note that BST ends on 28th October and we return to UT (GMT)
  • The Moon is First Quarter on Tuesday and will wax to Full (Hunters’ Moon) on 24th
  • The Orionids meteor shower (debris from Halley’s comet) peak on 21st, but does not tend to produce many meteors and this year will be effected by moonlight
  • The Sun is again still basically blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flares this week on Thursday at 18.23.58 at 12 degrees altitude in W

 

Week of October 8th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.20 BST at the start of the week and 20.05 BST at the end
  • The Moon is New on Tuesday
  • The Sun is again blank
  • The ISS makes it last evening passes for this session: On Monday at 20.01.59 fro W to SSE reaching 28 degrees altitude. Tuesday 19.09.55 from W to SE to 41 degrees and 20.48.38 SW to SW to 10 degrees. Wednesday 19.55.05 from W to S to 16 degrees. Thursday 19.02.43 W to SSE to 24 degrees and finally Saturday 18.55.57 WSW to S to 14 degrees
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares this week: Monday at 19.27.56 at 56 degrees altitude in SSE and Thursday at 19.14.57 at 54 degrees in SSE

 

Week of October 1st

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.36 BST at the start of the week and 20.22 BST at the end
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • The Sun has one stable sunspot
  • The ISS returns making some of its best passes this week: On Monday at 19.39.8 from W to E reaching 89 degrees and 21.15.40 from W to W to 36 degrees. Tuesday 20.23.46an overhead pass through the Zenith from W to E to 90 degrees and 22.00.21 W to W to 11 degrees. Wednesday 19.31.51 W to E to 81 degrees and 21.08.23 W to W to 34 degrees. Thursday 20.16.27 W to SE to 71 degrees. Friday 19.24.32 W to ESE to 86 degrees and 21.01.08 W to WSW to 28 degrees. Saturday 20.09.07 W to SSE to 47 degrees and Sunday 19.17.09 W to SSE to 64 degrees and 20.54.06 W to SW to 19 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of September 24th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.54 BST at the start of the week and 20.41 BST at the end
  • The Moon is Full on Tuesday (Harvest or Equinox Moon) is will then wane to Last Quarter on 2nd October
  • The Sun is blank
  • The ISS returns making good passes this week: On Monday at 20.52.57 from SW to S reaching 39 degrees. Tuesday at 20.01.24 from SSW to ESE reaching 29 degrees and 21.37.16 from WSW to WSW to 23 degrees. Wednesday at 20.45.24 from WSW to SE to 66 degrees. Thursday at 19.53.36 from SW to E reaching 49 degrees and 21.29.55 from W to W to 31 degrees. The best pass is on Friday at 20.37.59 from W to E reaching 87 degrees and 22.14.31 from W to W to 10 degrees. Saturday at 19.46.02 from WSW to E to 73 degrees and 23.33.32 from W to W to 35 degrees and Sunday at 20.30.33 from W to E to 84 degrees and 22.07.05 from W to W to 11 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of September 17th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.12 BST at the start of the week and 20.56 BST at the end
  • The Autumnal Equinox falls this year next Sunday (23rd) when the Sun will rise due East and sets due West. This is the moment that the Sun (at RA 12h and declination 0 degrees) crosses the Celestial Equator from North to South and our nights become longer than our days. Though referred to as the First Point of Libra, due to precession over the last 2 millennia, the Sun will actually be in Virgo<br.
    </br.
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full at the start of next week
  • The Sun is blank
  • The ISS returns next week-end: Saturday at 21.00.30 from SSW to SSW reaching 15 degrees altitude. Sunday at 20.09.15 from S to SE reaching 17 degrees and 21.44.13 from WSW to WSW to 13 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of September 10th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.31 BST at the start of the week and 21.12 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter next Sunday
  • Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner makes its closest approach for 72 years (0.39 AU or 58 million miles) to Earth on 10th September. It is now shining nearly at magnitude 7, just beyond naked-eye capability but possible in binoculars. It will cross in front of the Open star cluster M35 in Gemini on 15th September. 21P is the ‘parent’ comet of the Draconids meteor shower, which peaks annualy on 8th October. It may be worth watching closely in case it is richer than normal
  • The Sun has one typical solar-minimum sunspot
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of September 3rd

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.52 BST at the start of the week and 21.34 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New next Sunday
  • Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is heading for a close approach (0.39 AU) to Earth on 10th September. It is predicted to only now reach magnitude 11 next week-end when it will be just below the bottom stars of Auriga (see www.cometwatch.co.uk for details). It will only be low on the ENE horizon till after midnight
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Saturday at 22.43.15 at 10 degrees altitude in NNE

 

Week of August 20th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.35 BST at the start of the week and 22.13 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Sunday
  • Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is heading for a close approach (0.39 AU) to Earth on 10th September. It should be visible at magnitude 7 in binoculars (more details next week)
  • The Sun has one small quiet sunspot
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of August 13th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.58 BST at the start of the week and 22.35 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun remains blank
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flares this week on Saturday at 23.06.51 at 18 degrees altitude in NNE

 

Week of August 6th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.23 BST at the start of the week and 23.02 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Saturday
  • The annual Perseid meteor shower (Tears of St Lawrence and debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle) peaks at 2am on morning of 13th August. Before dawn on 12th and 13th may be best. There is no Moon, so conditions this year are very favourable and some extimate up to 150 meteors and hour. Already bright Perseids are being seen and rates up to 10 per hor recorded. It is worth watching out all week after 10pm or so. The Radiant rises late in the North East but any patch of dark sky is worth watching, eg Uras Major and Minor and the Summer Triangle
  • The Sun remains blank at the end of Cycle 24
  • Mars is past its very brightest but follows dim yellow Saturn and bright Jupiter from E to W along the Ecliptic
  • The ISS one last pass this week on Tuesday at 21.39.03 from WSW to SSW, reaching 12 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of July 23rd

  • Astronomical twilight at last comes to an end and true darkness returns, all be it briefly. At the start of the week it gets dark at 00.29 BST and 23.52 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Thunder Moon) on Friday, when it passes into the Earth’s shadow. The eclipse is Total and very long, lasting for over 6 hours (given the Moon is at apogee, it will be the longest in the 21st Century). The Moon rises already in the umbra and should be a deep red colour at 21.05 in SE. Totality starts to end at 21.45 with the Moon at only 5.5 degrees altitude. The Moon is fully in the penumbra at 23.00 at 13 degrees altitude. Full brightness will have returned by 00.45
  • The Sun has one inactive spot
  • Four planets are visible during the evening. Venus dominates the West and sets around 10pm. Jupiter is highest in the South, followed by Saturn. Mars rises just after 22.00 and is only 5 degrees from the Moon, slightly to the South at 11pm
  • The ISS makes excellent long and high passes this week: The best is on Monday at 23.21.31 from W to E passing through the Zenith at 90 degrees. Tuesday at 22.29.24 from WSW to E reaching 77 degrees. Wednesday at 23.13.44 from W to E reaching 84 degrees. Thursday at 22.21.33 from W to E reaching 87 degrees and 23.58.04 W to SE to 74 degrees. Friday at 23.05.53 from W to E reaching 88 degrees. Saturday at 22.13.41 from W to E reaching 85 degrees and 23.50.12 from W to SSW to 50 degrees and Sunday 22.57.59 from W to ESE reaching 68 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Thursday at 23.22.44 at 22 degrees altitude in NNE

 

Week of July 16th

  • The Moon is wanxng and will be First Quarter on Friday. The Crescent Moon and Venus are close at the start of the week
  • The Sun remains blank
  • Four planets are visible during the evening. Venus dominates the West and sets around 10pm. Jupiter is highest in the South, followed by Saturn. Mars rises at 11pm. By midnight, Saturn is due South
  • The ISS returns this week: Tuesday at 23.50.13 from E to E reaching 16 degrees altitude. Wednesday 22.58.12 from ESE to E to 13 degrees. Thursday 22.03.12 from SSE to ESE to 12 degrees and 23.37.15 from SW to E to 46 degrees. Friday 22.45.26 from SW to E to 32 degrees. Saturday 21.53.51 from SSW to E to 22 degrees and 23.29.17 from WSW to E to 70 degrees and Sunday 22.37.15 SW to E to 52 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of July 9th

  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Friday
  • The Sun is blank
  • Four planets are visible during the evening. Venus dominates the West and sets around 10pm. Jupiter is highest in the South, followed by Saturn. Mars rises at 11pm. By midnight, Saturn is due South
  • There have been good Noctilucent Cloud displays around UK. Look West, 30 to 60 minutes after sunset. Tendrils of electric blue high altitude clouds are NLCs
  • The ISS returns with evening passes next week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of July 2nd

  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Friday
  • The Sun is blank
  • The Noctilucent Cloud season has begun. Look west, 30 to 60 minutes after sunset. Tendrils of electric blue high altitude clouds are NLCs<br.
    </br.
  • There are no ISS evening passes this week
  • There are three bright evening Iridium flares this week: Monday at 22.51.10 at 23 degrees altitude in WNW. Tuesday at 22.02.02 at 43 degrees in W and Thursday at 22.51.42 at 18 degrees in WNW

 

Week of June 25th

  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Strawberry Moon) on Thursday
  • Venus in West, Jupiter in South West and Saturn in South East are all now visible an hour or so after sunset, with Mars appearing in the East a couple of hours after Venus sets. At the start of the week the waxing Moon, Jupiter and the bright star Spica for a horizontal line in South<br.
    </br.
  • The Sun has 2 sunspot groups and 2715 has the potential to be active
  • There are no ISS evening passes this week
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares this week: Wednesday at 22.23.56 at 47 degrees altitude in NE and Friday at 23.44.41 at 13 degrees in NNE

 

Week of June 18th

  • The Sun rises and sets at its northern most extremes on the horizon on Thursday and its highest declination at 11.07am. At midday the Sun reaches its maximum altitude in the year (Co-latitude + Declination) of 62.5 degrees
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Wednesday
  • Saturn is now rising at 22.20 BST but remains close to the horizon, culminating at 1.30 am at 16 degrees altitude. Bright red Supergiant Antares and the 3 stars in Scorpio’s tail are also now visible low in the South
  • Mars rises at half-past midnight and is approaching Opposition (closest, largest and brightest) on .27th July and is already outshining Sirius. Though Oppositions occur every 2 years, this year Mars is near Perihelion in its orbit, so even closer
  • The Sun continues to be almost blank
  • There are no ISS evening passes this week
  • There are three bright evening Iridium flares this week: Monday at 21.29.41 at 23 degrees altitude in NNW. Thursday at 22.49.40 at 38 degrees in NE and Saturday 22.53.04 at 37 degrees in W

 

Week of June 11th

  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Wednesday
  • The young crescent Moon and Venus will be close and make a super picture at the end of the week, around 9pm low in the West
  • Mars is approaching Opposition (closest, largest and brightest) on 27th July and is already outshining Sirius. Though Oppositions occur every 2 years, this year Mars is near Perihelion in its orbit, so even closer
  • The Sun conitnues to be blank
  • There are no ISS evening passes this week
  • There are eight bright evening Iridium flares this week (a great chance to catch one if you havent before) On Tuesday at 22.42.20 at 20 degrees altitude in WNW and 23.23.45 at 22 degrees in NNE. Wednesday 22.19.50 at 12 degrees in NNW and 22.43.20 at 19 degrees in WNE. Thursday ay 23.31.40 at 45 degrees in WSW. Friday at 22.49.56 at 14 degrees in WNW. Saturday at 22.3.27 at 12 degrees in WNW and Sunday at 23.09.35 at 30 degrees in NNE

 

Week of June 4th

  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Wednesday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes one last evening pass on Tuesday at 22.41.00 from WSW to SSW reaching 12 degrees
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares this week, on Thursday at 21.51.34 at 27 degrees altitude in W and Saturday at 22.48.41 at 25 degrees in W

 

Week of 28th May

  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Flower Moon)on Tuesday
  • The Sun has one fast growing spot which may become active over the next few days
  • The ISS makes a number of good passes this week: On Monday at 23.11.46 from W to ESE reaching 83 degrees. Tuesday 22.19.34 W to E to 87 degrees and 23.56.06 W to S to 43 degrees. Wednesday 23.03.51 W to ESE to 60 degrees. Thursday 22.11.38 W to ESE to 78 degrees and 23.48.19 W to SSW to 26 degrees. Friday 22.55.56 W to SSE to 37 degrees. Saturday 22.03.38 W to ESE to 53 degrees and 23.40.55 WSW to SW to 15 degrees and Sunday 22.48.09 W to S to 22 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare on Thursday at 23.15.16 at 33 degrees altitude in W

 

Week of 21st May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00.36 BST at the start of the week, then from Tuesday, does not return till 21st July and the nights have no Astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Tuesday
  • Venus appears in the twilight sky from 9pm and for 2 hours dominates the Western sky till it sets at 11pm. The waxing Moon increses its separation from the planet during the week
  • The Sun is again blank and there have now been over 50% of days this year with no sunspots
  • The ISS makes good passes in the evening this week: On Monday at 22.51.32 from SW to E reaching 89 degrees. Tuesday 21.59.45 SSW to E to 26 degrees and 23.35.27 WSW to E to 78 degrees. Wednesday 22.43.17 WSW to E to 60 degrees. Thursday 21.51.14 SW to E to 43 degrees and 23.27.27 W to E to 87 degrees. Friday 22.35.12 WSW to E to 83 degrees. Saturday 23.19.26 W to E to 85 degrees and Sunday 22.27.08 to E to 85 degrees
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares:Monday at 22.17.05 at 11 degrees altitude in NNW and Wednesday at 23.45.09 at 41 degrees altitude in WSW

 

Week of 14th May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.50 BST at the start of the week and 00.27 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Tuesday
  • The Sun has one stable spot 2709
  • The ISS returns from Sunday 20th: 222.08.34 from S to ESE reaching 15 degrees and 23.43.14 from WSW to E reaching 54 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare on Thursday 22.58.02 at 22 degrees altitude in

 

Week of 7th May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.17 BST at the start of the week and 23.46 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be First Quarter on Tuesday
  • The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower (debris from Halley’s Comet) peaks in the early hours of 7th. With clear skies up to 20 shooting stars per hours may be visible in the hour before dawn, but they are not usually easily viewed from UK
  • The Sun has one short lived spot 2708, now decaying
  • There are no ISS passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 30th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.45 BST at the start of the week and 23.05 BST at the end
  • The Moon will be Full (Flower Moon) on Monday
  • Tuesday is the start of summer with May 1st festivals all over UK. It is the feast of Beltane in the celtic tradition and a time of ‘union’. It is one of the ancient cross-quarter days, half-way between the Equinox and the Solstice
  • The Moon and Jupiter are in conjunction (in Libra) and are well placed to view rising in the East after sunset (around 20.45). Perhaps of interest is the possibility that an April conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter (though in Aries) is a contender for the ‘star’ of Bethlehem origin
  • Jupiter itself reaches Opposition on 9th May (Culminating at midnight), reaching its closest point to Earth and hence potentially the best conditions for observation
  • The Sun is blank again
  • There are no ISS passes this week

 

Week of 23rd April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.34 BST at the start of the week and 22.45 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full at the start of next week
  • The Sun is very innactive, though it now has 2 small spot groups
  • There are no ISS passes this week
  • There are four bright late evening Iridium flares this week: On Monday at 23.35.00 at 12 degrees altitude in W. Tuesday at 23.29.04 at 12 degrees in W. Wednesday at 23.32.22 at 11 degrees in W. Saturday at 22.09.11 at 11 degrees in N

 

Week of 16th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.15 BST at the start of the week and 22.32 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter next Sunday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • There are no ISS passes this week
  • There are two bright Iridium flares this week: On Wednesday at 23.41.21 at 16 derees altitude in W and Friday at 23.33.27 at 15 degrees in W

 

Week of 9th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.57 BST at the start of the week and 22.15 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Sunday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes one last evening pass this week on Wednesday at 20.59.29 from WSW to SSW reaching 13 degrees altitude
  • There are three bright Iridium flares this week, unusually 2 of them very close together, within 2 minutes: Thursday at 20.58.48 at 30 degrees altitude in N and Saturday at 23.50.14 at 17 degrees in WSW and 23.51.50 at 17 degrees in WSW

 

Week of 2nd April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.41 BST at the start of the week and 21.55 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Sunday
  • The Sun has one active region 2703
  • The first Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will make an uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in the early hours of 2nd April, the debris will not be visible from MCBO
  • The ISS continues to make good passes this week: Monday 21.30.53 from W to ESE reaching 83 degrees altitude. Tuesday 20.38.35 from W to E to 87 degrees and 22.15.07 W to WSW to 32 degrees. Wednesday 21.22.46 W to SE to 60 degrees. Thursday 20.30.26 W to ESE to 78 degrees and 22.07.08 W to SW to 25 degrees. Friday 21.14.39 W to ESE to 38 degrees. Saturday 20.22.16 W to ESE to 54 degrees and 21.59.30 WSW to SW to 15 degrees and Sunday 21.06.40 W to SSE to 22 degrees
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 26th March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.24 BST at the start of the week and 21.39 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Paschal Moon) on Saturday, thus enabling Easter Day to fall on 1st April
  • Just after sunset around 7.30pm Venus is visible low in West
  • The Sun is still blank
  • The ISS makes good passes this week: Monday 21.11.04 SW to SSE to 38 degrees. Tuesday 20.20.13 SSW to E to 26 degrees and 21.54.55 WSW to WSW to 39 degrees. Wednesday 21.02.42 WSW to E to 61 degrees and 22.39.06 W to W to 16 degrees. Thursday 21.10.34 SW tp E to 43 degrees and 21.46.47 W to WNW to 78 degrees. Friday 20.54.28 WSW to E to 83 degrees and 22.30.58 W to W to 24 degrees. Saturday 21.38.37 W to E to 85 degrees and Sunday 20.46.16 W to E to 85 degrees and 22.22.46 W to W to 31 degrees
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 19th March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.11 UT at the start of the week and 20.26 UT at the end
  • The Vernal Equinox this year falls on Tuesday 20th, wehn the Sun will rise due East and set due West. Days will start to be longer than night and it should be the start of Spring!
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Saturday
  • Just after sunset around 7pm, Mercury and Venus are now visible close together in the west and at the start of the week Mercury is apparently furthest from the Sun
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS will make passes again from next week-end: Saturady at 20.19.30 from SSW to SSW reaching 12 degrees and Sunday 19.28.07 S to Se to 15 degrees and 21.02.49 WSW to SW to 14 degrees
  • There is one bright Iridium flare this week on Monday at 19.55.12 at 30 degrees in N

 

Week of 12th March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.58 UT at the start of the week and 20.10 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Saturday
  • The Sun is blank
  • There are no ISS passes this week
  • There is one bright Iridium flare this week on Wednesday at 20.26.51 at 18 degrees altitude in N

 

Week of 5th March

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.45 UT at the start of the week and 19.56 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Friday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • There are no ISS passes this week
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 26th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.33 UT at the start of the week and 19.43 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Friday (Lenten Moon)
  • The Sun is blank again
  • There are no ISS passes this week
  • There is one bright Iridium flare this week on Monday at 17.60.34 at 45 degrees altitude in SSW

 

Week of 12th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.08 UT at the start of the week and 19.17 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Thursday
  • The Sun has a growing sunspot group 2699 which may lead to increased activity
  • Elon Musk’s red Tesla is now more than 1 million km from Earth and shining at 17th magnitude
  • The ISS makes its last pass for a few weeks on Tuesday at 18.17.51 WSW to SSW reaching 13 degrees
  • There are two bright Iridium flares this week on Monday at 18.47.58 at 46 dgrees in SSE and Friday at 17.29.14 at 16 degrees altitude in W

 

Week of 5th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.58 UT at the start of the week and 19.08 UT at the end
  • The Sun is currently blank
  • The ISS makes good evening passes this week: Monday at 18.48.19 from W to ESE reaching 84 degrees altitude and 20.24.56 W to W to 10 degrees. Tuesday at 17.56.06 W to E to 86 degrees and 19.32.38 W to WSW to 36 degrees. Wednesday 18.40.23 W to SE to 61 degrees and 20.17.23 W to WSW to 12 degrees. Thursday 17.48.08 W to ESE to 79 degrees and 19.24.49 W to SSW to 26 degrees. Friday 18.32.26 W to SE to 38 degrees. Saturday 19.17.21 WSW to S to 15 degrees and Sunday 18.24.37 W to SSE to 23 degrees
  • There is one bright Iridium flare this week on Thursday at 19.03.06 at 45 degrees altitude in SSE

 

Week of 29th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.47 UT at the start of the week and 18.58 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Wednesday. This month’s moon is being called the Super-Blue-Blood moon! This is because it is near perigee and thus closer in its orbit, so will appear a little brighter and bigger than usual and also on Wednsday it is the second Full Moon in the month and these have become known as Blue moon (hence the expression, though they are not that rare) and to top it all the Moon passes into the Earth’s shadow at 13.00 UT (so not visible at all in the UK) for a Total Lunar Eclipse, where the deepest shadow is blood red
  • The Sun is currently blank
  • The ISS returns making good evening passes this week: Monday at 18.27.59 from SW to ESE reaching 37 degrees altitude and 20.04.04 W to W to 13 degrees. Tuesday at 17.36.04 SSW to E to 25 degrees and 19.11.44 WSW to WSW. Wednesday 18.19.27 WSW to E to 59 degrees and 19.55.50 W to W to 18 degrees. Thursday 17.27.16 SW to E to 42 degrees and 19.03.27 W to W to 80 degrees. Friday 18.11.04 WSW to E to 82 degrees and 19.47.34 W to W to 23 degrees. Saturday 18.55.09 W to ENE to 85 degrees and Sunday 18.02.44 W to E to 85 degrees and 19.39.13 W to W to 31 degrees
  • There are three bright Iridium flares this week: Monday at 17.03.07 at 15 degrees in SW. Tuesday at 17.20.21 at 20 degrees in W and Thursday at 24 degrees in W

 

Week of 22nd January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.37 UT at the start of the week and 18.46 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be First Quarter on Wednesday
  • The Sun has one small inactive spot
  • The ISS returns with evening passes from Friday: Friday at 19.28.33 from SW to SSW reaching 14 degrees. Saturday 18.36.45 SSW to SSE to 22 degrees and Sunday 17.45.20 S to ESE to 14 degrees and 19.19.56 SW to SW to 29 degrees
  • There are three bright Iridium flares this week: Monday at 17.17.03 at 23 degrees altitude in SSW. Wednesday at 17.10.25 at 22 degrees in SSW and Friday at 18.20,09 at 10 degrees in WNW

 

Week of 15th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.28 UT at the start of the week and 18.37 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Wednesday
  • The Sun has one small inactive spot
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week<br.
    </br.
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 8th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.19 UT at the start of the week and 18.26 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Monday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week

2017 – What’s Up

Week of 18th December

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.03 UT at the start of the week and 18.07 UT at the end
  • The Winter Solstice falls on Thursday, when the Sun rises and sets at its extreme southerly point on the horizons and only reaches 15.5 degrees altitude at midday
  • The Moon will wax from Monday and will be First Quarter on Boxing Day
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes its last pass on Tuesday at 16.38.32 from WSW to SSW reaching 13 degrees altitude
  • There are two bright Iridium flares this week: Tuesday 17.00.41 at 18 degrees altitude in SSW and 18.17.29 at 33 degrees

 

Week of 11th December

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.02 UT at the start of the week and 18.03 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New at the start of next week
  • The Geminid meteor shower (debris from asteroid 3200 Phaethon) will peak early Thursday morng at around 2am. Wednesday night should be a good time to view the build up, especially with no Moon till much later. Peak rates of up to 120 per hour are predicted
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes its last passes this week: Monday 17.09.33 W to ESE reaching 83 degrees and 18.46.10 W to SW to 27 degrees. Tuesday 17.53.49 W to SE to 43 degrees. Wednesday 17.01.29 W to ESE to 60 degrees and 18.38.32 W to SSW to 17 degrees. Thursday 17.45.54 W to SSE to 17 degrees. Friday 16.53.26 W to SE to 38 degrees. Saturday 17.38.20 WSW to S to 15 degrees and Sunday 16.45.31 W to SSE to 22 degrees
  • There are two bright Iridium flares this week: Tuesday 17.00.41 at 18 degrees altitude in SSW and 18.17.29 at 33 degrees

 

Week of 4th December

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.02 UT at the start of the week and 18.02 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Sunday. The ‘Cold Moon’ on 3rd was thew brightest of 2017 with it being at Perigee, 8% increase in diameter and 16% in brightness
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes good passes this week: Monday at 16.49.27 from SW to E reaching 38 degrees altitude and 18.25.34 W to W to 57 degrees. Tuesday 17.33.23 WSW to E to 78 degrees and 19.09.53 W to W to 17 degrees. Wednesday 16.41.15 WSW to E to 61 degrees and 18.17.40 W to WNW to 70 degrees. Thursday 17.25.25 W to E to 86 degrees and 19.01.57 W to W to 21 degrees. Friday 16.33.11 WSW to E to 84 degrees and the best at 18.09.42 W to SSE to 87 degrees. Saturday 17.17.27 W to E to 85 degrees and 18.53.58 W to W to 25 degrees and Sunday 18.01.41 W to SE to 66 degrees
  • There are three bright Iridium flares this week: Monday at 17.21.07 at 28 degrees altitude in S. Thursday at 17.12.16 at 24 degrees in SSW and Friday 18.32.23 at 33 degrees in SSE

 

Week of 27th November

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.05 UT at the start of the week and 18.03 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Cold Moon) on Sunday
  • The Sun almost blank with one young spot 2689 which is growing in activity
  • The ISS returns on Tuesday making late aftrnoon passes this week: 18.49.57 from SSW to SSW reaching 14 degrees altitude. Wednesday 17.58.13 from SSW to SSE to 19 degrees. Thursday 17.07.01 SSE to ESE to 13 degrees and 18.41.14 from SW to SW to 27 degrees. Friday 17.49.08 SW to SE to 33 degrees and 19.25.07 W to W to 12 degrees. Saturday 16.57.16 SSW to E to 22 degrees and 18.32.45 WSW to WSW to 43 degrees and Sunday 17.40.27 WSW to E to 54 degrees and 19.16.48 W to W to 15 degrees
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 20th November

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.10 UT at the start of the week and 18.05 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Sunday
  • The Sun almost blank with 2 small innactive spots
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this weekbut returns on 28th
  • There is one bright Iridium flare this week: Wednesday at 18.05.44 at 37 degrees altitude in SSE

 

Week of 13th November

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.17 UT at the start of the week and 18.11 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Saturday
  • The waning Moon is now a fine sight in the pre-dawn sky with Mars below it and, at the start of the week Jupiter and Venus in a close (less than degree) Conjunction
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There is one super-bright Iridium flare this week: On Monday at 18.41.39 at 39 degrees altitude in SE

 

Week of 6th November

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.26 UT at the start of the week and 18.18 UT at the end<br.
    </br.
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Friday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 30th October

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.36 UT at the start of the week and 18.26 UT at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Hunters Moon) on Saturday
  • Tuesday is the ancient Feast of the Pleiades or in Celtic tradition, Samhain (the Cross Quarter day, half-way between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Soltice)..now Haloween
  • The Sun has two fading spots, neither is active
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are no bright Iridium flares this week but there is one extremely bright Iridium flare next Monday at 17.48.10 at 59 degrees altitude in NNE

 

Week of 23rd October

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.48 BST at the start of the week and 18.40 UT at the end as we return to Universal Time (GMT) early Sunday morning
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Friday
  • The Orionids (debris from Halley’s comet) are active at the start of the week and best seen when Orion is high in the early morning
  • The Sun has one spot 2685 which unusually is on its 3rd return, it was originally the highly active region 2673
  • The ISS makes no evening passes week
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flare this week on Monday at 18.53.06 at 57 degrees altitude in NNE and 20.31.47 at 26 degrees in NNE

 

Week of 16th October

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.02 BST at the start of the week and 19.50 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Thursday
  • The Sun is blank for the 7th day in a row
  • The ISS makes no passes week
  • There is one superbright evening Iridium flare this week on Wednesday at 19.23.47 at 49 degrees altitude in NNE

 

Week of 2nd October

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.33 BST at the start of the week and 20.19 BST at the end<br.
    </br.
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Harvest Moon) on Thursday<br.
    </br.
  • The Sun has three quiet sunspot regions
  • The ISS makes good passes week: Monday at 20.37.28 W to ENE reaching 87 degrees. Tuesday 19.45.19 WSW to E to 83 degrees and 21.21.49 WSW to E to 27 degrees. Wednesday 20.29.39 W to ENE to 85 degrees. Thursday 19.37.28 W to E to 85 degrees and 21.13.59 W to W to 28 degrees. Friday 20.21.47 W to ESE to 84 degrees. Saturday 19.29.35 W to E to 86 degrees and 21.06.06 W to W to 27 degrees and Sunday 20.13.52 W to SSE to 61 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 25th September

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.51 BST at the start of the week and 20.33 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun has two quiet sunspot regions, but 2673 is about to return around the Eastern limb. It is unlikely to be as powerful as 2 weeks ago
  • The ISS returns thus week with good passes next week-end: Monday at 20.19.26 from SSE to SSE reaching 10 degrees altitude. Tuesday 21.01.30 SW to SSW to 18 degrees. Wednesday 20.09.42 SSW to SE to 22 degrees and 21.45.09 WSW to WSW to 12 degrees. Thursday 20.52.55 SW to SSW to 42 degrees. Friday 20.00.46 SW to SSW to 37 degrees and 21.36.51 W to W to 19 degrees. Saturday 20.44.29 WSW to S to 76 degrees and Sunday 19.52.10 WSW to E to 59 degrees and 21.28.33 W to W to 24 degrees
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 18th September

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.09 BST at the start of the week and 20.51 BST at the end. The Autumnal Equinox falls on Friday at 21.02 BST. The Sun will rise due East and set due west and we will have equal day and night length
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Wednesday
  • The Sun is quiet with one mature spot 2680
  • The ISS makes no visible evening passes this week but return from next Monday
  • There are bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 11th September

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.28 BST at the start of the week and 21.14 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Wednesday
  • On Friday just before 2.30pm, the Cassini spacecraft will end its 20 year mission by diving into the gaseous planet Saturn
  • The Sun is now quieting down again as huge active spot 2673 rotates round the limb. It will almost certainly be back in 2 weeks time
  • The ISS makes no visible evening passes this week
  • There is bright evening Iridium flare this week on Monday 21.06.22 at 25 degrees in N

 

Week of 4th September

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21.48 BST at the start of the week and 21.31 BST at the end
  • The Moon will be Full (Harvest Moon) on Wednesday
  • The Sun has 5 spot groups and 2674 is huge, stretching some 150,000 km and highly active
  • The ISS makes no visible evening passes this week
  • There are 2 bright evening Iridium flares this week: Wednesday 21.41.03 at 15 degrees in N and Friday at 21.18.53 at 21 degrees in N

 

Week of 28th August

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.09 BST at the start of the week and 21.51 BST at the end
  • The Moon will be First Quarter on Tuesday and will then wax to Full at the start of next week
  • The Sun has 2 spot groups which are mildly active
  • The ISS makes no visible evening passes this week
  • There are 2 bright evening Iridium flares this week: Monday 23.58.03 at 10 degrees in W and Wednesday at 20.04.53 at 45 degrees in N

 

Week of 21st August

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.31 BST at the start of the week and 22.09 BST at the end
  • The Moon will be New on Monday, when it will align exactly with the Sun causing a Total Eclipse, viible across 14 states of the USA
  • The Sun is active again with an extended spot groups 2671
  • Venus is dominent in the pre Dawn sky
  • The ISS makes no visible evening passes this week
  • There are 4 bright evening Iridium flares this week: Thursday 23.45.39 at 19 degrees in WSW. Friday 23.48.42 at 16 degrees in WSW. Saturday 23.51.48 at 14 degrees in W and Sunday 23.03.54 at 12 degrees in W

 

Week of 14th August

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.54 BST at the start of the week and 22.34 BST at the end
  • The Moon will be Last Quarter on Tuesday and will then wane to New at the start of next week, when it will align exactly with the Sun causing a Total Eclipse, viible across 14 states of the USA
  • Perseid meteors will continue to be seen throughout the week
  • The Sun is blank again
  • The ISS makes no visible evening passes this week
  • There are 3 bright evening Iridium flares this week: Tuesday 22.27.23 at 12 degrees altitude in W. Wednesday at 21.45.09 at 19 degrees in N and Friday at 23.54.39 at 28 degrees in WSW

 

Week of 7th August

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.20 BST at the start of the week and 22.57 BST at the end
  • The Moon will wax to Full (Storm Moon) on Monday and will then wane to Last Quarter at the start of next week. On Monday the Moon will move into the Earth’s shadow and will be partially eclipsed (fully visible from Asia and mainland Europe). We will see the Moon rise already covered by the Earth’s penumbral shadow at 20.45 BST. The Moon will return to full brightness at 21.50 BST
  • The Persied meteor shower peaks at 1800 hrs on 12th but already fireballs are being seen as Earth moves into the debris stream left by comet swift-tuttle. It is worth watching out this week and certainly from 10th to 13th as the moonlight becomes less obtrusive
  • The Sun has one mature spot 2670 (the remains of the huge spot 2665) and has little activity
  • The ISS makes a couple of last passes on Monday at 22.08.31 from W to S reaching 24 degrees and Wednesday 21.00.54 WSW to S reaching 13 degrees
  • There are 6 bright evening Iridium flares this week: Monday 23.21.33 at 20 degrees altitude in W. Tuesday 23.20.15 at 19 degrees in W. Wednesday 23.23.26 at 16 degrees in W. Thursday at 23.26.39 at 14 degres in W. Friday 23.29.56 at 12 degrees in WNW and Saturday at 23.33.02 at 10 degrees in WNW

 

Week of 31st July

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.51 BST at the start of the week and 23.20 BST at the end
  • The Moon will wax to Full (Storm Moon) at the start of next week. The Moon will move into the Earth’s shadow and will be partially eclipsed on Monday 7th (fully visible from Asia and mainland Europe). We will see the Moon rise already covered by the Earth’s penumbral shadow at 20.45BST. The Moon will return to full brightness at 21.50 BST
  • The Sun is almost blank again with one inactive sunspot group
  • ISS pass times and Iridium flare times to follow

 

Week of 24th July

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00.21 BST at the start of the week and 23.51 BST at the end
  • The Moon will wax to First Quarter at the start of next week
  • The Sun is now blank again
  • The ISS makes good passes this week: Monday 23.05.49 SW to E to 52 degrees. Tuesday 22.13.45 SW to E to 36 degrees and 23.49.49 W to E to 89 degrees. Wednesday 22.57.30 WSW to E to 76 degrees. Thursday 22.05.14 WSW to E to 58 degrees and 23.41.37 W to E to 84 degrees. Friday 22.49.15 W to E to 88 degrees . Saturday 21.56.53 WSW to E to 81 degrees and 23.33.22 W to E to 89 degrees and Sunday 22.40.59 W to E to 84 degrees
  • There are three bright evening Iridium flares this week on Monday at 23.16.39 at 11 degrees altitude in WNW and at 23.55.53 ar 39 degrees in WSW and on Tuesday at 21.50.47 at 19 degrees in NNW

 

Week of 17th July

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00.55 on Friday for the first time true darkness returns
  • The Moon is waning and will be New at the start of next week
  • Saturn, though low, is well placed for viewing due south mid evening
  • The Sun has been active with the enormous sunspot group 2665 causing strong auroral activity as it rotates out of sight on the western limb
  • The ISS more passes at the end of the week: Saturday 23.14.20 SW to E reaching 32 degrees and Sunday 22.22.34 SSW to E reaching 21 degrees and 23.57.59 WSW to E to 70 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Tuesday at 23.03.29 at 19 degrees in WNW

 

Week of 10th July

 

  • There is no Astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter at the start of next week
  • The Sun has one enormous (largest of 2017) sunspot group 2665, which is currently active
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There is one superbright evening Iridium flare this week on Wednesday at 23.14.42 at 32 degrees altitude in W

 

Week of 3rd July

 

  • There is no Astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Thunder Moon) on Sunday
  • The Sun is blank again
  • Noctilucent Clouds, which were wiped out by the heat wave, have again been sighted. On clear evenings it is worth looking west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 26th June

 

  • There is no Astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun has two sunspot groups, neither of whih is active
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares: On Monday at 22.51.48 at 25 degrees altitude in W and 22.49.00 at 22 degrees in WNW

 

Week of 19th June

 

  • There is no Astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Saturday
  • On Wednesday (the Summer Solstice)the Sun reaches a Right Ascension of 6 hours and Declnation of 23.5 degrees at 5.24 BST. The Sun rises at it northernmost extreme (standstill point)on the Eastern horizon and likewise sets at the northernmost extreme, reaching its greatest altitude above the Southern horizon at Noon of 62.5 degrees; thus giving us the longest day of the year
  • The Sun has two sunspot groups, 2663 is active
  • Noctilucent Clouds have again been sighted and with clear evenings ,it is worth looking west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset
  • The Southern evening sky is dominated by 4 bright objects; from the East yellow Saturn, red Antares then blue Spica and finally bright yellow Jupiter. The planets alone will shin with a steady light
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares: On Monday at 23.12.21 at 35 degrees altitude in W and Thursday at 23.03.27 at 31 degrees in W

 

Week of 12th June

 

  • There is no Astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is now waning and will be Last Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun has one new sunspot group 2662, ending a number of blank days
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare: On Thursday at 23.27.17 at 39 degrees altitude in WSW

 

Week of 5th June

 

  • There is no Astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Strawbery Moon) on Friday
  • The Sun has one new sunspot group 2661, which is active
  • The ISS makes final passes this week: Monday 23.18.32 W to S reaching 2 degrees. Tuesday 22.26.13 W to SSE to 32 degrees. Wednesday at 23.11.40 WSW to SSW to 12 degrees. Thursday 22.18.47 W to S to 19 degrees and Sunday 22.12.33 SW to SW to 10 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare: On Wednesday at 23.57.17 at 46 degrees altitude in WSW

 

Week of 29th May

 

  • The nights are now not truly dark until Astronomical Twilight ends on 21st July
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Thursday
  • The Sun has one disappearing sunspot group
  • The first Notilucent Cloud (NLC) has been sighted this year. From now till into July they are more common. We now know that they are seeded by debris from meteors and are made up of ice crystals in the mesosphere. Look west for an hour after sunset and they are obvious as high electric blue iridescent clouds
  • The ISS makes good passes this week: Monday 22.56.50 W to E reaching 85 degrees. Tuesday 22.04.45 W to E to 88 degrees and 23.41.18 W to ESE to 83 degrees. Wednesday at 22.49.12 W to E to 87 degrees. Thursday 21,57,06 W to E to 84 degrees and 23.33.37 W to SE to 60 degrees. Friday 22.41.30 W to ESE to 77 degrees. Saturday 23.25.57 W to SSE to 37 degrees and Sunday 22.33.46 W to SE to 53 degrees
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares. On Tuesday at 21.49.06 at 56 degrees altitude in NE and on Friday at 21.36.05 at 61 degrees in NE

 

Week of 22nd May

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00.58 BST at the start of the week after which we do not see true astronomical darkness till 21st July
  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Thursday
  • The Sun has three small sunspots groups, none of which is active
  • The ISS makes passes this week: Tuesday 23.19.58 reaching 38 degrees from SW to E. Wednesday at 22.28.20 to 26 degrees SSW to E. Thursday 23.12.04 to 60 degrees WSW to E. Friday 22.20.10 to 43 degrees SW to E. Saturday 23.04.18 to 83 degrees WSW to E and Sunday 22.12.14 to 67 degrees WSW to E and 23.48.42 to 85 degrees from W to E
  • There are three bright evening Iridium flares. On Wednesday at 22.15.05 at 47 degrees altitude in SE and on Friday at 22.02.06 at 51 degrees in NE and a superbright flare on Saturday at 22.04.01 at 55 degrees in NE

 

Week of 15th May

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.57 BST at the start of the week and 00.58 BST at the end. The times now changing rapidly as we approach the period of continual astronomical twilight when from 23rd May till 21st July, the Sun never goes more than 18 degrees below the horizon and there is no astronomical darkness
  • The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Friday<br.
    </br.
  • The Sun is again blank for the 5th successive day. Solar minimum is predicted in 2019-2020
  • The ISS makes no passes this week, but returns from 23rd
  • There are three bright evening Iridium flares. On Tuesday at 22.40.38 at 37 degrees altitude in NE and a super-bright flare at 23.00.33 at 37 degrees in NE and on Thursday at 22.37.32 at 37 degrees in NE

 

Week of 8th May

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.26 BST at the start of the week and 23.57 BST at the end
  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Flower Moon) on Wednesday
  • The Sun has two small sunspot groups, neither of which is active
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares. On Monday at 23.09.10 at 29 degrees altitude in NNE and a super-bright flare on Tuesday at 21.38.34 at 57 degrees in ENE

 

Week of 1st May

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23.00 BST at the start of the week and 23.26 BST at the end
  • Monday is May Day and one of the Cross-Quarter days, roughly half-way between the Equinox and the Solstice. Known as Beltane in the Celtic calendar it is associated the World over with fertility celebrations
  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Wednesday
  • The Sun has three small sunspot groups, none of which is active
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare on Friday at 23.17.02 at 14 degrees altitude in NNE

 

Week of 24th April

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.38 BST at the start of the week and 23.00 BST at the end
  • The Lyrid meteor shower peaks at the start of this week. Observing just before dawn may allow 10-20 shooting stars an hour to be seen
  • The Moon is New on Wednesday and will then wax to First Quarter next week
  • The Sun has two sunspot groups, 1653 is a return of the active 2645 group
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are 2 bright evening Iridium flares: Wednesday at 20.54.07 (superbright) at 68 degrees altitude in E and 22.29.16 at 37 degrees in NE

 

Week of 17th April

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.59 BST at the start of the week and 20.10 BST at the end
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • Jupiter, which rises around 8.30pm and dominates the South-Eastern evening sky and is well positioned for observations, with blue Spica following it up mid evening
  • The Sun is almost blank
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are 3 very bright evening Iridium flares: Wednesday at 21.21.22 at 59 degrees altitude in ENE and 22.46.43 at 43 degrees in NE and on Thursday, a super bright flare at 21.15.21 at 61 degrees in ENE

 

Week of 10th April

 

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.48 BST at the start of the week and 19.58 BST at the end
  • The Moon is Full (Paschal Moon) on Tuesday
  • Jupiter, which rises around 8.30pm and dominates the South-Eastern evening sky and is well positioned for observations
  • The Sun has 2 sunspot groups but neither is active
  • The ISS makes its last passes this week: Monday at 21.28.58 W to S reaching 25 degrees. Tuesday 20.36.38 W to SE to 36 degrees and Wednesday 21.21.44 WSW to S to 14 degrees
  • There are 4 bright evening Iridium flares: Tuesday at 23.00.57 at 9 degrees in NE. Thursday at 20.09.46 at 73 degrees in SE. Friday at 20.03.43 at 74 degrees in SE and Saturday at 22.57.45 at 17 degrees in NE

 

Week of 3rd April

 

  • The Moon is waxing to First Quarter on Monday and then will continue to wax to Full at the start of next week
  • Orange Arcturus heralds the arrival of bright yellow Jupiter, which rises around 8.30pm and dominates the Eastern sky
  • After significant inactivity The Sun has now a huge 120,000 km wide sunspot group 2645, almos central on the disk and facing Earth
  • The ISS makes good passes this week: Monday at (times now BST) 21.07.38 W to E to 86 degrees and 22.44.08 W to W to 22 degrees. Tuesday 20.15.12 WSW to E to 84 degrees and 21.51.41 W to SE to 87 degrees. Wednesday 20.59.13 W to E to 85 degrees and 22.35.43 W to W to 25 degrees. Thursday 21.43.13 W to SSE to 65 degrees. Friday 20.50.45 W to ESE to 82 degrees and 22.27.21 W to WSW to 23 degrees. Saturday 21.34.45 W to SSE to 42 degrees and Sunday 20.42.13 W to ESE to 59 degrees and 22.19.14 W to SW to 16 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flares next Saturday at 20.30.55 at 68 degrees altitude in ESE

 

Week of 20th March

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 20.20 UT at the start of the week and at 19.30 UT+1 (BST) at the end. The clocks go forward one hour to British Summer Time next Saturday night
  • Monday is the Vernal Equinox. Ths start of the Astronomical Year when the Sun crosses the Celestial Equator at 0 hours RA and 0 Degrees Dec. Sunrise and sunset are due East and West respectively
  • The Moon will wane to New next Week
  • The Sun is totally blank for the 12th successive day
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week but returns next week
  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

 

Week of 13th March

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 20.00 UT at the start of the week and at 20.12 UT at the end
  • The Moon will wane to Last Quarter next Monday
  • The Sun is totally blank
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are two superbright evening Iridium flares this week on Tuesday at 19.40.59 at 57 degrees altitude in ESE and Wednesday at 19.34.56 at 58 degrees altitude in SE

 

Week of 6th March

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 19.47 UT at the start of the week and at 19.59 UT at the end
  • The Moon will wax to Full (Lenten Moon) on Sunday
  • The Sun is totally blank. As Solar activity decreases, so Cosmic Ray radiation increase. There has been a 10% increase since 2015. The Earh’s magnetic field also appears to be weakening. The South Atlantic anomaly has weakened 2% since 1999
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There is one superbright evening Iridium flare this week on Friday at 19.56.04 at 53 degrees altitude in ESE

 

Week of 27th February

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 19.35 UT at the start of the week and at 19.47 UT at the end
  • The Moon will wax to First Quarter on Sunday. The new Crescent Moon will be close to Venus at the start of the week
  • The Sun is quiet with two inactive spot groups
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Wednesday at 18.56.43 at 54 degrees altitude in SSE

 

Week of 20th February

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 19.23 UT at the start of the week and at 19.33 UT at the end
  • The Moon will wane to New on Sunday
  • Three planets line up in the evening western sky. From West Venus at magnitude -4.3 then Mars at +1.6 and then at +6.2 Uranus (should be easy in Binos)
  • The Sun is quiet with one inactive spot group
  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week
  • There are two super-bright evening Iridium flares this week on Monday at 19.32.59 at 48 degrees altitude in SE and on Thursday at 53 degrees in NNE

 

Week of 13th February

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 19.11 UT at the start of the week and at 19.21 UT at the end
  • The Moon will wane to Last Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun is quiet with one inactive spot group
  • The ISS makes its last passes: Monday at 18.52.45 from W to SSE reaching 23 degrees. Tuesday 18.00.04 W to SE reaching 34 degrees and Wednesday 18.44.57 WSW to S to 13 degrees
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Wednesday at 19.21.41 at 38 degrees in NNE

 

Week of 6th February

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 19.00 UT at the start of the week and at 19.10 UT at the end
  • The Moon will Wax to Full (Snow Moon) on Saturday
  • The Sun is totally quiet
  • The ISS continues to makes good passes as follows: on Monday at 18.33.31 from W to E reaching 85 degrees and 20.10.01 W to W to 16 degrees. Tuesday 17.41.05 W to E to 87 degrees and 19.17.35 W to W to 69 degrees. Wednesday 18.25.08 W to E to 86 degrees and 20.01.39 W to W to 21 degrees. Thursday 19.09.10 W to SSE to 61 degrees. Friday 18.16.41 W to ESE to 79 degrees and 19.53.21 W to WSW to 22 degrees. Saturday 19.00.43 W to SSE to 39 degrees and Sunday 18.08.10 W to ESE to 55 degrees and 19.45.22 WSW to SSW to 15 degrees altitude
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Thursday at 19.49.56 at 25 degrees in NNE

 

Week of 23rd January

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 18.39 UT at the start of the week and at 18.48 UT at the end
  • The Moon wanes to New on Sunday
  • Venus dominates the evening sky in the West with Mars just above and to the left. In the pre-dawn sky Jupiter (with blue Spica below it) form a line with the Moon (at the start of the week) and Saturn and Mercury
  • The Sun at last has some spot activity, of the 4 small groups, 2628 has some activity
  • The ISS returns at the end of the week with a psss on Sunday at 19.07.31 from SSW to S reaching 16 degrees
  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares this week on Thursday at 19.00.55, 41 degrees altitude in NNE and Friday at 18.54.47, 43 degrees in NNE

 

Week of 9th January

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 18.21 UT at the start of the week and at 18.29 UT at the end
  • The Moon will be Full on Thursday and will then wane to Last Quarter next week. It passes less than a degree from Red giant star Aldeberan on Monday
  • Venus dominates the evening sky in the West, reaching Greatest Eastern Elongation on Thursday
  • The Sun is very quiet and remains blank
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There are two bright (the first is superbright and the beam within a km of the Observatory) evening Iridium flares this week on Wednesday at 16.18.37 at 73 degrees altitude in ESE and Thursday at 18.12.19 at 52 degrees in NE

 

Week of 2nd January

 

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 18.13 UT at the start of the week and at 18.21 UT at the end
  • The Moon will be First Quarter on Thursday and will then wax to Full next week. Just after sunset the Moon moves eastwards over the next few days past Venus and Mars
  • The Sun is very quiet and almost blank
  • The ISS makes no passes this week
  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Friday at 16.44.12 at 70 degrees altitude in ENE