Third Observatory Open Week

Our third public open week of the 2014/2015 season will be taking place at our observatory on the following dates:

Monday 12th January until Saturday 17th January 2015 inclusive from 7:30pm to 9pm.

Please note that we will only be open if the sky is clear.

We hope to be viewing Jupiter along with the constellations of Orion and Taurus. The Moon will not be visible so we also hope to track down quite a few deep sky objects such as Messier 42

As the winter seems to have finally arrived this year, we recommend that you wrap up warm and wear sensible footwear - the ground can get rather muddy leading up to the dome.

Beginners Course

New to astronomy? The Society holds 2 beginners course during the winter months usually Oct/Nov and Feb/March.
Course places are limited to 20 per course.

See below for more information.

Social Astronomy Evenings

We are now running some additional 'social' meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

The meetings are open to members and non-members and the aim is to provide an informal environment with no set agenda, in which people can meet up in the club room and chat about current astronomical events, astronomy in general or maybe turn up to :

Pluto Encounter underway

New Horizons, the NASA/ESA probe to the dwarf Planet Pluto is shortly to begin the final stages of its journey leading up and encounter with the 'ninth Planet' Pluto.

Since being launched in January 2006 and following its gravity assist/encounter with Jupiter in February 2007, it has been cruising towards Pluto.

The provisional timeline is as follows:

July 14 2014 - first long range images of Pluto and Charon

​February 2015 - first images of the Pluto/Charon system able to discern small details

May 2015 - image quality from New Horizon's cameras to be better than from the Hubble Space Telescope

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy is another one in the bag for Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy.

Over the next two weeks this comet may become bright enough to be seen with the naked eye - but the waxing Moon may make this a challenge.

However the Comet could still be visible in binoculars.

If there are any clear nights during this week's [Monday 12th to Saturday 17th January 2015] Open Week then why not come to the Observatory and maybe get a glance at this beautiful comet.

Check out this website for a stunning image .....

Attached is a star chart to help you locate the Comet over the next 14 days whilst it is still moderately bright

Deep-partial Solar Eclipse Friday 20th March 2015

On Friday 20th Mach 2015 there will be a 'deep partial' solar eclipse visible from Huddersfield. At its maximum extent, more than 90% of the Sun will be eclipsed by the Moon.

The eclipse will begin at 0827 when the Moon first touches the Sun. Maximum eclipse is at 0933 and the Moon leaves the Sun at 1042.

You can see an animation of the event here.....

Please note that the Observatory will only be open if the is reasonable prospect of clear skies during the event.

The Stars by Night - a guidebook to planning an evenings observations

Ever wondered about doing a  simple observing program.

This one is about as simple as it gets - observe one star each night - for every night for a whole year.

About 150 years ago this was the aim of a local amateur astronomer and he published a guidebook to help other observers undertake the observing plan.

Now the guidebook is being re-released by a local publisher.

For more details check out this blog....


Meteor Showers

The Autumn and Winter of 2014-15 promise the potential for some good shooting star observing.
The first major shower of the Autumn are the Draconids - these are active around the 10th October. They are the left-overs from a well known comet Goacobini-Zinner and on occasion they can have quite a good showing.
The Moon will be nearly full so it will be a challenge to see this shower in 2014.
Next comes the Orionids - these are active from 16th to 27th October with a peak on the 20th/21st. There will be a nearly new Moon on this night so get ready for some hours spent tracking these down. Orion rises at around 11pm so you need to stay up late or get up very early to see this shower as they are best viewed after midnight.

The Summer Milky Way

This image was taken at around midnight local time on Saturday 23rd August, from a campsite at Adderstone Field during Scarborough & Ryedale Astronomical Society's annual StarFest.
The image is of the Summer Milky Way - Our galaxy - actually only a major part of it, and was taken with a Canon 60Da fitted with a Vivitar 8mm F3.5 Fish-eye lens on a tripod. The exposure was about 45 seconds at ISO 2000.
You can see the starfields of Cygnus and much more.

The Winter Night Sky

December sees the hieight of the stargazing season as we round the winter equinox on the 21st/22nd December. 

During this time there are no planets to see in thr early evening but there is a good opportunity to view the Geminid Meteor Shower of the nights of 13th and 14th December.

More details in the enclosed notes and images

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