Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Astronomy Show 15.02.17

The Astronomy Show 15.02.17

After spending two weeks in the neutral zone the Astronomy Show is back today.

Dis you know that astronomers thought that a doomsday asteroid might be coming our way in February. No! I didn't either but the good news is that  it won't happen at least this month. You can hear the story this afternoon.

I will also be looking at the regular features with the Messier Marathon continuing with M 17 in Sagittarius, the A-Z of constellations is Centaurus and we are approaching the end of the top 20 brightest stars, this week number 19 is the star Deneb in Cygnus.

There will also be the latest astronomy news, the astronomy scrapbook for this week in history and what's going on in the astronomical society scene.

The astronomy show, Wednesday afternoons from 3 p -5 pm on Drystone Radio 103.5 FM live on line at or listen later on the podcast.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Astronomy Show 25.01.17

The Astronomy Show 25.01.17

On the Astronomy Show this week I will be looking at not only how to find Venus in the sky , which is actually very easy but also talking about a gravitational wave that has been observed on the 'Evening Star'

All the normal features are back this week, with the18th brightest star in the sky Fomalhaut being featured, this  together with M 16 in the Messier Marathon and the constellation of the week is Cassiopeia.This plus the latest news, the astronomy scrapbook looking at what happened this week in astronomical history and the round up of astronomical society news.

Join me at Starbase 82, on Wednesday afternoon between 3 pm and 5 pm at Drystone Radio 103.5 FM or on line at or hear it later on the podcast.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Craven Star Party and 83 Ursa Major

The Craven Star Party and 83 Ursa Major

Despite the weather being very cloudy on January 18th over 60 people visited the village hall in Cracoe to hear a series of astronomy talks and meet people from the Earby, Bradford and Keighley astronomical societies and have a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

When not looking for astronomical anniversaries as the astrognome I do when ever possible observe the sky. My great interest was always high latitude novae, these are novae which appear 3-4 kpc above the galactic plane. This means that I tend to look at the less fashionable areas  of the night sky.

I have recently been observing the area around the handle of the plough, it is an area I have watched many times in the past. A star which is of great interest to me is the star 83 Ursa Majoris which  is a spectral class M2 III v  and is officially classed as a semi regular long period variable varying between 4.6- 4.7 and has the designation IQ UMa. There appears to be little information available on
 this star.

On January 20th while observing the star using 15 x 70 binoculars I am a very old fashioned kind of astronomer 83 UMa did not look much brighter than either 81 UMa mag 5.6 or 84 UMa mag 5.7 both are A class stars, in fact 84 UMa is a alpha2 CVn type variable with a very small amplitude.

It should be remembered that the vats majority of red giant stars will vary to some extent as they are approaching the end of their time lines.

According to Miss Agness Clerke it was reported that on August 6th 1868 that 83 Ursa Majoris a  6th magnitude star near  Mizar was seen by the Irish astronomer John Birmingham to be equal to delta Ursa Majoris or Megrez which has a mag of 3.3, though for only that night only. Birmingham went on to say that the star was worth an occasional glance at in the future.

What is of interest is that the 83 UMa was classed as 6th magnitude by Flamsteed in his catalog of 1725 and in 1868 where as today it is around mag 4.5 . I wonder what is going on. As I make more observations I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Astronomy Show and Craven Star Party

The Astronomy Show 18.1.17

The Astronomy Show this Wednesday will be a shorter programme than normal with only one hour rather the normal two hours. This is due my involvement at the Craven Star Party at Cracoe Village hall in the evening.

During the The Astronomy Show I will look at what can be seen in the night sky on Wednesday evening. Then take a look at the latest astronomy news and an update on what's on at the astronomy societies  The regular features, the Bright Stars, the  A-Z of constellations and the Messier Marathon will be held over to the next Astronomy Show.

The Craven Star Party at Cracoe Village Hall BD23 6LQ will run from 6 pm until 9 pm on Wednesday 18th January , even if the weather does not play ball there will be experts from the Earby, Bradford and Keighley astronomical societies to explain all things astronomical plus some short astronomy talks.

The Craven Star Party will be broadcast live by the  Drystone Radio's outside broadcast team with Steve Brown.

Find Drystone Radio on 103.5 FM or listen live on

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Craven Star Party

The Craven Star Party

Astronomers will be converging on Cracoe Village Hall Cracoe near Skipton on Wednesday 18th January for the first Craven Star Party. The event will be organised by the Earby Astronomical Society and will be supported by the Bradford and the Keighley astronomical societies.

The star party will run from 6pm until 9pm. Astronomers will be on hand to show people where they can find the group of stars called The Plough; how to find the North Star; where they can discover the wonders of Orion and how to locate the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius the Dog Star. There will be telescopes available for people to look through to observe the wonders of the winter skies.

In addition, in the village hall there will be short slide shows describing what can be seen in the winter skies. If you have had a telescope given for Christmas and are not sure how to set up and use it, bring it along, as experts will be on hand to show you. 

The Craven Star Party will be broadcast live on Drystone Radio, 103.5 FM and on the internet. The event is free, and there is plenty of free parking. Light refreshments will be available.

The postcode for Cracoe Village Hall is BD23 6LQ. For further information please contact Martin Lunn on 07969 945413. 

Astrognome Scrapbook Aurora 1366

Aurora Jan 12th 1366

It was reported by John of Reading that during the night of Jan 12th 1366 that two great auroras were observed from England.

 “It appeared in western parts an excessive redness covered the whole of the sky after sunset to the east, emitting from itself backwards moving rays, now blood red, now fiery and white, it illuminated the land with the buildings on it like the prospect of day, in which the stars twinkled”

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Astrognome Scrapbook Titania and Oberon

Titania and Oberon

On January 11th 1787 William Herschel discovered not one but two new moons orbiting Uranus.
The largest of the moons of Uranus is called Titania it is 981 miles in diameter. Titania is named after the queen of the fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Oberon is much smaller and is the furthest out of the larger moons of Uranus and is named after   the King of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Their names were in fact suggested by William Herschel’s son John in 1852.