The Square

Having shown how the familiar star pattern of the Plough may be used to locate other constellations in the north and west part of the sky, another highly useful arrangement of stars currently visible in the autumn sky may be utilised to pick out aspects of the South and East... [Read more about The Square]

Bear Tails and Tiaras

I always view early autumn with a certain amount of nostalgia as it was around this time I first became interested in identifying the stellar patterns visible in the night sky.  As it turns out early October is almost ideal to do so;- summer constellations remain well placed as soon as darkness falls, those associated with autumn take centre stage later in the evening and waiting in the wings is the brilliant stellar canopy of winter, a vista to savour.  Of course I knew nothing of this as a young boy, but having just acquired a pair of second hand binoculars, a couple of astronomical books, and inspired by the many wonderful tales and legends associated with the constellations, early October seemed particularly suitable... [Read more about Bear Tails and Tiaras]

Following the toppling of the Whitby museum dictator, and the restoration of sanity (and hopefully all amenities) we shall discuss at the forthcoming October monthly meeting whether it is viable to return, but... [Read more about Paul Money Lecture Update & Night Scenes 2016]

  • Mark's talk for the Whitby Lit & Phil on "The Autumn night sky"
  • Star Party to raise funds for the ‘Brighter Futures’ charity, helping African children get an education
  • Possibly a couple more star party events during October.

Mark managed an unscheduled sole star party event one Friday, which turned out to be quite successful.  It has to be said though that for one reason or another, our summer star party season seems to have been a struggle... [Read more about Unscheduled September 2016 Events on West Cliff]

The following evening (3rd) was scheduled to be the Hook’s house camp site star party, however conditions were decidedly incompatible to any form of event, so it was postponed for a week.  The 10th our contingency date, turned out to be far more conducive for a star party.  Skies were almost as clear as Westerdale, the big difference being the moon, a full half, so natural light pollution was more evident.  Five members had made it across, and with 5 scopes set up, there was enough instrument ‘eye candy’ to attract the campers from a pretty full campsite. [Read more about Hook’s House Events 2016]

This year’s foray over to Westerdale on Sept 2nd remarkably coincided with crystal clear skies once again, in fact we could not have wished for clearer ones.  It was obvious on arrival at the village hall car park that a sizeable gathering was present, induced out by the fine conditions (or was it society stalwart John Randles – the Godfather of Westerdale.  Whatever, we received a warm welcome as usual.  Whilst John and Mark were talking a barn owl flew out across the drop next to the site, a fine start to proceedings. [Read more about Westerdale Star Party: Friday 2nd Sept 2016]

In this month's edition:

  • Planetary Skylights: Venus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Mercury
  • Meteor Showers: Piscids, Giacobinids/Draconids and Orionids
  • October 2016 Sky Charts

Hopefully the weather will improve for one of our observing highlights, our visit to Hook’s House Farm on the 3rd, should it be cloudy however we shall try again on Sept 10th.  The Moon will only be a few days old on the 3rd, and given clear skies deep sky observing will be a delight.  Mars and Saturn will also be visible over in the South-West. [Read more about Hook’s House Event(s) 2016]

We shall be making our pilgrimage over to Westerdale to host this year’s star party on the 2nd.  As usual the venue will be the village hall / car park area within the village.  Start time is 20:00h for the public... [Read more about Westerdale Star Party: Friday 2nd Sept 2016]

No, that didn’t work either... moving Regatta to later in the month, that is.  Different dates, same weather. 

Saturday- clouded out both afternoon and evening.  We didn’t even bother to unload any equipment for these events, squally showers and really quite strong winds do not make for ‘quality’ observing.  Having said that, three people do technically qualify as a ‘party’ and we did briefly spot a couple of stars in the Plough handle, so that’s star party in my book.  Regatta Sunday would be better.

Sunday was a lot more encouraging, the Sun was actually shining, whoopee!... [Read more about Regatta and Folk Week Events]

In this month's edition:

  • Planetary Skylights: Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Mercury
  • Meteor Showers: sparse Piscids
  • September 2016 Sky Charts

The Autumn Equinox

The autumn equinox falls on September 22nd, the date autumn officially commences in the northern hemisphere.  For the second time this year the polar axis of our planet is at right angles to the Sun and all locations receive equal hours of daylight and darkness... [Read more about The Autumn Equinox]

This Island Universe

Many amateur astronomers regard September as one of ‘the special’ months in which to explore the night sky. Evening conditions remain conducive for prolonged observation, yet skies are fully dark by 22:00h. During September the summer Milky Way is at its most conspicuous to the naked eye, though sadly for many inhabitants of the UK this magical aspect of the night sky is all too often rendered invisible because of light pollution. Fortunately the North Yorkshire moors and coasts still offer up numerous dark oases from which to fully appreciate our galactic heritage. Choose a moonless period, which in September is at the start or end. Allow a good 15 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the conditions before attempting to trace the path of the Milky Way through the brilliant starry canopy above. [Read more about This Island Universe]

It turned out to be a pleasantly warm evening on July 30th for a Star Party on West Cliff.  Warren arrived just in time to photograph a rainbow dropping to the sea through the hole in a cloud, and capture a magnificent sunset a few minutes after (pictures in the main article).

As the Sun melted below the horizon, observations switched from ships at sea to more distant celestial bodies, and the Star Party got underway with a good number of visitors; who were soon under the spell of Mark's guidance... [Read more about Final Star Party of July]