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Manchester Astronomical Society
Established 1903

Manastro Journal for May

Unfortunately with the country still in lockdown, the Godlee Observatory is still closed for the forseeable future. Why not join us instead for a 'Zoom' webchat, most Thursday evenings. See Facebook for details.

In the Sky for the next few weeks:-









The Moon

1st Quarter on the 19th

Full Moon on 26th

3rd Quarter on the 3rd

New Moon on 11th

On the 11th the new moon will be a 'micro moon', that is it will be at apogee (furthest orbital path from Earth) - not that you could see it anyway!

On the 26th the full moon will be a 'super full moon', that is it will be at perigee (nearest approach to Earth) on the same night there will also be a total lunar eclipse between 10:45 and 13:52 BST (totality between 12:12 and 12:26) but this will not be visible from Manchester.

Planet(s) of the month: Mercury

Diameter: 4879 km 0.3825 Earths
Mass: 0.05527 Earths
Density: 5.45 g/cc (water=1)
Gravity: 0.378 G
Rotation Period: 58.65 days 58d 15h 30m Rotation Period: 1.03 days = 1d 00h 37m 23s



The planets continue to put on a poor show this month, with Jupiter & Saturn low in the morning sky, Venus a thin crescent & Mars struggliong in the evening twilight. Mercury continues to be the best option, siutated near the Pleiades on 3rd May and situated only 1 degess from Venus on the 25th May.

Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet in the Solar System. Its orbit around the Sun takes only 87.97 days, the shortest of all the planets in the Solar System. It is named after the Roman deity Mercury, the messenger of the gods.

Constellation of the Month: Hercules (shown 15th May 22:00)


Hercules constellation is located in the northern sky. It was named after Hercules, the Roman version of the Greek hero Heracles.

Heracles, in turn, was often associated with the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh, and the constellation itself has a long history, dating back to Sumerian times

Hercules is the fifth largest constellation in the sky, but has no first magnitude stars. In traditional depictions, the star Ras Algethi (Alpha Herculis) represents Hercules’ head and a prominent asterism, the Keystone, marks his torso, as he stands victoriously on Draco’s head.

In mythology, the constellation Hercules is usually associated with the penultimate labour of Heracles, which involved killing the dragon Ladon, who guarded the garden of the Hesperides. The dragon is represented by the constellation Draco. Hercules constellation was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

Notable deep sky objects in Hercules include the Great Globular Cluster (Messier 13), the globular cluster Messier 92, the planetary nebulae Abell 39 and NGC 6210, the Hercules Cluster of galaxies, and the galaxy cluster Abell 2199.


M13 © Mike Oakes


M92 © Mike Oates

Meteor Showers

η-Aquariids. Apr 19 - May 28 (Peak May 05), ZHR 40

η-Lyrids. May 03 - May 14 (Peak May 08), ZHR 3

MAS Society & MAS Facebook members' recent images

Here is a selection of some of the recent images from our members, ther are far mor excelent pictures on our Facebook page & in the images section of this website, check them out.

Leo Triplet

Leo Triplet © Steve Healey - 09/04/21


M66 © Bob Stuart - 02/04/21


M106 © Rikesh Patel - 04/04/21

Markarians Chain

Markarians Chain © Martyn Jones - 07/04/21

Nova V140sCas

Nove V140sCas © Phil Swift - 05/04/21


M51 © Alan Griffiths - 11/04/21




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