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Manchester Astronomical Society
Established 1903

Manastro Journal for August

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

In the Sky for the next few weeks (images taken at 10pm on 15th):-









The Moon

New Moon on 8th

1st Quarter on the 15th

Full Moon on 22nd

3rd Quarter on the 30th

Planet of the month: Saturn

Diameter: 120536 km 9.449 Earths
Mass: 95.16 Earths
Density: 0.62 g/cc (water=1)
Gravity: 1.07 G
Rotation Period: 0.43 days = 0d 10h 14m 00s


© Stephen Faulder

It's been a long time since Saturn has been visible at a reasonable height in our skies. This month, Saturn reaches opposition on the 2nd August, lying in the constellation Capricornus and will reach approx 10 degrees above the south-east horizon during the night.

Saturn will also be at perigee at this time (closest approach to earth) making it appear larger and brighter.

Saturn's rings will be at 18 degrees and will be showing it's northern hemisphere, so a great opportunity for both visual observations and imaging.

Constellation of the Month: Ophiuchus (shown 15th August 22:00)


Ophiuchus constellation lies mostly in the southern sky, near the celestial equator. Its name means “the serpent bearer” in Greek

The constellation is associated with the figure of Asclepius, the famous healer in Greek mythology. It was one of the constellations first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Sometimes, it is also known by its Latin name, Serpentarius. Ophiuchus is generally depicted as a man holding a snake, represented by the neighbouring constellation Serpens, which is divided into two parts by Ophiuchus: Serpens Caput, the snake’s head, and Serpens Cauda, the snake’s tail. The snake is usually depicted coiled around his waist.

Ophiuchus contains a number of notable stars, including Rasalhague, Barnard’s Star, and Kepler’s Supernova, and many famous deep sky objects, including the Twin Jet Nebula, the Little Ghost Nebula, the dark nebulae Barnard 68, the Pipe Nebula, the Snake Nebula, and the Dark Horse Nebula, and the globular clusters Messier 9, Messier 10, Messier 12, Messier 14, Messier 19, Messier 62, and Messier 107

Twin Jet Nebula

Twin Jet Nebula © - ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Messier 10

M10 © - Alan Beech

Meteor Showers

August hosts one of the meteor shower highlights of the year, the Perseid meteor shower, which occurs in August every year as the earth passes through the debris left by comet Swift Tuttle.

This year the main shower runs from 16th July – 23rd Aug 2021, with a peak on the night of 11th/12th August.

If you want to look for these, find a nice dark place, sit/lie back and look up. The meteors will originate from NE in the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky. The Moon's phase is favourable this year (3 to 4 days old on 12th) - let's hope the weather is too!


MAS Society & MAS Facebook members' recent images

Here is a selection of some of the recent images from our members, there are many more excellent pictures on our Facebook page & in the Images section of this website, check them out.

Elephant's Trunk

Elephant's Trunk © Alan Griffiths - 15/07/21

Witches Broom Nebula

Witches Broom Nebula © Martyn Jones - 19/07/21


NLC © June Blackburn - 14/07/21


Jupiter © Mike Hassall - 21/07/21




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