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Manchester Astronomical Society
Established 1903

Manastro Journal for December

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

A Special mention must go to Kevin Kilburn, who last month celebrated 50 years as a Member of the Society. He was "virtually" presented with a crystal representation of the Godlee Observatory and the telescopes therein.

Congratulations Kevin.

kevin kilburn

In the Sky for the next few weeks:-









The Moon

1st Quarter on the 21st

Full Moon on 30th

3rd Quarter on the 8th

New Moon on 14th

Planet(s) of the month: Saturn & Jupiter

We are graced with a rather special occurance this month, with Jupiter & Saturn making their closest conjunction of 6.1 arcminutes separation since 1623!

On the evening of 21st December, the two planets will appear very low in the southern sky - about 14° elevation at sunset (4pm), this will reduce to 10° by about 5pm, so a good low view of the South is essential. 

Naked eye the two will appear as a single bright object (mag -1.8), but with a pair of binoculars, or a telescope you should be able to see the two planets easily within the same eyepiece view.

Th two planets wont be this close again until 2080, so dont miss it (Manchester weather permitting of course!)


Image from ''

Constellation of the Month: Orion (shown 15th December 22:00)


Orion constellation is one of the brightest and best known constellations in the night sky. It lies on the celestial equator.

Orion has been known since ancient times. The constellation is also known as the Hunter, as it is associated with one in Greek mythology. It represents the mythical hunter Orion, who is often depicted in star maps as either facing the charge of Taurus, the bull, pursuing the Pleiades sisters, represented by the famous open cluster, or chasing after the hare (constellation Lepus) with his two hunting dogs, represented by the nearby constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor.

The constellation Orion contains two of the ten brightest stars in the sky – Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) – a number of famous nebulae – the Orion Nebula (Messier 42), De Mairan’s Nebula (Messier 43) and the Horsehead Nebula, among others – the well-known Trapezium Cluster, and one of the most prominent asterisms in the night sky – Orion’s Belt.

Orion is the 26th constellation in size, occupying an area of 594 square degrees. It is located in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ1) and can be seen at latitudes between +85° and -75°. The neighboring constellations are Eridanus, Gemini, Lepus, Monoceros and Taurus.


M42 Orion Nebula © Mike Oates

Meteor Showers

Peak 7th Puppid-Velids (ZHR 10)

Peak 8th Monocerotids (ZHR 2)

Peak 11th σ-Hydrids (ZHR 3)

Peak 11th Geminids (ZHR 120) - Best shower in December:


Peak 15th Coma Berenicids (ZHR 3)

Peak 20th Leonis Minorids (ZHR 5)

Peak 22nd Ursids (ZHR 10)

MAS Society & MAS Facebook members' recent images

Here is a selection of some of the recent images from our members


Sun Spot AR2781 © Martyn Jones - 07/11/20

Bubble Nebula

Bubble Nebula © Rikesh Patel - 04/11/20


Mars © Bob Stuart - 08/11/20

Rossette Nebula

Rosette Nebula © Martyn Jones - 04/11/20


NGC1893 © Phil Swift - 05/11/20

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