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Manchester Astronomical Society
Established 1903

Manastro Journal for September

With the country still in lockdown, unfortunately the Godlee Observatory is 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 24th

Full Moon on 2nd

3rd Quarter on the 10th

New Moon on 17th

Planet of the month: Neptune

Diameter: 49528 km, 3.88 Earths
Mass: 17.15 Earths
Density: 1.62 g/cc (water=1)
Gravity: 1.14 G
Rotation Period: 0.67 days 0d 16h 36m


© NASA/JPL-Caltech

Neptune will be well placed in the sky, in the constellation Aquarius. It will be visible for much of the night, reaching its highest point in the sky around midnight local time.

From Manchester, it will be visible between 22:23 and 03:53. It will become accessible around 22:23, when it rises to an altitude of 22° above your south-eastern horizon. It will reach its highest point in the sky at 01:10, 31° above our southern horizon. It will become inaccessible around 03:53 when it sinks below 21° above the south-western horizon.

Over the weeks following its opposition, Neptune will reach its highest point in the sky four minutes earlier each night, gradually receding from the pre-dawn morning sky while remaining visible in the evening sky for a few months.

Constellation of the Month: Andromeda (shown 15th september 22:00)


Andromeda constellation is located in the northern sky, between Cassiopeia’s W asterism and the Great Square of Pegasus.

The constellation was named after the mythical princess Andromeda, the wife of the Greek hero Perseus. It is also known as the Chained Maiden, Persea (wife of Perseus), or Cepheis (daughter of Cepheus). Andromeda was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

Among other notable deep sky objects, Andromeda constellation contains the famous Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31) and the dwarf elliptical galaxies Messier 32 (Le Gentil) and Messier 110

Andromeda is the 19th largest constellation in the sky, occupying an area of 722 square degrees. It is located in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ1).

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of King Cepheus of Ethiopia and Queen Cassiopeia, who offended the Nereids (sea nymphs) by claiming she was more beautiful than they were.

The nymphs complained to the sea god Poseidon and he sent a sea monster, Cetus, to flood and destroy Cepheus’ lands as punishment for his wife’s boastfulness. When the king sought advice from the Oracle of Ammon on how to prevent complete destruction of his lands, he was told that the only way to appease the gods and nymphs was to sacrifice his daughter to Cetus. Subsequently, Andromeda was chained to a rock and would have been left to the monster if Perseus had not come along and saved her. The two were later married and had six children, including Gorgophonte, who fathered Tyndareus, the famous Spartan king, and Perses, who was an ancestor of the Persians.

In the story, it was the goddess Athena who commemorated the princess Andromeda by placing her image among the stars, next to the constellations representing her husband Perseus and mother Cassiopeia.


M31 © Alan Beech


M110 © 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF

Meteor Showers

There are no major meteor showers in September, although there are 2 minor showers: the Alpha-Aurigids with a maximum on 1st September but moonlight (full moon) will wash-out all but the brightest. There is also the "September Perseids" with a maximum on 9th September. Moonlight circumstances are fairly unfavourable in 2020 with a 64% illuminated gibbous Moon.

MAS Society & MAS Facebook members' recent images

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


M31 - ©Martyn Jones - 02/08/20


Sun - ©Dave Walker - 15/08/20


NGC6992 - ©Rikesh Patel - 15/08/20


M27 - ©Tara Elizabeth Hewitt - 09/08/20




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