Manastro Journal for February
In the Sky for the next few weeks:-
Zenith - South at the bottom
1st Quarter on the 2nd
Full Moon on 9th
3rd Quarter on the 15th
New Moon on 23rd
The Moon and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 1°17' of each other. The Moon will be 15 days old
From Manchester the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:26 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 13° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 23:36, 56° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 06:34, when they sink below 7° above your western horizon.
Planet 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
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.
Mercury will reach its greatest separation from the Sun in its January–February 2020 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -0.6.
Mercury will also reach it's highest point in the evening sky on the 12th Febuary. From Manchester, this apparition will be reasonably placed but nonetheless tricky to observe, reaching a peak altitude of 14° above the horizon at sunset on 13 Feb 2020
Constellation of the Month: Drago (shown 15th February
Draco constellation lies in the northern sky. It is one of the largest constellations in the sky.
The constellation’s name means “the dragon” in Latin. Draco represents Ladon, the dragon that guarded the gardens of the Hesperides in Greek mythology.
Draco is one of the Greek constellations. It was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. It is a circumpolar constellation; it never sets below the horizon for many observers in the northern hemisphere.
Draco contains several famous deep sky objects, most notable ones being the Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543), the Spindle Galaxy (Messier 102, NGC 5866), and the Tadpole Galaxy.
The constellation Draco is associated with several myths, most frequently with the one about the 12 labours of Heracles, represented by the neighbouring constellation Hercules. In the myth, Draco represents Ladon, the dragon that guarded the golden apples in the gardens of the Hesperides.
M102 Spindle Galaxy © NASA
There are no meteor showers of note this month. The next
main meteor shower being the Lyrids in April.
MAS Society & MAS Facebook members' recent images
Here is a selection of some of the recent images from our members
Heart Nebula - ©Alan Griffiths- 10/01/20
Penumbral Eclipse - ©Mark Forbes - 10/01/20
M51 - ©Phil Swift - 14/01/20
M81 & M82- ©Alan Griffiths - 05/01/20
Rosette Nebula- ©Gary Gilbert - 19/01/20