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Manchester Astronomical Society
Established 1903

Manastro Journal for January

Happy New Year, lets hope for a better 2021, but unfortunately with the country still in lockdown, the Godlee Observatory is still closed for the foreseeable future. Why not join us instead for a 'Zoom' webchat, most Thursday evenings at 19.30. See Facebook for details.

In the Sky for the next few weeks:-









The Moon

1st Quarter on the 20th

Full Moon on 28th

3rd Quarter on the 6th

New Moon on 13th

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



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 2021 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -0.7.

From Manchester , this apparition will be very difficult to observe, reaching a peak altitude of 13° above the horizon at sunset on 27 Jan 2021.

Constellation of the Month: Monoceros 'The Unicorn' (shown 15th January 22:00)


Monoceros constellation lies in the northern sky, on the celestial equator. Its name means “unicorn” in Latin. Monoceros was introduced by the Dutch astronomer and cartographer Petrus Plancius from the observations of Dutch navigators in the 17th century. The constellation represents the mythical single-horned, horse-like creature.

Monoceros is a relatively faint constellation, containing only a few fourth magnitude stars, but it is nevertheless home to several notable stars: the famous variables S Monocerotis, R Monocerotis, and V838 Monocerotis, Plaskett’s Star, which is one of the most massive binary stars known, and the triple star Beta Monocerotis.

Monoceros also contains several interesting deep sky objects: the open cluster Messier 50 (NGC 2323), the Rosette Nebula, the Christmas Tree Cluster, the Cone Nebula, and Hubble’s Variable Nebula, among others.

Monoceros is the 35th constellation in size, occupying an area of 482 square degrees. It is located in the second quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ2) and can be seen at latitudes between +75° and -90°. The neighboring constellations are Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini, Hydra, Lepus, Orion and Puppis.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula © Phil Swift

Meteor Showers

Peak 4th Quadrantids (ZHR 120)

Peak 20th γ-Ursae Minorid (ZHR 3)

MAS Society & MAS Facebook members' recent images

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

Saturn Jupiter Conjunction

Saturn Jupiter Conjunction © Dave Walker - 20/12/20

Saturn Jupiter Conjunction

Saturn Jupiter Conjunction © Kevion Kilburn - 20/12/20


M42 © Dave Garside - 14/12/20


M42 © Pawel Bajorek - 17/12/20

M81 M82

M81 M82 © Rikesh Patel - 27/12/20


NGC1499 © Rikesh Patel - 17/12/20


NGC2174 © Alan Griffiths - 28/12/20




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