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March 2002 Newsletter

The monthly meeting will be held on Friday, 1st March, at Timperley Village Hall, 8  pm. Graham Sinagola will be speaking on astrophotography.

Recent Events In the past month, there have been two visits to the observatory by a cub scout group from Stockport. The first event, on the 18th had clear skies, the 14’’ was brought out to observe with, and a slide show was given by Chairman Chris Suddick. Feedback from Richard Bullock was that both groups enjoyed the visits, but a shame the second visit wasn't blessed with clear skies. Approximately 20 ADAS members went to the National Space and Science Centre on Sat. 23rd. A computer failure at the centre caused some initial problems getting in, but the trip was a success, and enjoyed by all. Another visit may be organised for a midweek date, to avoid weekend crowds. Graham Cliff and Chris Suddick arranged an early meet at the obs earlier in February to connect the newly acquired web cam up to the 14’’, and display images on the computer. The good news is that everything is working OK, but unluckily, the sky was cloudy, and it was not possible to make any observations or record any images.

A Messier Marathon has been suggested for the coming month, as we will be presented with the best chance of seeing most of Messier’s catalogue in one night. Taking care to observe in the correct order, so as not to miss anything, it should be possible to obtain sightings of up to 100 objects.  Given usual dates for dark sky sessions, the weekends before and after the new moon, would be Saturday 9th & 16th March. As usual, call Graham Cliff or Don Utton on the day no later than 3 pm to confirm details of Location/times etc.

Roger Livermore has been in contact with Adam Davison of the Mersey Valley Countryside Management Department, with a view to organising an event at the visitor centre at Sale Water Park in May.  There are 5 planets close together in the western sky in May, and it has been suggested that this would be a good time to go and set up a variety of members’ scopes to view the planets. Facilities at the centre include a meeting room equipped with a digital projector, so the possibility is there for a presentation to be given. Roger has mentioned that the department will need to know whether or not this is to happen, so a decision should be taken at the meeting on Friday 1st. Given that the event is well attended by members of the public it will be a good opportunity to generate a little publicity for ADAS.

Observing Notes

q SUN Presently in Aquarius, moving to Pisces on the 23rd. Graham C. has recently reported a decline in Sunspot activity. The Sun rises at 06:24 and sets at 18:15 on the 15th; morning twilight is at 04:28, darkness by 20:12.

R MOON          Last Quarter 6th,  rise 02:26, set 10:13                                     New Moon   14th, rise 07:09, set 18:34                                     First Quarter 22nd, rise 10:03, set 02:49                                      Full Moon    28th,  rise 18:18, set 06:21

S MERCURY    Rising a mere 14 minutes before the Sun, at 06:10, and setting at 19:43 on the 15th, Mercury will be very hard to spot this month.

T VENUS     An early evening object in Cetus; visible for approx. an hour after sunset, falling below the horizon at 19:34 on the 15th.

U MARS    In Aries, Will be setting from an altitude of approx. 30 degrees by darkness, setting at 22:39

V JUPITER     In Gemini, and high in the sky at an altitude of 60 degrees by dark, setting at 03:36. Below are times to view shadow transits, also times the Great Red Spot will cross the meridian: Shadow Transits       GRS Date      Moon    Start      End                                                 Date       Time 7th        Gan.       22:15    01:25                                               4th           21:06 8th         Io          21:46    00:01                                               6th           22:45 14th      Gan.       02:15    05:25                                               9th           20:15 14th       Eur.      18:35     21:23                                               11th         21:54 15th       Io         23:41     01:56                                               13th         23:33 17th       Io         18:10     20:25                                               16th         21:03 21st       Eur.       21:12    23:59                                                18th         22:42 24th       Io          20:06    22:21                                                23rd        21: 51 28th       Eur.       23:47    02:35                                                25th         23:30 31st       Io          22:01    00:16                                                28th         21:01

W SATURN      In Taurus, Saturn will be setting from an altitude of 51 degrees by dark on the 15th, As spring approaches, Saturn is no longer visible all through the night, and sets at 01:17

X URANUS      In Capricornus, will not currently be visible from the UK

y NEPTUNE     See Uranus.

Z PLUTO   In Ophiuchus, rising at 00:56, reaching a maximum altitude of 23 degrees by 05:50. Very faint at mag 13.9

Comets Below are maps of the tracks of comets C/2002 C1 Ikeya-Zhang, only recently discovered, and C/2001 OG108 LONEOS. Maps from Sky Map Pro.

If anybody has any information or announcements they would like to be included in next month's  newsletter, please email me at The links below were originally set up by Roger Livermore. We hope they are useful.

The Sun from SOHO. (Dave T. recommended)!:

The Sun as observed this day  through the Mees white light

Stars from ADAS's Sky Map 8 planisphere:

Planets via Sky and Telescope ‘What’s Up?’: 

Asteroids via Heavens-Above: 

Meteors  the IMO calendar via:

Aurora alert  York University:

Satellites from Heavens Above: 

Variable stars, novae and supernovae AAVSO:

by Dave Timperley

For the previous newsletter, click here.

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