Manx skies... December
2017 ~ compiled by Dave Storey
Note: All times are
Universal Time (UT) = GMT = IoM local time.
Solstice occurs on the 21st at 16.29hrs.
are no Lunar or Solar eclipses this month.
Solar activity is low with
24 now in force.
NEVER DIRECTLY OBSERVE THE SUN WITH YOUR NAKED EYES AND/OR OPTICAL
INSTRUMENTATION: YOU WILL BE BLINDED!
Solar Rotation number 2198 starts on the 3rd at 14h44m38s.
Is in the evening sky at the
start of the month but being low down at sunset, it will be poorly
placed for viewing. It goes through inferior
conjunction (between the Earth and Sun) on the 13th
when it passes 1.6° north of
the Sun and enters the pre sunrise sky. Best chance of seeing the
planet will be during the last 2 weeks of the month when it may be
found low down in the dawn twilight skies.
Is a morning sky object but is
getting closer to the Sun as the month progresses. It will be low
down in the east before sunrise during the first week of the
month. For the rest of the month, the planet will become lost into
the bright dawn twilight sky.
in the morning sky, rising at 03.43h on the first, shining at
+1.7. On this date, the planet will be just over 3° to the
upper left of the bright star Spica in Virgo. As the magnitude of
Spica is +1.1, Mars will be the brighter of the two and will have
the distinct red tinge. Mars is moving prograde
(direct west to east) across the sky, heading towards Jupiter
further east, when they will be in conjunction with other in
January next year. Telescopically, the planets disc will be less
than 5 arc seconds wide, so there will be little chance of seeing
any surface details.
down in the east just before sunrise at the start of the month.
The planet gets better placed for viewing as the month progresses,
shining at magnitude
-1.7 to -1.8. Jupiter rises at 05.28h on the 1st
and by 04.03h by the end of the
year. On the morning of the 14th,
Jupiter will make a nice grouping with the planet Mars and the
waning crescent Moon.
As the moons orbit Jupiter, there are
occasions when the shadow of the moons can be seen upon the
surface of Jupiter and the moons can transit across Jupiter's
disc. Also, the moons can be seen to be occulted or eclipsed by
Jupiter. There are many events throughout the month. See
periodicals such as the BAA
Handbook, Astronomy Now
and Sky at Night
magazines for listings.
To help you identify the moons at
any particular time, Sky
and Telescope have
tool that will plot the moon positions. Click
Will be in conjunction
with the Sun on the 21st
and will not be visible this
are active from 8-17th
peak activity occurring 02h on the 14th.
This shower has a high ZHR
rate of 100+ meteors per hour and there are some bright events
associated with this shower. The meteors are slow moving. Radiant
is at RA 07h33m Dec. +32°
The moon will be well out of the way this year, being a waning
crescent in the dawn skies, so the display will not hampered by
can be seen from 17-25th
peak activity on 23rd.
Maximum rate is low at 10 meteors per hour (ZHR).
Radiant is at RA 14h28m Dec.
+78° There have been outburst of activity with this
shower, occurring in the years 1945,1982 and 1986, so it will be
worth a watch in case of an outburst. Moonlight will be minimal
this year around peak activity so any view of the shower will be
Brighter than Magnitude +6.0)
Magnitude. P.A. Type of event. Notes
2nd 04.12:59 462 93320 +6.0 083° DD D*
5th 03.15:09 947 95432 +5.2 230° RD 71
6th 22.08:31 1236 97645 +5.1 206° RD zeta1
23rd 18.44:25 3268 164974 +5.3 041° DD 42
28th 19.17:56 364 110543 +4.3 072° DD xi
29th 19.07:18 491 93416 +6.0 052° DD D*
29th 22.47:55 508 93469 +4.1 121° DD 5
30th 17.07:50 635 93868 +3.7 085° DD gamma
30th 21.17:00 667 93950 +5.0 063° DD 75
31st 01.03:41 692 94027 +0.1 117° DD Aldebaran
31st 01.55:55 692 94027 +0.1 226° RD Aldebaran
31st 21.22:32 832 94628 +4.3 077° DD 119
31st 21.59:58 836 94649 +5.7 099° DD 120
For very detailed list of occultations visible this
month, click here. Data
from Occult Software.
are UT as seen from IoMAS Observatory. Start to observe these
events about 20 minutes before the above times to allow for
differences in your latitude and longitude. This will give you
time to locate the star that is about to be occulted.
= Zodiacal Catalogue. Type of Event DD = disappearance at dark
limb, RD = Reappearance at dark limb. RB = Reappearance on bright
limb. PA = Position Angle around limb of the Moon, where 0 degrees
is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south and 270 degrees
D* = Double Star M*=Multiple Star
predictions were calculated from Occult software by David Herald.
More information regarding this software may be found at the
star drops from magnitude
+2.1 to +3.4 in about 5 hours. Suitable events visible from the
Isle of Man this month occur on 1st
01.24h and 26th
here for a star chart for Algol.
There are no predicted bright
comets this month.
The international Space
Station crosses the Manx skies on a regular basis. For the latest
information on when the ISS is due to pass across the sky over the
next ten days, visit the link below.
transit Information from Heavens Above.com
for Manx Night Skies
Handbook of the British Astronomical Association 2017. BAA.
Stargazing 2017. Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest.
2017 Guide to the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop &
Wil Tirion. Collins 2016
2017: An Astronomical Year (U.K.
Edition) Richard J. Bartlett. October 2016
Yearbook 2017. Sky
at Night. BBC. Immediate Media Company, Bristol. 2016
Yearbook of Astronomy. Richard Pearson & Brian Jones. CPI
Group (UK) Limited. 2017
Observer's Handbook Meteors.
Neil Bone. Philip's 1993
Atlas of the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop.
Constellations. Josef Klepešta and Antonin
Rükl. Hamlyn. 1979
Brilliant Stars. Patrick Moore. The
Book People Ltd. 1996
Complete Guide to Stargazing. Robin
Scagell. Phillip's. 2006
Turn Left at Orion. Guy Consolmango
and Dan M. Davis. Cambridge U.P. 2008
Norton's 2000.0 Edited
Ian Ridpath. Longman Scientific & Technical. 1989
Planetary data derived from
Picture graphics derived from Stellarium
and Guide 9 Software.