Newsletter – December 2019



Welcome to the December edition of this newsletter.

The Practical Workshop was well attended and there were a few breaks in the cloud to allow some observing in the bitterly cold wind.

Unfortunately the Observing Evening has to be cancelled again because of dire weather.

Due to other commitments there will now be one monthly combined Practical/Observing Evening, held on either a Friday or Saturday evening.

The NSAS Calendar 2020 will be available at the next meeting and is priced at £9, with all profits going into society funds.

The presentation by Pete Williamson at Keele University was well attended and everyone enjoyed the evening.

Thanks to Professor Jeffries for arranging the room and supporting us on the night.

This month’s presentation by Gary Palmer has had a last minute alteration as Gary is ill and unable to attend. Stepping into the breach will be Ray Leeson and Duncan Richardson to cover the same topic, “Equipment Guide for Beginners”  (NSAS Members £FREE – Non Members £3. Further details are here.

This month’s Practical/Observing night will be on 13th December.

 If you would like to upload an image for the NSAS Members Image Gallery please follow this link

This and any other events are listed on the NSAS Events page.

May I remind everyone that the society solar scope is available throughout the winter too! It is on a monthly basis and there is just a £25 returnable deposit required. Contact me at the email below or see me at the meeting. More details here.

If anyone has any ideas for new features on the website or on any improvements you’d like to see to existing ones then please drop me an email or text.

Also keep an eye on our Facebook page as any breaking news will more than likely appear there first as I can update that from my phone.

Our new members Facebook group is here

The sky maps can be downloaded from here

The next regular meeting is on January 7th,  which is Chris Suddick – Mythology of the Stars

If anyone has anything they want to include on the website/newsletter/etc then please email me

Wishing you clear skies and a Merry Christmas,




Sky Calendar — December 2019

4 First Quarter Moon at 6:58 UT.
5 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 4h UT (distance 404,446 km; angular size 29.5′).
10 Moon near the Pleiades (evening sky) at 19h UT.
 The Pleiades (Wikipedia)
11 Venus 1.8° S of Saturn (30° from Sun, evening sky) at 10h UT. Mags. −4.0 and 0.6.
11 Moon near Aldebaran (evening sky) at 12h UT.
 Aldebaran (Wikipedia)
12 Full Moon at 5:12 UT.
 Full Moon Names (Wikipedia)
13 Moon at northernmost declination in year at 21h UT. Declination +23.23°.
14 Geminid Meteor Shower peaks at 12h UT. Produces bright, medium-speed meteors at its peak (up to 80 meteors/hour). Most reliable meteor shower. Easy to observe (radiant on sky map). Best after midnight.
 Meteor Shower Calendar (IMO)
 Geminids (NASA)
 Geminids of the North (APOD)
14 Moon near Castor (morning sky) at 14h UT.
14 Moon near Pollux (morning sky) at 18h UT.
15 Moon near Beehive cluster M44 (morning sky) at 18h UT.
17 Moon near Regulus (morning sky) at 8h UT.
 Regulus (Wikipedia)
18 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 20:16 UT (370,265 km; angular size 32.3′).
19 Last Quarter Moon at 4:58 UT.
21 Moon near Spica (morning sky) at 4h UT.
22 December solstice at 4:21 UT. The time when the Sun reaches the point farthest south of the celestial equator marking the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
 December Solstice (Wikipedia)
23 Moon near Mars (morning sky) at 5h UT. Mag. 1.6.
 Mars (Wikipedia)
24 Moon near Antares (morning sky) at 12h UT.
 Antares (Wikipedia)
26 Annular Solar Eclipse from 3:34 to 7:01 UT. Greatest eclipse at 5:18 UT. The narrow path of annularity extends from Saudi Arabia to southern India, northern Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Singapore, Borneo and to Guam. Partial eclipse extends across Asia and northern Australia.
 Annular Solar Eclipse of 2019 December 26 (GIF) (NASA)
 Solar Eclipses: 2011 – 2030 (Mr Eclipse)
 NASA Solar Eclipse Page (NASA)
26 New Moon at 5:13 UT. Start of lunation 1200.
 Lunation Number (Wikipedia)
27 Moon near Saturn (15° from Sun, evening sky) at 13h UT. Mag. 0.6.
 Saturn (Wikipedia)
29 Moon near Venus (34° from Sun, evening sky) at 3h UT. Mag. −4.0.
 Venus (Wikipedia)
All times Universal Time (UT).

Regular Meetings

21st Hartshill Scout Group HQ, Mount Pleasant, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. ST5 1DP

Practical Workshop

Third Wednesday of the month (September – June)