Newsletter – May 2020



Welcome to the May edition of this newsletter.

Unfortunately due to the current situation we have no meetings at all. All planned meetings are put on hold and I very much doubt we’ll be able to have any more until after the summer break.

Sorry that this newsletter is a little late.

Everyone please stay home and stay safe x

I’ve finally got around to fixing the dew heater to the all sky camera. If I can now sort out the software problems ,we should have a good images to see!
If you have anything to share, in the form of a photo(use link below), a write up of what you’ve been up to or useful website you have found, please send it to me at

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

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

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

Wishing you clear skies,




Sky Calendar — May 2020

2 Moon near Regulus (evening sky) at 6h UT.
 Regulus (Wikipedia)
4 Mercury at superior conjunction with the Sun at 21h UT. The elusive planet passes into the evening sky.
5 Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks at 21h UT. Most active for 7 days around this date. Associated with Comet Halley. Very fast, bright meteors, up to 40 per hour. Favors skywatchers in the tropics and southern hemisphere observing a few hours before dawn. Moonlight interferes this year.
 Eta Aquariids (Wikipedia)
 2020 Meteor Shower Calendar (PDF) (IMO)
5 Moon near Spica (evening sky) at 23h UT.
 Spica (Wikipedia)
6 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 2:56 UT (distance 359,654 km; angular size 33.2′).
7 Full Moon at 10:44 UT.
9 Moon near Antares (morning sky) at 1h UT.
 Antares (Wikipedia)
12 Moon near Jupiter (morning sky) at 11h UT. Mag. −2.4.
 Jupiter (Wikipedia)
12 Moon, Jupiter and Saturn within a circle of diam. 4.7° (morning sky) at 14h UT. Mags. −2.4 and 0.5.
12 Moon near Saturn (morning sky) at 20h UT. Mag. 0.5.
 Saturn (Wikipedia)
14 Last Quarter Moon at 14:02 UT.
15 Moon near Mars (morning sky) at 5h UT. Mag. 0.2.
 Mars (Wikipedia)
18 Jupiter 4.7° WSW of Saturn (morning sky) at 6h UT. Mags. −2.5 and 0.6.
18 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 8h UT (distance 405,583 km; angular size 29.5′).
22 Mercury 0.9° SE of Venus (19° from Sun, evening sky) at 10h UT. Mags. −0.6 and −4.2.
22 New Moon at 17:39 UT. Start of lunation 1205.
24 Moon, Mercury and Venus within a circle of diam. 4.4° (18° from Sun, evening sky) at 6h UT. Mags. −0.4 and −4.2.
24 Moon near Mercury (20° from Sun, evening sky) at 13h UT. Mag. −0.4.
 Mercury (Wikipedia)
26 Moon near Castor (evening sky) at 15h UT.
26 Moon near Pollux (evening sky) at 20h UT.
27 Moon near Beehive cluster M44 (evening sky) at 21h UT.
 Beehive Cluster (Wikipedia)
 M44: The Beehive Cluster (APOD)
29 Moon near Regulus (evening sky) at 12h UT.
30 First Quarter Moon at 3:29 UT.
All times Universal Time (UT).

Comet C/2020 F8 Swan will be visible this month. Here’s how to see it.

It might prove tricky, but see if you can spot Comet C/2020 F8 Swan racing across the late spring UK skies.

See article

Moon Phases

The Moon changes its apparent shape with four distinct phases depending on the Moon’s position as it orbits around the Earth, and the Earth’s position as it orbits around the Sun. There are four main Moon phases, also known as Lunar Phases: First Quarter, Full Moon, Last Quarter and New Moon. An additional four intermediate phases make up the combined eight phases that comprise the Phases of the Moon in the following sequential order: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter and Waning Crescent.

Atmospheric Optics

 Light playing on water drops, dust or ice crystals in the atmosphere produces a host of visual spectacles – rainbows, halos, glories, coronas and many more. Some can be seen almost every day or so, some are once in a lifetime sights. Find out where to see them and how they are formed. Then seek and enjoy them outdoors.

Regular Meetings

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