What to look out for in 2018

  1. Jupiter is currently bright in the west at nightfall – look for a brilliant bright “star”.  Binoculars will show its biggest moons. Saturn is low, but good for viewing in the south when it gets dark. It appears as a yellow star.  A small telescope will reveal its rings.  Much brighter and to its left is the brilliant Mars – shining with a distinct red tint.  The planet is on its closest approach to Earth for many years – 36 million miles away at its nearest!
  2. A total eclipse of the moon on 27 July coincided with storms for many in UK.  But fear not – there’s another chance on 21 January 2019 and this time the entire eclipse will visible and the moon is much higher in the sky. The gotcha is that it starts about 3am and goes on until after 6am will maximum totality at just after 5am.  But it’s well worth getting up for.  The next decent lunar eclipse visible from the UK is not until 18 October 2032 – so make the best of it!
  3. Until early August look for noctilucent clouds on the northern horizon. They are the highest clouds on earth and shine after dusk and before dawn. UK one of best locations in world to see them.  Glow in the dark hence their name.  This year has so far been a vintage one (see below taken with a mobile!).
  4. Major meteor showers this year are the Orionids (22 October), Leonids (17 November) and Geminids (13 December).
  5. Click the blog thoughts tab above for advice on buying telescopes.

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