Monday, 3 August 2020

The Astronomy Show live on Drystone Radio between 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm tonight

The Astronomy Show Tonight on Drystone Radio.

The Astronomy Show will be live tonight between 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm on Drystone Radio 103.5 FM and also live on line, and its hosted by Martin Lunn.

On the show tonight we will look at what can be seen in the night sky for the next 7 evenings plus my A-Z of the constellations the Messier marathon, astronomical anniversaries this week  and all the latest news.

The Astronomy Show on Drystone Radio is probably the only regular  weekly astronomy show on the radio in the north of England. Hear me live on Drystone Radio 103.5 FM or listen live on www.drystoneradio.com the show can be heard on the podcast for 30 days.


Will Hay and the White Spot on Saturn


August 3rd 1933 Will Hay discovers White Spot on Saturn

Although best known as a comedy actor of British films in the 1930s Will Hay was also a very competent amateur astronomer who used a Thomas Cooke of York 6 in telescope from his home in London.

On August 3rd 1933 he discovered a white spot on the planet Saturn, this was the first white spot seen on the ringed planet since 1903 the next would not be until 1960. The white spots on Saturn are storms similar to the red spot on Jupiter.

The difference being that the red spot on Jupiter has been since constantly for several hundred years, the white spots on Saturn only appear occasionally



Sunday, 2 August 2020

Eclipse of the Sun and the death of Henry I


Solar Eclipse August 2nd 1133

One of the most celebrated eclipses of mediaeval times. The eclipse lasted for over 4 minutes and 38 seconds and maximum was at 12h 08m 38s it was total across a large part of Scotland and parts of North and East Yorkshire.

It was considered as a warning of misfortune to Henry I of England as was recorded by William of Malmesbury. The predictions were correct because Henry I would die on December 1st 1135 while campaigning in France apparently by eating too many lampreys or eels against the advice of his physicians advice.

His death would lead to the English Civil war between his daughter Matilda and his nephew King Stephen.



Saturday, 1 August 2020

The Sturgeon Moon August 3rd



The August Full Moon is the Sturgeon Moon

This month’s full moon on August 3rd is called the ‘Sturgeon Moon’. This is the month when, in past centuries, sturgeon would have been caught in the rivers of England. They were considered to be royal fish and the first caught had to be given to either the King or the King’s representative.



John Chamber 1546- 1604 Leeds Astronomer


John Chamber died August 1st 1604

John Chamber 1546-1604 was born at Swillington near Leeds little is known of his early life but he was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford where he lectured on astronomy, with his friend Henry Savile, he would later go to Eton College. He became a clergyman of the Church of England and an author, especially on astronomy and astrology. He worked with Savile on the proposed introduction date of the Gregorian calendar. Chamber wrote several works where he claimed that astrology had many technical faults and only stupid people would rely on it.


Friday, 31 July 2020

Sunspots seen from Manchester in 1870


Sunspots Seen from Manchester 1870

Mr Henry Ormesher of Manchester writes that -

“On the 31st July 1870 while looking at sunspots with my 3 inch refractor, I saw a beautiful cluster of spots, occupying an almost central position on the disc. It occurred to me that the umbra in the largest spot appeared more dense on the eastern side. I therefore determined to examine it with my 5.25 inch refractor; I did so using a power of 181. The result was, that it resolved itself into a very fine nucleus of a somewhat oval shape. After making myself sure that this was the case, I examined the cluster, and was struck with the beautiful appearance of the brighter part of the Sun’s atmosphere. A very bright stream ran across the cluster in a zigzag direction, separating the penumbra. Some parts of this stream, particularly the upper part, appeared brighter than others, presenting a very mottled appearance”

Astrognome A-Z of Constellatioins # 88 Vulpecula


Vulpecula the Fox
A faint constellation at the head of Cygnus the Swan. It originated with the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius who called it Vulpecula cum Anser, the Fox and Goose. Alas the Goose is now more, did the Fox get him?
In 1967 this diminutive constellation was the site of the astounding discovery of the first Pulsar by Jocelyn Bell Burnell using radio telescopes at the university of Cambridge .
Alpha magnitude 4.4 is a M1 red giant star with a temperature of 3,500’C degrees and is 297 light years away.
The famous Dumb Bell Nebula M27 is in Vulpecula but at magnitude 7.5 it requires at least binoculars to find it.