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Manchester Astronomical Society
Established 1903

Manastro Journal for January

The Godlee Observatory is now OPEN! Why not join us on Thursday evenings 7 - 9pm. Some Covid restrictions still apply, i.e. facemasks & hand washing.

In the Sky for the next few weeks (images taken at 10pm on 15th January)









The Moon

New Moon on 2nd

1st Quarter on the 9th

Full Moon on 17th

3rd Quarter on the 25th

The New Moon on the 2nd will be a 'Super Moon'

A Super Moon is when a full or new moon coinsides with perigee (the point the Moon's orbit is nearest to the Earth). But obviously as it's a New Moon, you wont see it!

Planet of the month: Mercury


Diameter: 4879 km 0.3825 Earths
Mass: 0.05527 Earths
Density: 5.45 g/cc (water=1)
Gravity: 0.378 G
Rotation Period: 58.65 days 58d 15h 30m



Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Therefore, it moves the fastest in its orbit, completing one trip around the Sun in only 88 days. Because of its rapid motion, Mercury is named after the fleet-footed messenger of the Roman gods.

Mercury, the fleet-footed messenger of the Roman gods, was a later expression of the Greeks' Hermes. As Hermes, Mercury was deified as the only immortal who could traverse between the upperworld, the earth, and the underworld without undergoing a frightening transformation. As such, he became an immortal messenger with winged feet and helmet.

Mercury will reach its greatest separation from the Sun on 7th Jan and will be at mag -0.6. this wont be easy to see from Manchester, with peak altitude of 10 degrees on 13th, when Mercury will be at dichotomy (half phase).

Constellation of the Month: Orion (shown 15th January 22:00)


Orion is one of the best known and loved constellations in the northern sky and a popular winter sight for experienced and new observers alike.

Orion has been known since ancient times. The constellation is also known as the Hunter, as it is associated with one in Greek mythology. It represents the mythical hunter Orion, who is often depicted in star maps as either facing the charge of Taurus, the bull, pursuing the Pleiades sisters, represented by the famous open cluster, or chasing after the hare (constellation Lepus) with his two hunting dogs, represented by the nearby constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor.

The constellation Orion contains two of the ten brightest stars in the sky – Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) – a number of famous nebulae – the Orion Nebula (Messier 42), De Mairan’s Nebula (Messier 43), Flame Nebula and the Horsehead Nebula, among others – the well-known Trapezium Cluster, and one of the most prominent asterisms in the night sky – Orion’s Belt.

Orion is the 26th constellation in size, occupying an area of 594 square degrees. It is one of the 15 equatorial constellations. It is located in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ1) and can be seen at latitudes between +85° and -75°. The neighboring constellations are Eridanus, Gemini, Lepus, Monoceros and Taurus.


© Rikesh Patel

Meteor Showers

Quantantrids - 28th Dec - 12th Jan (Peak 3-4th Dec) - ZHR 110

MAS Society & MAS Facebook members' recent images

Here is a selection of some of the recent images from our members, ther are far mor excelent pictures on our Facebook page & in the images section of this website, check them out.

Comet C 2021 A1

Comet C 2021 A1 © Martyn Jones - 03/12/21


M31 © Phil Swift - 22/12/21


M33 © Andrew Singleton - 21/12/21


Moon © Michael Hassall - 11/12/21


Pleiades © Alan Griffiths - 05/12/21




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