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The Sky this Month

MAS Sky this month

What's in the night sky this month ?

The 'fixed' stars will appear in the same locations year after year (note 1). Some astronomical events - such as meteor showers - also repeat from year to year (even if the 'peak' date of a meteor shower varies somewhat) whilst other astronomical objects, such as the planets and Comets, have orbital periods that don't follow Earth's annual cycle at all. So these pages focus on the main Constellations, whilst other events can be found on the Events page


Note 1. In fact, due to the precession of the Earths axis, positions of the Constellations don't repeat exactly from one year to the next. Fortunately, in the context of "What's in the sky this month ?", this 'slippage' (which is 1 degree every 71.6 years) can be ignored (it taking 25,772 years to complete one revolution). So, if this had been written down some 2,200 years ago, at the time when the 'Sun signs' were defined, everything would have 'shifted' by some 30 degrees (or one 'Zodiac' constellation) and these pages would make as much sense today as that Astrology nonsense :-)

Running the Stellarium scripts (.ssc)

Our monthly sky Stellarium 'scripts', {date}-WhatsOn.ssc, were designed to run with Stellarium V10.1 but should 'work' with almost any version. To run the scrip on your own computer, start by downloading the script = 'right click' the link and use 'Save link as'. Next drag the .ssc file to the to the '\scripts' sub-directory of the installed Stellarium program directory (i.e. C:\Program Files\Stellarium\scripts).

To run the script, launch Stellarium, open the 'Configuration' menu dialog and go to the 'Scripts' tab. A list of available scripts will be shown in the list box on the left side. You select a script by clicking on it as usual and details (about that script) will then be shown in the panel on the right side. To run the selected script, click the 'run script' button (the icon that looks like a DVD player 'Play' button). For more Stellarium scripts, visit the Stellarium.org/wiki page

Note, before running a script it's a 'good idea' to disable the on-screen 'information' (Configuration, Information tab, set 'Selected Object information' = 'none')

(-) 01 January

Meteors this month The Quadrantids (2015 max Jan 4th, about 1am), is named after the old constellation 'Quadrans Muralis' (which was dropped by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922) and is sometimes called the Bootids after the modern constellation, Bootes although the radiant, at Dec +50, is in a rather empty area of the sky between Draco, Bootes and Ursa Major. It is, however always quite high in the sky, being circumpolar. The lowest altitude will be at around 8pm local time and is highest at the end of the night, so the 1am peak should be very visible. Peak rates vary from year to year, during 2012 reaching around 80/Hr whilst the 2009 peak was broader with above 100Hr for nearly 12 hours although the maximum is usually more narrow. In 2015, there will be a Full Moon within 1 day of the peak, so moonlight will be a big problem. Photo: ../Sky_this_month/photos/January.jpgThe sky (looking South) this month.

(click the sky map, right, for a larger view)

The Stellarium script(s) presented at our meeting can be downloaded (using 'right click' and 'Save link as') :-
Jan 2014
Jan 2015
Jan 2016
(note = scripts are built for Stellarium 10.4)


This note last modified: 25th Nov 2016 10:30.

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(+) 02 February

(+) 03 March

(+) 04 April

(+) 05 May

(+) 06 June

(+) 07 July

(+) 08 August

(+) 09 September

(+) 10 October

(+) 11 November

(+) 12 December

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