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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')

(-) 04 April

Meteors this month The Lyrids, from about 18 to 25th every year, usually peaking 22/23. The Lyrid radiant lies near the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky and will be rising (it is above the horizon all night) so you can expect to see higher numbers as it's altitude increases, especially after midnight.

The Lyrids are the main shower of the spring months and whilst not as numerous as the major showers that occur later in the year, sometimes intense (but brief) 'outbursts' have been seen (the last was in 1982).
The Eta Aquarids, active from April 19 to May 28, peaking May 5-6 (see May) Photo: ../Sky_this_month/photos/April.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') :-
April 2014
April 2015
April 2016
(note = scripts tested with Stellarium 10.4)


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

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(+) 05 May

(+) 06 June

(+) 07 July

(+) 08 August

(+) 09 September

(+) 10 October

(+) 11 November

(+) 12 December

(+) 01 January

(+) 02 February

(+) 03 March

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