Observatory News

Latest news

Stargazing 2016

Stargazing and planetary viewing will return in 2016 to coincide with the BBC2’s Stargazing Live event. Science staff, Science ambassadors and enthusiasts will give hints and tips for getting started in astronomy and advice on navigating your way around the night sky. Activities will include night sky observation, planetary viewing and stargazing with the opportunity to use our on-site purpose built observatory. There will be ‘hands on' space related activities available for all ages throughout the evening and live presentations via a Skype link with UK Space Agency/NASA and European Space Agency.

Click here to download the Stargazing Star Guide. Details of event to follow.

Future Events

October 2015

11th - Uranus at Opposition

Uranus and Earth will be at their closest distance from one another. Uranus will also be fully illuminated by the Sun making this the ideal time to observe it, even at the time of opposition.

21st-22nd - Orionid meteor shower.

Orionid is a medium intensity meteor shower and one can see about 25 meteors per hour.

November 2015

17th-18th - Leonids meteor shower

Annual event of Leonid meteor shower can be seen on 16th-17th November. Leonid meteor shower is visible towards the constellation Leo, the Lion. During Leonid meteor shower, Earth will pass through a stream of debris which is left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle.

December 2015

13th-14th - Geminids meteor shower

Geminids meteor shower is a strong meteor shower. Annual event of Geminids meteor shower will take place on 13-14th December but some meteors will be visable between 6th to 19th December. For many observers, geminid is the best meteor shower. It can produce 60-80 meteors per hour at its peak.

22nd-23rd - Ursids meteor shower

Ursids meteor shower is a medium intensity meteor shower. Ursids meteor shower peaks on 22-23 December. It usually produces 5-10 meteors per hour hour but occasionally it can produce about 100 meteors per hour.

January 2016

3rd-4th - Quadrantid meteor shower

Quadrantid meteor shower will be peaked on 3rd and 4th January but it will be visible on 1-5 January 2016. One can see upto 40 meteors per hour during peak. Meteors seems to radiate from the constellation Bootes, close to the North Star. In 1932, the Quadrantid meteor shower showed maximum activity with 80 meteors per hour.

8th - The Mercury at Perihelion

With 0.98330 AU distance from Sun, the Earth will be at closest distance from Sun (Perihelion) at 23 UTC.

February 2016

8th - New Moon

Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 14:39 UTC.

22nd - Full Moon

Earth is between the Sun and the Moon and so the Moon will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 18:20 UTC.

March 2016

8th - Jupiter at Opposition.

Jupiter will be at its closest distance from Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. The red planet will be brighter than any other time of the year. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. You can see some of the details in Jupiter's cloud bands with a good pair of binoculars or a medium-sized telescope. You will also be able to see Jupiter's four largest moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.

April 2016

21st-22nd - Lyrid meteor shower

Lyrid is a medium intensity meteor shower. It usually produces about 20 meteors per hour in its peak. The shower will peak on 21-22 April but some meteors will be visible between 16 to 25th April. Meteors seems to radiate from the constellation Lyra.

May 2016

5th-6th - Eta Aquarid meteor shower

Eta Aquarid is a low intensity meteor shower. It usually produces about 10 meteors per hour in its peak. The shower will peak on 5-6 May. Meteors seems to radiate from the constellation Aquarius.

June 2016

21st - June Solstice

The June solstice will take place at 16:38 UTC. This is the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere. The North Pole of the Earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude.

July - 2016

4th - New Moon

Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 11:01 UTC.

19th - Full Moon

Earth is between the Sun and the Moon and so the Moon will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 22:57 UTC.

August 2016

12th-13th - Perseid meteor shower

Perseids are one of the strong meteor showers. It produce up to 60 meteors per hour at peak hours. Radiant point of this shower is in the constellation Perseus. These meteors originate from the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle.

Astrofacts

  • The brightness of a star is known as its magnitude – the lower the number, the brighter the star.
  • RA (Right Ascension) and Dec. (Declination). These coordinates are the night Sky’s equivalent to longitude and latitude.
  • The size of objects in the sky, and distances between them, is measured in degrees – the width of your little finger at arm’s length spans is about 1 degree.

For further information - contact the school

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The Kingswinford School
Water Street
Dudley
West Midlands
DY6 7AD

Tel: 01384 296596