things are looking up for astronomers!

Long Itch Astro - the website for astronomers in Long Itchington and the surrounding area.

Looking Forward

Long Itch Astro has extended its links with local schools. Two schools have fully operating observatories and observing sessions are taking place at the schools on alternate Wednesday evenings as per the calendar below

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Telescope Views

This section is for those who are fortunate to have a telescope.
This section is a month by month guide as to the best 12 celestial objects that are worth looking at through a telescope.
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A Binocular Challenge

Fancy a challenge? Then why not try this binocular challenge for size?
Expensive binoculars are not required.
There are 24 celestial objects to find every 3 months, enough to keep the whole family occupied.
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Everything Messier

Read my biography on Charles Messier, the notable French Astronomer. See all the celestial objects in his Messier catalogue.
Find out what is involved in a Messier Marathon.
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Celestial Events for 2022

  • May 16 - Full Moon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 04:15 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been known as the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.

  • May 30 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 11:32 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • June 14 - Full Moon - Supermoon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 11:52 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Strawberry Moon because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening fruit. It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting season. This moon has also been known as the Rose Moon and the Honey Moon. This is also the first of three supermoons for 2022. The Moon will be near its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.

  • June 16 - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation.   The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 23.2 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

  • June 16 - June Solstice.   The June solstice occurs at 09:05 UTC. 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. 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.

  • June 29 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 02:53 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • July 13 - Full Moon - Supermoon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 18:38 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Buck Moon because the male buck deer would begin to grow their new antlers at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Thunder Moon and the Hay Moon. This is also the second of three supermoons for 2022. The Moon will be near its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.

  • July 28 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 17:55 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • July 28, 29 - Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower.  The Delta Aquarids is an average shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by comets Marsden and Kracht. The shower runs annually from July 12 to August 23. It peaks this year on the night of July 28 and morning of July 29. This is a great year for this shower because the new moon means dark skies for what should be an excellent. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • August 12 - Full Moon - Supermoon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 01:36 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Sturgeon Moon because the large sturgeon fish of the Great Lakes and other major lakes were more easily caught at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon. This is also the last of three supermoons for 2022. The Moon will be near its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.

  • August 12, 13 - Perseids Meteor Shower.  The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. It peaks this year on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. Unfortunately the nearly full moon this year will block out all but the brightest meteors. But the Perseids are so bright and numerous that it could still be a decent show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • Aug 14 - Saturn at Opposition.   The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn's rings and a few of its brightest moons.

  • August 27 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 08:17 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • August 27 - Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation.  The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 27.3 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.

  • September 10 - Full Moon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 09:58 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Corn Moon because the corn is harvested around this time of year. This moon is also known as the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the September equinox each year.

  • September 16 - Neptune at Opposition.  The blue giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Neptune. Due to its extreme distance from Earth, it will only appear as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

  • September 23 - September Equinox.  The March equinox occurs at 00:55 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • September 25 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 21:55 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • September 26 - Jupiter at Opposition.  The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter's cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter's four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.

  • October 7 - Draconoids Meteor Shower.  The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 7th. The first quarter moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. If you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • October 8 - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation.   The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 18 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

  • October 9 - Full Moon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 20:55 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. This moon has also been known as the Travel Moon and the Blood Moon.

  • October 21, 22 - Orionids Meteor Shower.  The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. The thin, crescent moon will leave mostly dark skies for what should be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • October 25 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 10:49 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • November 2 - Astronomy Evening at Long Itchington C of E Academy.  
    The first astronomy meeting at Long Itchington C of E Academy until the clocks change in the Spring.

  • November 4, 5 - Taurids Meteor Shower.  The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10. It peaks this year on the the night of November 4. This year the nearly full moon will block out all but the brightest meteors. But if you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • November 8 - Full Moon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 11:03 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon and the Dark Moon.

  • November 9 - Uranus at Opposition.  The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

  • November 9 - Astronomy Evening at Southam St James C of E Academy.  
    The first astronomy meeting at Southam St James C of E Academy until the clocks change in the Spring.

  • November 16 - Astronomy Evening at Long Itchington C of E Academy.  
    The second astronomy meeting at Long Itchington C of E Academy until the clocks change in the Spring.

  • November 17, 18 - Leonids Meteor Shower.  The Leonids is an average shower, producing an average of up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 17th and morning of the 18th. The second quarter moon will block many of the fainter meteors this year. But the Leonids can be unpredictable so there is still potential for a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • November 23 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 22:58 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • November 23 - Astronomy Evening at Southam St James C of E Academy.  
    The second astronomy meeting at Southam St James C of E Academy until the clocks change in the Spring.

  • November 30 - Astronomy Evening at Long Itchington C of E Academy.  
    The third astronomy meeting at Long Itchington C of E Academy until the clocks change in the Spring.

  • December 7 - Astronomy Evening at Southam St James C of E Academy.  
    The third astronomy meeting at Southam St James C of E Academy until the clocks change in the Spring.

  • December 8 - Full Moon.  The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 22:58 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Cold Moon because this is the time of year when the cold winter air settles in and the nights become long and dark. This moon has also been known as the Long Nights Moon and the Moon Before Yule.

  • December 8 - Mars at Opposition.  The red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Mars. A medium-sized telescope will allow you to see some of the dark details on the planet's orange surface.

  • December 13, 14 - Geminids Meteor Shower.  The Geminids is the King of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The waning gibbous moon will block many of the fainter meteors this year. But the Geminids are so numerous and bright that this should still be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • December 14 - Astronomy Evening at Long Itchington C of E Academy.  
    The fourth astronomy meeting at Long Itchington C of E Academy until the clocks change in the Spring.

  • December 21 - December Solstice.  The December solstice occurs at 21:40 UTC. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • December 21 - Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation.  The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 20.1 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.

  • December 21 - Astronomy Evening at Southam St James C of E Academy.  
    The fourth astronomy meeting at Long Itchington C of E Academy.

  • December 21,  22 - Ursids Meteor Shower.  The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. This year, the nearly new moon will leave dark skies for what should be a really good show. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • December 23 - New Moon.  The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 10:17 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • December 28 - Astronomy Evening at Long Itchington C of E Academy.  
    The fifth astronomy meeting at Long Itchington C of E Academy.

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