APRIL, 2017 SKYNOTES are available.


Added: Andrey Plekhanov's predictions for the occultations of brighter stars by Dwarf Planets (asteroids) in FEBRUARY, 2017, possible for the Scarborough area of North Yorkshire. Use the MENU to go to the ASTEROIDAL EVENTS page for his table of these occultations.



Please use the MENU above, to access the SCARBOROUGH A.S. page, where the events are described, and contact details are available (Thank you Bryan for the information.)




Thanks to all the people who turned up on Friday Night, NOVEMBER 4th. And on the first Friday in February.Thank you so much, also, for your generous donations to further the work of the Society. It was a pleasure to meet you all and we look forward to seeing you again on the first Friday in MARCH 2017, at the Visitor Centre in Dalby Forest.




20h (8 PM) - 21h (9 PM)

The Event has taken place. My thanks go to Bryan, SARAS Secretary for his help and to the many 'dog walkers' who were treated to some splendid telescopic views of Plato in the LunarAlps, Copernicus, Tycho, Clavius and Marginus near the lunar morning terminator. All were delighted also to see the colour contast between Betelgeuse and Rigel in Orion, and The Pleiades, in Taurus.


Friday 20th January, 7.45pm, Ayton Village Hall – Space: It gets Weird – a talk by James Lees of York University.

Space is really big so it's no wonder that it has more than just a few oddities. In this talk we'll explore the strangest things we've found out there including Exoplanets, Hypernova and Blackholes. And after we've looked at them we'll get onto the really weird stuff!

Thanks to James for a very interesting and illuminating talk about some of the bizzare objects, visible and invisible, believed to exist within our universe. The meeting was well attended, and enjoyed by all, as were the mince pies, part of the refreshments following James' talk. 


Friday 17th February, 7.45pm, Ayton Village Hall – Balloon Borne Astronomy – a talk by Dr Jürgen Schmoll (Durham University). This is a new talk by Jürgen, one of our most popular visitors. All you ever wanted to know about using a balloon to view the universe through a 36 inch telescope.

Unfortunately Jürgen cannot now attend so I have been asked to fill in for him and will present as my topic 'A look at the Spring Night Sky'





 For information about suitable times to see the ISS, other satellites, and interesting objects, and to download the application if you wish, go to the following admirable and authorative site :



SCARBOROUGH  Visibility of the International Space station from SCARBOROUGH.

Thanks to Heavens-above.com


Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
04 Mar -0.4 05:30:04 10° S 05:31:38 13° SE 05:33:12 10° ESE visible
06 Mar -1.1 05:19:54 10° SSW 05:22:26 21° SSE 05:25:00 10° E visible
07 Mar -0.8 04:28:55 13° SSE 04:30:00 14° SE 04:31:53 10° ESE visible
08 Mar -1.9 05:11:01 15° SW 05:13:16 31° SSE 05:16:15 10° E visible
09 Mar -1.5 04:20:25 22° SSE 04:20:44 23° SSE 04:23:24 10° E visible
09 Mar -2.7 05:53:34 10° WSW 05:56:47 49° S 05:59:59 10° E visible
10 Mar -0.4 03:29:45 13° ESE 03:29:45 13° ESE 03:30:23 10° ESE visible
10 Mar -2.5 05:02:22 21° SW 05:04:08 42° SSE 05:07:17 10° E visible


Out from the silent portal of the hours,
When frosts are come and all the hosts put on
Their burnished gear to march across the night,
And o'er a darkened earth in splendour shine;
Slowly above the world Orion wheels
His glittering square, while on the shadowy hill
And throbbing like a sea-light through the dusk,
Great Sirius rises in his flashing blue.
Lord of the winter night, august and pure,
Returning year on year untouched by time,

Bliss Carmen



WELCOME to  JONVRAN.CO.UK, John's simple astronomy site where you will find information about what is happening in the night sky from the point of view of SCARBOROUGH in the United Kingdom, Latitude 54 deg. 17 minutes NORTH, Longitude 00 deg. 25 minutes WEST, (Situated on the East Coast, midway between LONDON and EDINBURGH, and Mainland Britain); as well as what I hope are other interesting bits and pieces, of use to everyone. You can contact me using the form in the CONTACT area, should you wish to do so.

Thank you so much for visiting this site.

Historically these 'Skynotes' are a direct cyber-descendent, of the paper skynotes I prepared by hand for members, at each meeting of the Scarborough Astronomical Society from the moment the Society began in 1976. In those days, I produced all the illustrations including the star charts by hand, but now, with the advent of excellent Astronomy software programs, I am able to use much better graphics, for which I thank the many programmers who have produced these wonderful software gems. In the CREDITS section you will find a list of these amazing sources that allow me to continue to produce my 'Skynotes', for the benefit of all.

It does not seem that they have been produced continuously for 40 years, but as the latin inscription tells us: TEMPVS FVGIT ! (Time Flies!)

There are many 'pages' in this new version of 'SKYNOTES'. They are listed in the MENU at the top of the page.  May you find within them something of interest, and may I, here, express my gratitude to the many people who have already visited, this, my small contribution towards the popularisation of Astronomy, which has been my lifelong aim.

I would also like to thank the various presenters, past and present, of BBC Radio York, for letting me have regular night sky slots since the Radio Station began, many moons ago. A 'thank you' also to the other local radio stations, who put up with me, paticularly when I forget what I was talking about, having gone off at a 'tangent' (= digression). These include: Yorkshire Coast Radio and Radio Scarborough, a good local Internet station, BBC Radio Leeds, Radio 5 Live, and Radio 4.

 It is my hope that you will enjoy these pages, and return here often to take what you will from this site, as the months change, the result of Earth's journey around the sun.

May you too, always follow safe paths, and have clear, and unclouded skies !





'MOON MAGIC' --- A poem by Pamela Tennant (I learned this, as a junior school child, at the Church of England Primary School in Normanton, West Yorkshire, England.


One day, when father and I had been

To sell our sheep at Berwick Green;

We reached the farm house, late at night,

A great moon rising, round and bright.

Her strange beams shed on all around,

 Bewitched the trees, and streams, and ground;

Changing the Willows, beyond the stacks,

To little old men with crouching backs!

Today, the Sun was shining plain,

They all were pollard willows again;

But at night, do you believe they're trees?

They're little old men with twisted knees !


My interest in Astronomy began as a child, when I saw the feature called 'The Man in the Moon', for the first time (so I am told!). Several years later my father bought me a book called 'The Starry Heavens' by Ellison Hawks F.R.A.S., followed a Christmas later by another book, 'Introducing Astronomy' by J.B Sidgewick F.R.A.S.. With this book and a torch, I went out at night and looked at the starry skies to identify the constellations, and learned, with delight, the stories of these 'Star Patterns'. Then on Tuesday nights, around 7.30pm , after rushing through my Normanton Grammar School homework, I listened with great excitement to the serial dramatisation of Charles Chilton's novel ' 'Journey Into Space --Operation Luna!' which launched me, well and truly, to the stars! My journey had begun!

After being a member of the Batley and Spenborough Astronomical Society for a number of years, during the time I had my first teaching post at The Cathedral City High School in Wakefield (West Yorkshire), I started the school's astronomical society.  Ten years later in 1975, I came to Scarborough, as Head of Religious Studies at Scalby School and founded the town's astronomical society, because I discovered that there wasn't one; although later, I found that in the past, the Scarborough Philosophical Society had an astronomy 'branch' for a while.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a member the British Astronomical Association and the Society for Popular Astronomy. These are the three main national astronomical societies. As a member of the  Society for Popular Astronomy, I became the Director of the Occultation Observing Section, and introduced the observing and timing of asteroidal occultations. When I gave up that post, because of optical problems, I was honoured by the S.P.A. who made me a honourary life member.

Now, as one of Pamela Tennant's 'little old men with twisted knees' I do my best to observe from my observatory in the 'back yard'. I try to give opportunities for people to look at the night sky when special events take place up there, beyond our atmosphere; and, of course, to produce these 'Skynotes' in the hope that they are of some use to those who like me, a long time ago,.... go out on clear nights to discover, as I did, the wonders of our night skies. In these ways I am able to say 'thank you' to my life long hobby of, in my opinion, the noblest of all the sciences, Astronomy.




MARCH 01, 2017.

Generated using: 'Stellarium' software by Fabien Chereau
The constellation art is the excellent work of Johan Meuris
Click to enlarge if necessary.

LOOKING WEST at 19h 00 UT.
MARCH 01, 2017.

Tap to enlarge if needs be.


Eleanor Farjeon

What are the signs of Zodiac,
Marked in stars in Heaven's track?

In March a horn-ed Ram doth run
Between the visits of the sun.

April rides upon a Bull
Vigorous and beautiful.

The Twins we call the Gemini
May-month cradles in the sky.

In June the Crab goes crawling o'er
The spaces of the heavenly shore.

Where the Crab no longer creeps,
In July the Lion leaps.

Through August nights, like daisy-laden
Meadows, walks a Vestal Maiden.

September though it blows big gales,
Holds aloft a pair of Scales.

On October's map is shown
A star-bespangled Scorpion.

In November, kneeling low,
See, the Archer bends his bow.

December's frolic is a Goat
Bleating in his starry throat.

The Water-Carrier bears on high,
His jar in January's sky.

February brings a pair
Of Fish to swim in dark blue air.

These are the Signs of Zodiac,
Marking time in Heaven's track.


Universe Eleanor Farjeon

The Universe is all the skies
Reaching far beyond your eyes.

The Universe is all the seas
Spreading in unseen degrees.

The Universe is all the earth
Besides the spot that gave you birth.

If you can with your small eye
Know one star in all the sky;

If, of all the seas there be,
From one beach you know the sea;

If, of all the land on earth,
You can know one meadow's worth;

You might do a great deal worse
To understand the Universe.



Generated using 'Virtual Moon Atlas' software.

The small white 'arrow', if present on the image, indicates the point on the Moon's limb, where the greatest LIBRATION (tilt towards the Earth) on the Moon's limb (edge of disc), is taking place.

The Moon's position amongst the stars.


Moon Map generated by Virtual Moon Atlas and GUIDE 9 Software.



Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,

Now the Sun is laid to sleep,

Seated in thy silver chair,

State in wonted manner keep;

Earth let not thine envious shade

Dare itself to interpose:

Cynthia's shining orb was made

Heaven to cheer when day did close.


Lay thy bow of pearl apart,

And thy crystal shining quiver;

Give unto the flying hart

Space to breathe, how short soever;

Hesperus entreats thy light

Goddess excellently bright;

Bless us then with wish-ed sight

Thou who makes a day of night.


Ben Jonson

NEXT SELECTED LUNAR OCCULTATION visible from Scarborough: MARCH 04. Disappearance at the dark limb of: (49) Gamma Tauri in TAURUS.
m(v) +3.65 at 20h 47 UT

Generated using 'GUIDE' software'

Constellation: AQUARIUS.

WINTER SOLSTICE was on DECEMBER 21 at 10h 44 UT.
It is now WINTER in the Northern hemisphere, and SUMMER in the Southern hemisphere.
The VERNAL EQUINOX is on MARCH 20 at 10h 30 UT.
At this time,northern SPRING begins.

REMEMBER IT IS VERY UNWISE TO LOOK AT THE SUN unless you have the proper astronomical filters for the purpose, NOT the one often provided by the telescope manufacturer. IT IS SAFER TO PROJECT THE SUN'S IMAGE ONTO A SCREEN. Never look through view finders at the sun. instead look at the shadow of the instrument on a card. When the shadow is as small as it can be, it is pointing towards the sun, and you will see the safe image of the Sun on the card. NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN------ IT CAN BLIND YOU !

The SUN'S PHOTOSPHERE in visible light. (Equatorial Period of Rotation = 25.38 days.)
Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, 0EVE, and HMI science teams.


The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
Through the blinds and the windows, and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
There were thousands of millions of stars.
There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
And that glittered and winked in the dark.
The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
And the stars going round in my head.


SCARBOROUGH - SOUTH BAY. The view from behind the Spa across the Bay towards the Castle and Headland.
Photograph by Ian Atkinson.





SUNRISE:             07h 08    UT


SUNSET:              17h 22    UT 


MOONRISE:         03h 42    UT


MOONSET:          12h 11   UT







HIGH:                   23h 46    GMT  (MON)


LOW:                    05h 53    GMT  


HIGH:                   12h 23    GMT   


LOW:                    18h 30    GMT 


HIGH:                   00h 59    GMT  (WED) 


LOW:                    07h 02    GMT  (WED)


HIGH:                   13h 25    GMT  (WED)


LOW:                    19h 39    GMT  (WED)




 (Please note : the times given here are simply a guide to give an impression of the approximate time of HIGH and LOW water, in Scarborough's two bays and must not be relied upon to be completely accurate). This section is basically for people who like to walk on the beach and to inform whether the tide is in or out, visually.



WHITBY in the Borough of SCARBOROUGH. This is the new War Memorial unveiled 11.6.2013. It is made of Norwegian Masi Quartzite and the green colour is intended to commemorate the Green Howard's Regiment who lost 151 Men and 5 Officers in 1940, during the 2nd World War in Norway.
Photograph by Ian Atkinson.



 RHEDA MOON - MARCH 12, 2017 14h 54 UT

Our Anglo Saxon ancestors named the March FULL MOON after the Springtime goddess Rheda , to whom sacrifices were made at this time of the year. The Illustration shows Rheda's Full Moon rising in the East at around 18h 30 on the evening of March 12th 2017



ALGOL (Beta Persei), the famous eclipsing variable star, which has a page dedicated to it, accessible via the MENU above, reaches its MINIMUM BRIGHTNESS on: FEBRUARY 23 at 03h 03 UT. and again on FEBRUARY 25 at 23h 52 UT.


During FEBRUARY and the first week or so of MARCH, the crescent phase of Venus can be observed clearly in Binoculars The angular diameter of the planet increases rapidly as it approaches Earth, and Venus is now so bright that it casts a shadow. Hold your finger between the planet and a sheet of paper; the shadow of your finger will be seen on the paper. Make sure you are well away from artificial lights of course!




A 'fragment of 'The Star of Bethlehem' ?
See the STAR OF BETHLEHEM page, accessible via the MENU above.

FEBRUARY 20 19h 00 UT VENUS: telescopic appearance in SSW sky. (The image will be inverted in an astronomical telescope!)

RHEDA MOON - MARCH 12, 2017 14h 54 UT
Our Anglo Saxon ancestors named the March FULL MOON after the Springtime goddess Rheda , to whom sacrifices were made at this time of the year. The Illustration shows Rheda's Full Moon rising in the East at around 18h 30 on the evening of March 12th 2017