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 also 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
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DOWNLOAD AND USE ANY OF THE MATERIAL FROM MY WEBSITE, WHICH YOU FIND USEFUL. THAT IS WHY IT IS HERE !
Historically, these 'Skynotes' are a direct cyber-descendent, of the paper skynotes I prepared, for many years, 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 43 years, but as the latin inscription tells us: TEMPVS FVGIT ! (Time Flies!)
There are quite a number of 'pages' in this new version of 'SKYNOTES'. They are listed
in the MENU at the top of the page. My hope is that 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, particularly when I forget what I was talking about, having gone off at a 'tangent' (= digression). These include: Yorkshire Coast Radio and Radio Scarborough, BBC Radio Leeds, Radio 5 Live, and Radio 4. A special thanks to Trish,the producer
and Paul Hudson for giving me a seasonal 'slot' on Paul's 'Weather Show', which is broadcast over a number of neighbouring local BBC radio stations. My thanks to you all!
I reserve a special thank you for the late Senior English Master, at Normanton
Grammar School, Mr T Hewson, who made me stand up in class during English on Tuesday afternoons, and read aloud several pages of Gulliver's Travels, despite the difficulties I had in reading words. Thanks to him, I can now read properly and he taught me confidence
to be able to share my love of Astronomy with all to whom I am invited to speak and teach.
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
John Harper. F.R.A.S
'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 beent o sell our sheep at Berwick Green;
We reached the farmhouse 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?
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!', Around the same time, on BBC's Children's Hour, there was the dramatisation of 'The Lost Planet' series of books, written by Angus McVicar, which told of an expedition to Hesikos, the peaceful planet, where the flowers known as 'Charity', bloomed in
profusion. these two 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 SCARBOROUGH 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 honorary 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'. Together with the members
of Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society, I try to give opportunities for people to look at the night sky when special events take place, 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 Astronomy, which, in my opinion, is the noblest of all the sciences!