Added : a page showing the paths of the remote planets URANUS, NEPTUNE, and PLUTO for the rest of the year as seen from Earth. Look in the MENU for 'REMOTE PLANETS', and click to go there.

Added: 'LIGHT POLLUTION', a page included, in response to a request from Wakefield and District Astronomical Society. To access, please use the MENU, above.

Added: Two Maps showing the area from where the Occultation of Aldebaran on OCTOBER 19, 2016, may be seen. One map details the path across the south western UK and Irish Republic, and parts of the near continent of Europe. Please  see the 'ALDEBARAN SERIES' page, accessible via the 'MENU' above.

Added: The NOVEMBER, 2016 Skynotes are now available. use the 'MENU' above.

Added: Two new Observing Sites, on OLIVER'S MOUNT to be used for PUBLIC OBSERVING in addition to the SHUTTLEWORTH CLOCK TOWER on the Esplanade ; see the Public Observing page accessible via the MENU above.





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



It is estimated that about 50,000 tons of meteorites reach Earth’s surface each year. That might seem high, but the vast majority of this figure is made up of micrometeorites, dust-sized specks from 50 µm to 2 mm in diameter. It is estimated that about one micrometeorite lands every square metre each year. This means that there are many micrometeorites available to collect, if you know how to do it, and have a microscope to see their shapes which are chiefly spherical and their ‘pitted’ reflective metallic surfaces.
You need the following: a strong magnet, a slide or glass dish, a clear polythene bag, some muddy water and a small microscope.
Simply place the magnet into a clear polythene bag: 'swish' it around in some muddy water. then after shaking away drips from the polythene bag with the magnet still in it, place the bag and magnet into a dish of clear water: remove the magnet and allow the polythene bag to be moved in the water (minus the magnet), where upon any micrometeorites will sink into the fresh water; then either allow the water to evaporate, or put a drop onto a slide and then using the microscope yopu should be able to detect these mostly spherical objects, made mostly of Nickel-Iron , both magnetic materials, hence the use of a magnet in their recovery.



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 the United Kingdom, 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.




LOOKING SOUTH at 20h 00 UT on
AUGUST 30, 2016. (21h 00 BST).

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

LOOKING SOUTH at 00h 00 UT on
AUGUST 31, 2016. (01h BST Local Time).

Tap to enlarge if needs be.


If to the heavens you lift your eyes
When Winter reigns o'er our Northern skies,
And snow-cloud none the zenith mars,
At Yule-tide midnight these your stars:
Low in the south see bleak-blazing Sirius;
Above him hang Betelgeuse, Procyon wan;
Wild-eyed to West of him, Rigel and Bellatrix,
And rudd-red Aldebaran journeying on.
High in night's roof-tree beams twinkling Capella;
Vega and Deneb prowl low in the North;
Far to the East roves the Lion-heart, Regulus;
While the twin sons of Zeus to'rd the zenith gleam forth.
But, When Midsummer Eve in man's sleep-drowsed hours
Refreshes for daybreak its dew-bright flowers;
Though three of these Night-Lights aloft remain,
For nine, if you gaze, you will gaze in vain.
Yet comfort find, for, far-shining there,
See golden Arcturus and cold Altair;
Crystalline Spica, and, strange to scan.
Blood-red Antares, foe to man.
( from "Stars" by Walter de la Mare  1873 - 1956 )

AUGUST 27, 00h UT (01h BST Local Time)

Moon's Position: TAURUS/ORION border.
AUGUST 27, 00h UT (01h BST Local time).

Often, by comparing this image with the 'moonphase for today'(above), the effect of the Moon's Libration can be seen.



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

SELECTED LUNAR OCCULTATION visible from Scarborough:
AUGUST 28, 04h 22m UT.

Disappearance at Bright limb of:
SAO 96407 (HD 52554) in GEMINI. Visual magnitude +5.2

Constellation: LEO.

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 !

AUGUST 26, 21h 45 UT.
Image courtesy of NASA, EVE, 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 From Scarborough's pleasure boat, 'THE REGAL LADY'
Photo: Ian Atkinson




(BST is Local Time, UT +1h).




SUNRISE:             06h 01    BST


SUNSET:              20h 04    BST


MOONRISE:         00h 41    BST


MOONSET:          16h 56    BST







HIGH:                   23h 54    BST  (FRI)  


LOW:                    06h 25    BST  


HIGH:                   12h 41    BST


LOW:                    19h 14    BST  


HIGH:                   01h 15    BST  (SUN)


LOW:                    07h 53    BST  (SUN)


HIGH:                   13h 53    BST  (SUN)


LOW:                    20h 29    BST  (SUN)










 (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.



Photo: Ian Atkinson




The Second 'Asteroid' to be discovered (on March 28 in the year 1802), Pallas comes into Opposition (Opposite the Sun in the sky), in the miniscule constellation of Equuleus, the Foal, and culminates in the south, at Midnight (UT).

See the finderchart below, and a small telescope to locate this +9.2 magnitude object.

The chart, below traces the path of Pallas through the latter part of August, up to the end of September, as it heads southwards in declination.





NEXT MINIMUM suitable for observation, followed by a rise to MAXIMUM brightness, is on SEPTEMBER 06 at 22h 52 UT.


More Information about ALGOL may be found on this star's dedicated page listed in the MENU.




 Go to the September Sky Notes page, via the MENU above, for a full derscription of the Harvest Moon. There is a slight, and challenging Penumbral Eclipse, at the time.




Saturn's telescopic appearance 2016

Path of Dwarf Planet (2) Pallas

Appearance of The Herb Full Moon during the late evening of AUGUST 17, 2016
Photo: Ian Atkinson