Added: DECEMBER 13: LUNAR OCCULTATION OF ALDEBARAN (Visual magnitude +0.87).

Diagrams showing Disappearance and Reappearance positions, plus the world map showing the area of visibility for this event. Please  see the 'ALDEBARAN SERIES' page, accessible via the 'MENU' above.


Added:  FEBRUARY, 2017 SKYNOTES. Access using 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.


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





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.)




FRIDAY, 4 NOVEMBER, 8.00pm to 9.30pm - SARAS Public star gazing at Low Dalby Astronomy Centre (adjacent to the Visitors' Centre at the end of the main car park).


PLEASE NOTE: If the weather is inclement on the night of PUBLIC OBSERVING, then instead, an illustrated talk will be presented in the Low Dalby Community Centre, adjacent to the 'Courtyard'.


Thanks to all the people who turned up on Friday Night, NOVEMBER 7th.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 FEBRUARY 2017, at the Visitor Centre in Dalby Forest.




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



THIS EVENT TAKES PLACE AT THE SHUTTLEWORTH CLOCK TOWER. Please go to the PUBLIC OBSERVING page, accessible via the MENU, above, for all details.















 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.

Thanks to



Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
06 Dec -1.6 17:09:53 10° SSW 17:12:35 24° SSE 17:14:19 16° ESE visible
06 Dec -1.0 18:45:28 10° WSW 18:46:59 24° WSW 18:46:59 24° WSW visible
07 Dec -1.1 16:18:36 10° S 16:20:50 17° SSE 16:23:05 10° ESE visible
07 Dec -2.7 17:53:38 10° WSW 17:56:48 43° SSE 17:57:05 42° SSE visible
08 Dec -2.2 17:01:54 10° SW 17:04:56 35° SSE 17:07:10 16° E visible
08 Dec -1.5 18:37:55 10° WSW 18:39:51 31° WSW 18:39:51 31° WSW visible
09 Dec -2.8 17:46:00 10° WSW 17:49:13 52° S 17:49:55 43° SE visible
09 Dec 0.2 19:22:20 10° W 19:22:35 12° W 19:22:35 12° W visible
10 Dec -2.6 16:54:07 10° WSW 16:57:18 46° SSE 16:59:59 14° E visible
10 Dec -1.8 18:30:21 10° W 18:32:39 36° WSW 18:32:39 36° WSW visible
11 Dec -2.8 17:38:23 10° W 17:41:38 54° S 17:42:44 34° SE visible
11 Dec 0.0 19:14:50 10° W 19:15:25 14° W 19:15:25 14° W visible
12 Dec -2.7 16:46:25 10° WSW 16:49:39 53° S 16:52:51 10° E visible
12 Dec -2.0 18:22:47 10° W 18:25:32 37° SW 18:25:32 37° SW visible
13 Dec -2.5 17:30:45 10° W 17:33:58 47° S 17:35:42 23° SE visible
13 Dec -0.2 19:07:27 10° W 19:08:23 15° WSW 19:08:23 15° WSW visible
14 Dec -2.6 16:38:45 10° W 16:41:59 53° S 16:45:13 10° ESE visible
14 Dec -1.6 18:15:15 10° W 18:18:07 28° SSW 18:18:38 26° S visible
15 Dec -1.9 17:23:08 10° W 17:26:12 36° SSW 17:29:00 12° SE visible
15 Dec -0.2 19:00:34 10° WSW 19:01:42 12° SW 19:01:42 12° SW





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 you 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 SCARBOROUGH in the United Kingdom (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.




DECEMBER 10, 2016.

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

DECEMBER 10, 2016.

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.


MOON PHASE - Just after FIRST QUARTER. DECEMBER 07. Appearance at: 18h UT (LOCAL TIME).

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.

The Moon's position amongst the stars.


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

Moon Map generated by 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

Disappearance at Dark limb of: 89 Piscium in PISCES m(v) +5.13 at 19h 23 UT.

Generated using 'GUIDE' software'

Constellation: OPHIUCHUS.

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX was on SEPTEMBER 22 at 14h 21 UT (15h 21 Local time)
Now it is AUTUMN in the Northern Hemisphere and SPRING in the Southern Hemisphere!

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.)
DECEMBER 07, 20h 45 UT.
Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, 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. The wonderfully clear water in the South Bay rock pools. Come and explore them at low tide.
Photograph by Ian Atkinson.





SUNRISE:             08h 08    UT


SUNSET:              15h 38    UT


MOONRISE:         13h 08    UT


MOONSET:          00h 12    UT 







HIGH:                   21h 38    GMT  (WED)


LOW:                    04h 12    GMT 


HIGH:                   10h 24    GMT 


 LOW:                   16h 52    GMT


HIGH:                   22h 42    GMT 


LOW:                    05h 25    GMT  (FRI)


HIGH:                   11h 35   GMT  (FRI)  


LOW:                    18h 05    GMT  (FRI) 


HIGH:                   23h 52    GMT  (FRI)





(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.



SCARBOROUGH - TOWN CENTRE. Part of the Christmas illuminations which light up the town to brighten our shopping experience.
Photograph by Ian Atkinson.



NEXT MINIMUM suitable for observation, followed by a rise to MAXIMUM brightness, is on DECEMBER 07 at 16h 53 UT. Another may be observed on DECEMBER 19 at 04h 10 UT.  

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




The maximum of the Geminid meteors takes place on the 13th at 20h00. (Geminids may be seen from the 8th to the 17th, each year but unfortunately this year, the moon is full and lies in the direction of Gemini in the neighbouring constellation of Taurus, seriously hampering the number of meteors you will see. These bright fast moving shooting stars associated with (dwarf Planet) asteroid 3200, Phaethon, the remains of a spent comet. Geminids tend to be most numerous around 02h00 when Gemini, their point of origin, is almost overhead. On good nights it is possible to see up to 100 meteors an hour, making this the best of the annual 'showers'.



This is the Moon during the month known by the anglo-Saxons as HALIGMONATH. (The Holy Month). it is called, therefore, 'The HOLY MOON'. This is the highest and brightest of the Full Moons of 2016.



DECEMBER 14, 00h 06 UT Looking SOUTH. The highest Full Moon of the year, amongst the stars of Winter! This was known as The Holy Moon, and because of its altitude, is the brightest Full Moon of the entire year as well.

The SUN beginning to set in the South West, on DECEMBER 21, the day of the Winter Solstice. The time of the Solstice is 10h 44 UT. on that day.
At this moment Autumn ends and Winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere (Spring ends and Summer begins in the Southern Hemisphere).

Illustration made using Stellarium software.

MAXIMUM OF GEMINID METEOR SHOWER. Unfortunately the proximity of the FULL MOON to the Radiant (Point of origin) of the meteors will interfere with the numbers of meteors to be seen this year.

We wish you a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.