From 2 Rosemary Lane, March 13th 2017
Welcome to our first newsletter from our new location in Sutton, Cambridgeshire! We plan to send out a news update from The Widescreen Centre once each month, to keep you updated on what’s happening in the sky, new products, special offers - and to notify you of events, both around the UK and our own, here at 2 Rosemary Lane.
If you haven’t been able to visit us already, please consider doing so! Our new showroom is up & running, and we have plans this year to expand into the ‘great outdoors’ with events on site and our own observatories.
Spring is almost upon us. Hopefully the freezing cold nights of winter are behind us now, but the familiar winter constellations are still around for the time being. It’s an excellent time to be outdoors chasing the wonders of the night sky – and this month has much to offer - and so do we!
There are some excellent promotions available form many leading brands at the moment, of particular note from Celestron and Lunt Solar Systems. We try to keep our website up-to-date with such offers but always call us if there’s something you want in a hurry. The chances are we will have it in stock!
Events at 2 Rosemary Lane
We are pleased to announce our first event - on Saturday, March 25th we will have a Solar Observing session here at 2 Rosemary Lane from 11-3. Come and investigate the amazing world of the Sun in Hydrogen Alpha, Calcium, Sodium and white light and see for yourself. Refreshments will be provided, if you are likely to come along please RSVP to this email, or call us on (01353) 776199. We look forward to seeing you!. (Please note, if the weather does not cooperate, Widescreen will be open anyway 10-6 as normal, but we won’t set up outside. In this case we will default to our next planned event date which is Saturday April 29th. More about this and other events in the next newsletter in early April.
- Remember that the clocks change at the end of this month. On Sunday 26th March (also Mothers’ Day in the UK) clocks go forward one hour. We lose an hour’s sleep, but this is made up for by the lighter evenings.
Other Upcoming Events
- On Saturday April 1st we will be at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge for the SPA Convention. We will have a stand there and information can be found at popastro.com
- Later in April we will attend the Equinox Star Party at Kelling Heath in Norfolk. The main weekend is April 21st-24th and its definitely worth visiting. The event’s website is starparty.org and it’s one of our favourites on the Astro calendar!
- Saturday April 29th we will have another event here at 2 Rosemary Lane. More information to follow.
The Sky – March 2017
The sky tonight at 6pm
Mercury is now pulling away from the Sun to join Venus in the evening sky, but it won’t be clearly visible for another week or so. Full Moon is this Sunday, and Last Quarter Moon is on March 20th, when it passes Saturn in the pre-dawn sky. New Moon is on the 27th, so we will end the month as we began – with a crescent Moon well placed in the western sky at sunset. By this time Venus, now past inferior conjunction on the 25th, will have been replaced by Mercury low in the West at sunset.
For the first few days of April the waxing crescent Moon returns the western sky after sunset together with Mercury, red Mars, and the much fainter Uranus (visible in binoculars). Mercury puts on a good show for Northern hemisphere observers in the evening sky in the second half of the month. If you’ve never seen it, now is an especially good time to look. On the few days either side of the Vernal Equinox (March 20th) look for Mercury to the left of Venus at dusk. While it is bright at better than magnitude -1, it is still very much outshone by Venus.
Mercury and Venus at sunset on March 20th
Venus dominates the evening sky right now, and is currently at it’s brightest possible – around magnitude -4.6. If you know where to look, you can see it before sunset. But it moves rapidly in towards the Sun and Inferior Conjunction on March 25th. Although it’s brightness will fade during the month, Venus’s angular diameter will swell to just under 1 minute of arc (1/60th of a degree, or about 1/30th the size of the Moon in the sky), with a very slim crescent phase. Those with exceptional eyesight – and exceptional skies – may be able to see the crescent phase with the unaided eye. Can you? Binoculars will certainly show it. Come & see us and try out some of our best-selling binoculars which can also be great for birdwatching and taking on your summer vacation.
Jupiter moves swiftly towards Opposition on April 7th, rising before 9.20pm at the beginning of March, and at 8.03pm by the 31st. A very rewarding sight, even with binoclaurs which will show the dance of the four Galilean satellites, even a small telescope will show detail – in the form of cloud belts – on the surface. More than ten times the diameter of the Earth, Jupiter rotates so fast (once in less then ten hours) that its shape is noticeably flattened at the poles. Colour filters can dramatically enhance detail on Jupiter, the Moon and other planets and need not be expensive (think £29,99 for 4 filters). Talk to us for advice or come along & see for yourself!
The sky at 9pm BST on March 29th - Stargazing LIVE week!
Saturn is not best placed now. It’s well South of the celestial equator, and currently only visible low in the morning sky. It rises around 2am by the end of March, and reaches its greatest elevation – only about 16˚ - at sunrise. But Saturn is always dramatic, and the rings are now about as wide ‘open’ as they can be. The air is at its most calm in the morning sky before dawn. This can be the best time to see Saturn at this low elevation. Opposition will be on June 15th.
Something else to look out for in the second half of the month is the Zodiacal light – a faint glow along the plane of the ecliptic caused by sunlight scattering back from dust particles lying between the planets. The high inclination of the ecliptic in the evening sky makes this the best time of the year to look out for it – but you will need dark skies. Look to the west about an hour after sunset.
Our next Newsletter will go out at the beginning of April with events - celestial and otherwise - for the weeks to follow. We hope you will enjoy following us as we progress with our projects here at Rosemary Lane. To opt out please reply with ‘Unsubscribe’ in the header.
We want this newsletter to be interactive. We will expand it in future to include product reviews, astroimages, interviews, and the occasional competition. If there is anything you would particularly like to see in this newsletter, please let us know.