Deep Sky Update – December 2019


I was reading a new paper in Monthly Notices of the RAS about the planetary nebula Jonckheere 900. I must admit it was an object I had quite forgotten about, though I did write a short item about it a few years back. Although it is listing in Phil Harrington’s Cosmic Challenges, as a challenge object for a small scope, it should be within easy reach for those with a medium or larger scope. It is very small, though, which makes resolving it as much more than just a star a bit tricky. It lies in Gemini and so is well placed in the coming months. If you get a chance to get out and observe it I would appreciate reports and images.

Sky & Telescope – Hubble’s Variable Nebula

The February 2020 issue of Sky & Telescope arrived in my in-box (I take the digital version) and I found an excellent article by Howard Banich on observing Hubble’s Variable Nebula. It is well worth a read. Observations of variable nebula are always worthwhile, so please do get in touch with Nick Hewitt or me if you want to find out more.

There have been a few attempts by myself, Nick Hewitt, Mike Harlow, Grant Privett and Paul Whitmarsh to follow up on McNeil’s Nebula – but it still appears to be ‘not there’. It will be interesting to see when this object ‘turns on’ again.

DSS Meeting 2020

Arrangements for the section meeting in 2020 (March 14) in Sheffield progress. The programme is firming up now, and places can now be booked either on-line or via the BAA Office. The price is £7 for BAA members and £14 for non-members. Visit for updates and a link to the booking page.

Meade in trouble (again)

I expect most people will now be aware that Meade has got into financial difficulties, and filled for Chapter 11 protection in the USA. Although this may be worrying to those that have recently purchased a Meade telescope, I expect they will be bought out and continue business.

Also in trouble is my own Meade LX200 – it is a very old (around 1996) 10″ Classic and it seems like the RA board has packed up. However, I might take the opportunity to upgrade to something more current…


With the Christmas break coming up I hope to get the 2018 Newsletter out by the end of the year. Shortly to be followed by the 2019 Newsletter at the end of January. If you have observations made in 2019 that you have not sent me yet, or if you would like to write a short note or article, then please send to me by mid-Jan.

Highlights from Members Pages

There are some fantastic images being posted on the BAA Members Pages. Here is a selection of a few recent ones that caught my eye.

Graham Winstanley 
Jones 1
LDN 1164
Clive Nanson
Simon Dawes
NGC 6960
Callum Wingrove
Horsehead and Flame nebulae
Rosette Nebula

And Finally

I hope you have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and if you are having a break over the festive period a chance to get some observing in.

Clear, dark skies.


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