Welcome to the Planetary Section
Any SPA members who observe the planets may join the SPA’s planetary section. Complete beginners and expert planetary observers are all equally welcome.
The section director is pleased to receive reports of observations of any planets, even if made by naked eye (one of the objects of the section being simply to encourage people to observe the planets), although to see surface detail on the planets, a telescope is needed of course.
Whilst would-be astronomical observers who live in light polluted urban areas are likely to find that very few stars are ever visible and Deep Sky objects difficult to observe even with a good telescope, they will probably find they can more readily observe the bright planets.
The section director is Alan Clitherow. Please click on the link in the 'Reference' tab above to read a brief profile of him.
Our enthusiastic section members, who are spread throughout the UK, observe all the solar systems major planets using a variety of instruments, though only those with telescopes of about 200 mm aperture are ever able to see Pluto, whilst some members observe asteroids, particularly the ones that can be seen with popular 10 x 50 binoculars which have many uses in astronomy (as well as bird watching, airshows and sport).
Our members’ reports include not only telescopic observations of the bright planets Mercury, Venus Mars Jupiter and Saturn, but even naked eye views of Uranus and Vesta made by experienced observers.
The section director is pleased to try to answer any SPA members queries about observing planets, and over the years many complete novices who joined the section, have subsequently developed into competent observers, whilst others who were already experienced observers, have given long term support and provided many fine observations. Please use the Contact Details to get in touch.
Members reports range from newcomers to astronomy extolling the excitement of seeing such things as Jupiter’s Galilean Satellites for the first time to seasoned observers making transit timings of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, observing Martian clouds and monitoring changes of Mars’s Polar Caps.