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Manx Sky at Night
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Manx Sky at Night

Author: Manx Radio

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Howard Parkin joins Judith Ley to discuss the different and exciting sights that can be seen in the dark skies over the Isle of Man at night.
17 Episodes
In our dark skies, THAT conjunction - between Jupiter and Saturn - is still visible (weather permitting) in the evenings between 5pm and 6pm .....both are joined by Mercury and the Moon around January 9th, before each go behind the Sun, on the 29th and 24th respectively .....Venus is still visible in the mornings ...and the Quadrantid Meteor Shower peaks on the 3rd/4th January - often overlooked, but probably the third best one of the year. The music break is Hotel California by The Eagles And in space news ..... the total collapse of the Arecibo telescope .... Japanese Hayabusa 2 has brought valuable material from Asteroid Ryugu ....Chinese Chang'e 5 has brought a significant amount of rock back from the Moon ..... and Howard discusses the SpaceX spectacular test launch of Starship SN8 - there was a problem with the final landing, but this shouldn't detract from the fact that the spacecraft used a new technique for re-entry which was a total success.
Astronomer Howard Parkin explains what to look for in the dark skies over our Island during the month of December. Highlights include the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on 21 December and possibly the best meteor shower of the year - the Geminid, which should be visible around the 12th or 13th December, weather permitting. And in the world of space exploration, Howard discusses the recent successful Dragon launch and reflects on the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station. On the other hand, the Vega launch failure, and the damage to the Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico are reminders of the dangers and uncertainties surrounding space exploration. Howard's music choice this month is Vincent by Don McLean
Astronomer Howard Parkin looks into the wonderful dark skies over our Island and describes what we might see, in clear night-time conditions, in the coming weeks. He also looks back over 20 years of the International Space Station, and has all the latest news on the various expeditions in space already. The music break this month is VENUS by Barry Manilow
With the longer autumn nights, come even better opportunities to enjoy our dark Manx skies! Astronomer Howard Parkin explains what to look for during October, and he also has news about the latest developments in space exploration - including the possibility of life on Venus, and another moon landing planned for 2025
With the sun setting earlier and rising later, we're getting longer hours of darkness - which is good news for stargazers! Howard talks about the autumn equinox, viewing the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way. September is also a great month for catching sight of the planets - Jupiter and Saturn will be dominating the sky soon, but Howard also explains when and where we can see Mars, Venus and Mercury. And in other news ….. Howard talks about his recent visit to Sark - the first 'dark sky' to be internationally recognised - he discusses what happened to the Arecibo dish, and explains why Betelgeuse was dimming. And finally ….. the next Dragon Space-X mission, taking four astronauts to the International Space Station, has been postponed to the end of October - there's just so much happening on the space station - they're waiting for a gap in the traffic! Howard will be once again lecturing on astronomy on Wednesday evenings from October, at the University College Isle of Man. See the college website for details and how to enrol.
In this edition of the Manx Sky At Night, astronomer Howard Parkin looks at the skies over the Island and explains how to find all the planets - Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus - which will all be on display if we get some clear nights during the month of August. The Perseid Metor Shower will also be another feature in the coming weeks. The music break this week is - very appropriately - Life on Mars by David Bowie - as there are now three separate missions on their way to explore the planet, all due to arrive on Mars in February 2021. Howard speculates on what the missions may discover - and looks forward to the return of the Dragon SpaceX from its trip to the International Space Station. And as you might imagine, Howard has plenty to say about that amazing comet - Neowise - so named because it was discovered in March this year by NASA's Near Earth Object Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer! It's been putting on a dazzling display, but once it disappears, the comet won't be seen again for another 6,800 years!
Howard Parkin is back in the studio, explaining which stars and planets we can look forward to seeing in our wonderful Manx dark skies during the month of July - including those beautiful ice-blue noctilucent (night-shining) clouds. After a song from Fifth Dimension (no - it's not Good Morning, Starshine!) Howard takes a look at the world of space exploration - reflecting on the successful Space X Dragon launch a few weeks ago, and looking forward to the next Space X launch at the end of August. And there are no less than THREE different Rovers from THREE different countries, all setting off to Mars shortly - they won't get there until next February - but why are they going ? Howard has the story!
Once again, our resident Astronomer Howard Parkin starts this month's programme with some stargazing 'live' from his garden in Onchan. Howard explains what (given the right weather conditions!) we can look out for in our wonderful dark skies during the month of June. This month's music track is Cilla Black with Across The Universe - a very appropriate choice, as, in the second part of the programme, Howard will be reflecting on the successful launch of the SpaceX Dragon, on its journey taking two American astronauts to the International Space Station - he'll be explaining just why this is so important, and what other space exploration projects are being developed now.
In order to maintain social distancing, Howard can't be in the Manx Radio studios for this month's edition of the Manx Sky at Night, so instead he's recorded a programme at his home in Onchan! First he takes us into the garden to do some actual stargazing - listen to this podcast outdoors at about 10pm on a clear night, using your smartphone or tablet, and Howard will guide you round the night skies during May - then we're back indoors for the second part of the podcast, as Howard brings us up to date with the latest space exploration news. There's also information about the new series of half hour sessions, called The Universe from the Isle of Man, which Howard is offering as part of the #LockdownLearning programme being offered by the University College Isle of Man - free sessions on a variety of subjects, available via Zoom - something to interest everyone during this time when we're staying at home. For more details, go to
Howard Parkin was due to be off-Island for the last Sunday in March, so prior to his departure we recorded a programme in which Howard explains all we can see in our beautiful Manx dark skies, as we move from winter into early Spring. But Howard's time abroad was cut short by the worsening Coronavirus pandemic and he returned to the Island much sooner than planned - but had to immediately self-isolate for 14 days. So - part of this month's programme is our recorded conversation, followed by some actual stargazing as Howard joins us on the phone, from his garden, as he gives us a 'tour' of a perfect star-lit night sky! The best of all worlds!
Astronomer Howard Parkin explains what to look for in the Manx skies in the coming weeks - Venus still dominating the western sky; the Moon passing through Hyades; great conjunction of Jupiter, Mars and the Moon in the morning sky around March 18th, with Saturn in the same area; and with the constellations starting to set in the West, can Spring be far away? This month's song is Urban Spaceman from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band In the second part of the programme, Howard Parkin reviews the latest work being done by SETI - their astronomers are requesting that the subject of detecting life on other planets be taken more seriously. The Institute is now listening for, and preparing to analyse, sounds detected in space. And in the latest stage of the space race, Space X 'Abort Test' was successful, so they are a step nearer commercial/manned flights into space and Virgin Galactic have moved to their New Mexico HQ/Terminal
In the January edition of MANX SKY AT NIGHT, astronomer Howard Parkin tells us what we can expect to see in our dark skies during the coming weeks, including sighting the International Space Station, and spotting Venus as it dominates the evening skies. Is Betelgeuse really fading ? And if so, what does this mean for stargazers? Howard also gives an idea of some conjunctions we can look out for later in the year, and if you'd like a copy of Howard's guide to stars and planetary activity in 2020, email your request to him at We've also got an update on that mishap which curtailed the Boeing Starliner unmanned test flight at the end of December - and news of Virgin's plans for space tourism - there seems to be plenty of interest in their flights at £250K per ticket .....!
Howard Parkin studies the skies and his charts, and uses his astronomer's skills to tell us what we can look for in the January Manx skies. Plus there's the usual update on activities and initiatives in space exploration. AND - whilst we're still in the Christmas season - if you're interested in the 'star' which the Wise Men followed to find the infant Jesus, do be sure to listen to the PRAISE PODCAST for 5 JANUARY - it's available to download/listen via our website, and Howard explains what was really happening in the skies two thousand years ago ...... it's well worth a listen!
Once again Howard Parkin is enjoying the dark Manx skies of autumn - looking forward to the Geminid Meteors in early December, and the chance to get a good look to Venus (clouds permitting!) In this month's space news, could the discovery of unexpected amounts of oxygen on Mars mean that there has once been some form of life on the planet? It's also the anniversary of the Apollo 12 space mission - and Howard shares a very special space-related experience from his recent trip to the Holy Land.
Autumn in the perfect season for star gazing and planet watching - Howard Parkin tells us where to look, and what we might see. Plus there's news of the latest activity in space, and a super-hero is remembered - with a bit of 'seasonal' music from one of Howard's favourite bands!
Starry skies and adventures in space - Howard Parkin has stories and information to help us enjoy even more of our natural world - and there's a bit of music too!
Howard Parkin is loving the darker nights - perfect for star gazing and planet-spotting! In this month's edition, Howard looks at the vital importance of the planets, and tells a few of the legends attached to some of them. September will be a good month to look at the Moon - Howard has the best dates and times - and he teaches us a few more lunar terms! As usual there's a space update - the International Space Station will once again be visible in the Manx Sky in September - and the race to get unmanned and manned spacecraft into orbit, is on - but who will be first? This month's song is Harvest Moon by Neil Young
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