Welcome to the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA), a vibrant community where amateur and professional astronomers alike find a gateway to the cosmos. Open to everyone, ASSA embraces members irrespective of their astronomy knowledge or experience.
- The latest Solar Bulletin (January 2024) has been published. — 2024 Feb 16
- ASSA Outreach update — 2024 Feb 13
- Tutorial: Celestial direction finding in the southern hemisphere. — 2024 Jan 30
- Digital supplements for the 2024 Sky Guide have been updated. Extensive data tables listing circumstances involving the Sun and the Moon during the year are available for Antananarivo, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Gaborone, Harare, Johannesburg, Maputo, and Windhoek. Predictions for the visibility of the Lunar X are given, as well as star maps showing the path of the planets for the year, and the locations of bright asteroids at opposition. — 2024 Jan 12
- Applications have opened for the ASSA Scholarship and the Cooke Scholarship. Applications for 2024 funding should be submitted by 2024 February 16. — 2024 Jan 10
- CAMnotes 2024 No. 1 has been published, containing news of interest to observers of comets, asteroids and meteors, covering the period January to March 2024. — 2023 Dec 28
- The Sun, on Christmas Day 2023 — 2023 Dec 26
- The latest MNASSA has been published. — 2023 Dec 24
- The 2024 Sky Guide has been published. — 2023 Dec 14
- Possible outburst of Andromedid meteors on 2 December. (download PDF) — 2023 Nov 06
Observing highlights for February 2024
2024 February 16: The Moon occults the Seven Sisters
On the evening of Feb 16, the Moon moves through the stars of the Pleiades (Messier 45). The series of occultations start late in the evening and will be widely seen across southern Africa. A telescope will show a fascinating view as many stars are blinked out by the Moon’s dark limb.
During February, Venus and Mars can be seen in the morning sky before sunrise. The pair have a close approach on Feb 22. With some luck, Mercury can also be spotted early in the month.
Venus, Mars and Mercury are visible in the east during the first half of February. Venus is the brilliant Morning Star this month. Look for Venus near the Moon, at noon, on Feb 07. In the pre-dawn sky, Venus starts the month above Mars, drawing closer together each evening. During the last week of February, Venus is below Mars. Mercury lies below the pair moving steadily sunward each day. It remains visible for the first half of February, thereafter slipping into the solar glare heading for conjunction on Feb 28.
After sunset, Jupiter is prominent; binoculars will pick up Uranus and Neptune. Jupiter shines brightly in the north-west throughout the month as the Evening Star. Saturn can be seen for the first few days of the month.
Further details appear in the 2024 edition of the Sky Guide.
At ASSA, our National Council and a network of autonomous Centres across the country work together to foster astronomical passion. Joining a local Centre automatically enrols you in the national organization, offering a universe of opportunities. For those in remote locations, our Country Membership is your link to the stars from any corner of South Africa.
Discover the wonders of the cosmos through our specialized Sections. Catering to diverse interests from celestial events to astrophotography, there’s a place for every star enthusiast.
We celebrate excellence in astronomy with prestigious awards like the Gill Medal and Overbeek Award, honouring both advancements in the field and significant contributions to our society. Our Honorary Membership recognizes individuals who have made a remarkable impact in popularizing or advancing astronomy, while our Section Directors commend achievements with Director’s Commendations and Observing Certificates.
Join ASSA for a journey into astronomy. Our community welcomes enthusiasts at all levels, offering a space for learning and sharing under the Southern skies. Your membership awaits!