Hampshire Astronomical Group

Established 1960, Online since 1998

Important Announcement

Observatory Status

Regrettably, the Observatory will not be running any public events on site until further notice.
It is hoped that public events may be possible in the autumn.

Our public talks will continue using Zoom, see our talks page

Please feel free to check back here for any changes.

March 2021

Observatory Accessibility


More details...

Hampshire Astronomical Group welcome you!

Thank you for visiting our website

The Hampshire Astronomical Group operating from its Clanfield Observatory base on the borders of the villages of Horndean and Clanfield is reputed to be one of the best equipped amateur observatories in the UK. Our observatory is situated on the edge of beautiful South Downs National Park.

Like so many other organisations over the past three months, we too have had to close the observatory facilities and cease all activities due to the Coronovirus Pandemic. At the moment we have cautiously opened the observatory for members to use, but we are maintaining the social distancing guidance very closely.

Unfortunately we are not yet in a position to be able to open the observatory for visits by members of the public, although we are keeping this under constant review.

If you wish to visit the observatory we are expecting to be able to make some evenings available after the New Year; please keep an eye on our website for details. Priority will be given to those whose evening had to be cancelled due to the Lockdown announced in March 2020.

At some point we also hope to start the monthly public talks at the Clanfield Memorial Hall. Once again, please keep an eye on the website or our Facebook page, for such announcements.

In the meantime, thank you for visiting our website and we hope to see you in person in the not too distant future.

Graham Bryant FRAS
President:  Hampshire Astronomical Group

What's on in the next month...

14th May
You can almost touch the stars
A talk by Tom Field
by Zoom - start time 7:45pm

More details...

Astronomical Events for April 2021


2 April – 02:00 BST – Looking low in the southeast, the waning gibbous Moon will be 4.5° from Antares.

6 April – 1 hour before sunrise – The waning crescent Moon can be seen close to Saturn and Jupiter, look for them low in the southeast.

7 April – The Moon will be 5.5° below Jupiter, they can be seen low in the southeast about 40 minutes before sunrise.

13 April – Looking low in the west just after sunset, there will be a 2%-lit waxing crescent Moon.  At 20:30 BST Uranus will be 3.5° north-west of the Moon.

14 April – The Moon will be 6%-lit and can be seen in the west-northwest as it gets dark.

15 April – The crescent Moon will be between the Hyades and Pleiades, look for them in the west-northwest as it becomes dark.

17 April – early evening – The Moon will be 3.9° east of Mars, look for them as the skies begin to darken.

19 April – 22:30 BST – Looking at the crater Ptolemaeus, as the Sun rises over the crater it casts shadows of the rim and the crater Ammonius creating the head and neck of Nessie.

26 April – The Moon will be 1.6° north of M35 (Gemini).

27 April – early hours – The full Moon will appear slightly larger and brighter than usual; this is due to the full Moon occurring 12 hours before perigee. Some people call this a ‘Supermoon’.

Moon – Clair-obscur Effects

20 April – 22:20 BST – Look for the clair-obscur effect known as the ‘Eyes of Clavius’, which is created when the sunlight illuminates the tallest craterlet rims within the crater Clavius.

22 April – morning – It will be possible to see the Jewelled Handle clair-obscur effect.

23 April – late evening – Looking near the crater Aristarchus, you may see a bright star-like glow known as the ‘Star-tip Mountain’.


12 April – 05:22 to 05:36 BST – Although Jupiter is only 3.5° above the east-southeast horizon, it may be possible to see Io’s shadow cross Callisto.

25 April – early evening – if you have a flat west-northwest horizon, it may be possible to see Mercury and Venus.  These two planets will be separated by approximately 1°.

Meteor Showers

22 April – 14:00 BST – Peak of the Lyrid meteor shower, however the best time to view this meteor shower will be the nights of 21/22 and 22/23 April, even though there will be a bright Moon to spoil the display.


18 April – 01:15 BST – start of the occultation of M35 by the Moon, most of the open cluster will be hidden, the occultation continues when both M35 and the Moon have set.


4 April – Asteroid 9 Metis, which can be found in Virgo, reaches opposition.

April – At the start of the month, Comet 2020 R4 (ATLAS) will be visible in the morning sky where it can be found in Aquila; at 05:18 BST, the comet will be at an altitude of about 27° in the south-east.  On the 23 April the comet will be 42 million miles from us and will be at peak brightness, it can be seen at 18:00 BST in Corona Borealis.

Moon Images Credit: Steve Broadbent & Steve Knight
Jupiter Image Credit: Mark Batehup

What's on between next month and 6 months...

11th June
Gravitational Waves
A talk by Dr Laura Nuttall
Clanfield Observatory - start time 8:00pm

More details...
8th October
The Fermi Paradox
A talk by Dr Stephen Webb
Zoom - start time 7:45pm

More details...

What's on after the next 6 months...

10th December
Science of Santa
A talk by Dr Steve Barrett
Clanfield Memorial Hall OR Zoom TBC - start time 7:45pm

More details...
14th January
Time in Einstein's Universe
A talk by Colin Stuart
ZOOM - Details to be confirmed - start time 7:45pm

More details...
11th February
Appley Bridge meteorite - The Space Rock that Hit Lancashire
A talk by Russell Parry
Zoom - start time 7:45pm

More details...

Future Learn Free Astronomy Courses

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A number of Astronomy courses are listed in the website's Science, Engineering and Maths category. Recent titles have included 'Moons' and 'In the Night Sky: Orion', both from The Open University. The lead educator on the Orion course, Professor Monica Grady, CBE, worked as part of the project team that successfully landed the Philae probe on a comet last November.

An added advantage of FutureLearn is its focus on 'social learning', whereby learners from all over the world can have conversations about the topics covered during a course with one another, and with the academics leading the course.

FutureLearn adds courses throughout the year and repeats popular titles, so the easiest way to keep up to date is to register on the website. Details on upcoming Astronomy courses will also be listed here.

Next Free Online Astronomy Courses:

Moons: -  For details to book yourself onto this course click here

Monitoring the Oceans from Space: - For details to book yourself onto this course click here

How to Survive on Mars: the Science Behind the Human Exploration of Mars:- For details to book yourself onto this course click here