Hampshire Astronomical Group

Established 1960, Online since 1998

Observatory Accessibility

CAUTION

More details...

Hampshire Astronomical Group welcome you!

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

From autumn to spring we run our very popular Open Evenings for the general public. These always book up very quickly so please keep an eye on the website for the release of new events.

We also take private visits from Guides, Scouts, U3A and other interested groups. Details can be found on the 'Schools and Club Visits' page.

Also popular are our astronomy courses which start in September and January. More details on these can be found in this website under ‘Astronomy Courses’ and then choosing ‘Astronomy for Beginners Course’.

Our monthly public lectures are held at Clanfield Memorial Hall. The latest program can be found on our ‘Public Talks page’. All are welcome and admission is £3 for non-members.

Thank you for visiting our website and we hope to see you in person in the not-too-distant future. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us via the ‘Contact Information’ page.

Steve Bosley
Chairman:  Hampshire Astronomical Group

 

What's on in the next month...

Friday,
10th May
2024
Mars
A talk by Dr Richard McKim
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 8:00pm

More details...

Open Evenings at the Observatory


We have now set some dates for Open Evenings from September to December 2024.

Open Evening Dates:

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th September 2024

Sunday 13th October 2024

Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th November 2024

Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th December 2024

Tickets can be purchased on our website through Ticket Tailor.

https://hantsastro.org.uk/openevenings/index.php

Please Note: Minimum age is set at 8 years old.

Tickets are selling fast.

New dates for January to March 2025 Open Evenings will be uploaded to the website on or around the 15th September 2024.

Sun Live at the Clanfield Observatory

Sun Live Event - See the Sun in all its Explosive Glory !

Clanfield Observatory offer a rare chance to see the Sun's surface in real time using special Sun Filters.
Depending on the weather conditions and the activity on the Sun this is a chance to see Prominences and Sun Spots using Hydrogen Alpha and other special Filters.
Should the weather prevent views of the Sun we will give a tour of the observatory and an illustrated talk about the Sun.

Please Note: Entrance is exclusively by pre purchased tickets priced at Adults - £10 each for 16 and under £6 each. (Minimum age 8 years old).

The dates for these events is Saturday 22nd  June & Saturday 6th July 2024. Arrive time 12.45pm for a 1pm start. The event will finish around 3pm
 
For tickets please purchase them using Ticket Tailor on the Sun Live page of the website. 

Sun Live Booking Click Here

Images credit: Phil Reed

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

Friday,
14th June
2024
Eclipse and Revelation
A talk by Mike Frost FRAS
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 8:00pm

More details...
Saturday,
22nd June
2024
Public Sun Live
Clanfield Observatory - start time 1:00pm

More details...
Saturday,
6th July
2024
Public Sun Live
Clanfield Observatory - start time 1:00pm

More details...
Friday,
12th July
2024
Astronomy in the Ancient World
A talk by Dr Mike Leggett
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 8:00pm

More details...
Saturday,
14th September
2024
Public Open Evening
Moon & Saturn
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:30pm

More details...
Sunday,
15th September
2024
Public Open Evening
Moon & Saturn
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:30pm

More details...
Saturday,
12th October
2024
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Moon, Saturn & Jupiter
- start time 7:15pm

More details...
Sunday,
13th October
2024
Public Open Evening
Moon, Saturn & Jupiter
- start time 7:15pm

More details...

Astronomical Events for April 2024

Moon

Third Quarter
2nd April
New Moon
8th April
First Quarter
15th April

Full Moon
23rd April

5 April – dawn – The Moon can be seen close to Mars and Saturn, look for them in the dawn twilight as they rise above the east-southeastern horizon.

7 April – 18:20 BST – The crescent Moon, which will be 1%-lit, can be seen approaching Venus as they set.

10 April – evening – The crescent Moon can be found 3.2° north of Jupiter as darkness falls.  They can be seen setting in the west-northwestern horizon.  At 22:00 BST they will be separated by 4°.

11 April – 22:00 BST – The crescent Moon will be 3.7° from the Pleiades.

16 April – evening – The Moon will be 3.3° northeast of the Beehive Cluster (M44).

26 April – evening – The Moon will be 2.1° east of Antares, a red supergiant star.

Clair-obscur Effects

16 April – morning – Lunar X and V – look for these effects as the Moon sets.

16 April – 17:54 BST – Stars of Aristillus – this appears when the Sun lights up the peaks of the central mountain complex in Aristillus.

18 April – 19:00 BST – The Jewelled Handle – created by the illuminated arc of the Jura Mountain range.

24 April – 23:00 BST – Zeno’s steps – look for a series of parallel shadows near the crater Zeno which is close to the northeast limb of the Moon.

Planets

6 April – 05:00 BST – Mars can be found 2° north of the Moon.

11 April – 04:00 BST – Mars and Saturn will be separated by 0.5°, but they will be difficult to see in the dawn twilight.

20 April – evening – Jupiter and Uranus reach conjunction and will be 0.5° apart, although it will be difficult to see Uranus in the evening twilight.

29 April – dawn – Mars and Neptune will be separated by 2.1 arcminutes, however the dawn twilight will make them a challenge to see.

Meteor Showers

22 April – Peak of the Lyrid meteor shower, conditions will be unfavourable due to the bright Moon.

Comets

April – Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks can be seen all month, although it will become more difficult to view as the month goes on.  1 April will see the comet close to the star Hamal, look for the comet about 10° above the west-northwest horizon as darkness falls.  By the middle of April, it will be close to Jupiter, but the evening twilight will make this difficult to see.  On the 21 April the comet will reach perihelion but will be a challenging object to see in the evening twilight.

Binocular Objects

M13 (the Great Cluster in Hercules) – find the Keystone asterism and look for a globular cluster which can be found one-third of the way down the western side of the asterism.

Nu (ν) Coronae Borealis – a double star with both stars being giants of 2.5 solar masses.

Tau Coronae Borealis group – this is a chain of five stars of different colours running east-west for 2.6°.  They can be located 4° northwest of Nu (ν) Coronae Borealis.

R Coronae Borealis – this is a variable star located in the middle of the Northern Crown.  The star usually shines at mag. +5.9 but sometimes very quickly drops to a mag. +15, making this a star to observe on any clear night.

Delta Boötis – a double star with an orbital period of 120,000 years.  The primary star is a deep-yellow giant, and its companion is slightly paler.

RV Boötis – a reddish variable star with a period of 288 days, it can be found approximately 2.5 northeast of Rho (ρ) Boötis.

Deep Sky Objects

NGC 5466 – globular cluster found 9.6° north and 1° west of Arcturus (Alpha (α) Boötis.  A 200mm or larger scope is needed to resolve the stars, with the best views requiring over 100x magnification.

M3 – globular cluster located 5.1° west of NGC 5466.  A small telescope will show a smudge with a brighter core, but a 200mm scope will resolve stars across the face of the cluster.

NGC 5053 – globular cluster located 12.2° south-southwest of M3.  A 150mm scope will show a faint smudge.  A 250mm scope will reveal a few stars, but a 300mm scope will resolve about 36 stars.

M53 – a globular cluster which lies 1° northwest of NGC 5053.  A 150mm scope will show it as a 3-arcminute glow with a broad core and a mottled grainy texture.  A 250mm scope reveals over 100 members in a circular area, whereas with a 300mm scope it is possible to see lots of resolved members under high magnification.

M64 (Black Eye Galaxy) – a spiral galaxy 5.2 northwest of M53.  A 150mm scope will show an obvious oval with a well-defined core, and averted vision will reveal a dark, elongated patch along the core’s north-northeastern side.  This patch can be seen with direct vision using a 250mm scope.

NGC 4725 – an intermediate barred spiral galaxy located 4° north-northwest of M64.  Using a 150mm scope the galaxy appears 7 x 5 arcminutes in size, with a small, concentrated core.  A 250mm scope will show it as a fairly bright and easy to see object.  A 300mm scope will show a prominent oval core with two brighter arcs either side of the oval’s extremities, and 100x magnification will bring out more detail.

NGC 5985, 5982 and 5981 (The Draco Triplet) – these three galaxies lie within an area of 20’ and can be found in central Draco, 2° east of Edasich (iota (ι) Draconis).  NGC 5985 is a face-on spiral galaxy and can be seen with a 150mm scope, although a 300mm telescope is needed to see a hint of its spiral arms.  NGC 5982 is a smooth elliptical galaxy 7’ west-northwest of NGC 5985.  A 150mm scope will show an elongated core within a much fainter halo.  NGC 5981 is an edge-on spiral galaxy that lies 7’ north-west of NGC 5982 and is faintly visible through a 150mm telescope.  The galaxies are circumpolar and can be seen high in the north-east at nightfall and will be close to the zenith at about 03:00 BST.

Miscellaneous

4 April – A good time to view the Realm of Galaxies, to locate this region look for the Bowl of Virgo asterism and the galaxies can be seen within and north of the asterism.

8 April – If you are in the western parts of the UK, you may be able to see a slim partial eclipse of the Sun just before sunset.

Moon Image Credit: Steve Knight
Mars Image Credit: NASA
M3 Image Credit: David Briggs & John Lewis

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

Saturday,
9th November
2024
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Saturn, Jupiter & Moon
- start time 7:15pm

More details...
Sunday,
10th November
2024
Public Open Evening
Saturn, Jupiter & Moon
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

More details...
Saturday,
7th December
2024
Public Open Evening
Moon, Saturn & Jupiter
- start time 7:15pm

More details...
Sunday,
8th December
2024
Public Open Evening
Moon, Saturn & Jupiter
- start time 7:15pm

More details...