Hampshire Astronomical Group

Established 1960, Online since 1998

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...

There are no events scheduled.

Astronomical Events for October 2020


1 October – First of this month’s Full Moon which is known as the Harvest Moon.

3 October – 06:00 BST – The Moon and Mars will appear to be separated by 1.5°.

12 October – The Moon’s libration means its’ a good time to view the southwest limb which includes features such as the Mare Orientale impact basin.

16 October – Try and observe/photograph a less than 1%-lit Moon which rises less than an hour before the Sun and will be about 3° above the eastern horizon.  This Moon is 13 hours from being a new Moon.

17 October – The 1%-lit crescent Moon will be low above the west-southwest horizon about 30 minutes after sunset.

31 October – Second full Moon of the month and is known as the blue Moon.


1 October – 16:00 BST – Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation.

3 October – 04:00 BST – Venus will be 0.2° south-east of Regulus.

4 October – 05:00 BST – Uranus can be seen 5.4° north-east of the Moon.

6 October – Mars is at its closest to Earth and has an apparent diameter of 22.6 arcseconds.

13 October – midnight – Mars reaches opposition and is in a very good position to observe.

14 October – 04:15 BST – Venus and the crescent Moon will be separated by about 3.7°.  You can find them in the east where they will appear low in the horizon.

15 October – 06:00 BST – Venus can be seen above and to the right of a 3%-lit waning crescent Moon.  They can be seen low above the eastern horizon.

22 October – 19:00 BST – Jupiter and the crescent Moon will be separated by 3° and can be seen low above the southern horizon.  Saturn can be seen to the left.

29 October – evening – Mars will be 3.5° north of the nearly full Moon.

Meteor Showers

7 October – 2:35 BST and 02:57 BST – It has been predicted that there will be increased activity of the Draconid meteor shower before the peak on 8 October.

8 October – 13:30 BST – Peak of the Draconid meteor shower, as it will be daylight start observing as it gets dark and into the early hours of 9 October.  This meteor shower has a ZHR of about 10 meteors an hour and they tend to be slow moving.

10-20 October – Peak of the Southern Taurid meteor shower which occurs over 10 days.  This shower has a ZHR of 5 meteors an hour.

20-21 October – Peak of the Orionid meteor shower which has a ZHR of 20-25 meteors an hour.


25 October – 02:00 BST – End of British Summer Time when the clocks go back 1 hour to GMT (01:00 UT).

Moon Image Credit: Steve Broadbent
Mercury & Venus Images Credit: NASA
Meteor Shower Image Credit: Stellarium

Astronomy Course Full

In view of the current restrictions regarding Covid-19 the Astronomy Course is closed to new enrolments. 

If you wish to be placed on the list for 2021/22 please make contact with Graham Bryant

National Astronomy Week 14 - 22 November / Mars Encounter

National Astronomy Week runs this year from November 14th to 22nd.

So time to get ready for a Mars Encounter of the virtual kind!

This year's National Astronomy Week,  will be hosting a week filled with exciting virtual events led by top astronomers from across the UK.

To find out more about the events and learn about Mars, visit the new and improved website at www.astronomyweek.org.uk
and like the Facebook page National Astronomy Week and follow on Twitter @NatAstroWeek

Stay updated on all things with the hashtag #NAW2020


Of course, our own Robin Gorman was a main force behind the setting up of National Astronomy Week, back in 1979 and the organisers have placed an In Memoriam tribute to Robin on the website.

Please follow the link to read it https://astronomyweek.org.uk/in-memoriam-robin-gorman


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

11th December
The Antikythera Mechanism
A talk by John Lancashire
Via Zoom - start time 7:45pm

More details...
12th February
Meteorite: The Stones From Outer Space That Made Our World
A talk by Dr Tim Gregory
Via Zoom - start time 7:45pm

More details...
9th April
Great Comets and Great disappointments
A talk by Nick James
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

More details...

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

There are no events scheduled.

Future Learn Free Astronomy Courses

FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling digital education through conversation.  FutureLearn offers free and paid for online courses and degrees from world-leading UK and international universities as well as courses from companies, centres of research excellence and specialist education providers.  FutureLearn partners with over a quarter of the world’s top universities and organisations such as Accenture, Microsoft, the British Council, European Space Agency, Houses of Parliament, Raspberry Pi and Cancer Research UK.   

FutureLearn provides a range of free online courses from some of the world's leading educators. Courses are created by UK and international universities, as well as cultural institutions and global centres of excellence in a range of subject areas, like the British Council and the European Space Agency.

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