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...

9th October
Low earth orbit mega-constellations and space debris: the end of ground based astronomy?
A talk by Professor Don Pollacco
- start time 7:45pm

More details...

Astronomical Events for September 2020


2 September – Today’s full Moon is near apogee (which occurs on 6 September when it is at its furthest away from Earth), so will appear to be smaller in diameter and is sometimes called a Micromoon.  At 23:00 BST Neptune will be 5° north of the Moon.

5 September – 21:30 BST – The Moon and Mars will be separated by less than 4° as they rise above the eastern horizon.

6 September – 06:30 BST – The distance between the centre of the Moon and Mars is less than half a degree.

14 September – 04:00 BST – The crescent Moon, Venus and M44 will be close together; the Moon will be 1.5° north of M44 and 3.8° north of Venus.  You should be able to see all three objects through a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars.

16 September – 05:15 BST – A 2%-lit thin waning crescent Moon will be rising in the east-northeast.

Clair-obscur Effects

24 September – Good opportunity to see the clair-obscur effect known as the Face in Albategnius, however you will need a telescope to view this.

25 September – 22:00 BST – Using a telescope it may be possible to see the effect known as the Eyes of Clavius which is created when the rims of two small craters within the crater Clavius are lit up.


4 September – 05:00 BST – Uranus will be 4° north of the Moon.

10 September – Mars reaches a stationary point where its movement against the stars stops.

11 September – Neptune reaches opposition and can be found in Aquarius.  At mag. +7.8 it should be possible to see it using large binoculars or a small telescope.

12 September – 21:00 BST – Ganymede’s shadow will be on Jupiter’s mid-line; the transit will end at 22:55 BST.

13 September – morning – Venus will be about 2° south of M44 (the Beehive Cluster) and is best seen using binoculars.

25 September – 20:00 BST – Jupiter is 7° west-north-west of the Moon, and Saturn will be 3.5° north-north-east of the Moon.

30 September – 02:00 BST – Neptune will be 2° north of the Moon.

Meteor Showers

9 September – Peak of the Epsilon Perseid meteor shower which has a ZHR of 5 meteors an hour.


22 September – 14:30 BST – The centre of the Sun crosses the celestial equator, marking the start of the Northern Hemisphere’s autumn equinox.

Moon Image Credit: Steve Knight
Jupiter Image Credit: Mark Batehup

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

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...

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

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

More details...

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