Hampshire Astronomical Group

Established 1960, Online since 1998

Important Announcement

All Events at the Clanfield Observatory have been Suspended


Due to the recent lockdown restrictions introduced as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, all major activities both at the observatory and the monthly Clanfield Memorial Hall meetings have been suspended.

We are aware that as of early March 2021, there might be some easing of restrictions, but for the time being, Group activities that involve crowds of people at both the observatory and the Memorial Hall, will remain suspended. 

These measures are being closely monitored and we shall introduce activities when we are in a position to ensure the safety of both members of the Group and members of the public.

We will of course keep you updated via this website and on our Facebook pages.

14th February 2021

Observatory Accessibility


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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...

12th March
The Dangers of Forecasting the Solar Cycle
A talk by Dr Keith Strong
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:45pm

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Astronomical Events for March 2021


7 March – morning – The waning crescent Moon will be 1.5° south southeast of M8 (the Lagoon Nebula), it may be possible to image part of M8 and the Moon in the same photo, but a flat southeast horizon is required.  The Moon will rise at 03:50 UT.

14 March – before sunset – There will be a very thin crescent Moon low in the western horizon.  The Moon will set about 1 hour after the Sun.

15 March – The Moon’s libration means you will be able to see Mare Humboldtianum and craters Nansen, Hayn and Boss on the northeast limb.

19 March – 20:15 UT – The centre of the Moon will be 2.3° south of Mars and 4.7° north of Aldebaran.

28 March – The full Moon will appear a little brighter and larger than the usual full Moon due to lunar perigee.

Moon – Clair-obscur Effects

20 March – 23:15 UT – The clair-obscur effects known as the lunar X and V will be visible tonight on the terminator.  The lunar X is created by the craters La Caille, Blanchinus, and Purbach.  Lunar V can be found north-northeast of Ukert M.


1 March – Mars can be seen crossing the sky south of the Pleiades.

3 and 4 March – Closest approach of Mars to the Pleiades when 2.7° separates the planet from the centre of the open cluster.

4 March – Minor planet Asteroid 4 Vesta (mag. +5.9) reaches opposition.  With a dark sky it may be possible to see Vesta in the constellation Leo using just your eyes.

6 March – Mercury reaches greatest western elongation when it will be separated from the Sun by 27.3°.  The planet rises 40 minutes before the Sun but you will need a flat east-southeast horizon in order to see Mercury which is at mag. +0.2.

9 March – Looking 40 minutes before sunrise, and with a flat east-southeast to southeast horizon, you will be able to see Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn along with a waning crescent Moon.

10 March – It may be possible to see both the southern and northern polar regions on Mars due to it’s tilt being more side-on to Earth.

26 March – Venus reaches superior conjunction when it lines up with the Sun on the far side of its orbit from Earth.  After today the planet will slowly become an evening object in the sky.


20 March – 09:37 UT – Spring or Vernal equinox when the Sun’s disc crosses the equator.

28 March – 01:00 UT – Start of British Summer Time when the clocks go forward by an hour.

Last week March – Using a large aperture telescope, it may be possible to observe Comet 2020 R4 (Atlas) when from London it can be found at an altitude of approximately 15° above the east-south-eastern horizon at 04:00 GMT.  The comet will be in the constellation of Aquila, and by the end of March will be at an altitude of 20° and can be seen about 2.8° south of eta (ƞ) Aquilae.

Moon Image Credit: Steve Knight
Mars Image Credit: NASA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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...

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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