Hampshire Astronomical Group

Established 1960, Online since 1998

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.

Situated in the beautiful South Downs National Park we aim to bring the beauty of the night sky to the people of Hampshire and surrounding areas.

We hold many outreach events both at the observatory and further afield supported by our many volunteers who are keen to share their knowledge with you.

We hold monthly pre-booked open weekend evenings either 2 or 3 nights per month throughout the autumn to spring and in addition, during the summer, we hold solar observing sessions at the observatory. We also accommodate private group visits on selected evenings by prior arrangement – see our school and club visits page.

We run astronomy courses and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme at the observatory and offer outside speakers to organisations wanting a talk on some aspect of astronomy.

We have well nurtured relationships with organisations such as the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester, Winchester Science Centre, South Downs National Park and a number of colleges and Universities in Hampshire. We collaborate closely with the University of Portsmouth Physics Department and have good links with the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, also at the University of Portsmouth.

We hold monthly public lectures at the Clanfield Memorial Hall in South Lane (details below) often given by eminent speakers where members of the public are welcome to attend. No prior booking is necessary.

You can follow the activities of the Hampshire Astronomical Group by regularly visiting this website or follow us on our Facebook page.

Graham Bryant FRAS
President:  Hampshire Astronomical Group

What's on in the next month...

Friday,
14th December
2018
How We'll Live on Mars
A talk by Colin Stuart
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
15th December
2018
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
- start time 7:15pm

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Sunday,
16th December
2018
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
- start time 7:15pm

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Friday,
11th January
2019
The Cradle of the Sun - Did Our Solar System Form in a Star Cluster?
A talk by Dr Richard J Parker
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
12th January
2019
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Moon, Mars and Orion
- start time 7:15pm

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Sunday,
13th January
2019
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Moon, Mars and Orion
- start time 7:15pm

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

Friday,
8th February
2019
The search for Planet Vulcan
A talk by Paul Fellows
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
16th February
2019
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Moon, Mars and Orion
- start time 7:15pm

More details...
Sunday,
17th February
2019
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Moon, Mars and Orion
- start time 7:15pm

More details...
Friday,
15th March
2019
Public Open Evening - Spring Observing Session Sold Out!
Moon, Mars and Orion
- start time 7:15pm

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Saturday,
16th March
2019
Public Open Evening - Spring Observing Session Sold Out!
Moon, Mars and Orion
- start time 7:15pm

More details...
Sunday,
17th March
2019
Public Open Evening - Spring Observing Session Sold Out!
Moon, Mars and Orion
- start time 7:15pm

More details...
Friday,
12th April
2019
TBC
A talk by Dr Seshadri Nadathur
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
13th April
2019
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Adults Only Observing Evening - Arrive 8.45pm - Starts 9pm - Finish 11pm
- start time 8:45pm

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Sunday,
14th April
2019
Public Open Evening
Adults Only Observing Evening - Arrive 8.45pm - Starts 9pm - Finish 11pm
Clanfield Observatory - start time 8:45pm

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Friday,
10th May
2019
Multimessenger Astronomy
A talk by Dr Stephen Webb
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Astronomical Events for December 2018


Moon

5 December – 07:00 UT – Looking low in the southeast, it will be possible to see the crescent Moon and Mercury.

14 December – 21:00 UT – Good time to look for the Lunar X and Lunar V which are clair obscure effects, they will be at their best at 21:50 UT.  Mars is 4.6° north of the Moon.

20/21 December – Just after midnight the Moon occults the Hyades, and by dawn will be next to Aldebaran.

25 December – The Moon will pass M44 (the Beehive Cluster, with 1° separating them.  Closest approach will be at about 05:30 UT.

Planets/Minor Planets

7 December – Neptune is about 8 arcminutes to the southwest of Mars.

15 December – Mercury reaches greatest elongation.  The planet can be seen low in the southeast before sunrise.

20 December – 1.8° separates Mercury and Jupiter; they will be low in the southeast at 06:40 UT.

29 December – Dwarf planet Ceres is 3° north of Venus.

Meteor Showers

6 December – Andromedids meteor shower, this is a rare meteor shower created by dust shed from Comet Biela in 1649.

13/14 December – Peak of the Geminids with a ZHR of 120 meteors an hour, although in the UK we can expect a ZHR of 50.  Best time to start looking is after 22:00 UT as the Moon will have set.

22 December – Peak of the Ursid meteor shower, however there will be a full Moon.

Comets

6/7 December – Comet 46P/Wirtanen will be approximately 1° from Eta Eridani.

10/11 December – Comet 46P/Wirtanen will pass approximately 4° east of Menkar (Alpha Ceti).

12 December – Comet 46P/Wirtanen will be around 1° east of the stars Omicron and Tauri in Taurus.

16 December – morning – Comet46P/Wirtanen starts to pass between the Pleiades and Hyades.

18 December – Comet 46P/Wirtanen will be at its closest to Earth at a distance of 11.8 million km.  The comet will pass about 6° east of NGC 1499 (the California Nebula), however the bright Moon will spoil the view.

23/24 December – Comet 46P/Wirtanen will be less than a degree east of Capella

Miscellaneous

21 December – 22:23 UT – Winter solstice.

Moon Image Credit: Steve Broadbent
Mercury Image Credit: NASA
Meteor Image Credit: Stellarium
Comet Image Credit: Steve Futcher

Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium Lecture Series

Adult evening lectures on the second Wednesday's of the Month at 4.30pm and 6.30pm, each follow by a short Planetarium Show about the months sky.

Wednesday 12th December 2018 - How we'll live on Mars - Talk by Colin Stuart (RAS)

Wednesday 9th January 2019 - Applying Missile Defence Technology to Solve the Near Earth Asteroid Problem - Talk by Alexander Godfrey (Lockheed Martin)

Wednesday 13th February 2019 - Big computers and little Galaxies - Talk by David John Williamson

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 - The Great Orbital Debris Patch - Hugh Lewis (University of Southampton)

These events often sell out so pre-book or call to check on (01962) 863791

For more details on the talks and tickets please visit the  Winchester Science Centre.

 Image Credit: © Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.

Southdowns Planetarium



The South Downs Planetarium is a registered educational charity, which is run by a small team of experienced and dedicated volunteers.
The Planetarium operates throughout the year, but is not open every day.

Members of the public are welcome to visit the Planetarium at the show times listed on this website.

Public Shows and Dates 

Friday 21st December - 3.30pm - To the Moon and Back 50 Years Since Apollo

Friday 21st December - 7.30pm - The Star of Bethlehem

Saturday 22nd December - 11.30am - To the Moon and Back 50 years since Apollo

Saturday 22nd December - 1.30pm - The Star of Bethlehem A cosmic detective story

Sunday 23rd December - 1.30pm - The Star of Bethlehem A Cosmic Detective Story

Sunday 23rd December - 3.30pm - The Star of Bethlehem A Cosmic Detective Story

Monday 24th December - 1.30pm - The Star of Bethlehem A Cosmic Detective Story

Thursday 27th December - 3.30pm - To The Moon and Back 50 Years Since Apollo

Friday 28th December - 1.30pm - Wintertime Stars, Moon and Planets

As seats sell out fast, it is essential to book your seat.

Admission Prices: £7.00 for adults, or £5.00 for children 6 to 16yrs. Cash or Cheque Only

The South Downs Planetarium Trust is a Registered Educational Charity No. 1096869.

For further information about all South Downs Planetarium activities, contact: 

The South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre
Sir Patrick Moore Building

Chichester High School Campus
Kingsham Farm
Kingsham Road
Chichester
West Sussex PO19 8RP

For Sat Nav Users:-- Enter PO19 8AE

 

Tel:01243 774400   Ticket Hotline: 07818 297292 

e-mail: sdownsplanet@btconnect.com

http://www.southdowns.org.uk/

Images credit:- Southdowns Planetarium 

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

Friday,
8th November
2019
The Consequences of Contact with ET
A talk by Martin Griffiths
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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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

Earth Observation from Space: the Optical View: -  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