History of the Group

Summary of Our History from 1960 to Now

Our History

Astronomical Achievements

At the Hampshire Astronomical Group observatory the telescopes have been used to confirm discoveries of supernovae (exploding stars in distant galaxies) by other astronomers who discovered these objects.

Two of the telescopes on site have been given official recognition and codes by the International Minor Planet Centre in USA for the positional accuracy of observations of Asteroids taken at the observatory. This means the observations are of high standard and will be accepted by the professional astronomers world-wide.

Astrometric (positional) measurements of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) have been made at the observatory which has helped professional astronomers to precisely resolve the orbits of these asteroids. These observations help to identify objects that could threaten Earth in future years.

We are participating in observations of Comets and their Nuclei and observing for potential break-up of these objects as they are subject to gravitational stresses as they orbit the sun.

The group undertake observations of fireballs and other meteoric phenomena and report our findings to National databases.

Our members participate in expeditions around the world to observe Total Eclipses of the Sun.


Our Timeline

Autumn 1960 - The Portsmouth Astronomical Group was founded.
Spring 1961 - Group move to an observatory location in Crookhorn, Purbrook.
1963 - Group forced to relocate to Portsdown Hill, due to light pollution.
1963 - Swivelton Lane Observatory opened
Easter 1972 - Work starts on the first dome at the Clanfield Observatory.
November 1978 - Patrick Moore opens the group's first main dome (20 inch) at Clanfield observatory.
1981-1982 - 5 inch dome acquired
1988 - Closed Swivelton Lane Observatory
July 1988 - Foundations cut for Clubroom
November 1988 - The group celebrates 10 years of observing at the Clanfield Observatory.
1992 - Club room officially opened by John Mason
1994 - 16 inch dome errected on site by John and Gillian Lewis
1995 - 12 inch dome brought on site.
November 1996 - The 24inch mirror for upgrading the 20inch telescope is ordered.
November 1997 - The 24inch mirror is received and work begins on the telescope.
November 1998 - The group celebrates 20 years of observing at the Clanfield Observatory.
September 2006 - Douglas Arnold's 7inch Starfire Telescope is donated to the group.
May 2007 - The 7inch Starfire telescope was officially opened.
November 2008 - The group celebrates 30 years of observing at the Clanfield Observatory.
January 2009 - International Year of Astronomy 2009 activities start
October 2010 - H.A.G. celebrate our "Golden Anniversary" - 50 Years as a group
March 2014 - 24 Inch telescope decommissioned.
July 2014 - Installation of new 24 Inch telescope
October 2014 - New 24 Inch telescope officially opened

Read our history in more detail on our page entitled 1960 to Now