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 July 2020, there were 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.

5 July 2020

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 August 2020


4 August – 22:00 BST – Look for the Moon illusion when it appears artificially large as it rises over the east-southeast horizon.

15 August – morning – The Moon will be 1.3° south of M35, an open cluster.

18 August – 04:30 BST – Try and find a 1%-lit crescent Moon as it rises in the east-northeast 90 minutes before sunrise.

28 August – evening – The Moon will be 3.7° southwest of Jupiter.


1/2 August – A good chance to see all the planets over one night.  1 August, 21:30 BST, looking south-south-east, Jupiter and Saturn will be separated by approx. 8°.  23:30 BST – Uranus starts to rise in the east and can be found in Aries, by 02:00 BST it will be 20° above the horizon.  Midnight – Neptune starts to rise and can be seen in north-eastern Aquarius and will be 20° above the horizon at 12:30 BST.  01:00 BST – Mars starts rising in the east in the constellation Pisces.  02:00 BST – Venus begins to rise, reaching an altitude of 10° by 03:30 BST in the east-north-east.  Mercury is the last planet to appear and will be 6° above the northeastern horizon as the Sun rises at 5:24 BST.  All times are from London.

1 August – 23:00 BST – Jupiter will be 1.5° north of the Moon.  About 8° to the east of Jupiter is Saturn.

3 August – Mars is at perihelion, when it will be at its closest to the Sun; it is during this period that dust storms may occur on the planet.

7/8 August – Transit of Ganymede across Jupiter’s disc, with the moon on the centre of the disc at 22:45 BST.  Start watching the transit as Jupiter rises, the transit will end at 00:28 BST.

9 August – 03:00 BST – Mars will be 3.5° from the Moon, and the planet will be at mag. -1.2.  The two objects will be separated by 1.1° at 10:30 BST.

11 August – 19:45 BSE – Callisto’s shadow transit’s Jupiter’s disc, at 21:35 BST the shadow can be seen on the centre of the planet’s disc, the transit ends at 23:55 BST.

13 August – Venus reaches greatest western elongation.

15 August – 03:00 BST – Venus will be 6° east-southeast of the Moon.

17 August – midnight – Mars will be at mag -1.5 and can be seen low in the east in the constellation of Pisces.

28 August – Minor planet 1 Ceres is at opposition and can be found in Aquarius.

29 August – evening – Saturn can be seen 4° northwest of the Moon, start observing as the sky darkens.

Meteor Showers

11/12 and 12/13 August – Peak of the Perseid meteor shower, with a ZHR of 100 meteors an hour.  The peak will occur between 14:00 BST and 17:00 BST on 12 August so it is best to observe this meteor shower on the 11/12 August and 12/13 August.

18 August – Peak of the Kappa Cygnid meteor shower, with a ZHR of 2.3 meteors an hour.


August – all month – Keep looking for Comet 2020 F3 (Neowise).  For coordinates see page 68 of August’s edition of Astronomy Now, which also gives coordinates for Comet 2019 U6 (Lemmon).


Beginning of the month – Last chance to see Noctilucent Clouds (NLCs) which usually appear low above the northwest horizon 90-120 minutes after sunset, or low above the northeast horizon 90-120 minutes before sunrise.

Moon Image Credit: Steve Broadbent
Jupiter & Venus Images Credit: NASA
Noctilucent Clouds Image Credit: Steve Knight

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 September
Hunting Outbursting Young Stars
A talk by Dr Dirk Froebrich
ZOOM - Details to be confirmed - start time 7:45pm

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

More details...

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

There are no events scheduled.

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