Hampshire Astronomical Group

Established 1960, Online since 1998

Observatory Accessibility

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Hampshire Astronomical Group welcome you!

Formed in 1960 in Portsmouth the ‘Hampshire Astronomical Group’ has grown from strength to strength since our formation. Our home is now based at the Clanfield Observatory, one of the finest and largest amateur astronomical observatories in the UK.

Located on Hinton Heights on the edge of the South Downs near the villages of Clanfield and Horndean (between Petersfield and Portsmouth) you will find a superbly equipped Observatory and reasonably dark skies - measured as 20.6mag/arc2. Our night sky has noticeably darkened since the relighting of Hampshire.

We have a full program of monthly public lectures held at the Clanfield Memorial Hall, South Lane, Clanfield, which are open to all. The Group also hold regular Open Evenings from the autumn through to spring and Solar Observing events during the day in the summer months.

We also host private visits and run astronomical courses for the public at the observatory. All of the above is voluntarily supported by our very active and enthusiastic membership.

Details of all the above are on our website so please feel free to browse, it is constantly up-dated, so why not bookmark us in your browser under ‘favourites’? and visit often.

Clear Nights and Dark Skies.

Richard Judd - President
Hampshire Astronomical Group

What's on in the next month...

Friday,
13th May
2016
(Physics of) Star Formation
A talk by Dr Dirk Froebrich
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Autumn Moon Watch 2016 at Clanfield Observatory

Following the very popular events in the past six years, the 2016 Autumn Moon Watch will run on Friday 7th October Saturday 8th October and Sunday 9th October 2016. 

We will use the same format and cost as our normal open evenings. (£10.00 for adults, £5.00 for children under 12). Please note that neither the Moon Watch nor the Open evenings are suitable for children under 6 years old.

To book for any of these dates please use the booking form on our Open Evening web page 

http://www.hantsastro.org.uk/openevenings/index.php

Moon Image Credit: Steve Knight

Sun Live at the Clanfield Observatory

Sun Live Event - See The Sun In All Its Explosive Glory !

Clanfield Observatory offer a rare chance to see the Sun's surface in real time using special Sun Filters.
Depending on the weather conditions and the activity on the Sun this is a chance to see Prominences and Sun Spots using Hydrogen Alpha and other special Filters.
Should the weather prevent views of the Sun we will give a tour of the observatory and an illustrated talk about the Sun.

Entrance is exclusively by pre purchased tickets priced at £5:00 Adults £3 for 16 and under each.

We have set two dates for this event. Saturday 18th June & Saturday 9th July. Start time on these dates will be 1.45pm and will finish around 4pm
 
For tickets please fill in a booking form on the Sun Live page of the web site.

http://www.hantsastro.org.uk/solardays/index.php 

Image credit: Phil Reed

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

Friday,
10th June
2016
Confessions of an Astronomer
Professor Ian Robson
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
18th June
2016
Sun Live 2016
Clanfield Observatory - start time 1:45pm

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Friday,
8th July
2016
Mercury: New views of the Sun’s innermost planet
A talk by Professor David Rothery
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
9th July
2016
Sun Live 2016
Clanfield Observatory - start time 1:45pm

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Saturday,
10th September
2016
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Moon, Mars & Saturn
- start time 7:45pm

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Sunday,
11th September
2016
Public Open Evening
Moon, Mars & Saturn
- start time 7:45pm

More details...
Friday,
7th October
2016
Autumn Moon Watch Public Open Evening
Moon, Mars & M13
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Saturday,
8th October
2016
Autumn Moon Watch Public Open Evening
Moon, Mars & M13
- start time 7:15pm

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Sunday,
9th October
2016
Autumn Moon Watch Public Open Evening
Moon, Mars & M13
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Friday,
14th October
2016
TBA
A talk by TBA
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Astronomical Events for May 2016

Moon

2 May - Due to the Moon's libration, it is possible to see Mare Orientale on the southwestern limb.

6 May - The new Moon is at perigee, making it a perigee-syzygy new Moon.

7 May - The 1% lit waxing crescent Moon can be seen low in the west-northwest 20 minutes after the Sun has dropped below the horizon.

Planets

8 May - Mars, which is close to opposition, can be seen near Antares (rival of Mars).

9 May - Mercury transits the Sun.  The transit starts at 12:12 BST and ends at 19:40 BST.  To observe this you must use solar filters or project the image on to a piece of white card.  Never look directly at the Sun.  Doing so will cause damage to the retina and can result in instant blindness.

14/15 May - Jupiter can be found in the constellation of Leo.  The planet will be approximately 5° from the Moon in the early hours of 15 May.

21 May - 23:00 BST - Mars is at opposition as is the full Moon.  The Moon will be 5° north of Mars.

22 May - 23:00 BST - Saturn can be found 2.5° south of the Moon.

26 May - Good time to start observing the rings of Saturn which brighten for several days either side of opposition which is on 3 June.

30 May - 23:00 BST - Mars is at its closest to Earth when they will be separated by a distance of 75,280,000 km.

Meteor Shower

5/6 May - midnight to 03:00 BST - Peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower with a ZHR of 40-85 meteors per hour.  Although best seen south of the equator, the new Moon means it may be possible to see an Eta Aquarid meteor.  The radiant will be in the east and quite low.

Occultations

14 May - 21:59 BST - The Moon occults 48 Leonis.  Use binoculars to view this occultation when the Moon's dark limb passes in front of the star.

Miscellaneous

24 May - 90-120 minutes after sunset/before sunrise - Start of the noctilucent cloud season.  Look for them low in the northwest after sunset or low in the northeast before sunrise.

Moon Image Credit: Steve Knight
Mars & Saturn Images Credit: NASA

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

Monday 2nd May - 1.30pm - All Aboard - A Tour of the Planets

Monday 2nd May - 3.30pm - All Aboard - A Tour of the Planets

Friday 6th May - 7.30pm - Springtime Stars and Galaxies

Sunday 8th May - 3.30pm - A Trio of Bright Planets:Jupiter, Mars and Saturn

Friday 20th May - 7.30pm - Springtime Stars, Moon and Planets

Sunday 22nd May - 3.30pm - Destination Mars, the Red Planet

Friday 27th May - 7.30pm - Is There Life on Mars?

Sunday 29th May - 3.30pm - Springtime Stars and Galaxies

Monday 30th May - 3.30pm - All Aboard for a Trip to Mars

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

Admission Prices: £6.00 for adults, or £4.00 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
Kingsham Farm
Kingsham Road
Chichester
West Sussex PO19 8RP

For Sat Nav Users:-

Enter PO19 8AE

Tel: 01243 77440001243 774400 Ticket hotline: 07818 29729207818 297292

e-mail: sdownsplanet@btconnect.com

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

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.

11th May 2016 - The Planet Hunters: interferometry, the transit method and the search for extraterrestrial life - Talk by Piers Bizony

8th June 2016 - The Ghost Universe - Talk by Dr Francisco Diego

13th July 2016 - Asteroids, Comets and Impacts. Should we worry? - Talk by Prof Robin Catchpole (University of Cambridge)

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 Intech web site

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

Saturday,
5th November
2016
Public Open Evening
Targets to be Decided
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

More details...
Sunday,
6th November
2016
Public Open Evening
Targets to be Decided
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Friday,
11th November
2016
TBA
A talk by Dr Chris North
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
3rd December
2016
Public Open Evening
Targets to be Decided
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Sunday,
4th December
2016
Public Open Evening
Targets to be Decided
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

More details...
Friday,
9th December
2016
Herschel’s Incredibly Cool Universe
A talk by Dr Chris Pearson
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Friday,
21st April
2017
TItle TBA
A talk by Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Friday,
9th June
2017
Title TBC
A talk by Dr Aprajita Verma
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

More details...

After Dark at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium

After Dark: adults only

Tues 17th May, Wed 15th June & Tues 12th July.

Visit the planetarium and play about in the exhibition after the kids have gone home. Activities run throughout the evening so no problem if you cannot get here for 6pm or if you need to leave early.

Ticket price: £10/£8 including one planetarium show and entry to the centre. Add the other show for just +£2.

Teachers: free entry (includes one show); send requests in advance by email using your school/college email address.

Online booking (if you want to see both shows, add the second on the next page)

Telephone bookings (01962) 891925. Please have your credit/debit card ready. If the front desk is too busy for staff to answer your call straight away you can leave your number and they will call you back.

Strictly ages 18yr+ (if you're lucky enough to look younger, please bring ID).

For more details of the events please check out After Dark

Future Learn Free Astronomy Courses

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, Maths and Technology 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:

Gravity! From the Big Bang to Black Holes: - Starts 9th May 2016 for details to book yourself onto this course click here

Monitoring Climate from Space: - Starts 6th June 2016 for details to book yourself onto this course click here

Moons: - Starts 31st October 2016 for details to book yourself onto this course click here