Hampshire Astronomical Group

Established 1960, Online since 1998

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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...

There are no events scheduled.

Astronomical Events for August 2015

Moon

9 August - 01:00 BST - The Moon and Aldebaran will be approximately 1° apart.

22 August - 22:00 BST - The Moon and Saturn will be approximately 2° apart and can be found low in the southwest.

Planets

6 August - Saturn's moon Iapetus is at greatest western elongation and will be at its brightest.

6 August - 20 minutes after sunset - Mercury and Jupiter will be separated by approximately 1°.  They can be found low in the west-northwest.

15 August - Venus is at inferior conjunction and will be approximately 8° south of the Sun.  Extreme care will be needed to view the planet in the daylight and should only be attempted by experienced observers.

20-21 August - 04:15 BST - Mars passes in front of M44 (Beehive open cluster).  This event occurs low in the northeast so a flat horizon is needed.

Meteor Showers

1 August - Peak of the Alpha Capricornid meteor shower with a ZHR of 10 meteors an hour.

6 August - Peak of the Southern Iota Aquariid with a ZHR of 8 meteors an hour.

12-13 August - Perseids meteor shower with a ZHR of 80-100 meteors an hour, with the peak occurring on the 13 August between 07:30 and 10:00 BST.  The moon will not interfere with the viewing.

13 August - Peak of the Northern Delta Aquariid with a ZHR of 20 meteors an hour.

18 August - Peak of the Kappa Cygnid meteor shower with a ZHR of only 8 meteors an hour, but you may be lucky and see some bright fireballs.

25 August - Peak of the Northern Iota Aquariid with a ZHR of 8 meteors an hour.

Comets

5 August - Comet 141P/Machholz (mag. 12) can be found to the north of the Flaming Star nebula in Auriga.  There will be a 1° separation at 0:00 BST on 6 August.

7 August - Comet 141P/Machholz will be approximately 1° south of M38 in Auriga.

8 August - 01:00 BST - Comet 141P/Machholz lies between M36 and M38 in Auriga.

10-11 August - Comet 141P/Machholz can be found north of M37 in Auriga where they will be separated by approximately 1.5°.

13 August - Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (mag. 10) is at perihelion.  Look for it in the morning sky.

31 August - Comet 141P/Machholz and 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be close together and can be found just to the south-west of Castor and Pollux in Gemini.

Miscellaneous

1 August - Last chance to observe noctilucent clouds as they come to an end by the middle of August.

25 August - Good time to image the North American Nebula which will be almost overhead in Cygnus.

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

Friday,
25th September
2015
Autumn Moon Watch Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

More details...
Saturday,
26th September
2015
Autumn Moon Watch Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

More details...
Sunday,
27th September
2015
Autumn Moon Watch Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Friday,
9th October
2015
Shedding Light on Supersonic Snowballs in Hell - the Physics of Close Comet-Sun Encounters
Talk by Professor John Brown
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
24th October
2015
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Sunday,
25th October
2015
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Friday,
13th November
2015
The Storms of Jupiter
Neil Breckell
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Saturday,
21st November
2015
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Sunday,
22nd November
2015
Public Open Evening Sold Out!
Clanfield Observatory - start time 7:15pm

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Friday,
11th December
2015
The Star of Bethlehem
Talk by Dr Mark Kidger
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Friday,
8th January
2016
TBA
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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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

Sunday 2nd August - 3.30pm - Summertime Stars, Moon and Planets

Tuesday 4th August - 7.30pm - Encounter with Pluto: Latest Images and News

Thursday 6th August - 3.30pm - Summer Nights, Shooting Stars

Sunday 16th August - 3.30pm - Summer Nights, Shooting Stars

Tuesday 18th August - 3.30pm - Our Galaxy, the Milky Way

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 774400 Ticket hotline: 07818 297292

e-mail: sdownsplanet@btconnect.com

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

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

Friday,
11th March
2016
Solar sails: an exciting glimpse of the future?
Dr. Thomas Waters
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Friday,
8th April
2016
Out of the Darkness - Pluto and the Outer Worlds
Andrew Lound
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Friday,
13th May
2016
TBA
A talk by Dr Dirk Froebrich
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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

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Friday,
8th July
2016
TBA
A talk by Kimberley Birkett
Clanfield Memorial Hall - start time 7:45pm

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Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium Lecture Series

10th September - Space Weather, Past, Present and Future

Talk by Prof Clive Dyer (University of Surrey Space Centre)

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.

Lecture: Space Weather is the influence of space environment variability on technology and human health. While our Sun is remarkably constant in the wavelengths that illuminate and warm us, it is extremely variable in other wavelengths and in its emission of plasma and energetic particles. These can lead to a variety of effects, some beneficial such as stunning aurorae, but others which are hazardous, such as electric grid failure, communications and navigation problems, and radiation effects on both humans and electronics. Mankind's increasing dependence on technology is creating new concerns and Space Weather has finally captured the attention of politicians. The question is being asked as to what would be the consequences in today's high technology society of a repeat of the major solar flare event observed in white-light by Richard Carrington in 1859, an event that produced aurorae in the tropics and set fire to telegraph lines. The lecture will review the history of mankind's appreciation of solar variability and its coupling to the earth, together with some recommendations for the future.

Prof Dyer has worked in space and radiation research for more than 40 years, initially working on the HEOS-1 and Ariel-5 spacecraft and analysing data from gamma-ray spectrometers carried on the Apollo 15 to 17 and Apollo-Soyuz missions. He founded the Radiation Environments, Effects and Hardening Team at Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough and for more than twenty years led a programme of research into radiation environments and effects. He has flown radiation monitors on a wide range of aircraft (including Concorde), twelve Space Shuttle missions, the MIR Space Station and a variety of spacecraft in orbits from LEO to interplanetary space.

He continues to provide consultancy in these areas and is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey Space Centre. During the last two years he has been actively involved with the Royal Academy of Engineering Study on "Extreme Space Weather: impacts on engineered systems and infrastructure,". He has lectured on Space Weather at many astronomical societies, universities and other groups.

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

For more details and tickets please visit the Intech web site

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:

Moons - starts 19th October 2015 for details and to book yourself onto the course click here

Gravity: from the Big Bang to Black Holes - starts 26th October 2015 for details to book yourself onto the course click here

After Dark at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium

After Dark: adults only

Tue 22nd Sept, Mon 19th Oct, Wed 18th Nov & Tue 8th Dec.

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