Astronomy Every Thursday…



We are Back! Face-to-Face Meetings Every Thursday

We are back to face to face meetings every Thursday plus we are live on Zoom*

Please stay at home  and attend via the zoom lecture if any of the following are true:
    a) You are feeling unwell – coughs, sniffs and sneezes will concern other members.
    b) You’ve displayed signs of covid-19 or had a positive test over the last 10 days.
    c) You’ve been spending time with someone who tested positive in the last 10 days.

– Not fully vaccinated?
You must take a lateral flow test prior to attending.
Face masks are not required but if you want to wear a mask no one will think less of you.
Social distancing – is not possible – if this concerns you, please continue with zoom meetings.

* zoom will only be available with the lecturer’s consent.


A selection of images, photos and observations taken by CMHASD members


Society News

BAA ExoPlanet & ExoClock training videos of which 2 are by CMHASD members.

The videos from the British Astronomical Association (BAA) Exoplanet Division Online Workshop held on Saturday 12th November are now available to watch on the BAA YouTube Channel.

The below talk titles are links to watch the videos. 

Two videos are by CMHASD members Rodney Buckland and Martin Crow.

Introduction by Roger Dymock

Exoplanet Division update
EXPLORE introduction

Ariel and ExoClock with Anastasia Kokori

Mission and observational efficiency
ExoClock – a model of pro-am collaboration

EXPLORE Part 1 – Detecting exoplanets with Rodney Buckland

Searching databases

How to discover an exoplanet (telescope and camera not required) with Roger Dymock

EXPLORE Part 2 with Martin Crow

Introduction to HOPS
Synchronous observations to detect shallow transits
Data mining transit observations for variable star photometry

AstroImageJ with Richard Lee

An alternative to HOPS

Click to download a zip of the User Guide for the Observation Planner for AstroImageJ and sample files.

Observing with robotic telescopes by Rodney Buckland



Rodney’s Video

Martin’s Video

Sun dog

A shinning example of a Sundog captured by member Martin Crow when out and about on the 20th Nov 2022.

A Sundog (or sun dog) is an optical atmospheric phenomenon that causes a bright, rainbow-colored patch of light to occur on either side of the sun or both sides at an angle of 22 degrees.  Sun dogs occur as a result of the refraction or scattering of light from flat hexagonal-shaped ice crystals that are suspended in clouds.

In the most brilliant displays, when 2 Sundogs appear, it’s as if there are now three suns in the sky — the main sun and two little siblings.

These “side suns” are colloquially known as sun dogs, officially known as “parhelia,” which is Greek for “next to the sun.”

The Veil Nebula by Neil Webster

The latest stunning image of the Veil Nebula by member Neil Webster. Updated with another 3 hours worth of imaging grabbed on the night of the 21st Nov 2022.

Neil said ”I finally managed to get enough data to start to show the incredible subtle details in this object.  This was processed from 5 hrs of data amassed over 3 evenings.”

The Veil Nebula is a diffuse nebula located in the northern constellation Cygnus, the Swan.  It is the expanding remains of a massive star that exploded about 8,000 years ago.

Called the Veil Nebula, the debris is one of the best-known supernova remnants, deriving its name from its delicate, draped filamentary structures. The entire nebula is 110 light-years across, covering six full moons on the sky as seen from Earth.

It lies a few degrees to the south of the star Epsilon Cygni, also known as Aljanah.

Aljanah is one of the stars of the Northern Cross and marks the right wing of the celestial Swan. 

The Veil Nebula is also known as Witch’s Broom Nebula, Bridal Veil Nebula, Cirrus Nebula or Filamentary Nebula.  It is located approximately 1,470 light years from Earth.

The Veil Nebula has three main parts: the Eastern Veil, the Western Veil, and Fleming’s Triangle (Pickering’s Triangle). It has the designations NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 6995, NGC 6974 and NGC 6979 in the New General Catalogue.  The southernmost part of the Eastern Veil Nebula is assigned the catalogue designation IC 1340.

To see a more detailed view of this image check out Neil’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/52515415329/

Partial Solar Eclipse – 2022 Oct 25 – Open Morning at the Pavilion

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please click here for solar observing safely.

On Tuesday 25th October 2022, CMHASD held an Open Morning at the Parsonage Lane Pavilion for members & members of the public to view the rare spectacle of a Partial Solar Eclipse visible from the UK.

It turned out to be an absolutely fantastic day and one that people who were there will not forget.

It was a warm sunny day with clear skies at the start of the partial eclipse and come 10.09am BST we were rewarded with the first views of the Moon partially obscuring the Sun.

Members used a variety of safe techniques to view & image the partial eclipse for nearly 1 1/2 hours (with a few breaks due to cloud cover) until a little after 11.30am when it started to rain.

The setup shown below is using the image projection method with a 4 1/2” Tal Newtonian reflector.



Member Gary Hunt who was present that day at the pavilion and took many of photos used in this post wrote “Whenever there is an astronomical event in our locality of the UK, CMHASD is pleased to take the opportunity to share with the public the wonders of the Universe. The morning of Tuesday 25th 2022 was such an opportunity as we were treated to a partial eclipse of the sun. This is quite a rare phenomenon for the UK and even a few tens of miles can make a big difference to what you will see. Sadly for our observatory and home that is the ‘Pavilion’ in Sutton-at-Hone Dartford this would be only be around 15% covering of the sun in the nearly two hour solar eclipse by the Moon, but with the aid of SAFE observing techniques and equipment provided by CMHASD members we were able to demonstrate and explain to our visitors just what was happening. Besides the eclipse, and with most of our telescopes we were able to see two sets of sun spots and even a few solar prominences. The sun was visible until the last half-an-hour when clouds and some spots of rain spoiled our observing session, but we were lucky that most of the best parts of the eclipse was pretty cloud free! We had a small, but enthusiastic number of guests come along to observe the eclipse, and I can confidently claim that they were all suitably impressed with their experience. We had challenges that day because on the Sunday before, a thunder storm knocked out electrical power supply to the Pavilion and so we had no lighting or power for hospitality for our guests, however we used thermos flasks of tea/coffee and generous Society members brought along some cakes, so I think we were forgiven? All-in-all, I would judge that we had a successful solar/eclipse public out-reach session and guests and members enjoyed the solar-show immensely.”

















Below are a collection images of the partial solar eclipse including a time lapse video by members who were at the pavilion………….


Jim Burchell

All 6 of Jim’s superb images were taken with a Pentax KP attached to an Altair Astro 102 Refactor using a white light Solar filter. Image’s then coloured using Snapseed. 

Image 1 start of the eclipse.  Iso 200 1/200 sec F7.5 approx 

Image 2 roughly mid eclipse. Iso 200 1/250 sec 

Image 3  a couple of minutes before the end of the eclipse. 
ISO 200 1/160 sec.

This image was taken roughly mid eclipse and shows more surface detail than Jim’s other images.

A very atmospheric image of the partial eclipse near the end.



Diane Clarke

Diane Clarke’s stunning image has been rotated to match event and also shows sun spots 3126, 3130 & 3131.  Diane acquired the image using a Camera EOS M50m2 at ISO  400 @ 1/2000 Sec. Jpeg from RAW.


Mike Rushton

Dr. Mike Rushton’s super image was taken just before clouds intervened at about maximum eclipse time.  Mike acquired the image using a Canon EOS 60D Lens: EF70-300mm f/4-f/5.6 IS USM, Focal length 300m f/8 1/500s ISO 200.

Below is a time lapse video of the partial solar eclipse put together by Mike.


Meanwhile members who were unable to be at the pavilion acquired these images below of the partial eclipse at various locations around Bexley including a time lapse video……


Simon Dawes

Details of how Simon acquired the image are on his photo.

Member Simon Dawes who was at home that morning wrote ”I hadn’t intended observing the partial solar eclipse,  my plan had been to process some exoplanet data from the the night before but the day started out so nice and cloud free, I thought why not.  As I was setting up I heard that one of our members wouldn’t be able to see it, they were isolating due to COVID.  So armed with a connection on my mobile phone and the societies Zoom details I set up an impromptu zoom stream to share my observatory PC so that anyone wanting to see it that couldn’t get to the pavilion would be able to.”

Below are a couple of images of the partial solar eclipse broadcast via Zoom set up by Simon and a time lapse video of the eclipse.


Janice McClean

Member Janice imaged the partial eclipse until the rain came.  Details of how Janice acquired her great images are on the photos.



Terry Miles

Terry Miles super set of images were acquired using a Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (PST) using a 8mm-24mm zoom and an  iPhone 13.


Some members who were at work that day managed to get some images too……..


John Archer

In the City of London CMHASD Chairman John took this image.


Honor Wheeler

On a tea break at work Honor took this image using a BAA solar viewer with her phone.


And those members who live further a field shared their images they got of the partial solar eclipse also.


Martin Crow

Martin took this image of the partial eclipse showing some sunspots too from Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex. Shot using a DSLR 550d, 200mm lens with an astro solar filter, iso 100 & shutter speed 1/15sec.


Stephen Cohen

Stephen took this image from Cumbria using an iPhone through Mylar film.


CMHASD would like to say a big thank you to Gary Hunt, Diane Clarke, Dr. Mike Rushton and John Archer for organising the day and to the members who shared their photos & images. Absolutely brilliant!

CMHASD supporting the BAA at New Scientist Live 2022

Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD) were out in force at the recent New Scientist Live event at ExCel Centre, London Docklands on the 7th to 9th October 2022.  We were there to help the British Astronomical Association (BAA), in which we have many members; on their stand in the Cosmos Section this year.  

Everybody pitched in; helping the BAA team organised by CMHASD member Janice McClean who is a trustee and the Events Coordinator of the BAA to promote membership of the BAA and answer questions ranging from ‘What type of telescope should I buy?’ to ‘How do you use a Planisphere?’

Janice said ”After three years closure, it was great to be back.

A big Thank you to CMHASD members Steve Floodgate & David Grist (our own Eric and Ernie) who were there for all three days of the event with Janice together with Mark Radice from Basingstoke Astronomical Society. 

Thanks fully to CMHASD members Rita Whiting and Debra Holton who were there to keep the peace on Friday (School’s day) and to CMHASD member Diane Clarke who got pulled in after rashly accepting a guest pass when the sheer number of visitors became overwhelming.  CMHASD trustee Mike Rushton added some calm and gravitas to the mayhem on Saturday and Rita returned on Sunday for even more!


Anita and Tinie the societies Dobsonian telescopes were the favourites with all the visitors. 
It was worked out that approximately 1200 people had a look through Tinie at Jupiter – a hand painted 3D printed scale model that was ”Cunningly positioned on top of the biggest combine harvester you ever saw.  Thank goodness the threshing bar wasn’t attached.” said Janice.
The BAA sold several hundred pounds worth of moon maps, beginners books and observation guides too.
Have we got the stamina for next year?” asked Janice to which she also replied ”Hopefully the Crayford ‘A’ Team will not be put off by all the hard work but attracted to the odd free beverage provided by the organisers!” 
Thankyou to Mike, Janice and Diane for sharing your photographs with us and to Janice & Diane for their help writing this post.

Cosmic Camp 2022

Several society members attended Shears Green Junior School on Friday 23rd September 2022 with their own or a society telescope to take part in the school’s ‘Cosmic Camp’.  Below are 2 accounts of the evening by CMHASD members Diane Clarke and Gary Hunt who...

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Sun Pillar by John Archer

CMHASD Chairman John Archer captured a beautiful sunrise on the morning of the 12th October 2022 along with an atmospheric phenomenon called a ‘sun pillar’ albeit a small one.  ‘A sun pillar is a vertical streak of light that appears above or...

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The Hunter’s Moon – 9th October 2022

Members Jim Burchell, John Howarth and Honor Wheeler took the opportunity to photograph the glorious full moon, also known as The Hunter’s Moon on the 9th October 2022 from various locations in North Kent and below are their superb results. ”Hunter’s...

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The Moon, Mercury, Mars & Orion by Jim Burchell

Member Jim Burchell was up early on Sunday the 9th October 2022 and took a super collection of photos of the early morning sky using his Pentax camera from Dartford. Jim captured Mercury at greatest elongation that morning; along with Mars, the Moon plus the...

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