Astronomy Every Thursday…



Face-to-Face Meetings Every Thursday

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

BUT 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

Asteroid 2023 CX1 caught by CMHASD meteor camera on Monday 13th February 2023

Updated: 19th February 2023

Exciting news!!!!!! An asteroid that had only been discovered in space a few hours before impacting the Earth has been caught by the Crayford (CMHASD) meteor camera on Monday 13th February 2023 at 2.59am.

It is only the seventh time an asteroid strike had been successfully forecast, in what the European Space Agency said was ‘a sign of the rapid advancements in global asteroid detection capabilities’.

Despite all the cloud that was around at the time; our meteor camera managed to capture the small 1 meter asteroid now called 2023 CX1 as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere creating a brilliant fireball as it disintegrated, lighting up the night sky over the English Channel as it travelled eastward over the coast of Normandy, France. The 3ft meteoroid created an ‘airburst’ that could be seen across southern England and Wales and in parts of northern France as far south as Paris. 

Below is the CMHASD meteor camera video showing the fireball.

The one-metre asteroid was discovered by Krisztián Sárneczky with the 60-cm Schmidt telescope of the Piszkéstető Observatory in Hungary. It is his second discovery of an impactor,

‘’The fireball event happened at the predicted time (02:59 UTC) and location, with observations mostly from Southern UK and France, but also from Belgium, the Netherlands and even Germany. It is likely that some fragments of the meteoroid may have survived the atmospheric pass and fell somewhere onshore close to the coast north of Rouen, in Normandy, France’’ ref: https://neo.ssa.esa.int/-/new-imminent-impactor-found-by-european-astronomer

Now a space rock (meteorite) from that fireball has been found in northern France and CMHASD are absolutely thrilled. On 15 February 2023 art student Loïs Leblanc found the first meteorite of 2023 CX1 in a field located in Saint-Pierre-le-Viger. 

Update on Asteroid 2023 CX1 aka SAR2667 – YouTube


More news still to follow – so do check back.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) by George Buckberry – 14th Feb 2023

The latest image of the Green Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) that is currently gracing our skies by member George Buckberry. The photo was taken on the 14th February 2023 by George.

”Having spent months climbing up out of Corona Borealis and drifting past the Big and Little Dippers, like a rollercoaster car reaching its highest point, Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF has now gone ‘over the top’ of its path across the northern sky and is falling south, fading in brightness and shrinking in size as it drops towards Taurus.  For northern hemisphere comet chasers and skywatchers E3’s show is almost over.” ref https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/advice/comet-c-2022-e3-ztf/

So well done George for capturing the Comet, you did well to get it as it’s fading fast!

George has written on the image below of how he acquired the photo and the location of the star Aldebaran to the comet. Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) is a bright red giant star in the constellation of Taurus.

Collinder 26 by Simon Dawes – 14th February 2023

Super image of Collinder 26 – the heart of the Heart Nebula (IC1805) in the constellation Cassiopeia; aptly taken by member and trustee Simon Dawes on the 14th February 2023.

The Heart Nebula’s intense red output and its form are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula’s center. This open cluster of stars, known as Collinder 26 or Melotte 15, contains some stars that are 50 times the mass of our Sun.

The Collinder catalogue is a catalogue of 471 open clusters compiled by Swedish astronomer Per Collinder.

Details of how Simon obtained the image are on the photo.

The California Nebula (NGC1499) by Neil Webster

The California Nebula (NGC1499 in the New General Catalogue & Sh2-220 in the Sharpless catalogue) taken on the 13th Feb 2023 by member and astrophotographer Neil Webster.

The California Nebula is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus not far from the Pleiades and near the star Xi Persei. The nebula’s signature reddish glow is thanks to this nearby star, Xi Persei, which is on the top, left side of the nebula in this image. This luminous blue star (also known as Menkib) is a blue giant that is over 12,000 times brighter than the sun. This massive star ionizes the hydrogen atoms in the California Nebula and is responsible for creating this iconic deep sky object.

The Nebula was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884 and its name comes from its resemblance to the shape of the US State of California. It is almost 2.5° long in the sky and roughly 1,500 light-years away from Earth.

Neil acquired the image using a WOGT71, EQ6 R, ZWO294MC, Optolong LEnhance filter, Astro Essentials 50mm Guide Scope, ZWO 290MM.

50x240s Subs, 12xDarks, 40xFlats/Bias.

Processed using APT, PHD, Nebulosity, Photoshop (Camera Raw), Gradient XTerminator.

Check out Neil’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) by Martin Crow

Member and trustee Martin Crow captured the Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) on the morning of the 18th January 2023 at 03:20am. The ion tail of the comet can be seen emerging at around the 2 o’clock angle in the photos.

Beautiful Snow Moon by Jim Burchell

On the 5th February 2023, member Jim Burchell captured this absolutely beautiful image of the full moon also known as the Snow Moon.  Jim took the photo using a Pentax KP,  300 mm,  F7.1 1/25 sec and iso 400.


Active Sun – 10th February 2023 by Jim Burchell

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/

A super image of an active Sun captured by member Jim Burchell on the 10th February 2023 showing Sunspots 3213 to 3221.  Jim took the image with a Pentax KP attached to 102mm Altair Astro refractor using a solar filter.

Below is an image of the Sun on the 10th Feb 2023 taken from Spaceweather com showing the sunspots with their allocated numbers. Credit: SDO/HMI

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) on the 7th Feb 2023 by Honor Wheeler and 8th Feb 2023 by Simon Dawes

Member Honor Wheeler captured the Green Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) on the 7th February 2023 using a Canon M6 with a 400mm lens on a Star Adventurer tracking mount. ISO1600, 30″ expsoure.  The comet is centre right in the image in the constellation Auriga.  The bright star Capella is above the comet at the 10 o clock position from the comet and the star Elnath is below the comet between the 6 & 7 o clock position from the comet.

Then just before Moon rise on the 8th February 2023 member Simon Dawes captured this image of the green comet. Details of how Simon acquired the image are included on the photo.

Snow Moon – 5th Feb 2023 by Neil Webster

A Full Moon on the 5th Feb 2023 captured by Neil Webster. The February Full Moon is also named the Snow Moon after the snow on the ground in the Northern Hemisphere. Some Native American tribes also named the Moon the Hunger Moon due to the scarce food sources and hard hunting conditions during mid-winter and others called it the Storm Moon. The February Full Moon was in the constellation Leo.

7 Frames stitched in Microsoft ICE. Each: 90s x 32fps (best 20% selected in AutoStakkert).

Processed in Photoshop.

Exoplanet transit of EPIC 246851721b by Martin Crow

The transit of EPIC 246851721b measured by CMHASD member and trustee Martin Crow for the ExoClock project on the 21st January 2023. The transit depth is a mere 5 thousandths of a magnitude. EPIC 246851721b is a gas giant exoplanet that orbits an F-type star in the constellation Taurus. Its mass is 3 Jupiters, it takes 6.2 days to complete one orbit of its star and is 0.07229 AU from its star. This planet was discovered by Yu et al. 2018. The discovery was made with the space telescope 0.95 m Kepler Telescope.

Heart Nebula (IC1805) and Jellyfish Nebula (IC443) by Neil Webster

Two super deep sky astroimages by CMHASD member and astrophotographer Neil Webster.

First is a stunning image of the Heart Nebula (IC1805) taken by Neil on the 22nd November 2022.  Neil acquired the image using a WO GT71 APO, 0.8x Reducer, EQ6 R, ZWO ASI194MC Pro, Astro Essentials 50mm Guide Scope, ZWO ASI290MM, Optolong L Enhance filter. 57 x 240s Subs, 15 x Darks, 35 x Flats/Bias. 

The Heart Nebula (also known as the Running dog nebula, IC 1805, Sharpless 2-190) is an emission nebula, 7500 light years away from Earth and located in the constellation Cassiopeia. It was discovered by William Herschel on 3 November 1787. The nebula got its name as it looks like a human heart and it spans almost 2 degrees in the sky, covering an area four times that of the diameter of the full moon. At the top right is the companion Fishhead Nebula.

Next, see below; is a fantastic widefield image of the Jellyfish Nebula taken by Neil on the 21st January 2023.

The Jellyfish Nebula; also known as IC443 and Sharpless 248 (Sh2-248) is a galactic supernova remnant (SNR) in the constellation Gemini. On the plane of the sky, it is located near the star Eta Geminorum. Its distance is roughly 5,000 light years from Earth.

The glowing cosmic tendrils and bulbous ‘head’ are what give this deep-sky object its name, as it resembles a jellyfish. The Jellyfish Nebula is all that remains of a massive star that ran out of fuel and exploded as a supernova, leaving behind a shell of glowing gas. IC 443 has an angular diameter of 50 arcmin, the full moon by comparison, is 30 arcmin across.

Check out Neil’s flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) by Simon Dawes on 31st Jan 2023

Super image of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) taken by member Simon Dawes with Bessel/Cousins photometric filters and a broadband LPS filter (IDAS LPS D2) then combined to give an RGB image, colour hasn’t been altered. More detail of how Simon acquired his image is on the photo.

C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is a long period comet from the Oort cloud that was discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (hence the ZTF in the Comet’s name) on 2 March 2022, using the 1.2-m, f/2.4 Schmidt telescope at Mount Palomar.  It was the 3rd such object discovered in the fifth half-month (A, B, C, D, E) of the year. Thus, 2022 E3 (ZTF).

The comet has a bright green glow around its nucleus due to the effect of sunlight on diatomic carbon and cyanogen.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)- 29th & 30th Jan 2023 by Jim Burchell

After seeing Honor Wheeler’s image’s of Comet  C/2022 E3 (ZTF) CMHASD member Jim Burchell decided to have a go at trying to image the Comet too.
Jim said ”It was rather difficult as the Comet wasn’t very easy to see as there was some high cloud and the Moon was in play.
I was struggling to see the Comet with binoculars so in the end I used my 70 mm telescope but it still wasn’t obvious.
The image below was taken with a Pentax KP camera attached to Altair Astro 70mm ED triplet refactor at ISO 1600 and 15 Second exposure.”
The comet is the fuzzy patch in the centre of the image below taken on the 29th Jan 2023 by Jim.
The next image below of the Comet was taken by Jim on Monday 30th Jan 2023 using the same setup as the day before.  Again, it was quite difficult to find as the Moon was bright.  The image was then processed by Jim on his phone using an enhanced image tool.

Enormous Sunspot AR3190 – 20th Jan 2023

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/ A fantastic image of the Sun taken on the morning of the 20th January 2023 by member Jim Burchell.  The image was taken by Jim using a...

read more

Boxing Day Sun in Hydrogen Alpha by Honor Wheeler

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/ A stunning image of the Sun in H-alpha on 26th Dec 2022 by Honor Wheeler.  The image was acquired by Honor at 20221226_1212UT  using...

read more

The Moon & Earthshine by Honor Wheeler – Dec 2022

Three wonderful images of our Moon acquired by CMHASD member Honor Wheeler back in December 2022.  The 1st image was taken on the 29th Dec 2022 and the next two on the 26th Dec 2022, all from North Kent. Honor acquired her super image below of what looks like a...

read more

Moon & Earthshine – 2023.01.18

Being up early on dark mornings has its rewards as member Jim Burchell shows here with these super images of a crescent Moon on the morning of the 18th January 2023.  The amount of ‘Earthshine’ captured in the 1st photo by Jim is stunning. Also in the...

read more

The Moon – 2023.01.02

Another stunning image of the Moon taken by member Neil Webster on the 2nd January 2023.  The image is of a waxing Gibbous Moon at 85.0% and 10.39 days old. The image is a mosaic made up of 6 frames stitched in Microsoft ICE. Below is one of the frames taken by...

read more

Crescent Moon by Richard Bohner – 2022.12.27

Member Richard Bohner captured these superb detailed images of the crescent Moon on the 27th Dec 2022 from Arizona, USA.  Amazing how much detail has been acquired using an  iPhone camera held up to an eyepiece 🙂...

read more

Winter Solstice Crescent Moon by Jim Burchell

Member Jim Burchell’s ‘Winter Solstice crescent Moon‘ captured on the morning of the 21st Dec 2022 – The Winter Solstice.  According to the astronomical definition, winter begins with the winter solstice in December in the Northern...

read more