Astronomy Every Thursday…



Come and join CMHASD stargazing at Hall Place & Gardens, Bexley – Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 from 7pm.

CMHASD will be Stargazing at Hall Place & Gardens, Bexley on Wednesday 22nd November 2023.

We will be there from 7pm to 9pm. (Doors open from 6.45pm)

Outdoor activities are weather dependant.

Advance booking required.

Please note this is a ticket only event organised by Bexley Council. Tickets cost £15 for an adult & £12 for a child under 16.

Tickets can be purchased here https://www.hallplace.org.uk/event/stargazing-november-2023/


Below is a selection of CMHASD photos from our Stargazing event at Hall Place held last year.

Face-to-Face Meetings Every Thursday

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

As a courtesy to others please stay at home  and attend via the zoom if  you are feeling unwell – coughs, sniffs and sneezes etc.

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


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


Society News

Solar Observing at Hall Place & Gardens – Sunday 6th August 2023

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

Sunday 6th August 2023 – What a glorious day to be out solar observing which is what Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD) where doing at Hall Place & Gardens in Bexley. 

What a busy day it was too! Several telescopes were set up to observe the Sun safely and members of the public were invited to do some solar observing which was readily accepted by many.  The Sun put on a good display having several sunspots and prominences for the public to view.

Chairman John Archer wrote ”On Sunday 6th August, the team from CMHASD set ourselves up for the first of our two Solar Observing events at Hall Place & Gardens.

The forecast was for early morning sun, followed by sunny intervals until around 11am, but cloudy conditions until the arrival of rain at 4pm. Given that our timeslot was effectively 11am – 3pm, we were nervous to say the least!

Our pitch was on the grass at the end of the path from the main entrance to the gardens, and we were quite close to the hard standing outside the art gallery and café. With the date being chosen to coincide with the Farmers’ Market, we experienced good foot-fall and our flag was prominent for visitors as they arrived.

At one point we had around a dozen members in attendance and the public were treated to displays of sunspots the like of which we haven’t seen for years. Whilst the big Dob Anita was an immediate attraction, we had Tinie, two solar projectors and a range of H-Alpha and white light filtered scopes with which to demonstrate safe solar observing to a very interested public.

Of particular note was the filtered refractor which Honor had set up with a digital camera attached, affording visitors a proper “live view” of the surface of the sun. Each of the scopes were able to display clear views of sunspots such was their size and quantity. This solar cycle has certainly picked up in terms of activity and although the local forecast was for cloudy conditions, we very much lucked out in terms of clear spells so the public were very fortunate that during the period while the Farmers’ Market was trading, we were able to keep them entertained and educated.

The Crayford team returns again later in August for our second session but there’s no doubt this first visit to Hall Place for Solar Observing in 2023 was a great success.

Below is an image of the Sun on the 6th August 2023 taken by member Honor Wheeler.  The Sun was very active with lots of sunspots. Image acquired using an ED80 Refractor, EQ3 Synscan mount, Canon M6 MarkII, 2x lens Barlow and ISO200/ exp 1/1250s.

CMHASD will be back at Hall Place on Saturday 19th August 2023 to do some more Solar Observing with the public. Please do come and join us!

Thank you to John Archer, Diane Clarke and Honor Wheeler for sharing your photos of the day with us.


Informal Nights at the Society

A few photos showing what members get up to on our ‘informal nights’ at the Society.  Activities range from observing, testing/setting up members’ latest equipment purchased, fixing members’ equipment, presentations, general chit chat & banter plus games.

20th July 2023

27th July 2023

Good weather so members took the chance to observe. Dave, Steve & Honor with telescope ‘Tinie’.

Member Honor Wheeler’s image of the Sun through Society telescope ‘Tinie’ fitted with a solar filter – built by members Steve Floodgate & Dave Grist.

Our Active Sun by Simon Dawes

More stunning images of our active Sun taken by member Simon Dawes in the later half of July 2023.  Details of how Simon acquired his images are on the photos.

For more information about the Sun, its structure, atmosphere, sunspots, solar cycle and magnetosphere click on https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/sun/in-depth/

12th July 2023


26th July 2023


29th July 2023

Transit of Qatar-1b by Simon Dawes

More observations for the ExoClock project by Simon Dawes of Qatar-1b in the constellation of Draco taken on the 7th July 2023. 

Noctilucent Cloud (NLC) – 5th July 2023

Noctilucent clouds put in a rare appearance on the 5th July 2023 from around 10.50pmish until 11.30pm and a few lucky CMHASD members got to see them 🙂

Below are the photos that members Jim Burchell, Diane Clarke, Martin Crow and Sonia took of the clouds.

Jim’s NLC images, taken with a Pentax KP.

Diane’s NLC image, taken using a Canon M50 Mk2, lens Canon 100mm macro, f3.2 @ 2.5sec, ISO 400.

Martin’s NLC image, taken with an iPhone.

Sonia’s NLC images, taken with an iPhone.

Comet C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) by Dr. Mike Rushton

A rather splendid image of Comet C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) taken by CMHASD trustee and secretary Dr. Mike Rushton on the 12/13th July 2023 in Ursa Minor. 

Mike wrote ”This is C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) last night.  Approx Mag 14.5 with a greenish coma. The bright star in the image is Mag 7 and the limiting Mag 17.5.  Perihelion was 1/7/23 and closest to earth will be on 18/8/23. This was a 20 min exposure with my eVscope.” Imaging started just before midnight on 12/7/23 (23:57 BST).

Comet C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) was spotted on the 1st March 2023 by the NASA funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS). At the time, the comet was a +19th magnitude object moving through the constellation of Virgo.  

On July 1 this Comet ATLAS reached perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun.

To date the comet has now moved into Draco and will move into Cepheus towards its closest approach to Earth mid-August.  On August 18 this visitor to the inner Solar System will only be 3 light-minutes or so from our planet.

Based on its inclination to the ecliptic plane (38 degree) and orbital period of about 85 years C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) is considered a Halley-type comet.  Though the comet currently has a ‘C’ designation for a long period comet versus periodic comet; that will probably change as 85 years is much less than the 200 year orbital period cut off defining the 2 categories of comet.

Below is the report from SETI/UNISTELLAR Mike received back after submitting his imaging data.

Mike said ”I have had the photometry back and it was brighter than I thought at Mag 12.8. See the report from seti below. The little image in that report is stacked on the moving comet. The original image I sent was stacked on the stars.”

For more information: https://www.space.com/comet-c2023-e1-atlas-little-dipper-how-to-see

The Sun in June 2023 by Simon Dawes

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

Lots of stunning images taken by member and trustee Simon Dawes of our Sun on 4 days during the month of June.  Details of how Simon acquired the images are on the photos.

9th June 2023


16th June 2023


19th June 2023


21st June 2023

Noctilucent Cloud – 30th June 2023

Noctilucent cloud spotted on the 30th June 2023 around 3am BST by members Martin Crow and Sonia. Both photos taken using an iPhone.

Martin’s image taken from Essex

Sonia’s image taken from North Kent

Noctilucent Cloud – 25th June 2023

Rare Noctilucent Cloud spotted by CMHASD members Diane Clarke, Martin Crow and Sonia on the 25th June 2023.

First image below was taken by Diane using a Panasonic camera DMC-TZ100, f2.8 @ 1/10sec and ISO 6400 at 11.22pm BST.

The next two images were taken by Sonia using an iPhone 8 at 11.04pm and 11.14pm BST.

The next image was taken by Martin Crow using an iPhone.

Crescent Moon by Jim Burchell

Two beautiful crescent Moon images taken on 16/06/23 by Jim Burchell.
Images taken with a Pentax KP from Dartford top road at around 3.30 am.

Crescent Moon & Jupiter by Jim Burchell

A great image of the crescent Moon (with Earthshine) and Jupiter taken on the 14th June 2023 with a Pentax KP 300mm by member Jim Burchell. 

Transit of ExoPlanet HD189733b by Simon Dawes

Another set of observations for the ExoClock project by member Simon Dawes 🙂

Simon wrote ”This was a tricky observation, a bright star with faint comparisons, on the night of the summer solstice – the worst night of the year for astronomy, due to the lack of real night – there were 627 15s exposures which, when processed, works out at about 60Gb of disk space – for a single O-C measurement!

This far-off blue planet may look like a friendly haven – but don’t be deceived! Weather here is deadly. The planet’s cobalt blue colour comes from a hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing clouds laced with glass. Howling winds send the storming glass sideways at 5,400 mph (2km/s), whipping all in a sickening spiral. It’s death by a million cuts on this slasher planet!” Ref:https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exoplanet-catalog/6876/hd-189733-b/

HD 189733b is an exoplanet approximately 64.5 light-years away in the constellation of Vulpecula. The planet was discovered on October 5, 2005.  HD 189733b orbits its host star once every 2.2 days.

The closest transiting hot Jupiter to Earth, scientists have extensively studied the exoplanet’s atmosphere.  Researchers have found that the planet has an unusual rain of molten glass.

Full Moon rising – 3rd July 2023 by Jim Burchell

A fantastic collection of images showing the Full Moon also known as the Buck Moon rising on the 3rd July 2023 by member Jim Burchell in the constellation of Sagittarius.  All images were taken with a Pentax KP.  It was also the 1st Supermoon of 2023. 

The full Moon in July is called a Buck Moon after the new antlers that begin to grow from the forehead of a buck (male) deer at this time of year. They shed their antlers in the early spring or late winter, growing full again in July. 

This Buck Moon is the first of four Supermoons that will rise this summer 2023 culminating with September’s Full Corn Moon on September 28th.

The Moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical shape rather than in a circle, so its distance to us (Earth) varies over time; so there are times in the Moon’s orbit when it is closer to the Earth and other times when it is further away. A Supermoon is a phenomenon that occurs when a full Moon takes place at the same time as the perigee; when the Moon is closest to the Earth.

A Supermoon is actually classified when a full Moon is closer than 360,000km to the Earth.  This distance is around 21,000km closer than the Moon’s average distance from us of around 384,400km.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac which has published astronomical data for many centuries, says the Buck Moon would orbit closer to the Earth than any of the full Moons we have already had this year. 

The end of August’s full Moon will be the only supermoon closer to the Earth this year, the publication said. 

Below are Jim’s photos…..

Note that 2024 will have four full Supermoons in a row too.  They will occur on August 19, September 18, October 17 and November 15.

The Sun – 7th July 2023

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

CMHASD members Jim Burchell, Honor Wheeler and Simon Dawes took the opportunity to observe and image the Sun on Friday 7th July 2023 and below are their super images.

The Sun is very active with many sunspots and one so large it was seen from Mars; yes that is correct – from Mars.

The very large sunspot AR3363 which has just emerged over the Sun’s southeastern limb was spotted by the Mars rover Perseverance several days before we did. On July 2nd, the rover’s mast-mounted stereo camera MASTCAM-Z tilted up to the sky above Jezaro crater and photographed a deep-black dot on the solar disk.  For more information about this; see https://www.spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=07&month=07&year=2023.

Jim Burchell


Honor Wheeler

The Sun in Hydrogen Alpha.

Composite of 2 photos one for the disc and one for prominences details, then layered in Snapseed.
Canon M6 Mark II, Coronado PST,
EQ3 Synscan mount, x2 Barlow
ISO200, 1/25s
2023.07.07 12:48UT

Image enhanced to show some of the Sun’s prominences.

Solar Sunpsots in White light
Canon M6 Mark II, 80mm Refractor, EQ3 Synscan mount, Baader Solar filter, x2 Barlow.
ISO100, 1/800s.
2023.07.07 12:31UT

Sunspot AR3363 appearing over the southeastern limb of the Sun.


Simon Dawes

Details of how Simon acquired his images are on the photos.

Sun full disk in White light – 12 active regions. Q=30 and R = 225 so pretty active today.  Click here to see a full version https://britastro.org/observations/observation.php?id=20230707_113215_4d5fba6e58719cdf

For the latest information about the Sun’s activity check out Spaceweather.com

The Sun – May 2023

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/ The latest images of our active Sun by members Simon Dawes and Jim Burchell. Simon’s 3 images below were taken on the 18th May 2023....

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Venus, Mars and the Twins by Simon Dawes and Jim Burchell

Two great images below of the planets Mars and Venus with the twins Castor & Pollux. Castor and Pollux are the 2 brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini. Left to right: Mars, Pollux & Castor all nicely lined up with Venus lower right captured by member...

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Exoplanet HAT-P-12b

Another set of transit observations for the ExoClock project by Simon Dawes of Exoplanet HAT-P-12b. HAT-P-12b is 468 light years away from Earth, orbiting a 13th magnitude K-type star in the constellation Canes Venatici.  It is was discovered by the HATNet...

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The Sun by Simon Dawes – 10th & 16th May 2023

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/ A fantastic collection of images of our Sun taken by Simon Dawes on the 10th & 16th May 2023 from North Kent, showing lots of sunspots 🙂...

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Fogbow by Kevin Smith – 7th May 2023

A great example of a fogbow captured by member Kevin Smith on the 7th May 2023. A fogbow is a similar phenomenon to a rainbow but as its name suggests, it appears as a bow in fog rather than rain.  Due to the very small size of the water droplets that cause fog...

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Sun Halo by John Archer – 30th April 2023

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/ A splendid example of a Sun halo captured by CMHASD Chairman John Archer on the 30th April 2023. A Sun halo is caused by the refraction,...

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