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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.