Activities

The Societies activities are wide ranging, from our Thursday night lectures, short notice observing sessions or weekends away at star camps or BAA weekends.

Dartford Grammar School Astronomy Club – Virtual Observing Session

Our society currently supports the Dartford Grammar School Astronomy Club, and on the 25th January 2021 we held a virtual observing evening using Simon’s observatory.

The students really enjoyed the evening

‘The boys from last night have been on the google classroom leaving you rave reviews’  

‘Last night blew their minds! They loved it.’

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Image by Simon Dawes & Dartford Grammar School Astronomical Society

Mars-2021-01-25-1935.

Image by Simon Dawes & Dartford Grammar School Astronomical Society

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Image by Simon Dawes & Dartford Grammar School Astronomical Society

The BAA Winchester Weekend comes to Crayford (hopefully)

Correction: It’s not a weekend (just Saturday Afternoon) and it’s not at Crayford (it’s at the Pavilion Sutton-at-Hone).

The BAA are running a virtual ‘Winchester Weekend’ – and COVID Restrictions permitting (i.e. restrictions and social distancing in London and Kent have been lifted) – we intend to add a little of that Winchester magic (OK it’s food, drink and conversation) to the proceeding by streaming it at the Pavilion Sutton-at-Hone.

Price: (to cover costs only) £10 per person – on the door – cash only (the chip shop only takes cash)

(Fish & Chips is £7.80 at my local chippy, the rest is for cake, biscuits, milk, tea and coffee.)

Date: 10th April 2021 13:00

13:00 Registration: (Tea and cake)

14:00 BAA Winchester Agenda

15:00 Tea and biscuits & discussion about the lecture

15:15 BAA Winchester Agenda

16:30 Tea and Biscuits and discussion about the lecture, socialise.

18:00 Dinner (Fish and chips)

19:30 BAA Winchester Agenda

21:00 Tea and biscuits and discussion about the lecture

Observing (weather permitting)

At the moment I’m canvasing who might be interested, no commitment at this stage, just to see if it is worth taking further, closer to the event I’ll ask for confirmation and provide a menu.

 

This is a ticketed event, please contact the webmaster@crayfordmanorastro.com if you are interested in attending (no commitment at this stage)

 

 

Kelling Heath Autumn Equinox Star Party

7 members of the society attended the Kelling Heath Autumn Equinox Star Party, some booking camping pitches and others static caravans. The weather was overcast with showers with long dry spells and whilst the astronomical observations were very limited between clouds it was still a great event which I’d recommend any keen observers try to book.

A brief introduction to Astronomy

Recently Mr Martin Crow, gave a talk entitled “A brief introduction to Astronomy” (The edges of the Jigsaw) for some of the societies new members, to help them better understand the “Jigsaw that is astronomy”.

Martin spoke amongst other things about.

·        Measuring astronomical distance by using astronomical units (au) & light years,

·        The spectrum of stars to determine their chemical components,

·        Looking at objects with different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum i.e. infrared, white & Ultra- violet light.

Looking-at-the-Spectrum

looking at the spectrum

Radio-to-X-ray

Objects viewed in different wavelengths

Finding-the-edges

Martin introducing the course

EQ6 Locking Power Mod

The EQ6 is known for its power connector coming out or momentarily disconnecting, which is not something you want happening in the middle of an imaging session. I’d previously replaced all my power connectors to a type with a locking collar and decided to mod my EQ6 so that all my gear uses the same connector. This is not a particularly hard mod if you are confident around electronics and a soldering iron, but it will obviously void your warranty. You have to choose where to fit the connector carefully to avoid any components on the motherboard. Tapping onto the 12v on the board is pretty easy but worth checking with a multi-meter.

EQ6-locking-powwr-mod

The Moon Rochester

Gary organised a trip to Rochester Cathedral to view the huge 3D moon that is touring the UK and to hear a lecture on the moon. 

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AstroImageJ Demonstration

We had an informal meeting over Christmas where Martin took the members through using AstroImageJ (AIJ) he covered the following…

  • Loading an image
  • analysing stars in an image
  • plate solving an image
  • batch processing images to calibrate them
  •  aligning and stacking images
  • photometry on a sequence of images

MartinExplaininghow-to-us-astroimagej

Martin Demonstrating AstroImageJ

Final image.

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Comet C/2017 T2 20191201 21:49 Simon Dawes

Transit of Mercury, 11th November 2019

Despite the poor weather our members were out in force observing the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun, something that has to be done carefully to be safe.

There were 8 members and 4 visitors at the Observatory with a variety of ‘scopes . Rita and Honor also had their PST’s on hand. Other members observed at their homes or online.

TransitofMercury-MR

White light photo by Mike Rushton taken 14:50 on 11/11/19. C8 with f/6.3 focal reducer on HEQ5 Pro. Full aperture glass solar filter Canon 60D at prime focus ISO 1600, Exp 1/400 sec.

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Image by Janice McClean

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Image by Martin Crow 2019-11-11 14:53UT Ha Image

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Image by Honor Wheeler in White Light

ToMRichard

Image of the Transit of Mercury 11/11/2019 by Richard Bohner

Star gazing at Hall Place

It was horizon – horizon cloud last Wednesday for the sold out star gazing event at Hall Place, however we were prepared for this and along with comet making, we held sessions on drawing objects in the night sky and a variety of talks about astronomy. We had brilliant support from our members – thanks to all – who bought a variety of telescopes, cameras, meteorites and other displays, overall the visitors went away happy despite not being able to view the heavens. 

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“Fun Palace” event at Bexleyheath Library

As part of our public outreach, a few of us represented the Society at a “Fun Palace” event at Bexleyheath Library on Saturday. These relatively low-key events are intended to showcase small, local interest groups such as arts & crafts, therapies, lizard / snake keeping and in our case, all things Astronomy!
 
We had a prominent and large display which meant good foot-fall and a lot of interest from the public. Former members from the 1960’s and 1970’s came by to say hello – these gents were quite elderly as you can appreciate but knew Dick Chambers, Dr Wilkins and John Wall.
 
Our telescope Olivia drew in visitors as did the planet game. It was encouraging to watch young children complete the planet game with little or no help. (Ask us about the 5-year-old and 3-year-olds completing it!)
We had Saturn sketched by one of the youngsters and also imaged a planet mounted at the far end of the Fiction section!
 
All in all, a very positive event – we received feedback from the Library team to say that we were a hit with their customers.  Likely we will pick up some future visitors or even members, so watch this space.
 
I want to thank the team who helped on the day – Steve, Terry, Andy and Rita – really appreciate you giving up your time. We presented the Society in a very positive light.

FunPalaces1FunPalaces2

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