Crescent Moon & Mercury – 7th July 2024

A super collection of images by members of a Waxing Crescent Moon and Mercury taken on the 7th July 2024. The Moon had an illumination of 3%, which is the percentage of the moon that is illuminated by the Sun and an age of 1.6 days old, which is how many days it has been since the last New Moon.


John Howarth - Bexley



Honor Wheeler - Dartford

Mercury is just above the 'M' on the label Mercury in the photo.



Jim Burchell - Dartford


Richard Bohner - Arizona, USA.

Image taken 6 hours after Honor and Jim's images in the UK.  Notice how the Moon position has changed relative to Mercury.

Noctilucent Cloud (NLC) sightings – July 2024

A lovely selection of NLC images taken by Society members on the 7th & 14th of July 2024.


7th July 2024

Honor Wheeler - Dartford.

A panoramic photo by Honor Wheeler comprising 5 individual images.

The bright star like object on the right hand side, middle is Jupiter, diagonally up, top and right is Mars and in-between at the top of the image you can just make out the Pleiades. Taken using a Canon Camera M6II on a tripod, ISO800, f/4.5, 1/2sec, 18-400mm lens set to 37mm. 02:18UTC


Jim Burchell - Dartford.


Bob Byrne - Dartford.


Sonia Rubie - Bexley.

Taken using an iPhone - point & shoot.


14th July 2024

Jim Burchell - Dartford.


Honor Wheeler - Dartford. 

This is 6 frame panoramic taken at 21:45UTC.
Taken using a Canon Camera M6II, Tamron 18-400mm lens, ISO800, f/4, 1/1sec. Each frame the lens was set to 27mm. Panoramic created in Bimostitch and processed in Snapseed.


Martin Crow - Burnham on Crouch, Essex.

Time Lapse video by Martin Crow

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Diane Clarke - Bexley. 
Taken @ 22.33 BST / 21.33 UTC.  Using a Canon m50 Mk2, 50mm prime lens @ f2.8, 1/3 sec ISO 1600.Jpeg from RAW


Sonia Rubie - Bexley.

Taken using an iPhone - point & shoot.

Noctilucent Cloud (NLC) sightings – June 2024

It is Noctilucent Cloud (NLC) season and members have been watching the sky to see if these elusive clouds put in an appearance - and I am pleased to report that they have. A few members have spotted them....

First this season was by Honor Wheeler whilst in Norfolk on the 17th June 2024.

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Second was by Jim Burchell on the 18th June 2024 from Dartford.


Third was by Jim Burchell & Sonia Rubie on the 20th June 2024.

NLC spotted by Jim on the 20th June 2024 from Dartford.


NLC spotted by Sonia Rubie on the 20th June 2024 from Bexley.


And finally, fourth by Martin Crow on 23rd June 2024 from Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex.


Aurora – 2024 May 10th/11th

Like many of the stars we see in the night sky, our own Sun is a variable star. Its activity waxes and wanes, peaking every 11 years in a phenomenon known as the Solar Cycle.

As it approaches this peak we see more dark sunspots appear on its face, and some of those sunspots can grow to huge sizes, becoming larger than our own planet.

Recently an ink blotch trail of sunspots ten times the size of Earth appeared on the Sun, so big it was even visible to the naked eye through solar eclipse glasses and was a stunning sight through telescopes fitted with solar filters.

As it developed, this sunspot group began firing off powerful solar flares, again and again, like a WWII battleship firing a broadside.

And when a sequence of these flares was directed towards Earth, astronomers who study space weather became very excited at the prospect of enhanced auroral activity in the night sky once the solar material reached Earth.

They predicted that, if everything went well, the evening of Friday 10 May 2024 might see an impressive display of the Northern Lights, perhaps even one of the largest for years.

Even though there was no guarantee of seeing anything, aurora-watchers crossed their fingers and made plans to go aurora-hunting after sunset that evening. Ref:

So on the night of 2024 May 10/11 several CMHASD members all over the UK looked up at the sky in anticipation and finally at around 10.30pm watched in amazement at an Aurora display. 

Below is a slideshow of a presentation that CMHASD member Sonia put together showing some of the images members had taken that night and 3 time lapse videos too.  Some of the photographs taken by members show vivid colours but to most naked eye observers the colours were not so obvious due to light pollution.  

[ngg src="galleries" ids="83" display="basic_slideshow"]Time lapse videos by Honor Wheeler.

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Time lapse video by Martin Crow.

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The Moon – 15th May 2024

A super image of the Moon taken by member Diane Clarke on the 15th May 2024. During this day the phase of the Moon is First Quarter.  The Moon is 49.91% illuminated; which is the percentage of the moon that is illuminated by the Sun. The Moon was 7.37 days old, which shows how many days it has been since the last New Moon.

Diane's image is a stacked image from a 10 min AVI file.  Taken with a Seestar s50, using Autostakkert, with slight colour correction using Affinity Photo.

You should also be able to make out the clair-obscur effects on the Moon known as the Lunar X and V in this image too. 

Lunar X and V are famous optical features on the Moon, visible for several hours around the time of the First Quarter through a telescope.  When the Moon’s terminator; the line between light and dark on the Moon is just in the right place, you can see a letter X and a letter V on the Moon’s surface.

Lunar X and V are examples of how lighting and topography can combine to produce a pattern that seems familiar to the human eye.  The X is formed when parts of the rims of the craters La Caille (68km wide), Blanchinus (68km) and Purbach (118km) catch the Sun’s light. The V is caused by Sun light illuminating the Moon close to the crater Ukert along with several smaller craters.

For more information check out and

The Moon – 12th May 2024

A stunning collection of photos of the Moon taken on the 12th May 2024 by Neil Webster.  The Moon was 25.1% illuminated and 4.71 days old.

AA115mm APO EQ6 R, ZWO ASI290MM, R/IR filter

4 frames stitched in Microsoft ICE: each 90sx33fps. Best 20% stacked in AutoStakkert.

Acquisition: firecapture
Processing: AutoStakkert & Photoshop

For higher resolution photos of the above; check out Neils flickr page at

Exo-Planet transits of HAT-P-55b and TrES-3b

Here is the Exo-Planet transit of HAT-P-55b taken on the 11th May 2024 by Simon Dawes for the ExoClock project.  Simon did the observation on the same night as the 'Great Aurora', it finished in twilight so he lost about an hour of data.

HAT-P-55b is a gas giant exoplanet that orbits a G-type star. Its mass is 0.596 Jupiters, it takes 3.6 days to complete one orbit of its star, and is 0.04628 AU from its star. Its discovery was announced in 2015.


Next is the Exo-Planet transit of TrES-3b taken on the 15th May 2024 by Simon Dawes also for the ExoClock project. 

Simon wrote ''The night wasn't great, there was a light mist, 1/4 moon, and high cloud, I didn't expect much given the conditions and the large change in altitude of the object, but I think it came out ok. The shape of the transit suggests it just grazes the limb of the host star (from our perspective).''

TrES-3b orbits the star GSC 03089-00929 in the constellation Hercules about 10 degrees west of the star called Vega. It is the third transiting planet found by the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey.

The planet TrES-3b is named Umbäässa. The name was selected in the NameExoWorlds campaign by Liechtenstein, during the 100th anniversary of the IAU. In the local dialect of southern Liechtenstein, Umbäässa is a small and barely visible ant. TrES-3b has an orbital period of just 31 hours and nearly twice the mass of Jupiter.

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