We are a very active society, meeting at least once a week, please check out our programme for details of upcoming events.


Cosmic Camp 2021

Eight society members attended Shear Green Junior School on Friday 17th with either their own or society telescopes (6 in total) to take part in their ‘Cosmic Camp’.

We observed the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn and put on two different Astronomy activities in the school hall related to the solar system. seventy five, nine to ten year-old boys and girls and about 20 adults enjoyed the activities. With lots of ‘wow’s’ ‘OMG’ etc. Whilst the skies were a little cloudy, the cloud stayed away from the planets and Moon and the seeing was remarkably good. 

We didn’t take photos – too many safeguarding issues – but the school blog has a section on it with a few photos that they took.

“I just wanted to send an email to say a massive thank you for Friday night!
The children (and adults) got so much out of what you all provided. The awe and wonder of seeing Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon really brought the topic to life for the children.
Your team were so patient and knowledgeable providing invaluable insight to us all. The indoor activities were really engaging and all of the children have said their favourite part of the camp was the star gazing!”

Thanks to all members who helped make this a success.

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.’


Image by Simon Dawes & Dartford Grammar School Astronomical Society


Image by Simon Dawes & Dartford Grammar School Astronomical Society


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 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


Objects viewed in different wavelengths


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.


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. 





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


Martin Demonstrating AstroImageJ

Final image.


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.


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.


Image by Janice McClean


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


Image by Honor Wheeler in White Light


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. 





All images are copyright. Permission must be sought to from the image owner to the use of any of these images.