New to Astronomy

Welcome & Introduction


Hello & welcome to Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD).   

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and thought ‘Wow!’ but then said to yourself ‘If only I knew more about the stars & the planets?’ or you been given or bought a telescope but found it too difficult and confusing to set up & use? 

If you answered yes to either of the above, then rest assured CMHASD is right here for you.

We know astronomy is a truly fascinating subject however; the colossal amount of scientific & technical jargon that seems to accompany this science & use of telescopes can be off putting.  The cost of equipment shocking. The choices of telescopes & other equipment available absolutely bewildering and which celestial delights to focus on first perplexing.   Therefore, deciding upon where to start in this subject can be an extremely difficult choice for people to make when starting out in Astronomy.

All you need is an interest in looking up at the sky (which you have), a desire to know more about it (which you have) and a welcoming, friendly and active Astronomical Society to help guide you around this fascinating subject which is us, CMHASD.

Additionally, there is actually no requirement to have expensive equipment to get started or be a scientist/expert in Astronomy, just a love of looking up at our wonderful sky.  We can really help you take your Astronomical interests further.

We were formed in 1961 and we exist to enable all people, whatever their level of knowledge, to learn more about all things astronomical including; the Sun, the Moon, the planets and all the other many wonders of the sky with all the ways to observe them safely using cameras, binoculars, telescopes, computers and just with your eyes. 

Please also do not be afraid to ask anything, we were all where you are now, and many of us learnt by attending Astronomical Society talks and asking lots of questions. 

Our Society members love talking about astronomy and love helping beginners get the most from the study of astronomy. We can help accelerate your learning of the subject with practical advice and tips. 

Enquiries about membership, or attending for the first time, should be directed to the Secretary of the Society.

AstroMusic by member Neil Webster

Three wonderful videos showcasing Neil’s astroimages alongside some beautiful music Neil has created in his home studio. Enjoy!

Useful Resources 

Dictionary of Astronomy

One of the biggest barriers to any new hobby is understanding all the jargon, and in astronomy there is lots of it. Jargon on this site links to our very own dictionary, written by ourselves, the definitions are short and easy to comprehend, the dictionary itself is a good resource for anyone new to astronomy.

Fact Sheets

22 (and counting) factsheet / leaflets aimed at complete beginners, these documents are provided free of copyright as long as they are not changed in any way. The fact sheets provide the core facts needed for each object.

List of useful Astronomy APPs and Software

Click on the link below to download a word document detailing some useful astronomy apps and software.  Thank you to member George Buckberry for compiling this list.

List of Useful Astronomy APPs and Software

Free Open University Courses in Astronomy

Here are some Free high quality courses in Astronomy from the Open University Astronomy with an online telescope The Big Bang Comparing Stars Icy Bodies: Europa and elsewhere In the night Sky: Orion An Introduction to Exo Planets The Moon Moons of our Solar System...

Beginners guide to using your telescope

This guide is intended for those using a telescope for the first time, the tips are based on common problems that get encountered by those new to astronomy. We are more than happy to meet you and your telescope and help solve your problems so feel free to contact us....