Annual General Meeting 2018

1st November 2018

Chair: John Archer

Attendees: Mike Rushton (MR), Keith Rickard (KR), Martin Crow (MC), Rita Whiting (RW), John Archer (JA), John Howarth (JH), Andy Barber (AB) 

Apologies: Simon Dawes (SD)

Minutes: 2017 minutes read by JA and Signed by JA

Matters Arising: None

Chairman’s report:

JA’s first year as Society Chairman.

Summary of report & highlights provided to members as a PPT

Report (in Word) not reproduced here, but will be circulated to Committee for review / amendment then provided via website to members and forwarded to the PC.

Thanks extended to Trustees, Committee Members, Project contributors and members for supporting the Society at events, meetings and project work throughout the year.

Membership was at 66 members in total

Results of member survey were presented in part, then deferred to a later date due to Internet connectivity issue mid-way through.

Treasurers Report:

Keith presented the Treasurer’s Report covering the period to 31/8/2018

Accounts were awaiting examination– funds healthy, with contingency in place.

Gift Aid had allowed another £1k (approx.) to be recovered from membership dues.

Election of Trustees as per Constitution:

Retiring Trustees this year, Mike Rushton and John Archer, put themselves up for re-election.

Vote by show of hands: Mike and John re-elected.


AGM closed at 20:33UT


Meteor Observations 2018 October

October saw us identifying 308 meteors from 32 different showers, the October Draconids and the Orionids being the most interesting.

The brightest meteor was -3.7 vMag

October Draconids Report

21 October Draconids were identified in the charts below you can see they are a very narrow peak, suggesting a narrow stream of dust the Earth is passing through. The average magnitude was 1.2018OctDraconids

Ground map of the Draconids showing the meteors that were triangulated with the Nemetode group, our observations are the ones detected by the ‘Dartford’ Observatory


Orionid Report

We identified 53 Orionids, peaking on the 21st October and an average magnitude of 1


Below is a 15 minute video of all 308 meteors verified in October.

Ground map of the Orionids showing the meteors that were triangulated with the Nemetode group, our observations are the ones detected by the ‘Dartford’ Observatory.



Back to Basics Workshop

We hosted The 2018 British Astronomical Association Back to Basics workshop on 6th October.

These workshops are great for beginners just starting out in astronomy and wanting to learn how to use their telescopes or get started in Astronomy and over 50 people turned up – well done and thank you to all the Crayford Members who helped out.



The 2018 Perseid Meteor Shower

The society run an ‘almost automated’ meteor camera, if you want to be part of the meteor team checking the results every morning then please speak to the coordinator – Janice.

A total of 535 Meteors were captured, with 340 of them being Perseid meteors. Below is a video of the 20 brightest meteors during August.

Summary of the report sent to the Nematode meteor group.


The Nematode group were able to match 11 of our meteors with observations from other observers in the group producing these orbits.

Perseid orbits 2018[3450]

2019 Calendar

Some of you who were present at the Pavilion on the 29th of March will be aware of the following changes to the Society’s Calendar rules. Each month will now consist of a collage of member’s images rather than just one per month.

The Calendar size will also increase from 21 x 28cm to 28 x 37cm picture size to accommodate the collage of images, I am unsure how many images can be accommodated per page but it may be between 6 to 8, actual numbers TBA. Price TBA.

Rather than the list of 4 groups such as the Moon, Sun, Deepsky etc. there will be a list of ‘Targets’ for member’s to photograph or sketch.

Important: Image/s to be submitted for the 2019 Calendar must have been photographed or sketched after the 1st of January 2012 but no later than 8pm (GMT) on the 3rd of October 2018.

(All images for the 2020 Calendar will need to been photographed or sketched AFTER the 3rd of October 2018 but before the 2nd of October 2019 so keep this in mind when submitting your images).



Target images for the 2019 CMHASD Calendar are as follows:

1. Earthshine 

The Moon’s shadow side can often be seen when the young crescent Moon is visible. Images must show the Moon with the shadowed side also visible 

2. A Rainbow

Images can be an Arc or a portion of the Rainbow.

3. The Planets

Images can be of any of the Planets (not the Earth that would be cheating 😉

4. Lunar and/or Planetary Conjunctions

Images can be of the Moon in conjunction with Planet/s or a planetary line-up of 2 or more Planets.

5. The Orion constellation

Images that show the Orion constellation in full as the left image or as the image on the right with the four stars Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Saiph and Rigel at each corner.

6. Lunar Eclipse

A Lunar eclipse will hopefully be visible on the 27th of July but any images photographed or sketched after the 1st of January 2012 can be submitted. The Moon partially or fully eclipsed will be acceptable.

7. Atmospheric Optics

Images of any of the following: Solar Halo, Sundogs, Circumzenithal Arc, Cloud Iridescence and Crepuscular Rays etc.

8. The Andromeda Galaxy

A close-up image of this wonderful Galaxy.

9. Sunset or Sunrise

Any photograph or sketch of a Sunrise or Sunset over land or water.

10. Lunar crater Copernicus

A close up of the crater Copernicus photographed or sketched using a Telescope or a Telephoto lens.

11. Sunspots

Images of Sunspots in White Light or a projected image only, not H-alpha (as only a few members have H-alpha telescopes).

12. Ursa Major constellation

Images of the whole constellation or the Plough will be acceptable.

13. A Full Moon

The Moon must be between 98 – 100% to qualify for this Target, you’ll need to make sure as I will check the date and the image was photographed or sketched.

14. The Pleiades and/or the Hyades

An image of either the Pleiades or the Hyades or an image of them together.

I am aware there are 14 Targets, not everyone will be able to image all of the Targets so hopefully this way everyone will be in with a sporting chance of obtaining at least one image for the Calendar.

Rules: And please make sure you read them!

  • You may only enter one image per category.
  • Sketched, Single, Multiple Stacked or Mosaicked images are acceptable, Composite images are NOT acceptable.
  • All images entered must have been Photographed or Sketched by the person entering the image/s.
  • If too many images (maximum numbers TBA) are entered for one ‘Target’ then a vote will be taken on each image and the images with the most votes will be included in the Calendar.
  • All images MUST have been taken AFTER the 1st of January 2012 but before 8pm (GMT) on the 3rd of October 2018.
  • The two ‘Targets’ with the least number of images received will not be included in the Calendar.
  • Images can be taken using another member’s telescope but the camera used MUST belong to the member submitting the image/s.
  • Poor quality images will have to be omitted so make sure the image resolution is good enough for printing.
  • All images MUST be submitted to this email address: honor . draconis @ talk21  .com (remove spaces) BEFORE 8pm (GMT) on the 3th of October 2018, no exceptions.

When emailing your images please use the email subject heading ‘CMHASD CAL2019’ that way I can save the images easily all in one place!

Small print – Feel free to ask me any questions that are not covered by the rules but if you do ask me a question that IS covered by the rules…then I’ll know you didn’t read them! Simon, Martin, Jim….! [this is scandalous Ed.] 

Solar Observing at Hall Place – August 2018

The Society were at Hall Place on Sunday 19 August 2018 showing members of the public the Sun using safe observing techniques and talking to people about Astronomy in general. Whilst there was a fair amount of cloud about and the Sun was playing ‘hide-and-seek’  the day was a massive success.


The Society were at Hall Place on Sunday showing members of the public the Sun using safe observing techniques and talking to people about Astronomy in general. Whilst there was a fair amount of cloud about and the Sun was playing ‘hide-and-seek’  the day was a massive success.


hall place solar observing0
hall place solar observing4
hall place solar observing1
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hall place solar observing2
hall place solar observing3

2018 Summer BBQ

The summer BBQ was a great hit again. About 25 members attended and we had food for about 100! The day was very relaxed. We had a few glimpses of the Sun through our Dobsonian telescope, Anita using Baader Solar Safety Film, unfortunately there were no Sun spots visible.











Welcome to our new website!

Our new website is live, come back regularly to see new updates.

This post lists the progress of migrating data from the old website to the new one.

Our old site remains operational for a short period as sections from it are migrated more and more of the old site will point to this new site, however please be patient at we have 560 pages and 2.5Gb of images to migrate!


Added Making dew heater controller and dew bands to equipment section


Added Automatic Photometric Telescope post to Papers  and Equipment sections


Added new post for BAA Exhibition meeting in 2010
Added new post for BAA Summer Exhibition Meeting 2012
Added Paper
Added Paper
Added Paper


Added book review posts

Updated Aurora page

Added news posts

Updated Atmospheric Optics Page and added some posts


Added Frankenscope to equipment section

Added Observatory Section


Added post on summer BBQ

Fixed Event section which wasn’t displaying event posts


Updated space Junk section and added post


Added Equipment Section and added to Activities menu

  • CEM post
  • Drift scan post
  • Battery Free electric focuser
  • DIY Finderscope
  • Variable Barlow
  • Large Telescopes

Added Variable star page and 3 posts showing observations


Updated Mars Page


Added Spectroscopy page


Added post for 2015 Lunar Eclipse – all Lunar Eclipse reports from old website are now covered.
Modified the Programme- you can now import our programme into your own Calendar!


Added page on Detecting meteors with Radio
Updated Lunar Eclipse Page added posts for 2001 and 2007 Lunar Eclipses


Complete upload of member solar images
Papers section added and 2 papers published
Meteor Page updated with posts for previous society reports of meteor showers
Radio Section Added, added SID page
Double Stars Section Added


Comet page updated, including all the previous comet reports by the society.
Venus page updated with members images plus a paper on the dichotomy of Venus 
Sun pages updated with members images


Changes to Membership

New Membership Fees: 

Our society is booming, as a rsult our income has become a little high so we have made the decission to reduce membership fees .

The new membership structure is as follows…

Full Membership

  • £95 per annum
  • All meetings including lectures

Basic Membership

  • £35 per annum
  • All meetings except lectures (lectures can be attended at £7 per lecture)

Student Membership

Only availble to full time students 

  • £35 per annum
  • All meetings including lectures

John Wall 1932 – 2018:

On Saturday the 27th of January 2018, the Society learnt of the death of Mr John Wall, an inspirational inventor who make telescopes out of household items and inventor of the Crayford Eyepiece Mount (referred to now as the Crayford Focuser), John was a member of the Society for many years and will be remembered for his laugh, inventive genius and great character. An obituary was posted in ‘The Times’ and the ‘BAA Journal’

Below is a copy of the obituary for the BAA Journal 

John Wall Obituary

Obituary as it appeared in the BAA Journal

The Dick Chambers Observatory


The Dick Chambers Observatory

For details of our observatory, named after past chairman, Dick Chambers, please see the page dedicated to it.

BAA Summer Meeting 2012

This meeting was hosted by Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society, the weather wasn’t great but we did manage to get the Solar scopes out for a short while. The lectures were great.

Europe goes to Jupiter

Dr Chris Arridge
All about project JUICE an ESA mission to Jupiter


Dr Dan Andrews
All about missions to comets with some insight into the Beagle 2 mission

Application of penetrators for the Exploration of planets & the Moon

Dr Rob Gowen
Title says it all really

Differentiating between dead comets and Asteroids

Prof. Iwan Williams
All about categorisation of asteroids and coments and how/ if they can/should be classified differently

Working on Mars

Dr Craig Leff
All about how to manage robotic missions on Mars.
























BAA Exhibition Meeting 2010

Location: Greenwich, London, UK.

This meeting included a (Free) trip to the Planetarium organised by the SPA, and then the BAA exhibition meeting down the hill. At the meeting our founder, Gordon Taylor received an Award from the BAA.

Solar Eclipse 2008 August 1st, China

This eclipse was special for its colours around the horizon. There were wonderful oranges and reds all around, the clouds lit up, some dark in silhouette, some golden, glowing yellowy-orange in the distance. You could see the shadow approaching against the clouds and then rushing away as it left. A great and wonderful experience that we will all never forget.

During the eclipse it was possible to see a prominence at about 2 o’clock and the planets Venus and Mercury were easily visible.

The desert venue for this eclipse was a little windy, buffeting equipment and making imaging and video at high magnifications a little difficult.

Totality video by Member Andy Barber. Also featuring Maddy and Martin Crow and family. Venus and Mercury are also visible.

The video above shows the site used to observe the Solar Eclipse. Video by Andy Barber.

Images by Mike Rushton

Eclipse China 2008 Mike Rushton

Images by Martin Crow

Eclipse2008 Martin Crow

Images by Andy Barber

Solar Eclipse 2008 China  ANdy Barber01/08/2008 10:25

 Total Solar Eclipse Image by Andy Barber 01/08/2008 11:18

Eclipse China Image by Andy Barber 01/08/2008 11:07

 Total Solar Eclipse Image by Andy Barber 01/08/2008 11:33

 Total Solar Eclipse Image by Andy Barber 01/08/2008 11:07

 Total Solar Eclipse Image by Andy Barber 01/08/2008 11:07

Solar Eclipse 2006 Turkey & Libya

Two teams of Crayford members went to image the March 2006 total eclipse:

Arthur Cockburn, Jean & Brian Felles, Mike Rushton and Rita Whiting

Andrew Barber, Martin Crow, Malcolm Gough, Keith Rickard and Julian Tworek


Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC

Images by Arthur Cockburn





Images by Jean Felles











Images by Brian Felles


Images by Mike Rushton





Images by Martin Crow



Images By Julian Tworek






Solar Eclipse, 2005, October 3rd, Spain

Keith Rickard travelled to Plaza Mayor in Madrid to observe the Annular Eclipse. This location was very close to the centre line of the eclipse path.

In the UK there was a partial eclipse and Honor Wheeler and Julian Tworek imaged it, Honor in white light and Julian in Hydrogen Alpha light.

Images by Keith Rickard

Below are some of the images Keith Rickard took with his Olympus OM1 SLR camera with a 420mm lens with a converted eclipse spectacles lens for a filter. Kodak Elite chrome 200 film was used. In the images below you can see Baily’s Beads and multiple shadows of the partial eclipse phase.



Images By Julian Tworek

The following images were taken by CMHAS member Julian Tworek from his observatory in Sidcup, Kent. They are of the annular eclipse but are seen as partial from the UK.

The images were taken using a Coronado PST (H-Alpha) telescope mounted on a Meade LXD55 mount, taken afocally with a Canon A510 compact camera. Plenty of prominences are visible if you click on the images.

Images by Honor Wheeler

The following images were taken by CMHAS member Honor Wheeler from her home in Wilmington near Dartford, Kent. They are of the annular eclipse but are seen as partial eclipse from the UK.

The images were taken using a Meade ETX 105 telescope, taken afocally with a Fuji E550 digital camera (set to auto), through a 26mm eyepiece with BAADER Astrosolar safety film and yellow filter.

Solar Eclipse 2003 Antarctica 24th November

A total solar eclipse is an unforgettable experience anywhere in the world but to stand beneath the Moon’s shadow in Antarctica must surely be the most memorable.

I was fortunate to be one of the 98 passengers on board the Russian icebreaker ‘Kapitan Khlebnikov’ which made its way through the field ice to the Davis Sea where we were one of the first people to experience a total solar eclipse in Antarctica.
An ‘inconsiderate cloud’ covered much of totality giving us only a glimpse of the corona and a brief flash of the diamond ring but it meant that I could concentrate on the moon’s shadow as it rushed like a huge storm cloud across the ice and stranded icebergs, and marvel at the pink and gold colours on the horizon.

For us on local ‘ship time’ totality occurred at 6:36am on 24 November 2003, ship time being UT +8hrs. Our position was 65º 55’S and 89º 16’E.
Valarie Stoneham


Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC

Images by Valarie Stoneham

On our journey to the eclipse site we stopped briefly at the Kuerguelen Islands. Only one of these islands is large enough to attempt a landing and it was here that 3 expeditions, despatched from Britain, Germany and the United States, established stations to observe the transit of Venus in 1874.

Two members of the expedition team on the Kapitan Khlebnikov, using informaition from modern maps and Airy’s report compliled in 1881, discovered the site of the US station near the location at Point Malloy. All that remained was a short brick pillar which had lost a few bricks from the top (this may once have borne an inscription) and two iron telescope foundations but they were able to measure the position accurately using a Global Positioning System.

Solar Eclipse 2002 December 4th , Australia

Member Jean Felles travelled with her husband, Brian to Australia to view this Eclipse.

The eclipse site was situated at KOOLYMILKA, North West of Woomera, South Australia.

Position: 30º 57.443’S and 136º 31.464’E.

Local time = UT +10½ hours






Photos taken with 500mm mirror lens plus 1.4x converter = 700mm at approximately F12 on 400 ASA Fujichrome film.

Discovery of Asteroid 1997 WQ28 by Crayford Member

On the evening of 30th November 1997 we were obtaining CCD frames for the UKNova/ Supernova patrol using a 10″LX200, operating at f3.3 and StarlightXpress. At 21.30UT we imaged a suspect object near ngc765, a type SBb/Sc, 14th mag spiral galaxy in Aries. Estimating the magnitude at brighter than 16 we initially thought we might have discovered a second supernova as this was rather bright for a new asteroid and no known asteroid was in the region of the galaxy. We used the Sky v4 to control the LX200 and always load the 34000 minor planets before we start patrolling so are forewarned of any asteroid in the field. We also checked Megastar and the new service to check supernova suspects for minor planets at the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams Web site:

A second image 25 minutes later clearly showed movement, ruling out a supernova. Ignoring our chagrin we took a final image at 22.28UT, measured the positions using astrometrica, a commercial astrometry software package and sent a report to Martin Mobberley, deputising for Guy Hurst who was away on business.

Asteroid 1997 WQ28 discovery image by Mark Armstrong

Asteroid 1997 WQ28 Follow-up image by Stephen Laurie

The skies remained cloudy until on 3rd December we imaged six overlapping fields twice, approximately one hour apart to try and recover the suspect. At this stage we had to estimate where we thought the suspect should be as we don’t have the software to calculate a rough ephemeris from initial observations. We picked up only one object showing movement and not appearing in the `Real Sky` field but were doubtful that it was the suspect as it appeared at least 0.5 magnitude fainter and CCD images taken near the ecliptic can often reveal faint asteroids. However we measured the new positions and reported to Guy Hurst.

Meanwhile on 2/3 December Stephen Laurie, having seen our original report but unable to respond immediately due to business, imaged an object in the approximate position. Using Computer-Aided Astrometry, another commercial software package, he imputed all the measured positions to date and concluded that they were all the same object!
Guy reported the observations to the Minor Planet Centre on 6th December and the asteroid received the official designation 1997 WQ28. We have now secured 28 observations over a 55 day arc and the object has still not been linked to a previously designated object. Our previous `discovery` 1997 DV was linked to 1990 QN5, discovered at Palomar!

Article originally by Mark Armstrong