NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please click here for solar observing safely.
Sunday 6th August 2023 – What a glorious day to be out solar observing which is what Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD) where doing at Hall Place & Gardens in Bexley.
What a busy day it was too! Several telescopes were set up to observe the Sun safely and members of the public were invited to do some solar observing which was readily accepted by many. The Sun put on a good display having several sunspots and prominences for the public to view.
Chairman John Archer wrote ”On Sunday 6th August, the team from CMHASD set ourselves up for the first of our two Solar Observing events at Hall Place & Gardens.
The forecast was for early morning sun, followed by sunny intervals until around 11am, but cloudy conditions until the arrival of rain at 4pm. Given that our timeslot was effectively 11am – 3pm, we were nervous to say the least!
Our pitch was on the grass at the end of the path from the main entrance to the gardens, and we were quite close to the hard standing outside the art gallery and café. With the date being chosen to coincide with the Farmers’ Market, we experienced good foot-fall and our flag was prominent for visitors as they arrived.
At one point we had around a dozen members in attendance and the public were treated to displays of sunspots the like of which we haven’t seen for years. Whilst the big Dob Anita was an immediate attraction, we had Tinie, two solar projectors and a range of H-Alpha and white light filtered scopes with which to demonstrate safe solar observing to a very interested public.
Of particular note was the filtered refractor which Honor had set up with a digital camera attached, affording visitors a proper “live view” of the surface of the sun. Each of the scopes were able to display clear views of sunspots such was their size and quantity. This solar cycle has certainly picked up in terms of activity and although the local forecast was for cloudy conditions, we very much lucked out in terms of clear spells so the public were very fortunate that during the period while the Farmers’ Market was trading, we were able to keep them entertained and educated.
The Crayford team returns again later in August for our second session but there’s no doubt this first visit to Hall Place for Solar Observing in 2023 was a great success.”
Below is an image of the Sun on the 6th August 2023 taken by member Honor Wheeler. The Sun was very active with lots of sunspots. Image acquired using an ED80 Refractor, EQ3 Synscan mount, Canon M6 MarkII, 2x lens Barlow and ISO200/ exp 1/1250s.
CMHASD will be back at Hall Place on Saturday 19th August 2023 to do some more Solar Observing with the public. Please do come and join us!
Thank you to John Archer, Diane Clarke and Honor Wheeler for sharing your photos of the day with us.
A few photos showing what members get up to on our ‘informal nights’ at the Society. Activities range from observing, testing/setting up members’ latest equipment purchased, fixing members’ equipment, presentations, general chit chat & banter plus games.
20th July 2023
27th July 2023
Good weather so members took the chance to observe. Dave, Steve & Honor with telescope ‘Tinie’.
Member Honor Wheeler’s image of the Sun through Society telescope ‘Tinie’ fitted with a solar filter – built by members Steve Floodgate & Dave Grist.
More stunning images of our active Sun taken by member Simon Dawes in the later half of July 2023. Details of how Simon acquired his images are on the photos.
For more information about the Sun, its structure, atmosphere, sunspots, solar cycle and magnetosphere click on https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/sun/in-depth/
12th July 2023
26th July 2023
29th July 2023
More observations for the ExoClock project by Simon Dawes of Qatar-1b in the constellation of Draco taken on the 7th July 2023.
Noctilucent clouds put in a rare appearance on the 5th July 2023 from around 10.50pmish until 11.30pm and a few lucky CMHASD members got to see them 🙂
Below are the photos that members Jim Burchell, Diane Clarke, Martin Crow and Sonia took of the clouds.
Jim’s NLC images, taken with a Pentax KP.
Diane’s NLC image, taken using a Canon M50 Mk2, lens Canon 100mm macro, f3.2 @ 2.5sec, ISO 400.
Martin’s NLC image, taken with an iPhone.
Sonia’s NLC images, taken with an iPhone.
A rather splendid image of Comet C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) taken by CMHASD trustee and secretary Dr. Mike Rushton on the 12/13th July 2023 in Ursa Minor.
Mike wrote ”This is C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) last night. Approx Mag 14.5 with a greenish coma. The bright star in the image is Mag 7 and the limiting Mag 17.5. Perihelion was 1/7/23 and closest to earth will be on 18/8/23. This was a 20 min exposure with my eVscope.” Imaging started just before midnight on 12/7/23 (23:57 BST).
Comet C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) was spotted on the 1st March 2023 by the NASA funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS). At the time, the comet was a +19th magnitude object moving through the constellation of Virgo.
On July 1 this Comet ATLAS reached perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun.
To date the comet has now moved into Draco and will move into Cepheus towards its closest approach to Earth mid-August. On August 18 this visitor to the inner Solar System will only be 3 light-minutes or so from our planet.
Based on its inclination to the ecliptic plane (38 degree) and orbital period of about 85 years C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) is considered a Halley-type comet. Though the comet currently has a ‘C’ designation for a long period comet versus periodic comet; that will probably change as 85 years is much less than the 200 year orbital period cut off defining the 2 categories of comet.
Below is the report from SETI/UNISTELLAR Mike received back after submitting his imaging data.
Mike said ”I have had the photometry back and it was brighter than I thought at Mag 12.8. See the report from seti below. The little image in that report is stacked on the moving comet. The original image I sent was stacked on the stars.”
For more information: https://www.space.com/comet-c2023-e1-atlas-little-dipper-how-to-see
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/
Lots of stunning images taken by member and trustee Simon Dawes of our Sun on 4 days during the month of June. Details of how Simon acquired the images are on the photos.
9th June 2023
16th June 2023
19th June 2023
21st June 2023
Noctilucent cloud spotted on the 30th June 2023 around 3am BST by members Martin Crow and Sonia. Both photos taken using an iPhone.
Martin’s image taken from Essex
Sonia’s image taken from North Kent
Rare Noctilucent Cloud spotted by CMHASD members Diane Clarke, Martin Crow and Sonia on the 25th June 2023.
First image below was taken by Diane using a Panasonic camera DMC-TZ100, f2.8 @ 1/10sec and ISO 6400 at 11.22pm BST.
The next two images were taken by Sonia using an iPhone 8 at 11.04pm and 11.14pm BST.
The next image was taken by Martin Crow using an iPhone.
A great image of the crescent Moon (with Earthshine) and Jupiter taken on the 14th June 2023 with a Pentax KP 300mm by member Jim Burchell.
Another set of observations for the ExoClock project by member Simon Dawes 🙂
Simon wrote ”This was a tricky observation, a bright star with faint comparisons, on the night of the summer solstice – the worst night of the year for astronomy, due to the lack of real night – there were 627 15s exposures which, when processed, works out at about 60Gb of disk space – for a single O-C measurement!”
”This far-off blue planet may look like a friendly haven – but don’t be deceived! Weather here is deadly. The planet’s cobalt blue colour comes from a hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing clouds laced with glass. Howling winds send the storming glass sideways at 5,400 mph (2km/s), whipping all in a sickening spiral. It’s death by a million cuts on this slasher planet!” Ref:https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exoplanet-catalog/6876/hd-189733-b/
HD 189733b is an exoplanet approximately 64.5 light-years away in the constellation of Vulpecula. The planet was discovered on October 5, 2005. HD 189733b orbits its host star once every 2.2 days.
The closest transiting hot Jupiter to Earth, scientists have extensively studied the exoplanet’s atmosphere. Researchers have found that the planet has an unusual rain of molten glass.
A fantastic collection of images showing the Full Moon also known as the Buck Moon rising on the 3rd July 2023 by member Jim Burchell in the constellation of Sagittarius. All images were taken with a Pentax KP. It was also the 1st Supermoon of 2023.
The full Moon in July is called a Buck Moon after the new antlers that begin to grow from the forehead of a buck (male) deer at this time of year. They shed their antlers in the early spring or late winter, growing full again in July.
This Buck Moon is the first of four Supermoons that will rise this summer 2023 culminating with September’s Full Corn Moon on September 28th.
The Moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical shape rather than in a circle, so its distance to us (Earth) varies over time; so there are times in the Moon’s orbit when it is closer to the Earth and other times when it is further away. A Supermoon is a phenomenon that occurs when a full Moon takes place at the same time as the perigee; when the Moon is closest to the Earth.
A Supermoon is actually classified when a full Moon is closer than 360,000km to the Earth. This distance is around 21,000km closer than the Moon’s average distance from us of around 384,400km.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac which has published astronomical data for many centuries, says the Buck Moon would orbit closer to the Earth than any of the full Moons we have already had this year.
The end of August’s full Moon will be the only supermoon closer to the Earth this year, the publication said.
Below are Jim’s photos…..
Note that 2024 will have four full Supermoons in a row too. They will occur on August 19, September 18, October 17 and November 15.
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/
CMHASD members Jim Burchell, Honor Wheeler and Simon Dawes took the opportunity to observe and image the Sun on Friday 7th July 2023 and below are their super images.
The Sun is very active with many sunspots and one so large it was seen from Mars; yes that is correct – from Mars.
The very large sunspot AR3363 which has just emerged over the Sun’s southeastern limb was spotted by the Mars rover Perseverance several days before we did. On July 2nd, the rover’s mast-mounted stereo camera MASTCAM-Z tilted up to the sky above Jezaro crater and photographed a deep-black dot on the solar disk. For more information about this; see https://www.spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=07&month=07&year=2023.
The Sun in Hydrogen Alpha.
Composite of 2 photos one for the disc and one for prominences details, then layered in Snapseed.
Canon M6 Mark II, Coronado PST,
EQ3 Synscan mount, x2 Barlow
Image enhanced to show some of the Sun’s prominences.
Solar Sunpsots in White light
Canon M6 Mark II, 80mm Refractor, EQ3 Synscan mount, Baader Solar filter, x2 Barlow.
Sunspot AR3363 appearing over the southeastern limb of the Sun.
Details of how Simon acquired his images are on the photos.
Sun full disk in White light – 12 active regions. Q=30 and R = 225 so pretty active today. Click here to see a full version https://britastro.org/observations/observation.php?id=20230707_113215_4d5fba6e58719cdf
For the latest information about the Sun’s activity check out Spaceweather.com
Thursday 6th July was an informal night at the pavilion and some members took the opportunity to do some observing using Honor’s PST to observe the Sun & Jo’s Newtonian to observe Venus. Thankyou to Chairman John Archer and to Diane Clarke for sharing your photos of the evening.
Look towards the West after sunset for a splendid view of Venus and the crescent Moon over the next few evenings.
Members Jim Burchell and Gary Hunt did yesterday evening the 21st May 2023 and captured these great images of a young crescent Moon with Venus.
Moon & Venus by Jim Burchell
Moon & Venus by Gary Hunt
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please see our Solar Observing safety page at crayfordmanorastro.com/solar-safety/
The latest images of our active Sun by members Simon Dawes and Jim Burchell.
Simon’s 3 images below were taken on the 18th May 2023. Details of how Simon acquired the images are on the photos.
Jim’s image was taken on the 21st May 2023
A lovely photo of a young Moon in the constellation Taurus taken by CMHASD trustee John Howarth on the 20th May 2023.
Two great images below of the planets Mars and Venus with the twins Castor & Pollux. Castor and Pollux are the 2 brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini.
Left to right: Mars, Pollux & Castor all nicely lined up with Venus lower right captured by member Simon Dawes on the 16th May 2023.
Below; moving again from left to right: Mars, Pollux & Castor with Venus lower right captured by member Jim Burchell on the 21st May 2023.
Another set of transit observations for the ExoClock project by Simon Dawes of Exoplanet HAT-P-12b.
HAT-P-12b is 468 light years away from Earth, orbiting a 13th magnitude K-type star in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is was discovered by the HATNet Project on April 29, 2009.
A collection of beautiful images of our Sun setting and a full Moon rising on the 5th May 2023 taken by members Jim Burchell & Honor Wheeler.
Sun with Sunspot setting by Honor
Sunset by Jim
”The Full Moon of May is known as Flower Moon to signify the flowers that bloom during this month. Native Americans called it Budding Moon, Egg Laying Moon, and Planting Moon.
The Anglo-Saxon name for May’s brightest Moon phase is Milk Moon from the Old English Rimilcemona. It means three-milkings-month in modern English because cows were milked three times a day during this time of year. The Celtic and Old English names are Mothers’ Moon, Bright Moon, Hare Moon, and Grass Moon.” ref:https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/flower.html
Flower Moon on 5th May by Honor
FLower Moon rising by Jim
A fantastic collection of images of our Sun taken by Simon Dawes on the 10th & 16th May 2023 from North Kent, showing lots of sunspots 🙂
Details of how Simon acquired his images are on the photos.
The Sun on the 16th May 2023
The Sun on the 10th May 2023
A great example of a fogbow captured by member Kevin Smith on the 7th May 2023.
A fogbow is a similar phenomenon to a rainbow but as its name suggests, it appears as a bow in fog rather than rain.
Due to the very small size of the water droplets that cause fog being so much smaller than in rain i.e. smaller than 0.1 mm in diameter; fogbows have very weak colours or no colour at all. Fogbows that have no colour are sometimes called ‘white rainbows’.
A Fog Bow by Kevin Smith
”How do fogbows form?
The elements that make up a fogbow are the same as for a rainbow – sunlight at the observers back, and water droplets in front. The water droplets that make up fog are so tiny compared to raindrops, between 10 and 1000 times smaller, that while the light still reflects from the water droplet back towards the observer, the process of diffraction of the light by the droplet becomes a dominant effect.
The process of diffraction broadens the reflected beam of light which smears out the colours which give the characteristic ghostly white, or very faintly coloured fogbow. This also makes the fogbow much broader than a rainbow.
The fog bank has to be relatively diffused and thin to allow the light to pass through the droplets and create the effect. Fogbows are large, almost as big as rainbows.
A similar effect can also be seen from aircraft in cloud droplets, when they’re known as cloud bows.” ref:https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/optical-effects/rainbows/fogbow
A splendid example of a Sun halo captured by CMHASD Chairman John Archer on the 30th April 2023.
A Sun halo is caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light through ice particles suspended within thin, wispy, high altitude cirrus or cirrostratus clouds.
Check this out – our member Kevin Langford’s brilliant Pleiades (M45) image – see above; being used on the BBC Sky at Night website. Plus Kevin’s image was shown in the programme aired on the 16th May 2023 too!………Well Done Kevin 🙂
CMHASD at the BAA Winchester Weekend 2023
Written by member Honor Wheeler
The weekend started off with the majority of us meeting up at a pub for Friday lunch, although the M25 did its best to make that as difficult as possible but thankfully we all made it in the end. Then an A31 closure sent us all on a long, picturesque diversion before finally checking in at the Sparsholt College campus.
The first lecture on the Friday night, after a delicious dinner of course, was titled ‘Superluminous Supernovae: Fantastic bursts and where to find them’ by Dr Matt Nichol, Queen’s University Belfast which was an fascinating talk on Supernovae past and present. This was followed by a trip to the campus pub for some or returning to the common room for a chance of some relaxation for others.
The Crayford Crew
A busy lecture Saturday followed starting with ‘Pete & Paul’s 2023 Astronomical Challenges’ followed by ‘OJ287 – a Black Hole Worthy of Amateur Study’ by Gary Poyner BAA, ‘the Electromagnetic Spectrum’ by Paul Hearn BAA, a talk from Dr Alex Cameron on the ‘JWST Observing Galaxies in the Very Early Universe’ looking even further back in time to 13.1 Billion years and seeing one of the highest Redshifted Galaxies to date.
Before the afternoon lectures recommenced, a little Solar observing was achieved with some observations of complex groups of Prominences and Sunspots.
The Sun by Honor Wheeler
The afternoon session was presented by the BAA Mercury and Venus section starting with a look at the ‘Sodium Ion Tail of Mercury’ by Chris Hooker and how to image this elusive ‘Comet like’ tail followed by ‘Observing Venus in IR and UV’ in a variety of short talks by other members of the section.
Some members took the opportunity to explore the college grounds which are extensive and enjoyed some great views of the countryside seeing Deer, Buzzards and a rather stunning bird of prey known as a Red Kite.
Saturday evening and we enjoyed the Alfred Curtis Lecture, ‘Exploring the Ice Giants of our Solar System’ by Prof. Patrick Irwin (University of Oxford) another interesting lecture which left us with the hope that maybe we’ll be visiting these enigmatic Planets sooner rather than later.
A few members then made the most of clear skies and carried out observations of Venus and its conjunction with the Hyades before retiring to the pub or the common room for discussions about the day’s lectures.
The Hyades & Venus by Jim Burchell
On Sunday the day began with an intriguing lecture ‘How Astronomers Can Save The World’ by Stuart Eves (SJE Space) but I don’t think we were quite convinced that painting an Asteroid with White Paint would save the world from an impending impact (Steve was just kidding!!)
Dr Jen Gupta followed with a lively discussion on seeing ‘The Invisible Universe’ and looking at how we see through the dust obscuring distant, new stars.
‘Let There Be Light’ followed with an extensive tour of our local star the Sun by Dr Matthew Malek.
After lunch came the Members session and the opportunity to hear about projects, imaging and observations undertaken by members but which also included a rather different lecture which brought a lighter side to the proceedings.
Steve Floodgate & Dave Grist gave us a Stella (Artois) Performance…I mean Lecture on the complex Crayford Astronomical Society’s ‘The Book’. You had to be there but safe to say the Members session was one everyone will remember until the end of time…! And maybe there will be a Pub at the end of time too…?
And thus the weekend was over leaving us all heavy with the knowledge gleaned from eminent Doctors, Professors and experts in their field and also filled with an amount of excellent food we just couldn’t say no too.
In the end 15 members of the society managed to attend the weekend, with 2 other members who unfortunately had to cancel due to personal reasons.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and informative weekend with lots of information to mull over and I’m sure leading to numerous further discussions to be had until next year’s BAA Winchester weekend 2024.
The BAA Winchester Programme 2023 is a downloadable and printable as a PDF here: https://britastro.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Winchester-programme-card-2023.pdf
Thankyou to Honor, Jim and Simon for sharing your photos of the weekend.
On the night of the 26th/27th March 2023 Ceres appeared to ‘meet’ and pass directly in front of the beautiful spiral galaxy Messier 100 (M100) and for a few hours Ceres looked like a brilliant supernova beaming from one of the M100 galaxy’s arms.
At the time of the line-of-sight view, Ceres was shining from a piddling distance of 150 million miles (240 million kilometers) from Earth whilst the galaxy at 56 million light-years away; so actually trillions of miles apart! The ‘meeting’ took place in the constellation Coma Berenices just a few days after Ceres’ opposition, which is when Earth passes between it and the Sun.
Despite the poor weather CMHASD Trustee & member Simon Dawes managed to capture the event – see his image below 🙂 Ceres is identified with 2 red lines and M100 is at the 4 O’clock position from Ceres.
Ceres is a dwarf planet and the largest asteroid in the main asteroid belt that is between Mars & Jupiter. It was the first asteroid to be discovered on the 1st January 1801 and was classified as 1 Ceres in 1851. Ceres was designated a dwarf planet, a new category of solar system objects defined in August 2006 by the International Astronomical Union.
Ceres’s small size; about 14 times smaller than Pluto means that even at its brightest, it is too dim to be seen by the naked eye, except under extremely dark skies. Its apparent magnitude ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, peaking at opposition.
Messier 100 (also known as NGC 4321) is a face-on, spiral galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 9.3. It is one of the brightest and largest galaxies with a diameter of 160,000 light years. It was discovered in 1781.
Information of how Simon acquired his image is on his photo and for more information about this event see https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/observing-news/tell-time-with-the-big-dipper-see-ceres-transit-m100/#:~:text=By%20good%20fortune%20Ceres%20will%20pass%20directly%20in,northern%20portion%20of%20the%20Virgo%20Cluster%20this%20spring.
A lovely image of a waxing gibbous Moon taken on the 29th April 2023 by member Neil Webster.
To see a higher resolution photo of Neil’s image – check out his flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/52861969736/.
Our rocky neighbours; Venus & Mercury taken by member Diane Clarke whilst at the pavilion on the 13th April 2023.
”The Pleiades are also known as The Seven Sisters, Messier 45 and other names by different cultures, is an asterism and an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars in the north-west of the constellation Taurus. At a distance of about 444 light years, it is among the nearest star clusters to Earth. It is the nearest Messier object to Earth, and is the most obvious cluster to the naked eye in the night sky. The cluster is dominated by hot blue luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years.” ref:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades
Hot off the press – all taken last night 4th April 2023.
Venus & Mercury by Jim Burchell
Mercury by Jim Burchell
Mercury by Martin Crow taken with an iPhone.
Two superb images taken by member Jim Burchell of the planet Mercury and then of the planets Mercury & Venus on the 3rd April 2023.
Two lovely images of a crescent Moon, with Earthshine and Venus taken by member Jim Burchell on the 24th March 2023. The first image has the ISS in it too!
A selection of super images of the Full Moon taken on the 7th March 2023.
”In March, the Full Moon is the Worm Moon. It is also called Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Chaste Moon, Sugar Moon, and Sap Moon. The Worm Moon gets its name from the earthworms that come out when the soil warms up. The worms provide food for birds and other animals. It happens around the changing of the seasons, from astronomical winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere.” ref https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/worm.html
This stunning very atmospheric image of the Full Worm Moon was taken by member Jim Burchell.
The next 3 beautiful images showing the Full Worm Moon rising were taken by member Honor Wheeler. Honor said ”Full Moonrise was not easy to capture tonight. The Moon barely escaped the cloud but got a few pics nonetheless.” and yes she did 🙂
Member Jim Burchell was busy out and about towards the end of February photographing our stunning sky and below is a selection of his superb images.
Orion, Taurus and the Pleiades taken on the 23rd Feb from the CMHASD pavilion, Sutton-at-Hone.
Image was taken with a Pentax KP on a static tripod, F6.3, 30 sec, 18 MM and iso 800.
Crescent Moon on the 24th Feb.
The Sun taken on the 24th Feb.
Crescent Moon with Jupiter & Venus on the 25th Feb.
Updated: 19th February 2023
Exciting news!!!!!! An asteroid that had only been discovered in space a few hours before impacting the Earth has been caught by the Crayford (CMHASD) meteor camera on Monday 13th February 2023 at 2.59am.
It is only the seventh time an asteroid strike had been successfully forecast, in what the European Space Agency said was ‘a sign of the rapid advancements in global asteroid detection capabilities’.
Despite all the cloud that was around at the time; our meteor camera managed to capture the small 1 meter asteroid now called 2023 CX1 as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere creating a brilliant fireball as it disintegrated, lighting up the night sky over the English Channel as it travelled eastward over the coast of Normandy, France. The 3ft meteoroid created an ‘airburst’ that could be seen across southern England and Wales and in parts of northern France as far south as Paris.
Below is the CMHASD meteor camera video showing the fireball.
The one-metre asteroid was discovered by Krisztián Sárneczky with the 60-cm Schmidt telescope of the Piszkéstető Observatory in Hungary. It is his second discovery of an impactor,
‘’The fireball event happened at the predicted time (02:59 UTC) and location, with observations mostly from Southern UK and France, but also from Belgium, the Netherlands and even Germany. It is likely that some fragments of the meteoroid may have survived the atmospheric pass and fell somewhere onshore close to the coast north of Rouen, in Normandy, France’’ ref: https://neo.ssa.esa.int/-/new-imminent-impactor-found-by-european-astronomer
Now a space rock (meteorite) from that fireball has been found in northern France and CMHASD are absolutely thrilled. On 15 February 2023 art student Loïs Leblanc found the first meteorite of 2023 CX1 in a field located in Saint-Pierre-le-Viger.
More news still to follow – so do check back.
The latest image of the Green Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) that is currently gracing our skies by member George Buckberry. The photo was taken on the 14th February 2023 by George.
”Having spent months climbing up out of Corona Borealis and drifting past the Big and Little Dippers, like a rollercoaster car reaching its highest point, Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF has now gone ‘over the top’ of its path across the northern sky and is falling south, fading in brightness and shrinking in size as it drops towards Taurus. For northern hemisphere comet chasers and skywatchers E3’s show is almost over.” ref https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/advice/comet-c-2022-e3-ztf/
So well done George for capturing the Comet, you did well to get it as it’s fading fast!
George has written on the image below of how he acquired the photo and the location of the star Aldebaran to the comet. Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) is a bright red giant star in the constellation of Taurus.
Super image of Collinder 26 – the heart of the Heart Nebula (IC1805) in the constellation Cassiopeia; aptly taken by member and trustee Simon Dawes on the 14th February 2023.
The Heart Nebula’s intense red output and its form are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula’s center. This open cluster of stars, known as Collinder 26 or Melotte 15, contains some stars that are 50 times the mass of our Sun.
The Collinder catalogue is a catalogue of 471 open clusters compiled by Swedish astronomer Per Collinder.
Details of how Simon obtained the image are on the photo.
The California Nebula is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus not far from the Pleiades and near the star Xi Persei. The nebula’s signature reddish glow is thanks to this nearby star, Xi Persei, which is on the top, left side of the nebula in this image. This luminous blue star (also known as Menkib) is a blue giant that is over 12,000 times brighter than the sun. This massive star ionizes the hydrogen atoms in the California Nebula and is responsible for creating this iconic deep sky object.
The Nebula was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884 and its name comes from its resemblance to the shape of the US State of California. It is almost 2.5° long in the sky and roughly 1,500 light-years away from Earth.
Neil acquired the image using a WOGT71, EQ6 R, ZWO294MC, Optolong LEnhance filter, Astro Essentials 50mm Guide Scope, ZWO 290MM.
50x240s Subs, 12xDarks, 40xFlats/Bias.
Processed using APT, PHD, Nebulosity, Photoshop (Camera Raw), Gradient XTerminator.
Check out Neil’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/
Member and trustee Martin Crow captured the Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) on the morning of the 18th January 2023 at 03:20am. The ion tail of the comet can be seen emerging at around the 2 o’clock angle in the photos.
On the 5th February 2023, member Jim Burchell captured this absolutely beautiful image of the full moon also known as the Snow Moon. Jim took the photo using a Pentax KP, 300 mm, F7.1 1/25 sec and iso 400.
A super image of an active Sun captured by member Jim Burchell on the 10th February 2023 showing Sunspots 3213 to 3221. Jim took the image with a Pentax KP attached to 102mm Altair Astro refractor using a solar filter.
Below is an image of the Sun on the 10th Feb 2023 taken from Spaceweather com showing the sunspots with their allocated numbers. Credit: SDO/HMI
Member Honor Wheeler captured the Green Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) on the 7th February 2023 using a Canon M6 with a 400mm lens on a Star Adventurer tracking mount. ISO1600, 30″ expsoure. The comet is centre right in the image in the constellation Auriga. The bright star Capella is above the comet at the 10 o clock position from the comet and the star Elnath is below the comet between the 6 & 7 o clock position from the comet.
Then just before Moon rise on the 8th February 2023 member Simon Dawes captured this image of the green comet. Details of how Simon acquired the image are included on the photo.
Processed in Photoshop.
The transit of EPIC 246851721b measured by CMHASD member and trustee Martin Crow for the ExoClock project on the 21st January 2023. The transit depth is a mere 5 thousandths of a magnitude. EPIC 246851721b is a gas giant exoplanet that orbits an F-type star in the constellation Taurus. Its mass is 3 Jupiters, it takes 6.2 days to complete one orbit of its star and is 0.07229 AU from its star. This planet was discovered by Yu et al. 2018. The discovery was made with the space telescope 0.95 m Kepler Telescope.
Next, see below; is a fantastic widefield image of the Jellyfish Nebula taken by Neil on the 21st January 2023.
The Jellyfish Nebula; also known as IC443 and Sharpless 248 (Sh2-248) is a galactic supernova remnant (SNR) in the constellation Gemini. On the plane of the sky, it is located near the star Eta Geminorum. Its distance is roughly 5,000 light years from Earth.
The glowing cosmic tendrils and bulbous ‘head’ are what give this deep-sky object its name, as it resembles a jellyfish. The Jellyfish Nebula is all that remains of a massive star that ran out of fuel and exploded as a supernova, leaving behind a shell of glowing gas. IC 443 has an angular diameter of 50 arcmin, the full moon by comparison, is 30 arcmin across.
Check out Neil’s flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/
Super image of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) taken by member Simon Dawes with Bessel/Cousins photometric filters and a broadband LPS filter (IDAS LPS D2) then combined to give an RGB image, colour hasn’t been altered. More detail of how Simon acquired his image is on the photo.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is a long period comet from the Oort cloud that was discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (hence the ZTF in the Comet’s name) on 2 March 2022, using the 1.2-m, f/2.4 Schmidt telescope at Mountt was the 3rd such object discovered in the fifth half-month (A, B, C, D, E) of the year. Thus, 2022 E3 (ZTF).
The comet has a bright green glow around its nucleus due to the effect of sunlight on diatomic carbon and cyanogen.
A super photo of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) taken on 27th Jan 2023 by Dr Mike Rushton using an eVscope.
CMHASD member Honor has managed to capture Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) that is gracing our skies at the moment in a photo back on the 22nd Jan 2023.
Honor said ”I watched Nick James sky notes on today’s BAA meeting about Comet E3 so decided to look for it. Not that easy to find but it is unmistakable as a faint fuzzy in binoculars. So I took a photo just to prove I wasn’t seeing things. Worth a decent image with a telescope with more time than I had.”
The comet is the fuzzy patch centre right in the photo.
Two lovely photos taken by member Jim Burchell of the planets Jupiter & Venus on Sunday evening the 22nd Jan 2023. The photos were taken with a Pentax K70.
A fantastic image of the Sun taken on the morning of the 20th January 2023 by member Jim Burchell. The image was taken by Jim using a pentax KP attached to 102mm Atair Astro refractor fitted with a solar filter. At the 4 O clock position from the centre of the Sun is the large sunspot AR3190. AR3190 is one of the largest sunspots of Solar Cycle 25 so far, at almost five times the diameter of Earth.
A stunning image of the Sun in H-alpha on 26th Dec 2022 by Honor Wheeler.
The image was acquired by Honor at 20221226_1212UT using a Canon M6 Mark II and Personal Solar Telescope (PST).
Honor wrote ‘This image of the Sun was taken using a Coronado personal solar telescope or PST which shows the Sun’s H-alpha surface features. These features include Sunspots, Filaments and Prominences. In this image there are a number of large Prominences around the edge of the Sun’s disc and on the surface these can be seen as the dark Filaments snaking across the face of the Sun. The bright areas are Sunspots which are active regions which can flare brightly as you can see at the top right of the disc. Most H-alpha images that show Sunspot and Prominence detail and activity are composite images and are photographed separately then combined in editing software. In this case however, I was lucky and I managed to capture both Prominence, surface structures and activity in one single photo.’
Three wonderful images of our Moon acquired by CMHASD member Honor Wheeler back in December 2022. The 1st image was taken on the 29th Dec 2022 and the next two on the 26th Dec 2022, all from North Kent.
Honor acquired her super image below of what looks like a ‘Half Moon’ at 20221229_2103UT by using a Canon M6 Mark II, 102mm Refractor, EQ3 synscan mount, x2 Barlow and ISO400, exp1/320s.
The next image below of a beautiful crescent Moon was acquired by Honor at 20221226_1654UT using a Canon M6 Mark II, 102mm Refractor, EQ3 synscan mount, x2 Barlow and ISO200, exp1/30s
Honor’s 3rd image below showing a stunning amount of Earthshine was acquired at 20221226_1737UT using a Canon M6 Mark II, 102mm Refractor, EQ3 synscan mount, x2 Barlow and ISO400, exp4s. For more information about Earthshine click here.
Being up early on dark mornings has its rewards as member Jim Burchell shows here with these super images of a crescent Moon on the morning of the 18th January 2023. The amount of ‘Earthshine’ captured in the 1st photo by Jim is stunning. Also in the photo – bottom left, is the star Alniyat in Scorpius.
”Earthshine is a dull glow which lights up the unlit part of the Moon because the Sun’s light reflects off the Earth’s surface and back onto the Moon. It is also sometimes called ashen glow, the old Moon in the new Moon’s arms, or the Da Vinci glow, after Leonardo da Vinci, who explained the phenomenon for the first time in recorded history…… Earthshine is best seen a few days before and after a New Moon, right after sunset or before sunrise. Scientists studying global warming found that earthshine is more intense in April and May” ref: https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/earthshine.html
Crescent Moon & Earthshine with Alniyat in Scopius by Jim Burchell
The 2nd image below shows more detail of the crescent Moon.
Another stunning image of the Moon taken by member Neil Webster on the 2nd January 2023. The image is of a waxing Gibbous Moon at 85.0% and 10.39 days old. The image is a mosaic made up of 6 frames stitched in Microsoft ICE.
Below is one of the frames taken by Neil which he said was his favourite!
You can see a higher resolution image on Neil’s flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/52602589747/
This is a montage of the exo-planet transits that CMHASD member and trustee Simon Dawes observed in 2022 for the ExoClock project. A total of 60 for 2022. Well done Simon!
Member Richard Bohner captured these superb detailed images of the crescent Moon on the 27th Dec 2022 from Arizona, USA. Amazing how much detail has been acquired using an iPhone camera held up to an eyepiece 🙂
Member Jim Burchell’s ‘Winter Solstice crescent Moon‘ captured on the morning of the 21st Dec 2022 – The Winter Solstice. According to the astronomical definition, winter begins with the winter solstice in December in the Northern Hemisphere and in 2022 that was on the 21st Dec 2022.
Member George Buckberry with his hand built Solar Projector
Last week following our Society meeting on the 26th January 2023, we learned about the design and construction of a table-top solar projector built by George Buckberry. After all of the effort involved in building the projector, George has very kindly donated it to the Society for use by members and also as a means of educating the public at one of our outreach events. Thank you George for your very kind donation.
Below is a link to George’s PowerPoint presentation of how George built the Solar Projector in the form of a PDF file which you can download.
On the 17th Dec 2022 member George Buckberry captured this super image of Sirius, Orion, Hyades in Taurus with Mars above and the Pleiades. The photo was taken on a mobile Samsung SE20 in night mode and tweaked in Snapseed by George.
It was a very busy night for CMHASD meteor camera on the 14th/15th Dec 2022. The Meteor camera captured 141 ‘sightings’ of which 126 were meteors including 4 sightings of 2 meteors in the same shot by the camera. Out of the 126 meteors 98 were Geminids; the rest were other classes of meteors including some sporadics.
Meteors, also known as shooting stars, are pieces of dust and debris from space that burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, where they can create streaks across the night sky. When Earth passes through the dusty trail of a comet or asteroid’s orbit, the many streaks of light in the sky are known as a meteor shower. The 98 Geminid meteors detected by the camera were part of the annual Geminid meteor shower.
For more information about the society meteor camera & project click here.
For more information about the Geminid Meteor Shower please visit the UKMON website at https://ukmeteornetwork.co.uk/showers/2022-geminids/
Below are two out of the 4 photos showing the double meteors captured by the camera.
On the morning of Sunday 15th January 2023, CMHASD member Honor Wheeler captured this absolutely stunning image of the Sun. As you can see it was very active and still is! Details of how Honor acquired her brilliant image are on the photo.
The information below is taken from the website Spaceweather.com
Picture above shows the Sun on 15th January 2023 – taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory with the Sun spots labelled.
”’…I can’t remember having seen so many sunspots together; indeed, the sunspot number is high. If solar activity continues at this pace for the rest of January, the monthly sunspot number will reach a 20-year high. And Solar Maximum is still ~2 years away. Contrary to predictions, Cycle 25 is shaping up to be a good one, after all.”
17th Jan 2023
”NAKED-EYE SUNSPOT: One of the biggest sunspots in years (AR3190) is crossing the solar disk–and you can see it with the naked eye. “Be sure to use safe solar glasses to protect your eyes,” says Bum-Suk Yeom of Iksan, South Korea. “I tried it myself today, and I could see the sunspot clearly.”
As shown in Yeom’s infographic, the sunspot is four times wider than Earth. It’s twice as big as any other spot on the sun, visible to the naked eye, and a magnificent target for backyard solar telescopes.
Best of all, it’s about to explode. AR3190 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Any eruptuions will be geoeffective because the sunspot is almost directly facing Earth.” ”
It was a brilliant quiz and a great night was had by all! Member’s David Grist and Steve Floodgate aka Eric ‘n’ Ern once again pulled out all the stops to provide another night of head scratching, puzzlement and fun.
Below are some photos and a video of the evening taken by Chairman John Archer. Thank you John.
Plus a big ‘Thank you’ to Dave & Steve for all your hard work & effort creating the quiz. We are all looking forward to the next one!
CMHASD member Jim Burchell captured this superb Sun Halo on the 14th Dec 2022 around midday which lasted for quite a long time – over an hour. A Sun halo, also known as ’22 degree halo’, is an optical atmospheric phenomenon that occurs due to sunlight refracting in millions of hexagonal ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.
More information about how Sun Halo’s are formed can be found on the Atmospheric Optics website.
Nine CMHASD members attended the BAA Christmas meeting on the 10th December 2022, held at the Institute of Physics.
A recording of the meeting is available to watch here on the BAA YouTube channel.
Below are the times of the talks in the recording. Please be aware the sound is a little quiet at times so you will need to turn up the sound up. Talks particular of interest to our Society are in bold; as they have CMHASD member ‘participation’ 🙂
Start – David Arditti, BAA President – Welcome, notices and awards – Here you will see CMHASD trustees Martin Crow and Simon Dawes collect their BAA Sir Patrick Moore award for their contributions to the ExoClock Project.
0h 27m – Tim Parsons – A Massive Star Menagerie: touring through the upper reaches of the H-R Diagram
1h 25m – Simon Kidd – Asteroid Occultations….an observer’s view
2h 8m – Nick James – Sky Notes – Here you will see CMHASD member Honor Wheeler’s Moon image displayed during Nick’s talk and a photo of a model of Jupiter that was used at the News Scientist Live exhibition 2022. CMHASD member Janice McClean, who is the BAA Events Manager and several other CMHASD members helped run the BAA stand at the exhibition over the 3 days.
After the meeting for those who wished to partake – members were invited the BAA Christmas social, taking place in the Hubble Room at The Astronomer pub near Liverpool Street Station. Several CMHASD members took up the invite 😀 I wonder who was one of the members?
Below are more photos of the day taken by CMHASD Chairperson John Archer & CMHASD Trustee John Howarth. Thank you for sharing your photos with us.
On Wednesday 30th November 2022, CMHASD were back at Hall Place & Gardens to hold a star gazing event. We had brilliant support from our members – thanks to all – who bought along a variety of telescopes, cameras, meteorites and other displays for our guests.
We had over 33 ticket-holders to entertain and those who arrived early did catch sight of Jupiter, Mars and the Moon.
We ran through a handful of short talks – including a review of popular astronomy apps by Marc and a talk from Debra on Comets, followed by a successful comet-making demo to an enthralled audience.
Further gaps in the clouds allowed visitors another chance to observe with us. It’s always rewarding to hear the “oohs and aahs” of a first-time view of Jupiter’s moons through a decent scope. The Society Dob’s are just brilliant at that.
So thank you to the whole crew (you know who you are) for setting up, interacting, educating and closing down the show. It was very successful indeed.
A huge congratulations to CMHASD trustees Martin Crow and Simon Dawes for jointly winning the BAA Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Pro-Am work on Exoplanet observations with the ExoClock project along with a Mr Adrian Jones.
Below is a photo of Martin and Simon being presented with their certificates by the President of the BAA David Arditti on Saturday 10th December 2022 at the BAA Christmas Meeting.
From left to right: David Arditti, Adrian Jones, Martin Crow & Simon Dawes.
Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Through the Years. People, Places, Members and Telescopes by Arthur Cockburn
It is our 61st Anniversary today and what a lovely way to mark the occasion – to sit back, relax and enjoy this superb video slide show of the society through the years created by long standing member Arthur Cockburn…….
The videos from the British Astronomical Association (BAA) Exoplanet Division Online Workshop held on Saturday 12th November are now available to watch on the BAA YouTube Channel.
The below talk titles are links to watch the videos.
Two videos are by CMHASD members Rodney Buckland and Martin Crow.
Exoplanet Division update
Mission and observational efficiency
ExoClock – a model of pro-am collaboration
Introduction to HOPS
Synchronous observations to detect shallow transits
Data mining transit observations for variable star photometry
An alternative to HOPS
A shinning example of a Sundog captured by member Martin Crow when out and about on the 20th Nov 2022.
A Sundog (or sun dog) is an optical atmospheric phenomenon that causes a bright, rainbow-colored patch of light to occur on either side of the sun or both sides at an angle of 22 degrees. Sun dogs occur as a result of the refraction or scattering of light from flat hexagonal-shaped ice crystals that are suspended in clouds.
In the most brilliant displays, when 2 Sundogs appear, it’s as if there are now three suns in the sky — the main sun and two little siblings.
These “side suns” are colloquially known as sun dogs, officially known as “parhelia,” which is Greek for “next to the sun.”
The latest stunning image of the Veil Nebula by member Neil Webster. Updated with another 3 hours worth of imaging grabbed on the night of the 21st Nov 2022.
Neil said ”I finally managed to get enough data to start to show the incredible subtle details in this object. This was processed from 5 hrs of data amassed over 3 evenings.”
The Veil Nebula is a diffuse nebula located in the northern constellation Cygnus, the Swan. It is the expanding remains of a massive star that exploded about 8,000 years ago.
Called the Veil Nebula, the debris is one of the best-known supernova remnants, deriving its name from its delicate, draped filamentary structures. The entire nebula is 110 light-years across, covering six full moons on the sky as seen from Earth.
It lies a few degrees to the south of the star Epsilon Cygni, also known as Aljanah.
Aljanah is one of the stars of the Northern Cross and marks the right wing of the celestial Swan.
The Veil Nebula is also known as Witch’s Broom Nebula, Bridal Veil Nebula, Cirrus Nebula or Filamentary Nebula. It is located approximately 1,470 light years from Earth.
The Veil Nebula has three main parts: the Eastern Veil, the Western Veil, and Fleming’s Triangle (Pickering’s Triangle). It has the designations NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 6995, NGC 6974 and NGC 6979 in the New General Catalogue. The southernmost part of the Eastern Veil Nebula is assigned the catalogue designation IC 1340.
To see a more detailed view of this image check out Neil’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/52515415329/
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please click here for solar observing safely.
On Tuesday 25th October 2022, CMHASD held an Open Morning at the Parsonage Lane Pavilion for members & members of the public to view the rare spectacle of a Partial Solar Eclipse visible from the UK.
It turned out to be an absolutely fantastic day and one that people who were there will not forget.
It was a warm sunny day with clear skies at the start of the partial eclipse and come 10.09am BST we were rewarded with the first views of the Moon partially obscuring the Sun.
Members used a variety of safe techniques to view & image the partial eclipse for nearly 1 1/2 hours (with a few breaks due to cloud cover) until a little after 11.30am when it started to rain.
The setup shown below is using the image projection method with a 4 1/2” Tal Newtonian reflector.
Member Gary Hunt who was present that day at the pavilion and took many of photos used in this post wrote “Whenever there is an astronomical event in our locality of the UK, CMHASD is pleased to take the opportunity to share with the public the wonders of the Universe. The morning of Tuesday 25th 2022 was such an opportunity as we were treated to a partial eclipse of the sun. This is quite a rare phenomenon for the UK and even a few tens of miles can make a big difference to what you will see. Sadly for our observatory and home that is the ‘Pavilion’ in Sutton-at-Hone Dartford this would be only be around 15% covering of the sun in the nearly two hour solar eclipse by the Moon, but with the aid of SAFE observing techniques and equipment provided by CMHASD members we were able to demonstrate and explain to our visitors just what was happening. Besides the eclipse, and with most of our telescopes we were able to see two sets of sun spots and even a few solar prominences. The sun was visible until the last half-an-hour when clouds and some spots of rain spoiled our observing session, but we were lucky that most of the best parts of the eclipse was pretty cloud free! We had a small, but enthusiastic number of guests come along to observe the eclipse, and I can confidently claim that they were all suitably impressed with their experience. We had challenges that day because on the Sunday before, a thunder storm knocked out electrical power supply to the Pavilion and so we had no lighting or power for hospitality for our guests, however we used thermos flasks of tea/coffee and generous Society members brought along some cakes, so I think we were forgiven? All-in-all, I would judge that we had a successful solar/eclipse public out-reach session and guests and members enjoyed the solar-show immensely.”
Below are a collection images of the partial solar eclipse including a time lapse video by members who were at the pavilion………….
All 6 of Jim’s superb images were taken with a Pentax KP attached to an Altair Astro 102 Refactor using a white light Solar filter. Image’s then coloured using Snapseed.
Image 1 start of the eclipse. Iso 200 1/200 sec F7.5 approx
Image 2 roughly mid eclipse. Iso 200 1/250 sec
This image was taken roughly mid eclipse and shows more surface detail than Jim’s other images.
A very atmospheric image of the partial eclipse near the end.
Diane Clarke’s stunning image has been rotated to match event and also shows sun spots 3126, 3130 & 3131. Diane acquired the image using a Camera EOS M50m2 at ISO 400 @ 1/2000 Sec. Jpeg from RAW.
Dr. Mike Rushton’s super image was taken just before clouds intervened at about maximum eclipse time. Mike acquired the image using a Canon EOS 60D Lens: EF70-300mm f/4-f/5.6 IS USM, Focal length 300m f/8 1/500s ISO 200.
Below is a time lapse video of the partial solar eclipse put together by Mike.
Meanwhile members who were unable to be at the pavilion acquired these images below of the partial eclipse at various locations around Bexley including a time lapse video……
Details of how Simon acquired the image are on his photo.
Member Simon Dawes who was at home that morning wrote ”I hadn’t intended observing the partial solar eclipse, my plan had been to process some exoplanet data from the the night before but the day started out so nice and cloud free, I thought why not. As I was setting up I heard that one of our members wouldn’t be able to see it, they were isolating due to COVID. So armed with a connection on my mobile phone and the societies Zoom details I set up an impromptu zoom stream to share my observatory PC so that anyone wanting to see it that couldn’t get to the pavilion would be able to.”
Below are a couple of images of the partial solar eclipse broadcast via Zoom set up by Simon and a time lapse video of the eclipse.
Member Janice imaged the partial eclipse until the rain came. Details of how Janice acquired her great images are on the photos.
Terry Miles super set of images were acquired using a Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (PST) using a 8mm-24mm zoom and an iPhone 13.
Some members who were at work that day managed to get some images too……..
In the City of London CMHASD Chairman John took this image.
On a tea break at work Honor took this image using a BAA solar viewer with her phone.
And those members who live further a field shared their images they got of the partial solar eclipse also.
Martin took this image of the partial eclipse showing some sunspots too from Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex. Shot using a DSLR 550d, 200mm lens with an astro solar filter, iso 100 & shutter speed 1/15sec.
Stephen took this image from Cumbria using an iPhone through Mylar film.
CMHASD would like to say a big thank you to Gary Hunt, Diane Clarke, Dr. Mike Rushton and John Archer for organising the day and to the members who shared their photos & images. Absolutely brilliant!
Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD) were out in force at the recent New Scientist Live event at ExCel Centre, London Docklands on the 7th to 9th October 2022. We were there to help the British Astronomical Association (BAA), in which we have many members; on their stand in the Cosmos Section this year.
Everybody pitched in; helping the BAA team organised by CMHASD member Janice McClean who is a trustee and the Events Coordinator of the BAA to promote membership of the BAA and answer questions ranging from ‘What type of telescope should I buy?’ to ‘How do you use a Planisphere?’
Janice said ”After three years closure, it was great to be back.”
A big Thank you to CMHASD members Steve Floodgate & David Grist (our own Eric and Ernie) who were there for all three days of the event with Janice together with Mark Radice from Basingstoke Astronomical Society.
Thanks fully to CMHASD members Rita Whiting and Debra Holton who were there to keep the peace on Friday (School’s day) and to CMHASD member Diane Clarke who got pulled in after rashly accepting a guest pass when the sheer number of visitors became overwhelming. CMHASD trustee Mike Rushton added some calm and gravitas to the mayhem on Saturday and Rita returned on Sunday for even more!
Member Neil Webster has been busy……….
This is the latest stunning deep sky image by Neil of Hydrogen Alpha nebulosity surrounding the star Gamma Cygni (Sadr) taken on the 20th October 2022.
Neil acquired the image using a AA 115mmAPO, EQ6 R, ZWO ASI294MC Pro, Optolong L enhance filter, Orion 50mm Guide Scope and ZWO ASI290MM.
47 x 240s lights, 12 x Darks, 35 x flats/bias.
APT, PHD, Nebulosity & Photoshop.
To see a higher resolution photo of this image check out Neil’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/52443297014/
Sadr, Gamma Cygni (γ Cyg) is a yellow-white supergiant star located in the constellation Cygnus. Sadr is the constellation’s second brightest star after Deneb with an apparent magnitude of 2.23. It is the star forming the intersection of an asterism of five stars called the Northern Cross an asterism that dominates the summer sky in the northern hemisphere. Sadr lies in a rich field of the Milky Way and is surrounded by the diffuse emission nebula IC1318 also known as the Gamma Cygni Nebula or Sadr Region.
Plus hot off the press today – the latest music video created by Neil titled Pickering’s Triangle. Take a trip round Pickering’s Triangle in Cygnus imaged by Neil to a pulsey soundtrack and seriously wayward piano near the end.
Two more sets of exoplanet observations for the ExoClock project by member Simon Dawes of WASP-114b and Qatar-5b. These are the 56th and 57th set of observations Simon has completed for the project.
WASP-114b is a Hot Jupiter in a 1.5-day orbit around a G0 star.
Qatar-5b is a Hot Jupiter orbiting the star Qatar-5 located in Andromeda constellation. It orbits its star every 2.87 days. It was discovered in 2016 by the Qatar Exoplanet Survey (QES).
Several society members attended Shears Green Junior School on Friday 23rd September 2022 with their own or a society telescope to take part in the school’s ‘Cosmic Camp’.
Below are 2 accounts of the evening by CMHASD members Diane Clarke and Gary Hunt who both helped at the event.
Diane wrote ”The Society was invited for its second visit to the “Cosmic Camp” at Shears Green Junior School on Friday the 23rd of September. Several members were present, bringing 5 telescopes including Anita & Isaac, 2 of the Societies “Dobs”.
When we arrived we were enthusiastically greeted by several of the campers in spite of the somewhat overcast conditions that never dampened their spirits. So we decided to persevere and set up our telescopes with an initial idea of focusing on various cranes & other industrial architecture along a distant horizon to give the campers something to see through the eyepiece. All the while hoping the sky would clear.
Eventually the clouds started to break initially giving views of Altair & Deneb, two of the stars that form the asterism known as the “summer triangle”. As the cloud continued to break the campers were treated to views of Jupiter & its 4 main Galilean Moons through our telescopes. Unlike last year there was no Moon and unfortunately the clouds did not break enough for us to offer the campers views of the planets Saturn or Mars.
Apart from having the 5 telescopes present we also gave 3 indoor presentations, these included showing the campers some astronomical images taken by the members, along with talks and demonstrations covering both the solar system & the constellations.
The campers had also been learning about the ISS and a visible Pass was expected so with great anticipation we gathered the camper’s together as the clouds broke enabling them to see the ISS that was greeted with a resounding cheer as it passed overhead. This was a very enjoyable evening for members & campers alike so much so that yet again we stayed longer than expected.”
Gary wrote “From a personal point of view and as an enthusiastic member of Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD), I found the experience of helping the young students of Shears Green Primary School see the night sky very rewarding. This night was Shears Green’s annual Cosmic Camp and CMHASD was very happy to help again (we helped out last year), as we love to share our fascination of astronomy and all things space! Most CMHASD members have started our fascination with astronomy at an early age and we are committed to inspire young minds to look into the night sky and wonder just like we did many years ago.
The Society did not take any photos of the event as there were too many safeguarding issues however the school blog hopefully will post some photos soon as they did with Cosmic Camp 2021 https://www.shearsgreenjuniorschool.co.uk/cosmic-camp-2021/– so do keep checking.
The Society would like to say a big Thank you to all the members who helped make this event a success.
CMHASD Chairman John Archer captured a beautiful sunrise on the morning of the 12th October 2022 along with an atmospheric phenomenon called a ‘sun pillar’ albeit a small one.
‘A sun pillar is a vertical streak of light that appears above or below a low Sun that is shining through ice-crystal clouds, such as Cirrus, Cirrostratus and Cirrocumulus, or the ground-level ice-crystal fog, diamond dust.’ https://cloudappreciationsociety.org/cloud-library/sun-pillar/
They can be 5 to 10 degrees tall and sometimes even higher. They might lengthen or brighten as you gaze at them.
A video about John Wall building a 42” telescope presented by member Terry Miles and directed by member Arthur Cockburn has just been uploaded onto the History page at https://crayfordmanorastro.com/history/.
Members Jim Burchell, John Howarth and Honor Wheeler took the opportunity to photograph the glorious full moon, also known as The Hunter’s Moon on the 9th October 2022 from various locations in North Kent and below are their superb results.
”Hunter’s moon is mentioned in several sources as the Anglo-Saxon name for the Full Moon of October. This is the month when the game is fattened, and it is time to start preparing for the coming winter. Traditionally, this included hunting, slaughtering and preserving meats for use in the coming winter months. Other names are Travel Moon and Dying Grass Moon. Some also called it Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon, which also refers to the hunting season. However, this name should not be confused with the term Blood Moon to describe a Total Lunar Eclipse.” https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/hunters.html
Moonrise by Honor Wheeler. 3 Moonrise images layered using android app Snapseed. Images acquired using a camera – Canon M6 mark II with 18-400mm lens. ISO500, exp1/10sec at F8.
The Moon by Jim Burchell. Image acquired using a Pentax KP camera.
The Hunter’s Moon & Jupiter by Jim Burchell.
The Hunter’s Moon by John Howarth.
Member Jim Burchell was up early on Sunday the 9th October 2022 and took a super collection of photos of the early morning sky using his Pentax camera from Dartford. Jim captured Mercury at greatest elongation that morning; along with Mars, the Moon plus the constellation Orion.
Looking East – Mercury at greatest elongation
Looking South – the constellation Orion and Mars. Mars is above Orion (top, centre)
Looking South West – the Moon
The Moon as it set
The Moon & Jupiter on the 8th October 2022 taken by member Jim Burchell using a Pentax KP camera.
Jupiter is top left of the Moon in the photo.
Three more sets of observations of exoplanet transits for the ExoClock project by Simon Dawes. WASP-52b, Qatar-1b and HAT-P-6b.
WASP-52 b is a gas giant exoplanet that orbits a K-type star. Its mass is 0.46 Jupiters. Exoplanet WASP-52b orbits at a distance of 4.07 million km from its host star WASP-52, taking 1.75 days to go round its orbit. Its discovery in the constellation Pegasus was announced in 2012.
Qatar-1 b is a gas giant exoplanet that orbits a metal-rich K-dwarf star, which is one of the faintest around which a planet has been discovered by ground based surveys. Its mass is 1.294 Jupiters, takes 1.4 days to complete one orbit of its star and is 0.02332 AU from its star. Its discovery was announced in 2010.
HAT-P-6b was discovered on October 15, 2007. It is located in the constellation Andromeda. It takes 92 hours, 28 minutes, 17 seconds and 9 deciseconds to orbit its host star. The planet HAT-P-6b is named Nachtwacht. The name was selected in the NameExoWorlds campaign by the Netherlands, during the 100th anniversary of the IAU, after Rembrandt’s painting The Night Watch. It is one of the few planets that is in a retrograde orbit around its host star.
Member Neil Webster has been busy and produced this wonderful image of NGC 6823 & SH-2-86 in the constellation Vulpecula plus a new music video.
SH-2-86 is an H Alpha emitting region (red glow) from the Sharpless Catalogue and NGC 6823 is a small open cluster just above the central dark spike in the image.
Published by Stewart Sharpless in 1959, the SH2 catalogue lists 312 emission nebulae, planetary nebulae and supernova remnants visible in the northern hemisphere. Despite overlapping with deep-sky objects in the Messier and NGC catalogs that are visible to the unaided eye, SH2 is primarily composed of obscure, dim nebulae which can only be revealed through astrophotography.
Neil acquired the image on the 2nd October 2022 using a AA 115mm APO, EQ6-R, ZWO ASI294MC Pro, L EnHance filter, Orion 50mm Guide Scope, ZWO ASI290MM
90 x 140s Lights, 15 x Darks, 30 x Flats/Bias.
Nebulosity, Photoshop (Camera Raw)
To view a higher resolution image visit Neil’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/137388222@N05/
Then sit back and relax and take a tour of the Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443) in the constellation Gemini imaged by Neil whilst listening to a piano based soundtrack. To do so click on the following link The Jellyfish Nebula IC 443 – YouTube where you find Neil’s latest music video.
On Friday 30th September 2022 at the ExoClock 2 day meeting held at University College London, CMHASD trustees Martin Crow & Simon Dawes were awarded certificates for their impressive contribution to the ExoClock Project.
ARIEL is a space telescope (Atmospheric Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large‐survey mission) that was selected by ESA as part of its Cosmic Vision plan and is ESA’S next science mission that will focus on the nature of planets orbiting stars in other systems. It will be ESA’s fourth medium-class science mission to be launched in 2029.
Both Simon and Martin have contributed over 50 exoplanet observations each to ExoClock and more are yet to come.
Their certificates were presented to them by Anastasia Kokori, Coordinator of the ExoClock project & Professor Giovanna Tinetti, Principal Investigator of the Ariel mission.
Congratulations Martin & Simon. Well done!
Martin Crow receiving his certificate.
Simon Dawes receiving his certificate.
You can view some of Simon & Martin’s observations on the CMHASD ExoClock Project page.
An absolutely stunning image by member Kevin Langford of The North America Nebula (NGC 7000 or Caldwell 20). The North America Nebula is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, close to the star Deneb.
ES 102ED APO, 0.7x focal reducer corrector, EQ5 Pro
ZWO ASI071, Orion MMAG,L-eNhance filter
1 1/2 Hrs of exposures
To see a higher resolution photo of the image check out Kevin’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/77708720@N08/52383552499/
One more for the ExoClock Project by Simon Dawes of HAT-P-29b also known as Surt. Surt is the ruler of Muspelheim and the fire giants there in Norse mythology. At Ragnarok, the end of the world, he will lead the attack on our world and destroy it in flames.
An absolutely fantastic widefield image of the Veil Nebula taken by member Kevin Langford on the 12th August 2022 from Bexley, Kent. The image was acquired using an ES 102ED APO, 0.7x focal reducer corrector, EQ5 Pro, ZWO ASI071, Orion MMAG and L-eNhance filter.
The 3 hours of exposure was then processed in photoshop.
To see a higher resolution photo of this image click on the following link to be taken to Kevin’s flickr page https://www.flickr.com/photos/77708720@N08/52321231907/
Taken from a few days ago; this is member Simon Dawes 48th accepted transit for the ExoClock project of exoplanet TrES-3b. TrES-3b is a gas giant exoplanet that orbits a G-type star GSC 03089-00929. It has an orbital period of just 31 hours, is nearly twice the mass of Jupiter and is 0.02282 AU from its star.
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.
Its discovery was announced in 2007. It is the 3rd transiting planet found by the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey. It was discovered in the constellation Hercules about 10 degrees west of the star Vega. If you look at the curve you can see that it doesn’t have a flat bottom which means from our viewpoint the planet occults the star right on its edge – a grazing occultation.
Also measured by Simon is the transit of exoplanet WASP-60b.
WASP-60b orbits at a distance of 8.25 million km from its G1-type star, taking 4.3 days to go round its orbit in the constellation of Pegasus. The system is a distance of 400 parsecs away from us.
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please click here for solar observing safely.
On the morning of the 26th August 2022 member Simon Dawes imaged 3 of the sunspots on the sun – AR3086. AR3088 and AR3089 and superb images they are too. Sunspot AR3088 however looked a little bit different from the usual sunspots seen and indeed it was according to Spaceweather.com – see below.
Details of how Simon acquired the images are on each photo.
Unusual sunspot AR3088
Screen shot from Spaceweather.com explaining why sunspot AR3088 looks unusual….
Two absolutely fantastic images of the Moon at 0.01 phase taken by member Jim Burchell on the morning of the 25th August 2022 from Dartford. The second image shows the Moon with Venus on the right.
Our sun on the 22nd Aug 2022 imaged by member Simon Dawes. Despite seeing being very poor that morning; a great image was achieved by Simon showing an active sun. Details of how Simon acquired the images are on the main photo.
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please click here for solar observing safely.
A superb image of the moon at 3.30am on the 20th Aug 2022. This is Neil’s first waning crescent moon image of the moon at 40.9% & 33 days old.
Click on the link below; then sit back and enjoy a wonderful video compiled by member Neil Webster of a waning gibbous moon he imaged on this date last year coupled with some ambient based piano/synth music produced by Neil too.
Three CMHASD members imaged the full moon – the 4th and last supermoon of the year rising on the 11th August 2022 and below are their stunning photos.
A full moon occurs when the moon and sun are opposite each other and sunlight strikes the moon face-on.
The August full moon is also known as the Sturgeon Moon so this was a Sturgeon supermoon!
Nasa explain: ‘The term ‘supermoon’ was coined in 1979 and is often used to describe what astronomers would call a perigean (pear-ih-jee-un) full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the Moon is at the closest point in its orbit around Earth. Therefore the moon appears larger and brighter than usual as it reaches the full moon stop of its cycle. A supermoon will usually cast around 30 per cent more light onto Earth than it does when it is at its dimmest. This is because the supermoon will be closer to the sun’s rays and therefore able to reflect more light.’
We have already witnessed three supermoons this year, in May, June and July. Surprisingly, supermoon streaks like the one we have seen this year are not uncommon. 2023 will also see four consecutive full supermoons, as will 2024. Even 2025 has three in a row.
Jim Burchell’s full moon rising images below were all taken with a Pentax KP at 300mm, F7.1, 1/3s & iso 200.
Honor Wheeler’s full moon rising images.
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please click here for solar observing safely.
On Saturday the 20th of August several members of the Society were present for the second of our 2 solar observing sessions at Hall Place & Gardens. The event took place on the patio with a small farmers market close to the gallery so there was a constant stream of people wanting to look, some just wondering what was going on and and others who clearly had an untapped interest in astronomy. Hopefully we will see some of those people in the future.
At our previous session at Hall Place on Sunday the 7th of August we and those who came to see us were treated to 4 hours of sunshine unfortunately on this occasion we were not so lucky with varying amounts of cloud being present throughout the session. When the clouds did clear and the sun became visible we were able to offer safe views of the sun to the public through the telescopes. When we did get glimpses of the Sun – the public were thrilled with what they saw; even if it was often in 20 second bursts!!!
Overall we had 7 telescopes on hand including ‘Anita’ one of the clubs Dobsonian telescopes and during clear spots every telescope was in use. We also had a couple of tables of displays including details of Sun spots, a solar projector and other interesting Astronomy facts which proved popular too with the public.
Whilst the weather was disappointing the day was a great success and the Society would like to thank all those members who helped on the day.
Below is a slideshow of photos taken of the day by members John Archer, Simon Dawes, Diane Clarke and Dr. Mike Rushton – Thank you for sharing them with us. Also thank you to Diane Clarke & Simon Dawes for your help writing this post.
Prior to going to the event member Simon Dawes took the opportunity to image the lone sunspot on the surface of the Sun at home and this is his image. This was the sunspot that the public would have seen through the telescopes during clear gaps in the cloud.
A word document that you can download detailing some useful astronomy apps and software has been uploaded to the New to Astronomy page. Thank you to member George Buckberry for compiling the list.
Sunday 7th August 2022 – What a glorious sunny day to be out Solar Observing which is what Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD) where doing at Hall Place in Bexley. What a busy day it was too! Several telescopes were set up to observe the Sun safely and members of the public were invited to do some solar observing which was readily accepted by many. The Sun put on a good display having several sunspots and prominences for the public to view.
CMHASD will be back at Hall Place on Saturday 20th August 2022 to do some more Solar Observing with the public. Please do come and join us!
NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Please click here for solar observing safely.
Thank you to all CMHASD members who helped on the day and to Dr Mike Rushton and Terry Miles for sharing your photos of the day too.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the 3 wonderful videos below put together by member Neil Webster showcasing some of his stunning astroimages alongside some beautiful music created by Neil in his home studio.
Note: The video’s can also be viewed on the ‘New to Astronomy’ page https://crayfordmanorastro.com/new-to-astronomy/