We are the proud owners of a new observatory called The Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory. The observatory was named after our late past chairman Dick Chambers.  The observatory was built in 2014 and opened in January 2015.

Schools and clubs are welcome to visit the observatory by arrangement.

Observatory Guides:

These guides are provided to help members use the Dick Chambers observatory and Peter Hindle Telescope.

Opening and Closing the Observatory

How to use the Observatory v5

Using Dome Buddy


Controlling the Telescope using Sky Safari

Sky Safari is a popular Android and IoS Planetarium App, you need a paid for version to control the telescope but this is by far the easiest method of manual control, it basically replaces the hand Controller and is the same software we use to ‘push-to’ the society Dobsonian telescopes. The observatory tablet has Sky-safari installed on it. Sky-Safari is ideal if using an eyepiece.


Using the Hand Controller

We recommend the hand controller is only used if you are familiar with the LX200 system, it is by far the most complicated and long-winded way to control the telescope, it should only be used with an eyepiece.


Meade LX200 16″ Manual (60 pages)

Using the observatory computer to control the telescope

This will seem daunting at first but is actually the easiest way to use the telescope, no alignment is necessary, you don’t need to know the night sky and automated plate-solving will get you to your object every time, it can even auto-focus for you, however it can only be used this way if the camera is attached.

  • Members observing exo-planet transits please see the tutorial videos here.
  • Members wishing to learn more and play with the software can download it to their own PC here  (Windows only) and set-up virtual devices within the software to simulate using real equipment.
  • A great source of additional NINA tutorial videos can also be found here



On Thursday 8th January 2015, Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford officially opened it’s new observatory called the Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory housing the Peter Hindle Telescope.

Many people attended the event including Dr. Peter Hindle who donated the 16″ Meade telescope that is housed in the observatory & the Mayor of Dartford Cllr. Avtar Sandhu MBE, both seen here with chairman Simon Dawes.

The observatory is managed by observatory manager Andy Barber. 

The 16” Meade LX200 scientific grade telescope is available for members to use once they are trained.  Training is managed by Andy Barber & Keith Rickard.



Drawings of the Dick Chambers Observatory by Martin Crow.


Donations to the building of the Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory.

1. Thank you to Dr. Peter Hindle for the kind and generous donation of a 16″ Meade LX200 telescope, pier, accessories and dome!!!!

2. Thank you to Kent County Council
Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society would like to say a huge Thank you to Kent County Council (supported by Dartford Council and the Sutton-at-Hone Parish Council) & in particular Councillor Kite, for the grant the Society received towards the building of the new ‘Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory’. Councillor Kite was very instrumental in ensuring the Society was successful in winning the funding for the new Observatory and has taken a keen interest in the Society, since our move to our new home at The Parsonage Lane Pavilion, Sutton-at-Hone in May 2012. The Observatory building work is progressing well towards completion and ready to have the 16″ Meade Schmidt Cassegrain telescope donated by Professor Peter Hindle installed.

3. Thank you to Clive & Daniel Bishop
CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Clive & Daniel Bishop for all their hard work building the observatory, materials & time they donated to the observatory build.
Bishop Building Projects (www.bishopbuildingprojects.co.uk) and Daniel C Bishop Building Ltd (danielcbishopbuilding.co.uk/)

4. Thank you Brown & Carroll (London) Ltd
CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Brown & Carroll (London) Ltd in Basildon, for their generous donation of the plywood curved components that will be used for the upstand, that our new observatory dome will sit on.

5. Thank you to Steve Price
CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Steve Price for all his hard work, materials & time donated to the observatory build.

6. Thank you to Colin Wheeler
CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Colin Wheeler for making the new observatory steel door and for Colin’s time & materials he has donated to fitting the new door to the observatory.

7. Thank you to Priorclave
CMHASD would like to thank Tony Collins MD of Priorclave for modifying our pier to fit in its new home.

8. Thank you to Stuart Vick
CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Stuart Vick and his colleagues for the safe and efficient installation of the observatory electrics. Stuart ensured that the main feed to the observatory was safely isolated, and that our somewhat unusual requirements for things like bulkhead lighting, safety “Stop” buttons and floor boxes, were executed faultlessly. We appreciate the support of SV Electrical in passing through parts at cost, and for your expertise and recommendations during the project. (st****@sv**********.uk)




Slide show of images taken of the observatory being built in 2014 by members…..

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