Past News and
Intech - November 2009
Members of the the society manned a stand at the
Intech amnesty evening at Winchester.
Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival
Members of the society attended the event this year,
also helping to man the SAGAS stand. The meeting was held in the grounds of Herstmonceux castle (the former home of the Royal
Greenwich observatory). There were exhibitions, telescopes and
some exceptional speakers at this years festival,
including Chris Lintott, Stuart Clark, Ian Ridpath,
Ninian Boyle and Nik Szymanek.
And best of all the weather was superb with a clear night on the saturday when
the observatory telescopes were open for public viewing. There were excellent
views of Jupiter, M13, Albireo etc through these historic telescopes. One
interesting observation - the 100 year old optics in these telescopes were
clearly not as good as in modern telescopes ! And the scopes have to be
man-handled into position - no such thing as GOTO !!
Comet Lulin - was easily visible in binoculars
A green comet with two tails !
January is the time see the constellation
Orion - here is an image of M42, the Orion Nebula, taken by Paul Curtis
M42, Orion Nebula, Meade LX200 SCT f6.3,
Canon 450D EOS at prime focus. Average of
8 images x one minute
exposures, Jan 2009
International Year of Astronomy
2009 is officially the
International year of Astronomy. Take a look at the website
here to see what is going on.
Christmas Party -
11th December 2008
observing CLUB-NIGHT and Xmas Party takes place on Thursday 11th December from
7:30pm at the Observatory. Free to members that have paid their subs, partners
welcome ( you will need to book them in on the visitor system ). The
evening will also contain other items of astronomical interest. Members are also
invited to bring their own Telescopes .
11th June 2008
Don't forget the Society's AGM on
11th June - please come along.
Click here for news of the Isle of Wight star
party - March 2008
6th - 10th MARCH 2008. Come and
enjoy some of the darkest skies in the South.
Run by Vectis Astronomical Society in association with
QinetiQ Family day - 6th June 2008
The society set up and manned a stand at the QinetiQ
funday on saturday 6th June at the Cody
Technology Park in Farnborough. A
link to the observatory was established for remote use of the Zeiss telescope
which was set up for solar observation.
Club Viewing Night - November 2007
Members outside the Cody Observatory for a club
Evergreen Optics - October 2007
pair of binoculars has been donated to the club by
support them by comparing prices if you are in the market for any telescopic
equipment that they stock. They supply telescopes and telescope accessories for
beginners and advanced astronomers and are official suppliers of Konus,
Celestron, Meade and Sky Watcher telescopes and accessories. You can order
online for same day despatch.
17P/Holmes - October 2007
Members of the society observed
the bright comet 17P/Holmes in outburst at magnitude 2.5 in Perseus.
Eclipse - March 3rd 2007
A total lunar eclipse was visible on
Saturday 3rd March. The umbral eclipse started at 21.30, with maximum eclipse at
23.30. Members of the society viewed the event at the observatory. A members
photo is shown to the left.
Leonids - November 2006
The society organised, at short
notice, a Leonid observing evening. This was held at Paul's house - a dark site
south-west of Andover - and six members attended. Despite the promise of
good weather 24 hours earlier, the sky sadly clouded over from 7pm onwards,
getting progressively worse. At midnight, after an evening of good conversation
and indeed food and drink (!), it was decided to abandon the event. See the
picture opposite for an example of a typical observing evening in the UK !
What was more galling was that
Paul got up at 5am to find the clouds had disappeared and the sky was sparkly
clear. He went out and observed for half an hour, seeing 10 Leonids and one
sporadic meteor in that time.
Observing Nights - October 2006
The society had two successful
observing nights in late October with good attendance at both. High on the list
of objects to observe was the bright comet Swann - click left for a picture by
one of the members.
Recruitment Stand - September 2006
The society set up a recruitment
stand in the main walkway at QinetiQ, Farnborough
on 13th September to advertise the society to those resident on the Cody site.
There was a good response. See the picture to the left.
on Membership - May 2006
AS is opening its membership to the public for the first time. Operating
from within Cody Technology Park in Farnborough, Hampshire, membership has until
now only been available to those with site access, but recently approval has
been given to offer membership to a limited number of the general public.
Unfortunately membership cannot be offered to non-UK citizens or children less
than 16 years of age because of limitations on the issue of site passes. Those
interested should contact chairman Phil
Barbecue and Observing Evening - 8th October 2005
The society held a barbecue and evening viewing
session at the Chairman's house. Sadly it was cloudy for virtually all of the
evening, apart for a brief 15 minute break where glimpses of Mars were had. The
event was well attended and a splendid spread of food and drink was available
and a jolly time was had by all. Many thanks must go to Phil and Pat for a great
evening. Click on the thumbnails at the left.
by Nic Szymanek - 15th June 2005
The society was honoured to host Nic Szymanek on 15th
June for a talk on Astrophotography. He gave a very full and interesting talk
following by a lively question and answer session. At the meeting he brought
along copies of his new book 'Infinity Rising' which he was able to sell to
members at a reduced rate.
Comet Machholz - March 2005
Comet Machholz - was high in the sky in March
Viewing Evening - 8th February 2005
The society has been holding monthly viewing evenings
this winter and had a good hit rate on clear nights ! The February evening was a
good example, although it got a little damp later in the evening. There was some
low level mist aggravated by the Farnborough light pollution but the seeing was
good and some fine views of
Titan) were obtained as well as the brighter deep sky objects such as M42 ad
M35. In addition members were able to see Comet Machholz, still bright and
nearly overhead now. The evening was well attended with 15+ people, some
bringing their own 'scopes.
Venus Transit - 8th June 2004
A few members gathered at the Cody
Observatory to view the transit of Venus on 8th June 2004. The weather was
superb, hot and sunny and 31C by noon ! We were joined by a continuous flow of
people from QinetiQ and Dstl during the morning, coming to view the event at the
Observatory. In the end hundreds of people saw the event at the observatory.
society's Zeiss telescope was set up for viewing by direct observation and by
projections. A number of members had set up telescopes outside the observatory
and a live webcam image was on display. Many photographs were taken. Just a few
are shown on the left - click for a larger image.
Click here for
See a short video
Lunar Eclipse - 4th May 2004
A few members gathered at the Cody
Observatory to view the eclipse in the early evening of 4th May 2004. The moon
actually rose in full eclipse, but was first hidden by some cloud clinging to
the horizon. By 21.30 BST, however, we had some excellent views of a sandy-red
moon in full eclipse. The Cody scope was set up and we observed the moon as it
left the umbra at around 22.12. Some members used cameras to photograph the
image through the eyepiece. At left are a few of the images - click the
thumbnails for a larger view.
Talk by Philip Perkins on
Astro-Imaging - 14th April 2004
On the 14th April, Philip Perkins gave an
excellent lecture on Astro Imaging, covering
the equipment used and his techniques for producing the outstanding
photographs for which he is so well known.
More of his work can be seen at
On the same night
Bob Mizon, the BAA co-ordinator of the
Campaign for Dark Skies, travelled up from Dorset, to give us more on
the background of Light Pollution and
to report on latest developments
following the Government Select Committee
After the lecture both of our visitors joined
members at the observatory. The photo shows Bob Mizon (left) and Philip
Perkins discussing the view of Jupiter, as seen through the
Society's Zeiss Telescope.
and General Observing Evening - 16th March 2004
The late afternoon cloud suggested we were in for a poor night, but the clouds
parted leaving a hazy sky which permitted some observation.
More than a dozen members
enjoyed a balmy night for the time of year. Much of the activity centred on
Saturn and Jupiter, which were showing some detail in the odd rare moment of
good seeing. An occultation of Jupiter's moons Europa and Ganymede was observed
and the Great Red (or light pink !!) spot was seen approaching the meridian
around 21.30. Observation of M42 in Orion also proved popular with some detail
being visible in the nebula. Some webcam images of Jupiter and Saturn were taken
on the Zeiss scope - click on thumbnails on the left.
Lunar and Planetary
The originally scheduled night was cloudy but a retry on 2nd March gave us some
hazy skies and the opportunity for some observing. Click left for some webcam
images taken on the night.
This winter the society has been running monthly observing evenings as an
alternative to formal lectures. Although the second of these in November was
cloudy, the first evening in October and the third in December were both clear.
Both clear evenings attracted large numbers of observers, over 20 people in each
case, from new observers to experienced members, some of whom brought in their
own scopes. The December evening was enhanced by some festive cheer in the form
of wine and mince pies !
Mars - Pictures by Club
In August 2003 Mars is closer
to Earth than for many years, although sadly for UK observers it is low in the
sky. Click left for some images taken by Club members
Mercury Transit - May 7th 2003
On 7th May 2003, Mercury passed in
front of the Sun. This event was watched by many of the club's members. Some
were enthusiastic enough to be at the Observatory around 6am to catch the start,
but many others came along at more respectable times on their way into work or
to catch the end around 11.30am. The Zeiss 'scope was set up in projection mode and
some members brought their own scopes with solar filters which were set up
outside the observatory. Some webcam images were taken of both the Mercury
transit and a large sunspot close by (click left for examples).
More information on the transit
can be found
Observing Night - April 2003
On 16th April 2003, several of
the members came up to the Observatory around 8pm to observe Mercury, which was
around its highest (approximately 15º just after sunset). Mercury was easily
visible through the Cody 'Scope and in binoculars. By around 8.30 it was very
impressive with around a 40% disk showing. Shortly after it was clearly visible
by eye. Following the Mercury observation, members also observed Jupiter and
In addition to observing by
eye, Paul Curtis brought along his webcam and demonstrated its use. Many images
of the three planets were taken. See left or click
the resulting images.
Talk by George Sallitt
On 20th March 2003, renown astrophotographer and asteroid hunter George Sallitt
visited the society and gave an excellent talk on CCDs Imaging with Webcams.
Afterwards George visited the observatory - click left for a picture of him at
the society's Zeiss telescope.
Links to the software George
mentioned are given below:-
Visit by Yateley School
On 12th March 2003 the society was visited by staff and students from Yateley school.
Sadly the clouds rolled in a few hours beforehand and we were unable to use the
society's telescopes in earnest. However, the telescopes were demonstrated and a
short talk was given by Gordon Lloyd.
Talk by Guy Hurst
On 16th January 2003 the president of the BAA Guy Hurst visited the society and
gave a talk on
'The Search For Novae & Supernovae'.
He also talked about his role as editor of the
Astronomer magazine. The talk was very well attended by around 50 people from
the society and guests, who thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. This was
followed by a lively question and answer session.
Occultation of Saturn
On 16th April 2002
Saturn was occulted by the Moon. The society organised a 'Star Party' at the
observatory to observe the event. The evening was well attended, with half a
dozen members' scopes being brought in and the society's Zeiss and Meade scopes
being put into operation. Members were able to see Saturn disappear behind the
moon then reappear 25 minutes later. Saturn's moon Titan was also seen being
occulted. As well as the occultation, observers saw the ISS around 8.30 and
later a shadow transit of Jupiter by moon Io. The great red spot on Jupiter was
also well placed and seen by some of those who attended.
Take a look at
Comet Ikeya-Zhang, visible in 2002 in binoculars.
For pictures taken by members click below.
Patrick Moore Lecture
On February 6th
2002 a group of society member's went to Aldershot Princes Hall to hear Patrick
Moore talk about 'Space'. The lecture was the usual magical blend of Patrick's
wit and outstanding knowledge of the field, with the 35mm slide display and a
probing question and answer session.
Visit to Royal Greenwich
On February 4th
2002 the society organised a trip to the Royal Greenwich Observatory and more
than a dozen members attended. We were treated to a tour of the heavens in the
planetarium followed by a visit to the 28" refractor. Sadly it was a wet and
windy night and we were unable to look through the 'scope, but we were given an
interesting lecture about the telescope and shown some video footage of
observations of the moon and planets. See some of the pictures of our trip