Image credit: NASA  Hubble Heritage

Welcome to Astronomy in Herefordshire

Latest News:

News and items of interest to Herefordshire Astronomical Society members

Next - Summer Holidays!

We take a break after July's brilliant talk by Ezzy Pearson on  "The Chelyabinsk Meteor" (if you missed it, watch the video here).

There are no meetings for the rest of July and through August. Please join us at the Kindle Centre for the first meeting of our next 2024/2025 session on Thursday 5th September.

Visit - Jodrell Bank - June 2024:

HAS members and partners went on an overnight visit to see Jodrell bank in June. We also visited the National Trust site at Little Moreton Hall, a fabulous Tudor house and gardens on the way to the overnight hotel in Congleton

The beautiful weather continued for the visit to Jodrell, which has a number of immersive video shows on the history of the site as well as explaining that we are all made of stars 🙂

Wandering around the site to see the main radio telescope, a truly impressive piece of engineering, still in active use and part of e-Merlin linked telescopes, now stretching around the world.

Smiles all round with the HAS party and a wonderful mini-escape.

Now watch this space for possible future events 😉


19/20th June 2024

Jodrell Bank

More information here

Members Discussion Group

We've set up an online community for HAS members where you can raise questions, share your experience and suggest topics for talks or visits. We've created a discussion group on the platform. This is a "fremium" based platform and promotes itself as "We don't run advertising and your data is never submitted to any ad tracking networks.". There are a lot of other astronomy and expert groups using this platform - it looks like a safe place to be online.

We've set the permissions for the group to be listed publicly but content is private - only HAS members can see what you post. We are moderating new members joining the group to manage spam bots and spurious content. This means new member requests have to be approved by an Admin before being admitted to the group. 

Once admitted you can follow discussions and post entries. It's an email based platform by default - you'll receive new posts by email from other members. However, if you don't want individual emails you can go online and change your "Subscription" to turn off emails and receive digests etc.

Have fun!

FAS News

Look out for emails from Keith with the regular FAS Newsletter and news and information about other events and talks that you may be interested in attending at FAS and other Astronomical Societies

Member's Photos 

Taken any astronomy photos over the last few months? Share them here with HAS members! 

Take a look at what HAS members have managed to do over the years on our Images page (here). 

James has sent in some great photos of the sunspots that led to the wonderful auroral displays viewed across the UK in May. It shows you don't need to spend thousands of pounds on equipment - James took these photos on a normal camera using his home made 6" Dobsonian telescope. He made a simple projection box that projects an image of the sun from the eyepiece onto tracing paper - then simply take a photo of the image on the projection box! Great photos even though it was beginning to cloud over.    

June 2024: After months of dull, wet, cloudy weather Francis and Keith have been busy imaging. 

The first image is a glorious wide field of M8 and M20 from Francis: 

"Long wait for this pair to clear some trees and then almost too late as the sky brightened far too quickly. I know Martin likes some blurb so there's the teckie bits... Scope: Askar 120 APO with a 0.8x flattener/reducer fitted giving a focal length of 672mm and a focal ratio of f5.6 Camera: ZWO. ASI 2600 MC Duo gain 101 with an offset of 50, uncooled (I forgot to set the cooler!) Mount: an iOptron CEM 60 (non EC) pier mounted and housed in a roll-off-roof observatory. These are the lowest objects I can capture from my observatory and probably next year they will be obstructed by a cherry tree right on my meridien line..."

M8 - Lagoon Nebula & M20 - Trifid Nebula


The Lagoon Nebula (aka Messier 8, NGC 6523, Sharpless 25, RCW 146, and Gum 72) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and has an H II region. The Lagoon Nebula was discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654 and is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the eye from mid-northern latitudes. Within the nebula is the open cluster NGC 6530.


The Trifid Nebula (aka Messier 20, NGC 6514) is an H II region in the north-west of Sagittarius in a star-forming region in the Milky Way's Scutum–Centaurus Arm. It was discovered by Charles Messier on June 5, 1764. Its name means 'three-lobe' - disappointingly it's not named after John Wyndham's "The Day of the Triffids"! 

The object is an unusual combination of an open cluster of stars, an emission nebula (red), a reflection nebula (blue), and a dark nebula (the apparent 'gaps' in the former that cause the trifurcated appearance). The cover of the King Crimson album “Islands” depicts an image of the Trifid Nebula.

June 2024: A few days later, Francis was again out all night under the darkish skies: 

"The night started off with a long wait, waiting for a reasonable level of darkness and then some waiting for objects to rise over my neighbour's roof line but that gave me a chance to image the Coathanger cluster (Cr399) with NGC6802 to its left. I've included it in many widefield images but in all the years I've been imaging this is the first time I can remember actually imaging it in its own right. To see it as a Coathanger, you need to view upside down. The Coathanger was imaged simply with a UV/IR cut filter. Next to clear the roof was NGC6888 this was imaged with a dual narrow band filter in H-Alpha and Oxygen III wave bands (6nm each) I've processed this with and without its starfield to show the bubble nebula better. M16 and M17 had now cleared the trees to the south so I have a quick session with them before packing in around 2:45 with a smile on my face for once..."

Cr399 - Brocchi's Cluster

Cr399 is a distinctive cluster in the south of the constellation Vulpecula, near the constellation Sagitta. Depending when you were born ... it was known as Al Sufi's Cluster (964), Brocchi's Cluster (1920s), Collinder 399 (1931) or now, more commonly, as the Coathanger. None of these ten stars are believed to be gravitationally bound to each other, thus they are not a star cluster, a fact established by the Hipparcos measurements 1997.

NGC 6888 - Crescent Nebula

The Crescent Nebula (also known as NGC 6888, Caldwell 27, Sharpless 105) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, about 5000 light-years away from Earth. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1792. It is formed by the fast stellar wind from the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136 (HD 192163) colliding with and energizing the slower moving wind ejected by the star when it became a red giant around 250,000 to 400,000 years ago. The result of the collision is a shell and two shock waves, one moving outward and one moving inward. The inward moving shock wave heats the stellar wind to X-ray-emitting temperatures. Francis' processing to show the nebula without its starfield emphasises the different elements in the nebulosity (H-Alpha red, Oxygen III blue)

M17 - Omega Nebula

The Omega Nebula, also known as the Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, Lobster Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula (aka Messier 17, NGC 6618) is an H II region in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745. Charles Messier catalogued it in 1764. It lies in the northern two-thirds of Sagittarius.

M16 - Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula (aka Messier 16, NGC 6611, Star Queen Nebula) is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745–46. Both the "Eagle" and the "Star Queen" refer to visual impressions of the dark silhouette near the center of the nebula, an area made famous as the "Pillars of Creation" imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Eagle Nebula lies in the Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way.

June 2024: We rather take the Moon for granted. Astrophotographers bemoan its presence as it washes out the faint details of deep sky objects. Thankfully Keith reminds us that it is a really interesting photographic object in its own right with this beautiful image of a faint glimpse of the crescent after New Moon.  Keith imaged the Moon using his Altair Wave 130mm refractor and ZWO 585MC Pro camera. The moon is such a bright target that individual exposures are very short and you use software to pick out the best/clearest images to stack: 1000 x 5ms subs, "lucky imaged" 2%. Keith then processed that lost using Pixinsight and Photoshop Express.

Next Keith shows us a starless view of the Rosette nebula with really rich artistic colouring and wonderfully fine detail in the nebulosity. Keith imaged the Rosette Nebula using his Celestron 11" RASA  scope. Keith's image of M63 combines data captured through his Celestron 11" Edge reflector and an Altair Wave 130mm apochromatic refractor.

C49 - Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula (aka Caldwell 49) is an H II region located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. 

The nebula has been noted to be having a shape reminiscent of a human skull, and is sometimes referred to as the "Skull Nebula."

M63 - Sunflower Galaxy

The Sunflower Galaxy (aka Messier 63, NGC 5055) is a spiral galaxy in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici with approximately 400 billion stars. M63 was first discovered by the French astronomer Pierre Méchain, then later verified by his colleague Charles Messier on June 14, 1779. In the mid-19th century, Anglo-Irish astronomer Lord Rosse identified spiral structures within the galaxy, making this one of the first galaxies in which such structure was identified.


With meetings now allowed indoors, we are delighted to be able to have a mix of virtual Zoom talks and talks back at the Kindle Centre. Our next meeting is:

Thursday 5th September 2024

7 pm - Kindle Centre

TBA - Kindle Centre


Many of our speakers at the Virtual Talks have allowed us to record and share their talks for society members to view if they missed the meeting. We've started a HAS YouTube channel here where you can visit or subscribe to and watch these talks.

To watch recordings of previous talks, they are on the "Recordings" page  here.

Our last meeting was a talk given by Ezzy Pearson. Ezzy allowed us to record the talk and you'll find it here:

Thursday 4th July 2024

A talk given by Ezzie Pearson to Herefordshire Astronomical Society on the 4th July 2024.

Ezzy is a space journalist for BBC Sky at Night Magazine, for which she has written dozens of articles on all aspects of space science, exploration and history. Prior to her journalistic career, she did a PhD in Astrophysics at Cardiff University. She regularly speaks at astronomy societies, conventions and other science events, and in the last five years has made over 100 international, national and regional media appearances on TV and radio as an expert on all manner of space and astronomy stories. In 2013 she presented a documentary for Channel 4 on the Chelyabinsk meteor strike. 

Ezzy tells us all about the Chelyabinsk Meteor - a story which inspired her to move full time into space journalism!

Observing Session:

Oh dear, that's it, no observing in March

As always, look out for emails from Chris giving proposed date and details and look out for any last minute alterations. We will endeavour to stick to these dates unless weather means 'sliding' it, in which case it will likely be a few days earlier or later and members will of course be advised. Each date is centred on the first Thursday after Third Quarter.

If you are not on our emailing list, please contact Chris for the latest news - contact details here.

Remember that there are some great online observing guides - a good one is run by Telescope House. Look out for the monthly night sky emails from Chris.

TBA October 2024

6:30 - 9 pm

Lugg Meadows 

Practical observing and advice session

More information here


Once or twice a year, members like to jump in cars or climb in a mini-bus and make their way to go and see something interesting outside of Herefordshire (passports not required - so far). Previous trips have been to the Spaceguard Centre, the International Astronomy Show, the National Space Centre, Jodrell Bank, the Norman Lockyer Observatory outside Sidmouth, the Herschel Museum in Bath and the Hanwell Community Observatory just outside Banbury.

At our September meeting, Keith described the potential sites we could visit and took a poll of those present. Based on your feedback we've now had a fab trip to visit to the Spaceguard Centre in Knighton and Keith is now looking to organise a longer visit to Jodrell Bank in 2024 with an overnight stay to make the travel easier.

Look out for emails from Keith explaining more about the proposed visits and asking members to register for the trips.


Where would you like to go?

More information here

Members pay for shared transport and any entrance fees as appropriate..

Star Party:

We hope to hold Star Parties again this session - Covid-19 allowing. Maybe we'll be able to run one at the Madley Environmental Study Centre (MESC) again.

MESC is right next door to the Madley Satellite Earth Station - a well known Herefordshire landmark. There are some location maps and directions to the MESC web site here.


Star Party with MESC

More information here