Image credit: NASA Hubble Heritage

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News and items of interest to Herefordshire Astronomical Society members

What's Next - Meeting - 7th July 2022 - The accidental death of Mary Ward, astronomer

We are delighted to welcome Bill Barton to HAS to give our July talk. Bill is going to tell the intriguing tale of Mary Ward and her accidental death.

Bill is a FRAS, a member of the SHA and Deputy Director of the BAA Historical Section. Bill is a prolific researcher and writer on the history of astronomy - just take a look through the profiles of the many astronomers he's unearthed in East Anglia (here)!

Bill left Secondary School in 1979 with ‘O’ level qualifications. After a four year apprenticeship in Signal Engineering with British Rail he held multiple signal engineering positions in the until early retirement from Networkrail in 2014.

He joined the British Astronomical Association in 1983 and contributed to their Solar Section between 1990 and 2000, also sharing his observations with the Solar Division of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. Other favourite observing activities are observing eclipses, transits and planetary conjunctions.

In 2002 he was a founder member of Society for the History of Astronomy and was also elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. The next year saw him licensed to operate the Orwell Park refractor (IAU observatory no. 582) on behalf of the Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich), which he had joined several years earlier.

In 2017 and 2019 he received the SHA Roger Jones award for contributions to their ‘County Survey of Astronomers’.

Bill has a particular soft spot for mid twentieth century refracting telescopes such as the Carl Zeiss Telementor. He owns some astronomical antiques, usually eyepiece micrometers, or planispheres and similar teaching aids. He also has more old astronomy books than he likes to admit to.

In January 2020 he was appointed as the Deputy Director of the British Astronomical Association Historical Section.

As always, look out for emails from Mark and Chris with details of the Zoom call. If you are not on our emailing list, please contact Mark and Chris for the latest news - contact details here.

Thursday 7th July 2022

7 pm - Virtual Talk

The accidental death of Mary Ward, astronomer

Bill Barton FRAS

Pioneers: Public Science and Astronomy Conference - Saturday 16th July

Pioneers is a free public science & astronomy conference delivered in partnership between Project Link and Herefordshire Astronomical Society - open to all!

Join us for an afternoon of talks, panel discussions & family friendly activities.

The event will be held at the Museum of Cider in Hereford, on Saturday 16th July, 1pm – 4pm. It’s a great venue, fully accessible, with free parking and a nice little cafe.

The full schedule will be released soon, but the theme will be (as the name suggests) ‘pioneers in science and astronomy’. We’ll be talking about pioneers, from the Ancient Greeks to Carl Sagan, and looking to the science and astronomy pioneers of the future too.

We’ll have some family friendly talks and activities, alongside more serious science, so there’ll be something for everyone. We really hope you’ll be able to join us. We will be indoors, but won’t be crowded too closely together and the windows will be open. We ask that anyone who has symptoms that could potentially be Covid take a lateral flow test to make sure they are clear before attending.

Space (no pun intended) will be limited at the venue, so do book your ticket soon to avoid disappointment! Use this link to book your free ticket(s):

Observing Highlights

Observing highlights for this month: Telescope House - monthly night sky guide

Click link below for view of UK sky: Met Office Satellite image. UK Visible Light.

FAS News

SHA eNews 2022 01.pdf

Member's Photos

Here are some more photos from Francis. First a lovely image of the Rosette nebula taken through Francis' RASA astrograph, followed by a mono image of the open cluster NGC 2244 at the centre of the Rosette and a lovely image of The Hamburger galaxy - one of the Leo Triplet galaxies.

Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula (also known as 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 open cluster NGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) is closely associated with the nebulosity, the stars of the cluster having been formed from the nebula's matter. (Wikipedia)

NGC3628 'The Hamburger'

NGC 3628, also known as the Hamburger Galaxy or Sarah's Galaxy, is an unbarred spiral galaxy about 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo.

It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784.

Along with M65 and M66, NGC 3628 forms the Leo Triplet, a small group of galaxies in the constellation of Leo. (Wikipedia)

NGC 2244

NGC 2244 (also known as Caldwell 50 or the Satellite Cluster) is an open cluster in the Rosette Nebula, which is located in the constellation Monoceros. This cluster has several O-type stars, super hot stars that generate large amounts of radiation and stellar wind. (Wikipedia)

Here are some lovely photos taken by Keith over the last couple of months.

NGC 1499 in California

The California Nebula (NGC 1499/Sh2-220) is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus. The fluorescence is due to excitation of the a Hα and Hβ lines in the nebula by the nearby prodigiously energetic O7 star, Xi Persei (the bright star below the nebula in Keith's photo) (Wikipedia)

NGC 2264 a Christmas / Cone

NGC 2264 describes the two objects happily referred to as the Christmas Tree Cluster and the Cone Nebula. Keith's wide view image has the Christmas Tree in the middle of the image, the right way up but tilting alarmingly to the right with the dark Cone nebula pointing down to the left to where the fairy should be at the top of the Christmas tree!

Sh2-188 a Shrimp / NGC457

In this wide view image, Keith has framed the Shrimp Nebula (Sh2-188) top left with the open cluster NGC457 bottom right.

Sh2-188 is a planetary nebula in Cassiopeia - here imaged with the Hα emission line mapped to red in the colour image. Intriguingly, if Keith had used the Hubble Palette would we have been looking at a raw shrimp (blue/green) rather than a cooked shrimp (red)?

IC2118 a Witch

IC 2118 (also known as Witch Head Nebula due to its shape) is an extremely faint reflection nebula believed to be an ancient supernova remnant or gas cloud illuminated by nearby supergiant star Rigel in the constellation of Orion (you can't see Rigel in this image - it's out of view to the right of the Witch). (Wikipedia)

NGC2392 - an Eskimo

The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392) is a bipolar double-shell planetary nebula. William Herschel discovered this planetary nebula from his observatory in Slough on January 17, 1787. This nebula is a tiny object in the night sky - so good imaging Keith getting this much detail! (Wikipedia)


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 a virtual meeting by Zoom:

Thursday 7th July 2022

7 pm - Virtual Talk

The accidental death of Mary Ward, astronomer

Bill Barton FRAS

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.

The last recorded meeting was in June - here's the recording:

Thursday 2nd June 2022

A talk given by Dr Ann Bonell, President of Leicester Astronomical society.

"Percival Lowell and the Canals of Mars" - Ann describes some early observations of the Red Planet and then concentrates on the life of Percival Lowell and his tireless fervour for the canals of Mars.

Observing Session:

We are pleased to announce that our observing sessions are resuming in the Autumn. As always, look out for emails from Mark and Chris giving details and any last minute alterations.

If you are not on our emailing list, please contact Mark and 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 Mark and Chris.

30th/31st March, 1st April 2022

8 - 10 pm

Lugg Meadows - CANCELLED

Practical observing and advice session

More information here.

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.


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.


Where would you like to go?

More information here.

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