Image credit: NASA Hubble Heritage

Welcome to Astronomy in Herefordshire

Latest News:

News and items of interest to Herefordshire Astronomical Society members

Solar Eclipse - Thursday 10th June

At our last virtual meeting, Mark talked about the solar eclipse on Thursday 10th June.

This will be an annular solar eclipse and, unless you are camping out at the North Pole*, will be a partial eclipse as viewed from the UK. First contact for us in Hereford is 10:05 and the eclipse ends at 12:20.

If the UK Government keeps to its Covid-19 roadmap, by then groups of up to 30 people can meet outdoors (social distancing etc.). This should give us an opportunity to do a solar observing session - our first HAS observing session since ... 29th November 2019 ?

Mark will email out details of where we propose to meet nearer the time. Our current plan is to go to Aylestone Park - there's plenty of parking there and during the Covid-19 restrictions there's even been a refreshments van parked where we get some drinks and snacks. Please let Mark know if you have any solar viewing equipment that can be taken to this session e.g. h-alpha scope, Herschel wedge ? Remember to dig out your solar viewing spectacles and bring them with you.

*also across Ontario, Quebec, Greenland and the Russian Far East!

What's Next - Virtual Meeting - Thursday 3rd June 2021 - Here Comes the Sun

For our next monthly meeting we're delighted to welcome Keith Townsend, FRAS BAA. With the Solar Eclipse coming along on the 10th June, we thought it would be great to have someone tell us about our local star - so here comes the Sun!

Keith has owned and enjoyed a range of telescopes for many years and has been heavily involved with imaging. He recently invested in some of the latest imaging equipment and now manages to produce images he could only dream of a few years ago - when the clouds allow that is!

Keith started delivering talks back in 2011 when the Mars rover Curiosity launched for the planet in November and enjoyed the research that it entailed. This then developed into a regular series of presentations to a wide range of audiences, from astronomy societies to U3a, WI, public outreach and latterly zoom meetings to a much wider geographical area.

Keith was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2016 and has been a BAA member for many years.

The talk Keith will give to us is entitled ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and is a look behind the scenes at what goes on in our local star, including a brief look at the latest missions attempting to explain some of the more enigmatic aspects of solar activity.

Thursday 3rd June 2021

7:00pm - Virtual Meeting

Here comes the Sun

Keith Townsend FRAS BAA

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.

Member's Photos

We've had some more marvellous astrophotos sent in by Francis - both emission and dark nebulae:

Cygnus Veil Complex - a group of emission nebulae in Cygnus

NGCC 7822 - a young star forming complex with an emission region featuring some "elephant trunks"!

Lynds Dark Nebula 1251 - a complex nebula in the constellation Cepheus, containing dark structures and faintly glowing / reflecting dust and gas

Lynds Dark Nebula 1235 - a dark/reflection nebula in the constellation Cepheus - commonly referred to as the "Dark Shark Nebula". Francis has captured the head and fins of the shark here!


The Covid-19 restrictions on people meeting together mean that we will continue to hold our talks by Zoom.

We will review the restrictions as and when they change to look for an opportunity for us to meet together again at the Kindle Centre - but for the meantime we will be virtual!

Please bear with us while we rejig our schedule to bring you talks that work well over Zoom - as always look out for emails from Mark and Chris.

The most recent restrictions limit how many people can meet even outside. We've had to review whether we can start our Observing sessions as planned in October. Unfortunately, we do not believe we are able to hold these sessions in a Covid-19 secure and compliant way.

Mark and Chris will continue to give you great observing guides and point out what to look for in the night (and day) sky - but we won't be able to do this meeting together.

C'est la vie.


Our next meeting:

Thursday 3rd June 2021

7:00pm - Virtual Talk

Here comes the Sun

Keith Townsend FRAS BAA

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

Thursday 28th
May 2020

Gerard Gilligan - 12th Annual Webb Lecture - William Lassell

Monday 22nd
June 2020

Jeremy Shears - An introduction to variable star astronomy and cataclysmic variables

Thursday 23rd
July 2020

Julian Onions - Cold Dark Matter

Thursday 5th November 2020

Christianne Wakeham - Life in Hell?
The mystery in the cloud decks of Venus

Thursday 3rd December 2020

Steve Tonkin - Ten Ways the Universe Tries to Kill You

A light-hearted, but scientifically robust, look at a lot of fundamental cosmological processes, from stellar evolution to galactic interaction.

Thursday 4th February 2021

Ezzy Pearson - Planetary Rovers

Ezzy takes us on an historic tour of the robotic emissaries humanity has sent to traverse their way across other worlds.

Thursday 11th March 2021

Dr Lee MacDonald - Annual Webb Lecture

"Greenwich Observatory in 1900: reshaping an old observatory for the twentieth century"

[Apologies for the intermittent audio quality - technical gremlins]

Thursday 1st April 2021

J R Tate FRAS, The Spaceguard Centre

Jay tells the story of how Near Earth Objects came to be, what they've done in the past, what they'll do in the future and what we are and are not doing about it ... The End is Nigh?

Observing Session:

If the UK Government keeps to its Covid-19 roadmap, after the 17th May groups of up to 30 people can meet outdoors (social distancing etc.).

This should allow us to hold an observing session for the solar eclipse on 10th June. Look out for more details from Mark as we get nearer the date.

Remember that there are some great online observing guides - a good one is run by Telescope House: Telescope House - monthly night sky guide

Thursday 10th June 2021

9:00 - 14:30

Solar Eclipse

An annular solar eclipse with a partial eclipse as viewed from the UK. First contact for us in Hereford is 10:05 and the eclipse ends at 12:20.

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..