Image credit: NASA  Hubble Heritage

Welcome to Astronomy in Herefordshire.

Latest News:

News and items of interest to Herefordshire Astronomical Society members

  • What's Next - Monthly talk at the Kindle Centre - Thursday 5th December 2019
The next talk, in our December meeting, will be given by Dr Chris Baddiley, one of the founder members of Worcester Astronomical Society and a committee member on the BAA's Commission for Dark Skies. Chris is a national authority on light pollution and in this talk will look at how lighting design affects our dark skies. You find out more about Chris here and about the Commission for Dark Skies here

Thursday 5th December 2019
7 - 9 pm
Light Pollution - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Chris Baddiley (Worcester AS) 

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

  • Transit of Mercury - Monday 11th November 2019
Transits are fairly rare events and can only occur when solar system geometry allows. In the case of Mercury, Transits can only happen around either a few days surrounding either May 8th or November 10th. These are the two points in the calendar year where Mercury’s orbital plane aligns with the Earth’s orbit in relation to the Sun’s apparent position in the sky. November transits occur when Mercury’s orbit is in ascending node (with Mercury’s orbital plane appearing to track northward over the Sun’s disk), whereas May’s transits occur when Mercury’s orbit is in the descending node (with Mercury’s orbital plane appearing to track in a southerly direction over the face of the Sun).  As the orbit of both Mercury and the Earth are not exactly circular, Mercury’s apparent diameter varies somewhat, with Mercury’s silhouette appearing slightly smaller during November’s Transits, than those of May. 

The Transit of the 11th begins with first contact at 12:35 pm GMT, when Mercury’s disk begins to make contact with the limb of the Sun. A couple of minutes later and the entire Mercurial disk has entered the boundary of the Sun. The half way point of the Transit occurs at 3:19 pm GMT and Mercury ends the event at around 6:03 pm GMT. So Mercury will still be in transit as the sun sets here around 16:26 pm.

Here's a photo of the transit taken at 14:51 pm through the hazy skies of South Herefordshire - if you look carefully, Mercury is just left of centre:

Mercury transit

    Next Meeting:

    The next talk, in our December meeting, will be given by Chris Baddiley from Worcester AS and committee member of the British Astronomical Association Campaign for Dark Skies.

    Thursday 5th December 2019
    7 - 9 pm
    Light Pollution - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Chris Baddiley (Worcester AS) 

    at the Kindle Centre Belmont Road Hereford HR2 7JE  (Next to ASDA - more information here

    Next Observing Session:

    We start our observing sessions in October and after the clocks change we'll be able to start the sessions a bit earlier - look out for emails from Mark with timings and details.

    We plan to continue to use the Fownhope Recreation Field site and are also exploring a location in Bartestree for our observing evenings.

    So come and talk to new or more experienced society members - hopefully have a look through some telescopes and binoculars at the night sky. Share your thoughts, pick up some observing tips and recommendations, discuss your astronomical problems and projects, bring your own equipment for advice on how best to use it. We may change the observing meeting to another evening if the weather forecast indicates it would be better. Members can bring their own refreshments although we don't expect to have access to The Pavilion if we need cover (there's always The Greenman or The New Inn if needs must!). Look out for the latest news on this website and we'll email out any change to arrangements to members.

    Friday 20th December 2019
    6:00 - 9 pm
    Fownhope Recreation Field
    Practical observing and advice session.
    More information here. 

    Next Star Party:

    Our next event is the Star Party at Madley Environmental Study Centre (MESC).

    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.

    Thursday 23rd January 2020
    TBC pm
    Star Party with MESC
    More information here. 

    Next Visit:

    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 and the Herschel Museum in Bath.

    This session we are planning a visit to the Hanwell Community Observatory just outside Banbury and the following day we have a guided tour around Oxford. This will require an overnight stay - details and recommended accommodation to be advised.

    Friday 28th - Saturday 29th February 2020

    Hanwell Community Observatory and Oxford.
    More information here. 

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