Hertford  Astronomy Group

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Meetings held at:

The View (Formally Fairway Tavern)

Panshanger Golf Complex

Old Herns Lane,

Welwyn Garden City,



Tel:01707 336007

What happens at our meetings?

Doors open at 7:00 for the pre meeting show of astro photographs taken by group members followed by main meeting arrival from 7:30 for the meeting due to start at 8:00 but several club members and friends gather before this to have a drink and chat in the bar.

Following welcome announcements we have a guest speaker who speaks on the subject of the evening for about 45 - 60 minutes.  This is followed by questions relating to the talk.

Announcements about forthcoming events follow.

You can then choose from the following activities:

  1. If the weather is clear telescopes and binoculars brought by members are set up outside for some observation.  Members doing so will be pleased to share their scopes with others.
  2. If you need help with some equipment then now is your chance to bring it in.  Others in our club will be more than willing to help you .  Don’t be shy, we get just as excited about a telescope bought at the charity shop for £20 as we do one costing many times more.
  3. Just socialise with others - about anything!

We look forward to seeing you.  No need to book - just turn up.

2018-19 Programme

Draft Minutes of 2017 AGM

Membership details:

Download Application Form

12 September 8:00pm

After 'oumuamua and other things out there, will "interstellar" ever be the same? again?

H: +14°
L: +11°
Welwyn Garden City
Friday, 06 October
See 7-Day Forecast
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Sat
+17° +15° +16° +15° +15° +18°
+14° +12° + + +12° +15°
Draft Minutes last committee meeting

Have you ever wanted to try photography with your telescope?

Maybe, but not quite sure where to start?

Our club has a section that goes by the grand name of Hertford Astronomy Group Astrophotography Section (HAGAS for short).  This is a group of people who also wondered how to go about taking photos with their gear and through trial and error have come up with some stunning photos.

The point to get across is that they also didn’t know how to do it once and now get together to share experiences and techniques.  Moreover, they are delighted to help anyone who wants to make a start in this fascinating area.  So, what are you waiting for?  Send Martin a message and come along to one of their meetings and have a go at shooting the stars.

Remember two things:

  1. They were all beginners once.
  2. There is no such thing as a daft question - only the one you don’t ask.

Have a look at these photos that have been taken by the people who attend this group:

More photos on the HAGAS Imaging Group page



Night sky at midnight, 10th June 2018 – sources: Stellarium & Wikipedia

 Deneb - Cygnus (RA 20h 4m  Dec +45ᵒ 17' Spec.type A2 la)

 A huge blue-white supergiant 2,600* light-years from the Sun. If the star were placed at the centre of the Solar System it’s radius  would extend out to the Earth’s orbit.

 * Values may be refined as data received from ESA’s Gaia Astrometric Space              Observatory is currently being processed.

Vega - Lyra (RA 18h 37m  Dec +38ᵒ 47' Spec.type AO Va)

 A main sequence, blue tinged white giant variable star, which is 4 x larger than our Sun. Has a rapid axial rotation (see size  comparison) and is 25 light-years away. It is encircled by an extensive disc of dust debris, thought possibly resulting from  interactions with other bodies, comets, asteroids or even ecoplanetary system formation.


Altair - Aquila (RA 19h 51m  Dec +08ᵒ 52' Spec.type A7 V)  

 A white giant star, 17 light-years from the Solar System and is almost twice the size and mass of the Sun. This star’s fast axial rotation of 9 hours,  compared with the Suns 25 days, has caused it to have an oblate shape which is a 20% larger equatorial diameter than its polar diameter.

Terry’s Sky Notes

Protoplanet 4 Vesta

Between the 5th June and 16th July the asteroid Vesta, at its closest approach to the Earth on the 19th June, will be 170m km/106 million miles away. This should, given clear night skies, be visible enough to be seen without optical aid, although it will only appear as a vibrant bright spot, even through binoculars. The asteroid will not be as close again until 2040.


In 2011 NASA’s  Dawn spacecraft found that Vesta may have been hot enough, in the past, to form a crust,  mantle and a core, sufficient to generate a magnetic field. It’s surface is peppered with craters and the image above illustrates a series of three adjacent impact craters nicknamed The Snowman. There is also is a very large crater (not shown) near the south pole having a mean diameter of 525 km/326 miles (Rheasilva).

A NASA compilation of some of the missions images can be viewed as a video at: https://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/videos/#gallery-23

Sources:  NASA, Sky & Telescope Weekly, Wikipedia


 for June 2018 HAG Newsletter

Thanks Terry

Here are the dates for our programme

September 12, 2018

October 10, 2018

November 14, 2018

December 12, 2018

January 9, 2019

February 13, 2019

March 13, 2019

April 10, 2019

May 8, 2019

June 12, 2019

Our current plan includes the following topics. In alphabetical order:

Apollo 11 - 50 Years on the Moon

Artificial Gravity

Bayfordbury Observatory

Images of the Universe - Part 3

InSight - Exploring the Interior of Mars

Lives of Galaxies

News from Space

Radio Astronomy

The Sun

Roger O’Brien

ʻOumuamua is the first known interstellar object to pass through the Solar System. Formally designated 1I/2017 U1, it was discovered by Robert Weryk using the Pan-STARRS telescope at Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii, on 19 October 2017, 40 days after it passed its closest point to the Sun. When first seen, it was about 33,000,000 km (21,000,000 mi; 0.22 AU) from Earth (about 85 times as far away as the Moon), and already heading away from the Sun. Initially assumed to be a comet, it was reclassified as an asteroid a week later, and finally (6 November 2017) as the first of the new class of interstellar objects.

After six decades, Roger O’Brien is still an amateur astronomer.  Whilst working for 26 years in a bank in the City, he “survived” to earn a BSc in Astronomy and began teaching.

One course was held at the Sele School and it was students from that course, who founded the Hertford Astronomy Group.

He says that one of his proudest moments was to be elected President of HAG.