Wednesday 10 October 8:00pm
The Bayfordbury Observatory
Meetings held at:
The View (Formerly Fairway Tavern)
Panshanger Golf Complex
Old Herns Lane,
Welwyn Garden City,
Mark is a professional astronomer, author and science educator
working at the University of Hertfordshire’s Bayfordbury
Observatory where he teaches observational astrophysics to
undergraduates. He also deals with the day to day operations of
one of the UK’s largest teaching observatories. He is actively
involved in the Observatory’s extensive public engagement
programme and runs a small outreach programme, independent of
the Observatory, focusing on primary education.
As an Ogden Science Officer, Mark works with secondary schools
and their primary feeders in Hertfordshire and Essex in order to
improve science literacy within the classroom. In addition, he works
with teachers and parents to highlight the importance of physics to
the UK economy and the necessity of a broad understanding of
science in an evolving job market.
He occasionally makes television and radio appearances as a pundit
and has been a science consultant for a number of documentaries,
television shows and movies. His current area of research is Star
Spots on M-Dwarfs, star formation and ultra-high precision
photometry with small telescopes. He also has an interest in star
formation, galaxy structure and the application of Graph and Set
£20 per year*
Non-members £3.50 first 3 meetings then
annual membership subscription due pro rata for
Free to under 18s and full time students. Proof
of status may be required.
Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult but
are not charged.
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:
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.
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
Just socialise with others - about anything!
We look forward to seeing you. No need to book - just
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 Denis a message and come along to one of their
meetings and have a go at shooting the stars.
Remember two things:
They were all beginners once.
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
Terry’s Sky Notes
Proposed Programme of Events 2018-19
(subject to change)
The Bayfordbury Observatory
Surveying the Sky for Radio
Images of the Universe - Part
Britain in Space
Apollo 11: Fifty Years on the
‘Oumuamua & Interstellar
The HAG Star-B-Que
Saturday September 15, from 6pm until late.
We are holding a special - and different - event for members. It’s a combination Star Party and Bar-B-Que - A Star-
The idea is to start off with the Bar-B-Que - before sunset at 7:15pm - so we can see to cook and eat our food
whilst it’s light.
Then we’ll move on to observing, starting with the Moon, which will be just over a day before First Quarter. It's due
south at 5:50 and sets at 10.22
The Sun is 10º below the horizon at 8:15, by which time we should be able to see Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.
Bring your own food to cook, and cutlery. We’ll provide disposable bar-b-ques, plus fruit juice and lemonade - and
It’s at Wheathampstead Cricket Club, Nomansland, Wheathampstead, St Albans AL4 8EY - where we held our first
“My Telescope Doesn’t Work” session.
We will also bring some observing kit, but we’d like you to bring your own as well.
This is a special social occasion combined with some observing - weather permitting!
It’s for members and their families and is free. If you’d like to come along then click on the link below and let us
know how many others will be coming with you. You’ll then be sent a confirmation and additional details.
Observing the Night Sky
this movement is due to the Earth’s rotation around its polar axis.
equivalent to latitude.
RA -right ascension (altitude) – the point where the object first appears on
the horizon, due to the Earth’s rotation, measured in hours and minutes,
using the circumference of the Earth as the base reference divided into 24
hours i.e. 1 revolution.
Dec – declination (azimuth) - the angle, in degrees, of the object in relation to the Earth’s equator
either: + ᵒ above the equator, or – ᵒ below the equator. Polaris
e.g. Co-ordinates for pole star Polaris ( UMi) in the constellation Ursa Minor are RA 02h
32m & Dec +89ᵒ 16m
As the Earth’s polar axis is inclined at 23.4 degrees to the celestial equator the path of the Sun
and the stars crosses this plane twice a year, in March and September, and they are called
equinoxes, when the duration of daytime and night-time are approximately equal .
SIZING NIGHT SKY OBJECTS
A simple guide to identifying the approximate size of an object in the sky, can be achieved by
pointing to the object with your arm out straight from the shoulder and using the diagrams
below to obtain a value in degrees.