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.

Draft Minutes of 2017 AGM

Membership details:

Download Application Form

27 June 8:00pm

Damian Peach

Astrophotography Special!

at the Stanboroughs Conservative Club in Hoddesdon.

Draft Minutes last committee meeting
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°

We are extremely pleased to announce that we have secured a special talk by the multiple award-winning speaker and author Damian Peach, a truly world-expert in Astro photography.


This will not be one to miss.  Damian is world famous for his absolutely stunning images of the planets from Earth, producing images that would have been considered impossible even from NASA earth based and space telescopes only a few years ago.


Anyone who sees a stunning picture of Jupiter will usually say, "...That will be one of Damian's" and it invariably is!

Even if you have a passing interest in how to take photographs of the planets with an amateur telescope you really need to come to this talk from this renowned world-expert in this field.

This event is FREE to all full members of Hertford Astronomy Group.  Non-members will need to pay a £5.00 admission charge.

Please note that this talk is not being held at our usual meeting place but the meeting place for our Astrophotography Section here:


Stanboroughs Conservative Club

Stanboroughs Court

Conduit Lane



EN11 8EP

(Limited parking at the Club but plenty in Sainsbury’s just across the road.  Bar facilities available prior to meeting)

Yes, I would like to come to Damian's talk

2018-19 Programme

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

Institute of Physics Lectures University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


Wednesday 27th June

Ripples from the Dark Side of the Universe


Jim Hough

This is the talk that had to be postponed from February due to inclement weather

Lindop Building

College Lane Campus, Hatfield

Wednesday 27 June 7:00pm

Free to attend but as a courtesy please email Diane to let her know of your intention to attend.


Lindop Building

College Lane Campus, Hatfield

Wednesday 27 June 7:00pm

Free to attend but as a courtesy please email Diane to let her know of your intention to attend.

More Details



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:

 'oumuamua and other things out there

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

My Telescope Doesn’t Work - Solar Observing

Sunday July 1

Following the great success of “My Telescope Doesn’t Work” we are looking to have another instructional event to allow you to enjoy a different type of observational activity - solar observing.

There are several ways the sun can be observed in safety, but you do need to know exactly what to do in order to be safe and to protect your eyes.

We are planning a special event to cover types of equipment and techniques in detail.

The society has its own equipment for solar observing which can be borrowed by members, but you will need to attend one of these events and demonstrate that you know how to use it and follow the safety rules.

We are planning to hold this on Sunday 1 July, from 1pm to 4pm at The Memorial Hall, 37 Marford Road Wheathampstead.

The event is FREE to members and £5 to non-members.  Accompanied under-16s free.

Places are limited, so if you’d like to come along please contact Jerry

Yes, I would like to come along to the Solar Observing session

Steve Heliczer April 2018

Wheathampstead Village Day - Solar Observing - Sunday July 8

We will be having a display at Wheathampstead Village Day, which runs from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday, 8 July in the grounds at The Memorial Hall, 37 Marford Road Wheathampstead.

We will also be letting visitors do some solar observing - subject to the weather.  Note that this is purely for demonstration purposes and is not an instructional event.  If you want to learn about solar observing, and to possibly borrow solar equipment then you need to come to our event on 1 July.

If you can help out, we will be setting up from 11:00.  We would be pleased to hear if you can bring any solar observing equipment.

Please contact Jerry

Yes, I can help at the Village day

Lunar Eclipse Watch - Friday July 27

Come along and see the eclipse with us!

Venue to be confirmed

Friday 27 July 8pm until late.


17:24 Partial phase begins

20:30 Totality begins

20:51 Moon rises

21:21 Mid-eclipse

22:13 Totality ends

23:19 Partial phase ends

HAG Star-B-Que - Saturday September 15

Saturday 15 September, 6pm until late

Memorial Hall, Marford Road, Wheathampstead

Sunset is at 7:15 and it will be 10º below the horizon and reasonably dark an hour later.  Obviously we want to have the Bar-B-Que in daylight, hence the 6pm start.

With luck we’ll be able to see Venus before it sets, and also Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The Moon will be 2 days before First Quarter.

Hire of the Hall includes full use of the kitchen, which could be useful if we want to heat up food.

Perhaps we could take a microwave to heat up any food that can’t go on the bar-b-ques.

I want to see the eclipse I intend to come to the Star-B-Que