Have a look at some of the things that we have taken part in over
we saw the Eclipse!
The predicted chance of seeing the solar eclipse in WGC was almost zero.
But when the eclipsed sun appeared briefly at 9.31am through the cloud there was a shriek of
elation in the gathered crowd.
Then again moments later at 9.34. It was worth it!
Perseid Meteor shower
Stars of our Own!
Perseids meteor shower observation evening at
Bayfordbury Observatory 11 August 2016
Pictures from Breakfast TV
Woolsthorpe Manor Visit -
June 25 2016
A great day out to this historic site. Thanks for organising it Jerry.
At the recent committee meeting we discussed a number of venues for other trips for the future, and
more details will be sent out in due course.
Trip to Woolsthorpe Manor, near Stamford, Lincolnshire - the birthplace of Sir Isaac
Newton. 25 June 2016
The Distant Past, The Distant Future: Time travel on or near the A1, with Jerry,
Andy, Hans, Martin and Neil, by Martin Taylor.
On arriving at our rendezvous at The Fairway Tavern I was surprised that only half
the original fourteen members of Hertford Astronomy Group were actually going. At
least the weather looked reasonable.
During the ninety-minute journey up the A1, we had a great discussion about the
colonisation of space. This was of course led by Jerry, the society’s Head Spacenik,
an FBIS and the head of the UK chapter of The Mars Society.
We talked about space stations, space colonies, Lagrange positions, geostationary
elevators and the Skylon spaceplane. Concerning the last, like a lot of people I like
to kid myself I’ll go up to a space station in Skylon in my old age.
The restless weather continued, though it was fairly sunny when we reached
First we went into the Science Discovery Centre. There was a short film about
Newton’s life and work. It was alright but I couldn’t hear the soundtrack to well as it
was under-amplified and I am a little hard of hearing.
Then there was the main hall and cafe. This was full of delightful scientific toys.
They demonstrated the three laws of motion and the properties of light.
I had a slight brush with my strengths and weaknesses. First I had to have someone
show me how to chuck the bean-bags in the double vertical centrifuge turntable.
Then I could see how the one in the outer circle stayed put for ages - higher speed,
higher g-force - whilst the one in the inner circle fell off quickly. I’m quite poor at
I got on much better when I talked about eyes and vision to one of the tutor-
assistants. He was talking about the three types of retinal cones - red, green and
blue - and their corresponding forms of colour blindness. I also stated how the
cones are concentrated in the centre of the retina, in the fovea; the rods - light
receptors - being distributed across the whole of the retina and depressed in the
This causes the phenomenon, well known to amateur astronomers, of seeing a faint
star cluster or nebula much better but looking slightly away from it. [This is known as
“averted vision”.] I’m much better at biology!
After lunch we went into the orchard and took photos of ourselves, with and without
the HAG banner, by the famous ancient apple tree.
At about this point Daniel finally turned up. Finally we went into the Old Manor
House with its beautiful, lovingly preserved os recreated artefacts. Looking at all
these ancient scientific instruments, clothes and furniture, I thought of how Newton’s
genius and discoveries has led, after centuries, to the present era of early space
exploration. Then there was the feedback process between telescopic astronomy
and space exploration. I looked, dumbfounded, at the replica of the world’s first
reflecting telescope, a Newtonian Reflector, and thought of what Jerry had been
saying while we were travelling up.
After we came out of the Manor, we sat in the courtyard and had refreshments. We
talked at some length about telescopes before setting off home. Inevitably this got
us into how little we had been able to get out with our telescopes last winter because
of the poor weather.
Thanks for the account Martin
23 September 2017
The Stevenage Mystery Object Explained
Wheathampstead Village Day
8 July 2018