Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford


John Wall 1932 - 2018

On Saturday the 27th of Jan, The society has learnt of the death of Mr John Wall

"an inspirational inventor" & "a great character"

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Several members of the Society travelled to America, to view the eclipse on the 21st of August here are some of the images they took, from the various locations they visited along it's path, these included, Jackson Hole Wyoming, Victor Idaho, where Idaho (russet) potatoes come from, Murfreesboro Tennessee, Hopkinsville Kentucky, below are some of their comments.

"A spectacular Eclipse", " Fabulous a perfect eclipse", "one of the best in 30 years", "never try to use a new camera !!", "wide open sky's", " a wonderful day", "it was one of the best, especially the diamond ring at the end of the total phase", "well worth 12 hours in bumper to bumper traffic"

The photos above give an overview of the event as seen by the various members throughout the day, and considering the various comments everybody had a very enjoyable and memorable time.

The weekend of the 12/13th of August was a very busy time for the Society on Saturday the12th we played host to members of the Crayford camera club, who visited to photograph the Perseid meteor shower.

With approx 30 being sighted between the breaks in the cloud with several Society members on hand to offer advice, we also afforded the camera club the opportunity to observe the planet Saturn along with several of its moons, prior to the meteoroid observing / photographic session.

And on Sunday the 13th the Society was solar observing at Hall place, Bexley, where we were able to offer members of the public an opportunity to view the Sun in both Hydrogen alpha and white light, as well as views of the planet Venus, that was also visible in the daytime sky, as can be seen from the photos on the right.

At 01.16hrs on the 31st of July the societies meteor cam captured it's 1st meteor, possibly an Perseid @ -3.9mag as this photo shows

On Saturday the 22nd of July, to celebrate our 5th year at the pavilion, we held an anniversary barbecue, several members and their families came along bringing such delights as strawberries, cakes, melon, fruit juice, & ginger beer, as well as food for the barbecue.

Everybody that was able to come along had a very good time with both "stomp rockets" and some very entertaining games of croquet in spite of the weather, which did improve from time to time, after which we settled down for a relaxing afternoon/evening of enjoyable banter and films, before bringing the evening to a close around 23.00hrs

On Saturday the 27th of May members Diane Clarke, Steve Floodgate, Honor Wheeler, & Janice McClean, visited the pavilion and re-positioned the Society's meteor camera, to take in more of the southern sky. To the right are some of the images taken on the day.

Below you will find an PDF file from member Neil Webster, this file contains 1257 measurements of 63 double star systems, Neil's report will be published on the Webb Deep Sky society Website, the measurements took place between April & December 2016,.Well done Neil
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Bye Bye Cassini
Cassini is starting it's final orbits of Saturn and NASA hope that it will be able to provide valuable information concerning Saturn's atmosphere the plan is for Cassini to make several passes through the rings of Saturn and provided it survives, to send back data & images one assumes some of which will be taken from within the ring structure itself, " bon voyage" Cassini

On Behalf of the Society I say a very big "Thank You" To Honor
Dear Honor,

In the absence of a postal address, I hope you won't find this e-mail unbecoming as I write on behalf of my fellow Crayford Camera Club members to thank you for the very interesting and thought provoking presentation that you gave us about Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society, (C.M.H.A.S.) last Tuesday week. Not only did it work on the technical level but we were also able to see some of the excellent imagery taken using the equipment you referred to in your talk.
We of course hope that the commissioning of your new telescope and observatory at Sutton-at-Hone goes well and that with the approval of C.M.H.A.S., we may be able to arrange a date to view this impressive equipment during the summer months when our Club only meets on a fairly irregular basis.
In the meantime, thank you again and our very best wishes to you and your fellow C.M.H.A.S. members, (including Neil!).


Peter Frost
(CCC Chairman).

One of our satellites is missing (no more)
After being missing for about 9 years NASA has found
Chandrayaan-1 a satellite launched by India in 2008, they lost radio contact in 2009, it was found using a new ground based radar, and has orbited the moon more than 3,400 times at an altitude of 124 miles above the Moon's surface, it is part of India's plan to send a rover to the moon's surface.

We have a new article on our history page complements of Member John Howarth relating to John Wall's 24inch reflector

I'm repeating my request for any new images members have taken over the last year or so. If you can add your name, how & where you took each image and what it was you took ie.:- M45 , that would be really helpful.

Also if any member has taken on a project either an observatory build or a new imaging technique then if you can put together some images and a short write up of your project, that would be very much appreciated. Thanks

Stolen Telescope
Below is a summary of an e-mail that was sent to the Society

We are just getting the word out to as many places as possible that on Tuesday night we were burgled and I had a Skywatcher, ED80 DS pro Canon 7D, various lenses, an astro modified Canon 40D, a TV & the kettle stolen, they took the Skywatcher in it's silver flight case, but left the tripod & mount, we don't think they knew what they had.

Please make your members aware, should they see anything, so make sure your equipment is kept safe, it is possible the culprits are driving a fairly new Ford Fiesta.

Many Thanks, Adam Sutton, adam@the-suttons.co.uk, Mob- 07803 004383,

Below you will find some images from our recent New Year's night out, nobody took any movies as we were all too busy enjoying the evening, several members of the society came along, some bringing friends & family.

Everybody had a very good meal, over which the conversation flowed free, and several (bad) cracker jokes and riddles were told adding to the overall enjoyment of the evening, so much so that, 'sorry we did not have a chance to catch up' was probably heard more than once(!) as the evening started to wind down & people started to leave.

CMHASD Star Gazing at Hall Place - Wednesday 11th January 2017

The 'CMHASD Star Gazing at Hall Place' page has been updated by Diane Clarke & Simon Dawes - click here to view.

(17th Jan 2017)

More images from members :-)

New member Kevin Langford has uploaded some great new images on to his flickr page - click here to view.
Chairman Simon Dawes has joined CMHASD's flickr page and has uploaded some images, including a couple not seen before! - click here to view.

Member James Burchell has taken a couple of stunning sunset images on the 11th December 2016 (a day after celebrating a significant birthday Jim????) and a beautiful sunrise image on the 26th November 2016, see below, Jim has also taken this image of Venus & Mars on the 18th of Jan 2017, member Gordon Collings has taken a superb shot of M42 and finally member Martin Crow has taken a great shot of the Moon, see below also :-)

Just a few Pictures from our New Year's Night Out
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Mirror Mirror

What does it mean if the Fish falls off ?

It's only water Honest !!
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And the Toast Is.........

Venus & Mars Jim Burchell - Jan 18th 2017

Sunrise on the 26th November 2016 by Jim Burchell, Swanley, Kent.

Sunset on the 11th December 2016 by Jim Burchell, Swanley, Kent.

Sunset by Jim Burchell, taken on the 11th December 2016, Swanley, Kent.

M42 by Gordon Collings, taken on the 28th December 2016

The Moon by Martin Crow, taken on the 2nd January 2017.

(9th January 2017)

Three superb new images from Honor Wheeler.....

Honor's image below got the attention of some people at the 'Sky at Night' magazine via twitter and they suggested that Honor submits her images to their 'Hot shots' page!



(6th January 2017)

Some images from the Autum star party at Kelling Heath 2016


(13th December 2016)

Thursday - 1st December 2016

Having Cake

Society chairman Simon Dawes showing the cake to those members that came along on Thursday 1st Dec, for the lecture by Dr John Mason MBE (John took his piece of the cake with him when he left after the lecture.)
Simon making the first cut (photo's Diane Clarke)

(2nd December 2016)

Happy 55th Birthday to us!

55 years ago today, on the 30th November 1961, our first society meeting took place at Crayford Manor House and the Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society was born. To celebrate we will be having cake at Thursday's lecture meeting on the 1st December 2016, when long time friend of the Society, Dr John Mason MBE, of the BAA will be giving his lecture titled 'From the ISS to the surface of Mars' :-)

(30th November 2016)

The Peter Hindle Telescope has finally been polar aligned!

The Meade 16" LX200 SCT classic telescope, donated by Dr Peter Hindle to the Society and housed at the Dick Chambers Observatory, has at last been polar aligned. On a relatively clear evening of 7 November 2016, members Andy Barber, David Freed and Keith Rickard successfully spent over 3 hours employing the drift method for polar alignment by turning nuts and bolts at the base of the telescope's pier, and monitoring the movement of a star with an illuminated reticle eyepiece. The result meant that the front of the pier had to be raised by about 3/4 of an inch to correct its altitude, and be rotated from east to west by about 1/4 of an inch to correct its azimuth.

The main advantages of having the telescope accurately polar aligned are:

1) Long exposure astro-imaging can be achieved with field rotation eliminated
2) The telescope only requires a one-star alignment to allow it to be computer controlled
3) The telescope's pointing accuracy is enhanced
4) The telescope can be parked accurately after an observing session.

Well done guys!

(8 November 2016)

BAA Website update

The BAA are pleased to announce the latest development to the community area of the BAA website. All BAA members can now upload & showcase their observations on the BAA website. For more information see link: https://britastro.org/node/8114

New images by CMHASD members

Members Neil Webster & Gordon Collings have been busy imaging. Click here to see Neil's images on his Flickr page and below is Gordon's brilliant image of M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula :-)
M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula by Gordon Collings taken on the 22nd September 2016.

Thursday 27th October 2016

Thursday is an informal evening but there will also be a talk too given by member Diane Clarke titled 'Kerb Your Enthusiasm - Misadventures in Imaging!'

MIND visit 12th October 2016

Photos of the visit by MIND on the 12th October 2016 to CMHASD are now on the website - click here to view.

(26th October 2016)

Thursday, 20th October 2016

This evening will be an informal evening but with a difference!

During part of the evening there will be an 'experimental' lecture given by Roger Dymock of the BAA on 'Comets - How to observe and image them'. The word 'experimental' has been used because the lecture will be delivered using Skype which the Society has never tried before. All CMHASD members are welcome to attend but please bear in mind this is an experiment and may not be successful due to technical reasons.

(16th October 2016)

Update - Roger Dymock's skype lecture on 'Imaging Comets' - Thursday 20th October 2016

Below are a couple of photos taken by CMHASD trustee John Archer from that 'experimental' evening - which was a success :-)
CMHASD Secretary Dr Mike Rushton speaking with Roger Dymock of the BAA Comet Section.

The CMHASD members enjoying Roger's talk that evening :-)

Peter Grego - Astronomy Sketcher - Raising funds for the British Heart Foundation

Peter Grego (1965-2016) was a well known astronomy sketcher who has sadly died at a young age. Peter was a contributor of the Society of Popular Astronomy & Astronomy Now magazine (https://astronomynow.com/2016/08/20/peter-grego-1965-2016/). He was also the Circulars Editor & Assistant Director of the Lunar BAA section. CMHASD trustee Honor Wheeler who is a keen sketcher herself and has used many of Peter's techniques in her superb sketchings, is extremely saddened to hear of Peter's passing and wants to share that Peter's family have set up a charity link to the British Heart Foundation in his memory, which is included below....


Committee Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the committee meeting held on the 11th October 2016 are now on the website. Click here to view.
(25th October 2016)

A new paper by member John Howarth in the latest issue of the BAA Journal

CMHASD member John Howarth has a paper published in the latest edition of the British Astronomical Association (BAA) Journal (Oct 2016, Vol. 126, No, 5) titled 'The period of R Scuti'. R Scuti is a variable star and the paper examines the photometric data that has been collected about the star. Well done John!!! :-)

A stunning montage of the Sun by Honor Wheeler


(26th September 2016)

New images by members

Members Jim Burchell, Gordon Collings and Rob Wilson have been busy imaging as you will see below......

The Ring Nebula (M57) by Gordon Collings.
Click on the image to see a larger view.
Vega by Rob Wilson. Click on the image to see a larger view.
The Dumbbell Nebula (M27) by Rob Wilson.
Click on the image to see a larger view.
Sunset by Jim Burchell.
Sunrise by Jim Burchell.

Half Moon at the pavilion - 11th August 2016 - by Jim Burchell.
Sunset at the pavilion - 11th August 2016 - by Jim Burchell.
The Sun setting at the pavilion - 11th August 2016 - by Jim Burchell.

(10th September 2016)

Clouds at sunset :-)

A couple more images from Steve & Jim, this time of very interesting cloud formations at sunset....
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Sunset at the pavilion by Steve Farley - 7th July 2016
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Jim Burchell - July 2016


Members Steve Farley & Jim Burchell were busy on Thursday evening, 7th July 2016 whilst at the pavilion. They both took some stunning photos of the magnificent rainbow that stretched over the pavilion grounds. Below is one image from each of them - to see the rest, click here which will take you to our 'Atmospheric Phenomena' page were you will have to scroll down to the rainbow section in order to see the rest of the images :-)
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Rainbow by Steve Farley
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Rainbow by Jim Burchell

(2nd August 2016)

The Dartford Festival - Sat 16th July & Sun 17th July 2016

The first of many photos from that busy hot weekend are now on the website - click here to view.
More photos will be added over the next few days, so do check back.
Image of the Sun taken by Honor Wheeler, whilst at the Dartford Festival,
showing a fantastic selection of sunspots.

Update 31st July 2016: CMHASD 4th Anniversay BBQ

All the photos of the CMHASD BBQ held on Saturday 23rd July 2016 are now on the website - click here to view.

Members should have also received an ebulletin from publicity officer Honor Wheeler which had a great write up about the day, so there is not much more that I can add, as Honor has said it all; that it was indeed a very lovely day with excellent company & food cooked to perfection by our Chairman Simon Dawes :-)
Members chillaxing :-)

(31st July 2016)

Sunspot AR2546

A lovely huge sunspot AR2546 is currently making its way around the Sun & member Honor Wheeler took this stunning image of it in white light on the 15th May 2016. To see a higher resolution of the image - check out CMHASD's flickr page by clicking here.

Transit of Mercury - 9th May 2016

On Monday 9th May 2016, CMHASD held an Open Day at the Parsonage Lane Pavilion, for CMHASD members & for members of the public to hopefully view the rare spectacle of the Transit of Mercury, when Mercury passes between the Earth and the Sun.

It turned out to be an absolutely fantastic day and one that people who were there will not forget.

It was a warm sunny day with clear skies at the start and come 12.12pm BST we were rewarded with the first views of the planet Mercury making first contact, passing the Sun's eastern limb & all in front of a huge prominence too!!!

Members used a variety of techniques to view & image the transit for nearly 3 hours (with a few breaks due to cloud cover) until a little after 3pm when it started to rain. Mercury looked wonderful against the backdrop of the Sun, a little uniform black dot making its way across the face of the Sun. There was no mistaking it for a sunspot either because it was so clearly uniformly black & round. It was visually easy to spot too despite fears it may not be seen that well which was pleasing for those members who were visually observing rather than imaging. There was no missing or mistaking that little black dot!

As you will see from the photo below, taken by Chairman Simon Dawes, lots of people were there that day and a good time was had by all.

CMHASD's Transit of Mercury Open Day at the Parsonage Lane Pavilion - May 9th 2016.

To see more photos & members images of the Transit of Mercury please click here. Please note that these are not all the photos - more will be added over the next few days as not all members have finished processing their images.

Stunning image of the Rosette Nebula by member Brian Thompson

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Rosette Nebula Brian Thompson 17th March 2016

CMHASD flickr group

As of 14th March 2016, CMHASD now have a group flickr page where members of the CMHASD1961 flickr group can upload their images of all things astronomy & sky related (day & night) for all to see, if you so choose or just members of the group.

The group is a 'public' group which means that any images uploaded by members of the group can seen by everyone - i.e. the public, if you choose too, however, any discussion/comments about the images are only seen by members of the group and if you do not make your photos 'public' only members of the group will see them.

The link to the page is;
where you can view the images submitted by members and request to become a member yourself, if you so wish.

The Planets

CMHASD trustee & publicity officer Honor Wheeler took these super photos of the planets in the morning sky, on the 28th January & 3rd February this year.


Registered for Gift Aid at last!

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Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford is now registered to claim Gift Aid. Individuals who complete the Gift Aid Declaration form will give permission to the Society to collect 25 pence on every £1 they pay, in the form of subscriptions and donations, from the HM Revenue and Customs. By doing this, there will be a financial benefit to the Society at no cost to the individual.

So don't delay - get the Gift Aid Declaration form here!

Update of the old 24" Crayford Manor House telescope built by John Wall the inventor of the Crayford Eyepiece Mount (CEM)
CMHASD Secretary Dr. Mike Rushton received the email below (dated 16th October 2014) from a Mr Martin Whipp of York Astronomical Society, about the old 24" Crayford Manor House telescope built by Mr John Wall, that CMHASD donated to them.

How fantastic that Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford & York Astronomical Society are giving new life to telescopes that have been donated to them, building new observatories to home them in and at the same time too!

Please do look at their facebook page - note the date they got the go ahead from Harrogate Borough Council to build their observatory & the date the builders started to build our new observatory!!!

Hi Mike,

Martin Whipp here from the York Astronomical Society. I hope you are well.

It's been a couple of years since we came to see you guys and took the 24" away. But finally, after varying degrees of health, red tape and expenses, we have started to build the new home for the John wall 24 " scope.

Please circulate this message amongst your membership. If they are on Facebook, perhaps they could "Like" the Lime Tree Observatory page. We are hoping to get the scope rebuilt this winter.


Kind regards

Martin Whipp

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