Observing alert: Sat 7th December at Tilshead

First, the bad news… according to the nice people running the STEREO sun-monitoring satellite, “The STEREO HI-1 instrument has limiting mag ~m13.5. The dust cloud we know as Comet #ISON is barely visible in those images now…”. So I think we will be standing down on any visual observing of ISON.

But never mind! We have a full sky of other things to look at, so we will be meeting this Saturday night for an observing session. The session will be at our Tilshead site – meet at the Rose and Crown, Tilshead at 8pm, all welcome! Please let us know if you’re coming so we don’t leave anyone behind.

Comet ISON: possible observing over next few days

I’m sure you’ve all been following the nail-biting rollercoaster ride of comet ISON at Perihelion; at one point feared dead, it now appears that SOMETHING has survived the gravitational and heat stresses. Whether this means we will be able to see the aftermath is anyone’s guess; all we know right now is that a bright remnant is maintaining its predicted path away from the sun.

Some current video from SOHO:

SOHO timelapse

And even more incredible footage from STEREO:

We are likely to be arranging ad-hoc observing, both in morning and evening as the comet and weather allows. The first session is likely to be Saturday night. The best way to get involved with this if you want to is to join our facebook group. Alternatively email us through our contact form and we’ll hook up with you.

SPOG at Seeing Stars Live 2

SPOGgers Mark, Garry, Nick and Jon had an excellent time at Castledown Radio’s Seeing Stars Live event at Tidworth on Friday 25th October. The weather let us down but nevertheless there was a really good turnout of about 100 people, lots of kit and expertise on hand and a good time was had by all.

Jonathan Gale and Nick Smith at Seeing Stars Live 2

Jonathan Gale and Nick Smith at Seeing Stars Live 2

As is now standard practice at this event microphones were pointed at various people who tried not to make fools of themselves. Click the links below to see if they succeeded…





Garry on the weather and Autumn stargazing

Mark on telescopes

Jon on software and telescopes

Mark chasing sucker holes


Observing Report – 05 October 2013

Location: Tilshead

Time: 1900 – 2300

Attendees: Mark Radice

Equipment: 14″ f4.5 skywatcher auto dob

Weather: The night started with lovely clear skies that, unfortunately, slowly misted over as the evening wore on.  The secondary kept on misted over leading to frequent use of the hairdryer.


First up was the low Messier objects while I waited for the optics to cool and my eyes to adjust to the dark.  M8 was pretty washed out.  The star cluster was visible but there was little sign of the nebulosity.  The large globular M22 was similarly affected and nothing like its normal majesty.

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