Monthly [May 2018] Observing

As mentioned in the Albedo; Saturday 21st April saw Astronomy Adventures and East Sussex AS members undertake a charity viewing session entitled ‘Observing from the Grave Yard’, at Wartling Church, East Sussex and raised £500 for the church helped by wonderful weather for observing the night sky.


The moon is rather full at the moment, the best time for observing is in the middle of the month when it is a nice cresent so we are looking at the 2nd and 3rd week of the month.


Occultation of Iota Capricornus

An early morning object (3am) should be observable on the 8th May.


Night Sky Observing

Orion is pretty much gone now, Gemini is sinking at this time of the year.


Cancer is observable and was of course mentioned in the previous meeting with the Open Cluster. This is 3 times the size of the moon and is still there for observing. Well worth a look.


Looking directly south we have Leo the lion. Lots going on in Leo.

This time of the year is called the Galaxy Season as there are lots and lots of galaxies to see.

Still to the south is Virgo; again lots of galaxies in Virgo; the Virgo Cluster - to which there are 2,000 galaxies in that particular area although you will need to have a telescope to see them. But even with a small telescope you will see at least a dozen of them still.

Also this month you will have Jupiter rising now that is really bright in the south east.


Dwarf Nova in Perseus (V362 Per)  

You may have heard the news about a nova in Perseus. It is linked with a variable star which ranges from 13 to 14 mag. At the moment it has gone Nova and is mag. 6 which means you can see it with the naked eye although more clearly with binoculars. 

(Ref: BAA Article)




As mentioned in last months' meeting, Leos' galaxy's M66 and M65. Leo is easy to find. Look for a backward question mark which is its head/Sickle shape; the orange/red star Algieba in the middle and ending with the bright white star Regulus, which is one of the [23rd] brightest stars in the sky at the moment. The tail, with the triangle containing Denebola and underneath is the M65/66 galaxies. 




Sometimes missed are the galaxies and Nebula that can be found in Ursa Major and the Plough. These are directly above us so provide a great view as there is less atmosphere to interfere. For example at the Society dark site, M51, although faint, is visible with 10x50 binoculars. It is well worth looking out for.

Alcor and Mizar, the double star is also worth looking out for, in the handle of the Plough. 

M82, a cigar shaped galaxy  and M81 and face on spiral, both visible with binoculars are also really nice objects. 




Everything you see in the picture below is a galaxy. The extremely bright stars have been masked to allow the remainder of the image to show.


Bootes the Heardsman is coming up in the east. 

Something that is a "real wow" with a small telescope and binoculas is M13 is a large globular cluster, sometimes called the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules or Hercules Globular Cluster. Many stargazers call it the finest globular cluster in the northern hemisphere. It contains about 300,000 stars. Is 145 light years across and is 22,000 light years away.

The 16 inch telescope will resolve stars in the cluster so is well worth looking at.


The Planets

In the evening sky we have Venus at the moment. The picture below is of Venus taken on the 19th of Apr 2018. In it there is Taurus the Bull, the Moon, the Pleiades and Venus all in a line.  This is going to happen again on the 18th May 2018. 


Venus will be moving from Taurus in to Gemini over the course of the month. 


Small Asteroids: Ceres

Coming out of Cancer, a good way of spoting this minor planet is, on the 3rd June it is very close (2' of arc) to Epsilon Leonis (mag 3)



High in the sky at the moment in Libra.


Small telescope/binoculars will be able to spot the moons (and you too can create the moon chart as recorded by Galileo Galilei back in 1609-10). 


Great Red Spot Transit times:



Saturn is coming up in the early hours now. Unfortunately the current view won't show the rings as seen below as they are becoming more edge on in 2025. Take the opportunity to see Saturn now before they completely close up for some time. It is a wonderful sight to see Saturn through a telescope. 



Another, still very early morning object, Mars is moving closer to us through the year so is well worth looking at. 




12 mag. C/2016 M1 (Panstarrs) but getting brighter. 



Aquarids in the morning sky of the 6th. 








Universal Time   Local Time
The Sun The Moon Weather
Sky Map Astro-Calendar Astronomy Now Almanac
(weekly update)
Jan 2018: Sky Map from

For more observing information go to the "Observer's Page"

3rd January 2013 Peter Gill talk entitled 'Solar Activity' also Andy Lawes will be giving a tribute talk about our Honary Patron Sir Patrick Moore.

7th February 2013 Greg Smye-Rumsby The title of my talk will be 12756. As usual my talks are secrets so you will NOT know what the talks is about until I give it - just a little quirk of mine. 

7th March 2013 Bob Mizon  - Ten targets for light polluted Astronomers

4th April 2013 William Joyce (Herstmonceaux Science Centre) Geologist and Astronomer. His talk is entitled Extrasolar Astrobiology.

 2nd May 2013 David Mannion (Dr)

6th June 2013 - Dr Chris North
TV Astronomer, broadcaster and author. Chris has been interested in all things space-related since he was young, and was writing school projects on rockets and space missions from junior school onwards. Skip forward a decade, and he was an undergraduate studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, still with a keen appetite for physics and astronomy. Despite almost being converted into a geologist, I decided to stick to my roots and stayed with astrophysics. My involvement continued after I'd completed my PhD and moved to Cardiff University, where I work on two astronomical satellites: the European Space Agency's Herschel and Planck missions. I do a fair amount of public outreach for those missions - which are producing wonderful and exciting results - both in public and schools, and to both students and teachers."

July 4th, 2013 Members meeting where we have 4 short talks by members;

Our Line up; 

  • St Richards students talking on "Astronomy for Visually Impaired"
  • Richie Jarvis - Talk entitled 'The Robots of Mars'
  • Peter Bolwell - Talk entitled 'The Men who Went to the Moon'
  • Andy Lawes will be taking the meeting and finishing off with our Sky Diary and notices.

August 3rd, 2013 ESAS Star-B-Q on St Mary's Lawns (No Meeting this month)


September 5th, 2013 Paul L Money FRAS, FBIS

An astronomer based in Lincolnshire, England, Paul is well known for his animated talks, he is the reviews editor of the BBC Sky at Night magazine. Paul broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and was awarded the 'Eric Zucker' award for 2002/2003 for contributions to Astronomy by the Federation of Astronomical Societies.

October 3rd, 2013 Dr Stewart Clark returns to give us another thrilling installment in his series of talks "The Day without Yesterday".

Stuart Clark is a widely read astronomy journalist whose career is devoted to presenting the complex world of astronomy to the general public. Stuart holds a first class honours degree and a PhD in astrophysics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers and is the cosmology consultant for 'New Scientist'. In 2000 'The Independent' placed him alongside Stephen Hawking and the Astronomer Royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, as one of the 'stars' of British astrophysics teaching.

Saturday 12th 10am - 5:30pm  BAA Out of London Back to Basics workshop/talks hosted by ESAS at St Mary's school, Wrestwood Road Bexhill.



November 7th, 2013 Greg Smye-Rumsby talk on the subject of Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. NB: Dr Francisco Diego planned November talk has been postponed.

December 5th, 2013 Professor Robert Iliffe Sir Isaac Newton" ~ 

Professor Iliffe is Professor of Intellectual History and the History of Science, the University of Sussex



The February 2017 meeting presentation by Mary McIntyre, her second talk on Astro Photography, covered quite a lot of detail. Mary has kindly written up some notes from this session. Click on the links at the bottom of the each of the following sections.   

Photographing The Night Sky: An Introduction to Astrophotography

  • Basic equipment you need
  • Get familiar with your camera
  • Settings
  • Rough guide
  • Shooting the photos
  • shooting the constellations
  • Shooting Conjunctions
  • Shooting The Milky Way
  • Shooting Star Trails
  • Shooting Satellites
  • Shooting Meteors
  • Shooting Aurora
  • Shooting Noctilucent Clouds
  • Optical Phenomena
  • Solar Optical Phenomena
  • Shooting Lightning
  • Shooting With a Zoom Lens
  • Shooting With a Bridge Camera
  • Tips for using a Nikkon Coolpix (from David Blanchflower)
  • Tips for using a Canon SX50 (from Angela Garrod)
  • Tips for using a Lumix (from Dr. Steve Wainright)
  • Shooting With Camera Attached to Telescope
  • Afocal Photography
  • Eyepiece Projection
  • Prime Focus Photography
  • Prime Focus Lunar Photography
  • Prime Focus Solar Photography
  • Shooting Solar Images
  • Prime Focus Deep Sky Photography
  • Stacking (Registax & Autostakkert and Deep Sky Stacker)
  • Calibration Frames
  • Basic Processing
  • Basic Processing; What Do I Need To Do?
  • Advanced Processing
  • Other powerful image processing programmes
  • Planetary Imaging With a DSLR
  • Storage/Sharing
  • To contact Mary

Click here for the Document Download


Improve Your Astrophotography Summary Notes

These notes will talk you through how to get started with image stacking and then onto basic Photoshop processing Image stacking is the process used to layer multiple images of the same thing on top of each other using computer software. This increases the signal to noise ratio and will allow you to build up much longer total exposure time which will bring out much more detail than you’ll get in one image

  • Shooting the photos
  • Calibration Frames
  • Image Stacking
  • Autostakkert! 2 Basics
  • Stacking Solar/Lunar Images
  • Stacking Planetary Images
  • Registax 6 for RGB Realignment & Wavelet Sharpening
  • Deep Sky Stacker Basics:
  • Basic Photoshop Processing
  • Levels and Curve Adjustments
  • RC Astrotools
  • Using a Layer Mask
  • Other Image Processing Software
  • Software Downloads
  • Further Reading
  • To contact Mary

Click here for the Document Download

2014-15 Season Speakers have been:

2nd January 2014 - Rosemary Selmes

Our first speaker for 2014 is Rose-mary Selmes, a founder member and a past astronomer at Herst-monceux, Rosemary has spent probably thousands of hours on her back in the Domes at Herst-monceux manually correcting the guiding of the telescopes. One of these telescopes was the Isaac Newton Telescope now located at La Palma, where she and a hand-ful of other members visited the INT and were given access to it.
Rosemary's talk is entitled 'INT past and present'


6th February 2014 - Stuart Constable

Thursday 6th February 8pm ESAS Meeting Stuart Constable from Herstmonceux Radio Astronomy Facility will give us a candid view of this fascinating side of Astronomy and show you how to start.


April 3rd 2014 - Damian Peach – Astrophotography

For more information go to Damians' website.


May 1st 2014 - Peter Gill from Eastbourne - The Moon


June 5th 2014 - Paul Money (Astronomer, Author, presenter)


July 3rd 2014 - Members Evening Andy Lawes, Richie Jarvis, Peter Bolwell & Zoltan Trenovszki 


2nd October 2014 - Stephen Tonkin - Binocular Astronomy

Stephen is an author for popular Astronomy Magazines and has written several books one entitled Binocular Astronomy which is the title of Steve’s talk. Stephen's talk is a hands on experience and he will be bringing lots of equipment. 

6th November 2014 - Bob Mizon from Campaign for Dark Skys (CfDS)


6th December - Xmas dinner @ The Star Inn Pevensey


4th December 2014 - Short Talks by Members


8th January 2015 - Alistair Fairley - Moon Missions a ITV reporters view

Alistair FairleyAlastair Fairley is a writer, heritage expert and, since 2004, Director of the Fairley Archive of Space Exploration (FASE) .

Currently a senior member of the South East Regional Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund, his responsibilities include overseeing the awards of over £22m annual grant programme, drawing on his experience of founding, managing and securing funds for a raft of large and small organisations in the arts, heritage and community development sectors.

In 2004 he established the Fairley Archive of Space Exploration, after a bequest of rare photography and space artefacts from his late father, Peter Fairley, the former Science Editor of Independent Television News. The archive contains several thousand rare NASA and Soviet photographs, signed photography and other items from the golden era of space exploration, stretching from the earliest forays into space through to the development of the space shuttle and beyond.


Dr Francisco Diego

5th February 2015 - Francisco Diego - Senior Research Fellow at UCL

Cosmic Fire On Earch : The amazing energy of star death 

Going back in time to explore those initial conditions, when the primordial energy was confined in a handful of fundamental particles, the building blocks of the Universe to be brought together at different stages by the four known basic forces.

Travelling deep inside stars to witness some of those forces at work, assembling the nuclei of light atoms along millions of years; a process highly intensified during the brief and cataclysmic death of massive stars.

A talk that will promote debate about the discoveries of science and its applications for good and for bad.


The second half we will have a brief Sky Diary, and a short talk by ESAS Member Mark Jarvis a keen Astrophotographer, he will be showing us how he manages to get his wonderful pictures using his Canon DSLR & Astrotrac.

Thursday 5th March - Jane A. Green - BASKETBALLS AND BEYOND - Wonders of the Cosmos.  
Jane is a Professional Speaker, Author and Broadcaster with appearances on BBC Radio Four, BBC Two and BBC Radio Sussex. She has co-presented with Sir Patrick Moore and is author of the best-selling Haynes Astronomy Manual – listed No 6 on Amazon’s ‘List of Collectible Astronomy Books for 2011′ – and Celestial Extra Texture, a masterpiece combining earth-bound nature and celestial wonder.  

Jane A Green

She appears regularly on 105 Uckfield FM as their resident astronomer. Janes' website is

Jane’s style is enthusiastic, passionate and above all, accessible.  Her innate ability to explain the most enormous concept in a straightforward and digestible way has made her beloved of listeners and readers alike.

Thursday 2nd April 2015 - Darren Baskill Astronomy Outreach Director Sussex University.

DBDarren is the outreach officer for the University of Sussex's department of Physics & Astronomy, where he encourages school and college students to consider doing a degree in physics. Before that, he taught astronomy at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, predominantly in the planetarium, and before that he did his PhD in X-ray astronomy, after which he spent 4 years calibrating the XMM-Newton Space Telescope, ensuring the the data sent back to Earth was of the highest quality.

With his talk entitled Extreme Astronomy: Observing the Hawaiian Skies

Abstract: "The best places to observe the night sky also have some of the most extreme conditions on the planet. British astronomers have access to telescopes at an altitude of 4,200m on the summit of Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawai'i. This talk is a personal perspective on making astronomical observations in harsh conditions using the UK infra-red telescope and JCMT telescopes atop Mauna Kea."


7th May 2015 - David Mannion - ET are you out there?

dr david mannionWe have always wondered whether there is life on other planets and if there is life can we expect to communicate one day with intelligent life? Have aliens been to our Earth? What form of communication might work with extra-terrestrials?

Talk references:

David Mannion has three degrees in Astronomy and has taught in Schools and Colleges for 28 years in the UK, Austria and Turkey. He has also been a tutor for the Open University in both Physics and Astronomy.

Dr. Mannion became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1984 and was a member of its Education Committee 2005 - 2010.

He has run numerous Astronomy Clubs and was a founder member and a Vice President of the Association for Astronomy Education.

His other burning interest is weightlifting having once been a British Student Weightlifting and Powerlifting Champion in 1984. He is currently a National Referee for British Weightlifting and became a Masters Champion in the 94 kg class in 2007, 2010 and again in 2012.

He wishes to keep lifting weights and watching the stars for as long as possible. He has two videos on Galileo and Newton on YouTube (See The Heavens Above episode 1 and 2). His web site is


4th June 2015 - Professor Chris Lintott (Co-presenter on BBC Sky at Night)

Chris LintottThe society is proud to have had along the long standing presenter of the BBC's Sky at Night, Professor Chris Lintott to our meeting. Chris, with Sir Patrick Moore, has been a key player in getting as many people as possible involved in Astronomy, with his involvement in Zooniverse and the public lectures he undertakes.

Chris invited people to explore the Universe from the comfort of their sofa with the help of their own computer. He shared his expert knowledge on planet exploration and showed how everyone can become a citizen scientist alone with the [currently] 800,000 volunteers armed with nothing more than a web browser who have helped astronomers discover planets, explore distant galaxies and map the Milky Way.


In the second half of the meeting;

  • Not only did Chris give us a fascinating lecture but this month he officially became our Patron of ESAS in a small ceremony after his talk.
  • Paul Foster talked to a member of Northeast Florida Astromical Society over a live link, to officially mark the twinning of ESAS & NEFAS.
  • Andy also give us the sky diary.



2nd July 2015 - Paul Money (FRAS) - 'Our Universe in Pictures 3'

An astronomer based in Lincolnshire, England, Paul is well known for his animated talks, he is the reviews editor of the BBC Sky at Night magazine. Paul broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and was awarded the 'Eric Zucker' award for 2002/2003 for contributions to Astronomy by the Federation of Astronomical Societies. 

ESAS members can view the Q&A video on our society videos of Pauls' previous talk on "Images of The Universe" by logging on to the web site members section.

2nd August 2015
Open Day with Planetarium talks, Telescopes & Star troopers



find us

May Meeting:
The Manor Barn,
4 De La Warr Road, Bexhill on Sea, TN40 2JA

Other Meetings:
Egerton Park Indoor Bowls Club,
Egerton Road,
Bexhill, East Sussex TN39 3HL

(Meetings: first Thursday of each month [excl. Aug] 8-10:pm)


ESAS is a registered charity No. 1110848
HMRC Gift Aid No. XT19893