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Welcome To

The Astronomy Centre

"Dedicated to the furtherance of Amateur Astronomy"



The Astronomy Centre is a major resource for both amateur astronomers and the general public. Based above Todmorden in the North West of England, we have facilities and on-site equipment for both members and visitors.

The site offers a good compromise providing a reasonably dark site, while remaining close to the major conurbations of Manchester and Leeds. Approximately 8·1 million people (13% of the UK population) are able to reach the Astronomy Centre with less than a 60 minute drive.

The Observatory is open to the public every Saturday evening from 3pm onwards. Visitors are advised to wrap up warmly, with sensible footwear, as the site can get very cold at any time of year. There is a nominal charge for non-member visitors of £2 per person (£1 for children and concessions), though further donations are always welcome! Group visits can also be made at other times by arrangement.

Please park on the lower plateau, next to the caravans. Access for unloading of telescopes etc. and disabled parking is available at the highest point of the site, next to the main dome. Further details are on our Location Information Page.

Individual membership of the Centre is £15 per year (29p per week), which allows full access to the Web Site, including the discussion forums, full-resolution images from the 'scope cameras etc. See the Membership Page for more details.

The pictures above show an aerial view of the main observatory, beside images of the Moon, M42 in Orion and one of the Meade 16" telescopes. For scale, the main dome is about 8.5m (28ft) in diameter.


 News: Northern Refractor Group Sunday 8th September

Events on the siteNorthern Refractor Group Sunday 8th September 2pm for Sun observation and nightime until late

Posted by keith_barker on Sunday, September 01 @ 01:38:59 BST (22 reads)
(Read More... | News | Score: 0)

 Membership: Subscriptions

Subscription reminder - April 2013 to March 2014.

Just a friendly reminder that your annual subscription renewals are now due.


We are pleased to confirm that individual memberships will stay at just £15 for the fourth consecutive year.

This works out at less than 29p per Saturday and entitles you to access all the facilities, services and knowledge provided by the centre and its outreach volunteers.

Family memberships also remain at the same price for two or more people living at the same address.

Posted by david_clapham on Saturday, April 13 @ 21:17:35 BST (416 reads)
(Read More... | Membership | Score: 0)

 Comet 2012 S1 Ison (Sungrazer)

Newsbob_leach writes "Comet 2012 S1 ISON

Assuming that the predictions made by astronomers in early 2012 remain true, then stargazers will have a good reason to be looking up during the 2013/2014 holiday season. Astronomers have discovered a super bright comet (comet 2012 S1, ISON) which they believe will be visible to the naked eye come late 2013 and early 2014. Despite being a faint glow in the constellation cancer, the comet is expected to outshine the moon.

Comet Ison was discovered by Vitali Nevski, and Artyom Novichonol, both from Russia. The two astronomers made the discovery from images they obtained on the 21st of September. The 16- inch Santel reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) was used and the abbreviation has now become the common name for the comet. Comet Ison grew at magnitude 18.8 when it was first discovered. Light from about 100,000 similar comets would be required to equal the faintest star that can be seen on a dark night with the naked eye.

Despite being very far from the sun, the Comet Ison is already amazingly bright. According to Raminder Sigh Samra, an astronomer, the super bright comet appears to be on the same path as the great comet seen in 1680 which is one of the most amazing scenarios ever experienced from planet earth. However, Samra insists that the 2012 S1 will be one of the brightest in history if it meets the expectations already predicted.

Currently, the Comet Ison is 6.5 degrees due east of the first magnitude star Pollux in Gemini the twins. Amateur astronomers with large telescopes can image the comet which is now bright enough to be seen. However, it is not until late 2013 (probably the end of November 2013) that clear details of the comet will be seen. Moreover, it is expected to cross the naked eye visibility threshold sometime during early November and might exceed the brightness of the full moon when it flies closest to the sun.

Comet 2012 S1 is currently estimated by astronomers to be at a distance about 615 million miles from earth in between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. It is also expected to pass just about 6.2 million miles from mars due to the gravitational pull from the sun and might be a good opportunity for NASA to take photos.

Despite all this, a number of comets have been known to create a buzz but failing to display a dazzling show.
Ice and rubble may break apart as a result of intense heat should the Comet Ison come within 1.2 million miles of the sun and thus scotch the sky show. "

Posted by david_clapham on Saturday, April 13 @ 21:10:41 BST (293 reads)
(Read More... | 2667 bytes more | Score: 0)

 News: StargazingLive 2013

Events on the site

The Observatory will be open at additional times during the BBC Stargazing Live 2013 broadcasts.


On Saturday 5 and Saturday 12 January there will be an opportunity for solar observing between noon and 3pm. The normal evening sessions will start at 7.30pm.

On Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 both 16" reflectors, the 8" refractor and a number of smaller telescopes and binoculars suitable for beginners will be available. Also, various members will be making presentations and providing guided tours of the observatory.

On Thursday 10 January all the fixed instruments will be available, but some of the portable equipment will be at the outreach event taking place at Tatton Park.

Members can contact Peter, Andy and David via the usual channels for further details, or to offer their help for the various sessions.

Visitors should register as described on the webpage BBC Stargazing Live 2013 events and they will receive more information.


As many of you will know, the inspiration for millions of astronomers spanning five generations has left us. Sir Patrick died at his home surrounded by friends after discharging himself from hospital a few days ago.

StargazingLive 2013 will see many tributes to him, but the most effective is for us all to continue inspiring newcomers with a passion for this subject.



Posted by david_clapham on Sunday, December 09 @ 13:39:50 GMT (842 reads)
(Read More... | News | Score: 5)

 Sir Patrick Moore has died 09/12/12

NewsAstronomer and broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore has died at his home at the age of 89, he passed away peacefully at 12.25pm this afternoon", in Selsey, West Sussex.

Posted by keith_barker on Sunday, December 09 @ 13:07:00 GMT (577 reads)
(Read More... | Score: 5)

 News: Close Lunar/Jovian graze - early Sunday 15 July.

Events on the site

Weather permitting, the Observatory will stay open late next Saturday evening to view the Lunar/Jovian graze.


On Sunday 15 July there will be a very close pass of the northern limb of the crescent Moon to Jupiter at 3:04am.

The normal evening sessions will start at 7:30pm and - cloud permitting - observations of the conjunction of these two bright objects will take place in the early hours of the following morning. Both 16" reflectors and a number of smaller telescopes and binoculars suitable for beginners will be available. Also, various members will be making presentations and providing guided tours of the observatory.

Members can contact Peter, Andy and David via the usual channels for further details, or to offer their help.

Visitors are also welcome, but please send an eMail or Tweet to Peter or David before your visit.

Posted by david_clapham on Saturday, July 07 @ 22:54:27 BST (1106 reads)
(Read More... | News | Score: 0)

 Email Problem!

NewsWe have just discovered a problem with the email forwarders that has resulted in practically all emails sent to peter@pdrew.co.uk to fail. The problem has been fixed and we have retrieved all the emails though we would like to appologise to all those who have not yet recieved a reply although I will go through them all and reply if still appropriate. Peter.

Posted by peter_drew on Thursday, June 21 @ 11:00:48 BST (2060 reads)
(Read More... | Score: 0)

 Membership: It is that time of year again........

NewsJust a reminder that it is time to renew your membership. Have you considered setting up a standing order to save you having to remember?

Posted by keith_barker on Friday, March 30 @ 20:28:33 BST (2517 reads)
(Read More... | Membership | Score: 0)

 News: Stargazing Live 2012 events

Events on the site

The Observatory will be open at additional times during the BBC Stargazing Live 2012 broadcasts.


On Saturday 14 and Saturday 21 January there will be an opportunity for solar observing between noon and 3pm. The normal evening sessions will start at 7pm.

On Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 January both 16" reflectors, the 8" refractor and a number of smaller telescopes and binoculars suitable for beginners will be available. Also, various members will be making presentations and providing guided tours of the observatory.

Members can contact Peter, Andy and David via the usual channels for further details, or to offer their help for the various sessions.

Visitors should register as described on the webpage BBC Stargazing Live 2012 events and they will receive more information.


Weather updates


1)
Saturday 14 and Monday 16 will be very cold with generally clear skies, although there may be occasional periods of haziness on the horizon (especially to the east).
There will be cloudier conditions moving in from the west on Tuesday 17 and this will lead to slightly less cold observing conditions with the possibility of interruptions to the sessions if the cloud is unbroken.

2)
The warm front moving in from the west on Tuesday 17 is likely to arrive slightly earlier than predicted on Friday. There is a moderate chance of the outdoor sessions being disrupted by unbroken cloud.
Early indications are for snow on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January.

3)
The forecast for tonight is for generally cloudy skies with occasional breaks. There will be a moderate to strong westerly breeze which may prevent use of the smaller domes on the site.

Posted by david_clapham on Saturday, January 07 @ 21:48:46 GMT (1299 reads)
(Read More... | News | Score: 0)

 Solar observatory

NewsWork has started............... offers of help for various tasks needed.

25/07/11 Foundations being laid.

26/07/11 Foundations finished

27/07/11 Pier installed

28/07/11 Pier modified for EQ6

04/08/11 Trench dug for electrics, LAN and video cables

01/11/11 Dismantled observatory at Farm (except floor), ready to transport up to site

02/11/11 Floor dismantled and brought to site, floor frame assembled on foundations

03/11/11 All parts moved from farm to site, servicing of door runners started.

04/11/11 Door runners all serviced

09/11/11 Base drilled and fixed to foundations

10/11/11 Corner uprights re-fixed back in position

14/11/11 Onwards - cleaning of parts ready for assembly

21/11/11 Removal of outside paint continues!

26/03/12 Well after a long break good weather has allowed us to start re-assembly

30/03/12 Assembly went well, we are now 'fettling' got a temporary power supply connected

14/05/12 Flooring ordered

15/05/12 Flooring arrived, one side varnished

16/05/12 Finished varnishing floor, polythene laid to stop moisture under floor

17/05/12 CAT6 cables to main dome laid, floor laid and secured


Posted by keith_barker on Wednesday, July 27 @ 12:41:55 BST (2889 reads)
(Read More... | Score: 0)

August 29th 2009 Star Party

Star Party running order -,

12.30 - 1.15 Registration

1.15 - 1.30 Opening address

1.30 - 2.30 David Ratledge - "Advances in Digital Photography"

2.30 - 3.00 break

3.00 - 4.00 Prof Sam Falle - "Supernovae"

4.00 - 5.00 tea break

5.00 - 6.00 Kevin Kilburn " Old Moon, New Look"

6.00 - 6.30 break

6.30 - Members Session

Peter Drew "Hydrogen-alpha Solar Observing"

Gurbir Singh "Astronomical Podcasting"

Observing thereafter, if clear!


     Sky Conditions
seeing conditions




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