Beginners Course

New to astronomy? The Society holds 2 beginners courses during the winter months usually Oct/Nov and Feb/March.
Course places are limited to 20 per course. February course is now full - a wait list is in operation. Next course starts 10th October 2018.

See below for more information.

Beginners Astronomy Course - update

The current course starting on 7th February is now fully booked.

New applications for this set are now closed.

If you wish to inquire about the next course starting on 10th October, please use the Contact form on the website. This can be found on the 'The Society' tab above.

Course information for the next course will be updated when the February course is completed.

Geminids Meteor Shower - a result

This image shows one of the numerous shooting stars seen on the nights of the 12th, 13th and 14th December.

Over the course of 3 nighs more than 200 shooting stars were seen including many firevbalsl brighter than magnitude -3 - i.e. brighter than Venus.

The image was taken from Kielder Observatory -

Image is (c) Robert Williams

Individual and Group visits to the Observatory - Important News!

The Astronomy Society is continuing to experience some issues with our Observatory.

As a consequence we are currently not able to open the Observatory to the general public or community groups

If you are a community group in Kirklees we can offer to bring a telescope - and provide a presentation about stargazing - to your community group, at your venue.

All we ask is for a donation to the Astronomy Society in return

If you would like to take up this offer please contact the Astronomy Society at least 4 to 6 weeks in advance. This is to allow time to check availability of personnel.

We will provide updates about the Observatory when we have received further information

2017-18 Program of events - downloadable edition

This is a printable and downloadable version of the Astronomy Society's program for the remainder fo 2017-18.

There are still a few details to fill in and these will be done when information is available.

Watch this Space!

2018 - HAPS will be celebrating is 50th Birthday

During 2018, HAPS will be celebrating its 50th Birthday.

We are hoping to invite a very special keynote speaker for mid-2018.

Details of this event and others planned as part of our celebration will be posted here in due course

Watch this space!

Tuesday Night Meetings

In addition to our weekly Friday events the Society also meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

These meetings are great for astronomy newcomers as well as for the more experienced, they are less structured than the Friday meetings and have a relaxed, sociable feel to them.

We chat about astronomy and science related subjects, share information, and help each other with advice on equipment matters, astrophotography, observing etc.

There is currently a telescope building project on the go (anyone can join in), we have a Tuesday night Facebook group, and we organise observing trips, both to our Observatory and to other dark sky sites in the area.

Meteor Showers 2016 to 2018

The Autumn and Winter of 2016, 2017 and 2018 promise the potential for some good shooting star observing.

The first major shower of the Autumn are the Draconids - these are active around the 10th October. They are the left-overs from a well known comet Goacobini-Zinner and on occasion they can have quite a good showing.

Next comes the Orionids - these are active from 16th to 27th October with a peak on the 20th/21st. There will be a nearly new Moon on this night so get ready for some hours spent tracking these down. Orion rises at around 11pm so you need to stay up late or get up very early to see this shower as they are best viewed after midnight.

The Spring Night Sky

The nights are getting shorter and this heralds the beginning of spring.

During Spring 2018, there will be a number of bright planets on show.

At this time of year there will not be any major meteor showers, though the April Lyrids can put on a show some years.

To make up for this, this time of year is traditionally known as 'Galaxy Season'. This is because a number of constellations are visible for most of the night that contain one or more galaxies. 

Campaign for Dark Skies

Campaign for Dark Skies, sometimes also known as CfDS, is a forum, run by astronomers in the UK in support of ensuring that anyone can find places to go to, in order to be able to view the Milky Way and other aspects of our Night Skies, free from the problems caused by unnecessary or overuse of artificial lighting, in town centres as well as out-of-town developments.

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