Past events

Here is a list of past events and meetings where we have had a guest speaker. Other years: 2013201220112010

Comments are closed.

  • 15th May 2017
    Staring at the Neighbour – 5000 years of Moon Observations’ – 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 1st May 2017
    Monday 1st May Bank Holiday- Cotswold Discovery Centre , The Old Prison , Northleach , CNAAG has a pitch for their Sheep & Wool day. Great for all the family 10 – 4pm
  • 17th Apr 2017
    A talk by Andrew Pontzen – title tba Oxford astrophysicist/ BBCStargazing LIve – and from Chipping Norton 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 8th Apr 2017
    Outside Jaffe & Neale bookshop – Chipping Norton Join CNAAG in the town centre from 11am – 2.30 pm for some solar astronomy.
    After tea and cakes and browsing the books in Jaffe & Neales bookshop, join us again from 6 – 9.30pm to view the Moon and hopefully a planet or two. Both sessions weather permitting.
    Everyone welcome, all ages, free event.
    Please note there will be the official commissioning by CNAAG and Town Council members of the specialised Lunt Solar telescope, part funded by Chipping Norton Town Council, at 12.30pm
  • 1st Apr 2017
    CNAAG Stargazing Live public event at the Rollright Stones – Kingstone field(tbc) Invites to Rissington Stargazers and Abingdon AS to join us. In the event of cloudy or bad weather this event will relocate to LONG COMPTON VILLAGE HALL from 6- 10 where there will be displays and talks etc
  • 31st Mar 2017
    Daylesford CNAAG in support of this event. A Stargazing Live event 6 – 9. Ticketed – all help welcomed Contact Robin for details.
  • 25th Mar 2017
    Saturday 25th March – Public meeting at the Rollright Stones , weather permitting – everyone welcome Saturday 1st April – POSSIBLE alternative public meeting at the Rollright Stones if the 25th is clouded out
  • 20th Mar 2017
    CNAAG AGM plus a short astronomy talk – details will be circulated 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 4th Mar 2017
    An evening of astronomy in the grounds of one the most fascinating venues in the Cotswolds. A ticketed public event but all CNAAG help welcome , very atmospheric- and a nice place to visit on a sunny day. Contact Robin for details
  • 20th Feb 2017
    A talk by Mike Frost – Director of the Historical Section of the BA “Gerhana Mata Hari” It is about a total eclipse of the sun in Indonesia on 9th March 2016. 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 28th Jan 2017
    Oxford – Dept of Astrophysics – 1 – 10pm CNAAG in support of this event.
  • 16th Jan 2017
    A talk by Owen Brazell from Abingdon AS – ‘Galaxies – The Local Group’ There will also be a pre short talk by CNAAG member Steve Knight 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 9th Jan 2017
    CNAAG in support of this event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 19th Dec 2016
    Solar scientist & TV presenter Prof. Lucie Green “15 million degrees: journey to the centre of the Sun”. Light takes eight minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the sun. But its journey within the sun takes hundreds of thousands of years. What is going on in there? What are light and heat? How does the sun produce them and how on earth did scientists discover this? Join Professor Lucie Green, a solar physicist at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, for a talk taking you from inside the sun to its surface and to Earth, to discover how the sun works, how a solar storm can threaten the modern technology that society relies on and more of the latest research in solar physics. Long Compton village hall Doors will open at 7pm with proceedings starting at approx. 7.45. CNAAG Members and Guests only
  • 9th Dec 2016
    Friday 9th December – Weather Permitting Town Centre Observing outside Jaffe & Neale 5 – 9.30
  • 14th Nov 2016
    A talk by Christopher Taylor: ‘Into the Deeps : William Herschel and the Galaxies’ Change of Venue Please note this event will take place in Long Compton Village Hall and it is the 2nd Monday of the month, not the usual 3rd Monday.
  • 9th Nov 2016
    Special event – Moon observing – evening event
  • 30th Oct 2016
    We are part of their ‘Stars and Stories’ public event- all help welcome Sunday October 30th 3 – 7pm
  • 17th Oct 2016
    A talk by author Stephen Tonkin on ‘ Binocular Astronomy’ 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 8th Oct 2016
    ‘Saturday October 8th – CNAAG Autumn MoonWatch & Dark Sky Discovery event . Rollright Stones Observing and talks -6pm onwards . WEATHER PERMITTING Public Event- Hot drinks on site- Wrap up warm ‘
  • 2nd Oct 2016
    CNAAG at this local event. contact Robin or Andy Smith beforehand if you can make the team on the day
  • 24th Sep 2016
    To launch the AONB’s plan to get areas of the Cotswolds ‘International Dark Sky status’ . 24th & 25th Sept.
  • 19th Sep 2016
    A talk by James Fradgley – “Impacts on Earth Large and Small” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 18th Sep 2016
    A CNAAG pitch at the Cotswold Living Landscape Festival near Aldsworth
  • 17th Sep 2016
    Upper Heyford – 6.30 – 10.30 Stargazing plus a film Organised by the developers of the new housing on the site this is an event palnned for ‘500 tickets’ to include a film , possibly in the open air if weather allows. CNAAG has been asked to do an illustrated talk plus set up some telescopes for people to look through. Event details
  • 15th Aug 2016
    The August meeting of CNAAG will be at Chastleton House courtesy of CNAAG member & NT manager Seb Conway Be aware that it is an earlier start than normal , scheduled for 7.30pm Speaker Geraint Morgan from the Open University
  • 13rd Aug 2016
    Solar observing – followed by Perseid observing from Green Lane Farm.
  • 12th Aug 2016
    Rollright Stones
  • 24th Jul 2016
    A CNAAG stand at this event – Coventry Airport , Baginton , Coventry on Sunday 24th July The event is to help the Shackleton Preservation Trust get funds together to get their superbly maintained Shackleton aircraft back into the air. There will be aircraft , vintage and classic cars , stalls and a BBQ. Contact Robin for attendance as a CNAAG member.
  • 18th Jul 2016
    Dr David Brown from Warwick University. “A brief history of exoplanets” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton. Members free – non-members £2
  • 2nd Jul 2016
    Solar observing + Tea , cakes ,burgers and Belly Dancers.
  • 20th Jun 2016
    Dr Amanda Doyle from Warwick University on Asteroseismology . ‘Asteroseismology: using stellar pulsations to look inside stars’ “Asteroseismology is the study of pulsations within stars. Many stars pulsate, including our own Sun, and the manner in which they pulsate can be used to understand what goes on inside them. NASA’s Kepler mission, while primarily tasked with seeking exoplanets, has revolutionised asteroseismology. In this talk I will describe some of the fascinating discoveries that have been made.” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 19th Jun 2016
    CNAAG pitch at this popular event,
  • 16th May 2016
    Infra-red Astronomy from Space and links to projects from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 14th May 2016
    Saturday 14th May – WEATHER PERMITTING – 5pm onwards Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group holds their SPRING MOONWATCH . An astronomical evening where you can chat to Chippy stargazers and look through a wide range of powerful telescopes at the Moon , planets and stars in the atmospheric setting of the Rollright monuments. By all means bring along your own telescope /binoculars .Please be aware it will be cold so come prepared for cold and damp , bring your own food and a hot drink and a torch with a red filter on the end. Please note there are no facilities on site but 2 pubs fairly close . Further details to follow.
  • 9th May 2016
    Rollright Stones observing event. At the Kings Stone field to see the whole transit from start – roughly midday , until finish – approx 7.30pm
  • 18th Apr 2016
    A talk by Andrew Baxter – Chief Engineer at Hanwell observatory ‘The Cleverness of Astronomers’ 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton
  • 16th Apr 2016
    Saturday April 16th – CNAAG public event at AONB headquarters Northleach to launch the Cotswolds Dark Sky campaign
  • 24th Mar 2016
    March 24th – April 21st CNAAG public exhibition in the gallery at the Theatre , Chipping Norton Astronomy photography and more by CNAAG members.
  • 21st Mar 2016
    Annual General Meeting 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 16th Mar 2016
    Observing from the centre of Chipping Norton – outside Jaffe & Neale bookshop Wednesday 16th March from around 5 until 9+ if conditions allow.
  • 15th Feb 2016
    A talk by astronomical historian Mike Frost – title ‘An Arctic Eclipse’ 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 18th Jan 2016
    Stargazing Live – Stargazing Oxfordshire – An illustrated talk by astronomer Owen Brazell from Abingdon Astronomical Society . 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 16th Jan 2016
    Oxford University Department of Astrophysics , Keble Road , Oxford Saturday 16th of January 2 – 10 pm Stargazing Oxfordshire – Chipping Norton Astronomy Group in conjunction with the Department of Astrophysics and with Abingdon Astronomical Society , an afternoon and evening in the company of experienced astronomers , astrophotographers and physicists. Lectures from the top professionals , demonstrations , observing ( weather permitting ) – the best in astronomy, suitable for everyone. Free but booking advised as it is very popular. For more information
  • 21st Dec 2015
    CNAAG celebratory end of year event. Monday 21st December – Note CHANGE OF VENUE – This months meeting will relocate to LONG COMPTON Village Hall to allow us to have our annual buffet and Christmas special event. Chris Lintott is our guest speaker , the finger buffet , tea /coffee etc is free but the small bar is a paid bar – at cost only , we have a licence holder to look after the catering side of things. Any food offers to boost the buffet with your culinary delights would be most welcome Please note this is an exclusive members/members family / close friends event only but we will also be inviting the people who consistently help us out. Times to be decided but it will be a suitable astronomically festive night – observing will take place if it is clear
  • 19th Dec 2015
    EVENT POSTPONED – new date to be in the Spring 2017 Saturday 19th December -To kick off our winter season in style – only if clear – we plan to hold an evenings town centre observing from outside Jaffe & Neals bookshop in the evening of the last Saturday shopping day before Christmas The Moon is visible from late afternoon and is at 1st quarter. From about 4.30 onwards – tbc
  • 20th Nov 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 16th Nov 2015
    A talk by astro-photographer Damian Peach. 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 31st Oct 2015
    Halloween observing night at Green Lane farm , Whichford . ONLY IF SKY IS CLEAR. Join CNAAG for a tour of the Universe in darkest Whichford courtesy of Tom and Ann Sammons. Come prepared with warm clothing etc. Refreshments available. From 7PM to 11PM.
  • 19th Oct 2015
    Gary Poyner “Historical novae” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 17th Oct 2015
    Observing night at the Rollright Stones if clear – ( original activity of Deep Sky Challenge postponed )
  • 21st Sep 2015
    Geoffrey Cotterill, CNAAG, “Astronomical Art or Sploshed in Space” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 30th Aug 2015
    CANCELLED due to cloudy forecast. Solar Sunday.- Rollright Stones
  • 17th Aug 2015
    Event for CNAAG members to present topics of interest. 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 11th Aug 2015
    Meteor observing evenings at the Rollright Stones 11th & 12th August – WEATHER PERMITTING 8.30 pm to 12.00 midnight
  • 25th Jul 2015
    Combined Archeo/ Astronomy event at the Rollright Stones in conjunction with the Rollright Trust. Time – tbc
  • 20th Jul 2015
    Gordon Dennis – ‘The Amateur Search for Dark Matter’ 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 5th Jul 2015
    Observing the Sun – probably at the Red Lion , LONG Compton tbc
  • 4th Jul 2015
    CNAAG pitch at this local event.
  • 21st Jun 2015
    CNAAG outdoor pitch at this great Midland event . See the Vulcan bomber thunder up and down the runway – join the fight to keep the airfield safe from developers – an event not to be missed.
  • 15th Jun 2015
    A talk by guest speaker Charles Barclay – Director of The Blackett Observatory and Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College Oxford University, title ‘The Barclay Equatorial – the oldest GOTO telescope in the world’ 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 13rd Jun 2015
    CNAAG participation in a summer event at the Rollright Stones Storytelling , dancing and music all leading up to a live play in the Rollright Stone circle 2.00 – 11PM
  • 18th May 2015
    Grant Miller – Oxford University – Zooniverse: A million eyes on the sky 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 3rd May 2015
    Observing the sun – Rollright Stones- circle side, midday onwards. OR/AND 10th May depending on weather.
  • 30th Apr 015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 20th Apr 2015
    Brooke Simmons, Oxford University, “Black Holes, Galaxies and Other Discoveries from your Sitting Room” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 28th Mar 2015
    At the LONG COMPTON VILLAGE HALL 17:15 to 22:00 DARK SKY DISCOVERY AWARD EVENING FOR THE ROLLRIGHT STONE MONUMENTS Programme of events – please note , may be subject to change as circumstances dictate on the night 5.15 Hall opens – displays and light refreshments. Displays of telescopes and images by the resident Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group and a stand /display by the Wardens and Trustees of the Rollright Stones 6.00 – Welcome address followed by a talk from George Lambrick , Head of the Rollright Trust 6.20 – A very short film ( 8 minutes) illustrating the quality of the night sky from the Rollrights followed by: 6.30 – The official acceptance of the Dark Sky Discovery award by George Lambrick 6.45 – Astrophotography – how to photograph the night sky by expert Mel Gigg of the Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group 7.00 IF THE WEATHER ALLOWS there may be an opportunity here to go up to the Stones for those that would like to – WARNING Weatherproof clothing and torches essential – led by George Lambrick , Head of the Rollright Trust , former Deputy Director and Head of Consultancy at Oxford Archaeology and Director of the Council for British Archaeology. 7.15/7.20 If the weather is inclement or for everyone who would prefer to stay at the hall , the rare opportunity to watch the documentary ‘Standing With Stones’ , a fascinating journey through some of the stone circles of the United Kingdom – we hope to be joined by the co director/producer Michael Bott . Refreshments will be available throughout the film 9.30 Film finishes 10.00 Event ends
  • 26th Mar 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 21st Mar 2015
    Stargazing Oxford as part of BBC Stargazing Live events with CNAAG in support. An all day event in the company of Professional and Amateur astronomers. Activities and talks all day Oxford University Department of Physics Denys Wilkinson Building, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm Oxford Astrophysics Department events page
  • 20th Mar 2015
    Early morning event in Chipping Norton town centre to view the eclipse. 08:30 to 10:30 outside Jaffe & Neale bookshop. NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN – Check out the following link for viewing advice. OBSERVING THE ECLIPSE IN SAFETY
  • 16th Mar 2015
    Dr Allan Chapman – the foremost astronomical historian, author and Television presenter will be talking about his latest book called “Stargazers: Galileo, Copernicus, the Telescope and the Church” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 26th Feb 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 25th Feb 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 16th Feb 2015
    Annual General Meeting 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 7th Feb 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 5th Feb 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 29th Jan 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 28th Jan 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 27th Jan 2015
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 24th Jan 2015
    A public observing event at Long Compton recreation ground – site of the first CNAAG meeting. 5.30 to 9PM Refreshments etc. available in the pavilion. Illustrated talk.
  • 19th Jan 2015
    Mike Frost – ‘How To Lose Weight’ 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 17th Jan 2015
    Stargazing Oxford with CNAAG in support. Oxford University Department of Physics Denys Wilkinson Building, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm Oxford Astrophysics Department events page
  • 15th Dec 2014
    Prof. Chris Lintott – Oxford Astrophysics & BBC ‘Sky at Night’ presenter. 7:00 for 7:30PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton. NOTE EARLY START – doors open for a 7.30 start . 9pm retire to the Fox for buffet and other items.
  • 6th Dec 2014
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 29th Nov 2014
    Outside Jaffe & Neale Bookshop – from 5PM
  • 26th Nov 2014
    Oxford University Department of Physics Denys Wilkinson Building, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Oxford Astrophysics Department events page
  • 25th Nov 2014
    CANCELLED EVENT – bad weather Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 17th Nov 2014
    Gary Poyner FRAS – “Variable Stars – How and why they vary” 7:30 for 8PM at the Methodist Church Hall ( use the side entrance to lower back room ), Chipping Norton.
  • 14th Nov 2014
    Local schools and other organisations outreach event. Contact Robin for details.
  • 31st Oct 2014
    Contact Robin for details.
  • 20th Oct 2014
    Original talk by Prof. Ian Kenyon has been cancelled but an alternative is being organised.
  • 28th Sep 2014
    At the Rollright Stones
  • 15th Sep 2014
    Monday 15th September 2014 – Dr Richard Greenwood – Research Fellow (Open University) – Meteorites and the early solar system
  • 18th Aug 2014
    Monday 18th August 2014 – Professor David Rothery – Professor of Planetary Geosciences (Open University) – “Mercury – new views of the Sun’s innermost planet”
  • 11th Aug 2014
    Observing meteors from the Chipping Norton Airfield site. Monday 11th & Tuesday 12th – if clear sky only. If you are not currently a CNAAG member please contact Chairman Robin first ( robin@cnaag.com )
  • 9th Aug 2014
    Details tba
  • 30th Jul 2014
    Wednesday 30th July – Jodrell Bank Five cars carried 15 CNAAGers north on Wednesday 30th to spend the day walking around the fantastic radio telescope at Jodrell Bank . We all know its big , but when you get up to it it is a magnificent spectacular and stunning piece of machinery and from whichever angle you look at it looks almost like a huge conceptual sculpture.It was certainly built to last and its bolted steel girders looked like it could have been an invention of Kingdom Brunel despite it being built in the early 1950’s. A great day out.
  • 26th Jul 2014
    Saturday 26th – Archeo/Astronomy event A warm and dry day provided the ideal conditions for the very first collaberation between CNAAG and the Rollright Trust . With archeology and dowsing going on the the Rollright Stones from 10.30 am with talks and refreshments in Long Compton village hall from 1.30 it was a very busy day . Lizzie Bryant , Prof Clive Ruggles and Dr Chris Lintott were our guest speakers who kept the 100 people in the hall enthralled. Overall an estimated 250- 300 people were entertained during the day which proved to be highly successful, we will be looking to hold similar events in the near future .
  • 21st Jul 2014
    Monday 21st July 2014 – Robert Lambourne – Professor of Educational Physics (Open University) – “Faster than light galaxies” NOTE Location changed to METHODIST CHURCH Chipping Norton – just over the road from the Fox pub. Access to the function room is down the path to the left of the building frontage. 7:30 for 8pm as usual.
  • 22nd Jun 2014
    Solar Observing at the Red Lion , LONG Compton – 12:30 onwards Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd – Solar Observing Saturday 21st found us at Long Compton fete for the afternoon. 7 telescopes were trained on the sun with both white and Ha filters ,Mel and Oliver were both able to show people the prominences while the rest of us dealt with the spots , both Alex and Mel were imaging and hopefuly we will all see the results A great afternoon with a lot of interest and the weather bode well for the following day at the Red Lion. But how things change weatherwise in the UK !. Despite high temperatures and the feeling of a similar day ahead , the warm weather brought with it rapidly increasing humidity and billowing cumulus which proceeded to spread out to practically 90% cloud cover by 12 /1pm and it was clearly not going to be an observing day , consequently the event was called off – however and just to rub salt into the wound , contrary to the forecast , conditions did improve after 3pm – these things happen ,we move on and live to fight another day.
  • 21st Jun 2014
    Saturday 21st June – Long Compton Village Fete – CNAAG pitch at this local event.
  • 16th Jun 2014
    Professor Mark Lester, Professor of Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Leicester University CANCELLED BUT MEETING WILL GO AHEAD ANYWAY
  • 15th Jun 2014
    CNAAG has a pitch at the Wellesbourne ‘Wings and Wheels’ public show.
  • 24th May 2014
    Solar observing on the weekend of 24th/25th May A two day event at the Rollright Stones.
  • 19th May 2014
    The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start Talk entitled “Gamma Ray Bursts: an astronomical detective story”
  • 16th May 2014
    “Museums at Night” – CNAAG telescopes at this event in Oxford.
  • 20th Apr 2014
    Daytime observing at the Rollright Stones. Solar Sunday and Telescope Workshop at the Rollright Stones. Starting at around 12 noon we will be observing the Sun (in safety) if conditions allow. If it stays clear we may be observing on into the evening. Free astronomy event , nominal Rollright Stone entry until dusk ( free after). Ideal for a Spring picnic
  • 14th Apr 2014
    Dr Sarah Kendrew – Oxford University “The Milky Way Project: mapping bubbles in the Milky Way Galaxy” The Fox, Chipping Norton. 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start.
  • 17th Mar 2014
    The Fox, Chipping Norton. 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start.
  • 12th Mar 2014
    Bicester Young Farmers observing session.
  • 11th Mar 2014
    Observing for pupils parents & staff
  • 7th Mar 2014
    National Astronomy Week 2014 celebrates Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. Jupiter will reach its highest point in the sky for many years in early March. Observing Jupiter in Chipping Norton town centre – Jaffe & Neale bookshop – set up from about 17:00
  • 5th Mar 2014
    Participation by CNAAG in Oxford University’s Department of Astrophysics, for their outreach event. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
  • 27th Feb 2014
    Evening 6 – 7.30, observing if possible. Observing event for pupils, parents and staff.
  • 17th Feb 2014
    “Oxford’s Observatories, from the Radcliffe to the lesser known” The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start
  • 7th Feb 2014
    The town centre observing session had some limited success with a few scopes set up in time for views of the quarter Moon and Mel just getting Jupiter as it rose over the rooftops. The fingertips of the approaching Atlantic storm soon became a dark blanket covering and at the first drops of rain everyone was packed away. We did have a lot of interest from the few people that came along and it proved its worth as a good PR effort.
  • 31st Jan 2014
    Unfortunately this event has been cancelled due to the predicted bad weather. In the paddock of the Red Lion pub, Little Compton. An evening of stargazing with no moon close to all the facilities of a great country pub. Suggest to book direct with the pub for a meal although I will try and organise something for participating astronomers – WEATHER PERMITTING – CNAAG team required, let me know as usual.
  • 20th Jan 2014
    The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start A talk about the great astronomer Sir Norman Lockyer
  • 11th Jan 2014
    In contrast to the previous day, Saturday 11th found us in both glorious sunshine and later under a clear night sky at the Dept of Astrophysics in Oxford in our capacity as the northern contingent of ‘Stargazing Oxfordshire’ for their Stargazing Live event. From early afternoon until 10pm over 1200 people were treated to indoor displays and exhibitions and some fantastic observations of the Moon & Jupiter. A great success all round Some photos of the event ©Alex Browne
  • 10th Jan 2014
    Our first SGLive event kicked off at approx. 5.30pm despite the threat of the weather bringing everything to a grinding halt. A very diffuse Moon gave enough of a target for the astronomers and public to observe. Meanwhile an impromptu ‘set’ was organised inside the café and two astronomical talks were well received. We estimate that our first event must have attracted in excess of 150 people. The stars of the evening were the leader & pupils of Chipping Norton School who brought along one of the 5 telescopes they have built, a terrific accomplishment. Many thanks to Patrick, Polly and the staff of Jaffe & Neales who kept the café open. We will repeat this event on Friday 7th Feb. Finally it was very encouraging to hear that some visitors had travelled from as far afield as Cheltenham and Abingdon. Some pictures of the event ©Alex Browne BBC website
  • 26th Dec 2013
    Only if clear and snow free. An informal gathering of available (or mad!) CNAAGers.
  • 16th Dec 2013
    (Restricted to members and guests of members only) The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start Subject “Planets Beyond the Solar system”
  • 11th Dec 2013
    CNAAG presentation, observing if possible
  • 5th Dec 2013
    CNAAG presentation to pupils and parents, observing if possible. Time to be confirmed
  • 27th Nov 2013
    Participation by CNAAG in Oxford University’s Department of Astrophysics, for their outreach event. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
    Images from a previous event
  • 26th Nov 2013
    CNAAG presentation, observing if possible
  • 21st Nov 2013
    CNAAG presentation, observing if possible. Postponed till the New Year
  • 19th Nov 2013
    CNAAG presentation to pupils and parents, observing if possible
  • 18th Nov 2013
    The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start “Everything I Learnt about Astronomy from Doctor Who”
  • 14th Nov 2013
    CNAAG presentation to pupils and parents, observing if possible
  • 11th Nov 2013
    Talk and observing
  • 9th Nov 2013
    Talk and observing
  • 21st Oct 2013
    The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start Exoplanets: the search for other worlds
  • 13rd Oct 2013
    SOLAR SUNDAY at the Rollright Stones – very much weather permitting. From the stone circle side the Sun will be visible from 8am until we lose it behind the trees at around 4.30pm. If the weather is good bring a lunch and come along for a great afternoon, probably the last one in comfortable temperatures before the Autumn chills set in.
  • 12th Oct 2013
    ONLY IF OBSERVABLE we will be setting up in Chipping Norton, outside Jaffe & Neale, 5.30pm until about 9.30, to invite the public to come and take a look at the Moon. Its an international event and it will be great to get as many scopes there as possible . Let Robin know if you can make it.
  • 2nd Oct 2013
    Talk and observing – details to follow.
  • 29th Sep 2013
    Live broadcast from Radio Winchcomb as part of the Phill Bird Sunday show 107.1 FM or internet – Radio Winchcomb
  • 18th Sep 2013
    Following a cloudy and blustery day, the weather proved more than helpful on Wedneday 18th Sept for the first of our Autumn outreach events at Shipston on Stour Primary School. Setting up not long after 6pm, the skies were clearing from the North West and we had a perfect view of the Moon, one day off full, rising over the rooftops. Over 50 pupils and parents listened to a talk about ‘Other Worlds, the Possibility for Life & Travelling to the Stars’ which was very well received and everyone picked up the Moore Moon Marathon sheets to go home with. Outside, interest was buzzing and everyone managed a look at the Moon through the 3 telescopes set up, 2 Vixen refractors and a Cassegrain, and there were plenty of ‘Wows’ as it was viewed (filtered) at higher magnifications. A great start to the season and the school is already planning another event. Thanks to Kevin W & Dave H for their stalwart support.
  • 16th Sep 2013
    The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start Updates on comets ISON and Lovejoy, plus illustrated talk ‘A Brief History of Mars’
  • 31st Aug 2013
    More details to follow
  • 19th Aug 2013
    The Fox Chipping Norton 7:30pm for 8:00pm start Reviewing the Sky At Night, astronomical updates plus an illustrated talk ‘Interlopers from the Cosmic Depths’
  • 12th Aug 2013
    Sunday the 11th looked promising for observing from the airfield site and several astronomers met up in the ‘dip’ to get some shelter from an annoying wind. Increasingly, high cloud allowed only relatively short glimpses but meteors were seen and imaged successfully. The following night at the Rollright Stones found many CNAAGers and members of the public positioning themselves for a spectacular night of meteor spotting – no one was to be disappointed. As soon as the sky got dark enough streaks were to be seen in the cloudless sky. We were positioned in the stone circle side sheltered from the north wind and conditions remained calm and comfortable all evening. Bella and Rosa (now stars of the Sky at Night) started a count but gave up not long after the 100th meteor was spotted. A terrific night for the imagers who managed to capture some extraordinary shots. Two overhead passes of the ISS, numerous satellite sightings and deep sky objects complemented the evening’s viewing. Our CNAAG electronics guru Bryan (Lefty) Hunt arrived on site festooned not only with telescopes but with huge aerials and boxes of electronics, listening out for the characteristic sounds of incoming meteors – very impressive. The comedy was provided by Steve Levett with his hilarious ‘Collapsing Sun Lounger’ routine which had us all rolling about in laughter. Lots of interest from the visiting public and another fantastic turnout from CNAAG. everyone was rewarded in full by the sight of spectacular Perseid meteors, ionisation trails, lingering smoke trails and fireball meteors which made the evening one that will not be forgotten – as ever, terrific support by all, here’s to the next observing night.
  • 10th Aug 2013
    The six cars and occupants who made the trek down to Stonehenge on Saturday 10th August were rewarded on arrival with blue skies and only passing cloud which boded well for the evening ahead despite the gloomy forecast. However, that feeling of well-being slowly ebbed away as cloud cover gradually rolled in from the west as we were setting up on site. By the time the event was due to start there was complete cloud cover – but it remained dry and relatively pleasant. Our stalwart host, National Trust Warden Lizzie Bryant and her team set up the refreshments and comet-making facilities whilst CNAAG members set up telescopes; the gazebo with projector, screen and generator; and we were all ready for the 50 members of the public to arrive. Lizzie began the evening with her fascinating talk about the myths surrounding the stars and constellations, particularly with Perseus, Cassiopeia and Andromeda. After a short break we presented our talk about the search for life beyond the solar system and some of the problems with travelling to the stars, the sound system coming in very handy. Lots of questions from the audience after the talk underlined the strength of interest in space and the universe. We had one fleeting glimpse of the ISS as it tracked overhead through a momentary break in the clouds but at 11pm the event came to a close. Surprisingly the evening was a great success despite the weather and showed how we are able to cope with the unpredictable. A great effort from all concerned and we all arrived safely home before 2am, bleary eyed but with a well deserved sense of accomplishment – thanks to all concerned.
  • 28th Jul 2013
    On Sunday 28th July we held our 2nd SOLAR SUNDAY at the Rollright Stones. See Spacebook
  • 15th Jul 2013
    The Fox, Chipping Norton. 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start. 'The Accidental Death of an Anarchist'
  • 17th Jun 2013
    “Observing Galaxy Clusters”
  • 16th Jun 2013
    Our annual all-day pitch at Wellesbourne airfield, the day they fire up the mighty Vulcan bomber , taxi it around and run it up to take off speed. Vintage Car display plus lots of other stalls and attractions – come along either as visitor or volunteer , great fun – the CNAAG pitch is always popular. Wings and Wheels details and map
  • 1st Jun 2013
    A trip to Wellesbourne Airfield for an exclusive guided tour of the Vulcan bomber being prepped for its annual public outing on the 16th.
  • 20th May 2013
    Citizen Science with the Zooniverse
  • 17th May 2013
    May 17-18 2013 Took place at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre at Leamington Spa.
  • 20th Apr 2013
    The first of our trips to Stonehenge courtesy of the National Trust has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
  • 15th Apr 2013
    On Monday 15th April, Dr Leigh Fletcher treated us to an intriguing look at the atmospheric processes taking place on the gas planets and gave us an insight into the work going on to explore those atmospheres and Jupiter's moons, his talk entitled ‘Strange Weather – Exploring the Giants of our Solar System’. Compared to the ‘rough’ surface of Earth which disrupts our weather patterns , the featureless surfaces of the gas giants allow the smooth flow of gases to be studied almost as a liquid allowing the dynamics of those alien atmospheres to be understood. Heat sources from within plus the outside effects of the Sun combine to separate out the different gases into layers, whilst impacts by asteroids and comets burrow deep into the thick layers churning and disrupting the atmospheres. Whilst our understanding of Jupiter and Saturn has been enhanced by the Galileo and Cassini space probes, our scant knowledge of the icy gas giants, Uranus and Neptune, is still based on the information of the Voyager probes of 40 years ago. Acknowledging that there is so much more we need to learn about the gas giants, Leigh made a strong point of highlighting the amount of attention (and money) being spent on Mars at the expense of exploring the gas giants. Juno, currently on its way to further explore Jupiter from 2016, looks like being the last major NASA project out to the gas planets. The European Space Agency’s JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) project, scheduled to launch in 2022 is specifically designed to study Jupiter's moons in detail – sadly, Leigh lamented, there are no further plans to visit the gas planets after that. Altogether a fascinating and well presented talk which sparked off a flurry of questions, Dr Leigh Fletcher made us focus on our solar system companions – and to contemplate just how much more there is that we need to know about them. By Robin Smitten
  • 14th Apr 2013
    CNAAG’s combined Spring Star & Moonwatch at the Rollright Stones, POSTPONED. Sadly this has been postponed as the weather forecast is for 20-25 knot winds and heavy rain from 1-6pm. We will schedule another date before too long.
  • 20th Mar 2013
    Talk and observing if clear
  • 19th Mar 2013
    With a very negative forecast in prospect, we were pleasantly surprised to arrive at Bidford on Avon Primary School under a blue sky with the quarter Moon riding high to the south. Approximately 40 parents and pupils came along bringing a selection of telescopes which ranged from the low range plastic models up to Skywatchers on equatorial mounts. With people struggling with their scopes up it was great that we were able demostrate the process of setting up, get the owners to do the same and watch them pick up and target the Moon with ease. Many common problems were evident: out of balance tubes, incorrect latitude settings, polar alignment, plastic eyepieces to name a few. Hopefully David H, Kevin W and myself have done something to help with the observing. The best comment from one parent (Skywatcher 130) was "Ive found out more in the last 15 minutes than I have all year" – job done! The illustrated talk about Comet Pannstars and the objects of the Orion constellation was well received with plenty of questions from the keen youngsters – the astronomers of the future. This event brought to a head our outreach work which began in November and once again illustrated the commitment of the CNAAG membership (other members were simultaneously representing the group at Oxford University) as well the overall appeal of astronomy.
  • 19th Mar 2013
    CNAAG presentation to pupils and parents, observing if possible
  • 19th Mar 2013
    Brian and I were there first and we were ushered up to the top floor to set up our scopes. The weather did not look promising but the helpers supplied us with some covers to use in case it rained. Good job they did as it rained for a good hour or so. Mel and Sarah set up camp in the room right at the end of the corridor where the Abingdon society were last time – I suppose to make it fair on all. Between checking the weather and the scopes on the roof Brian and I spent a bit of time with Mel and Sarah but from what I could tell we did not get that many visitors. Later in the evening we did however get about 45 minutes of broken cloud – luckily right overhead – and were able to observe the moon and Jupiter for a while, and probably about 30 – 40 different visitors were able to have a brief view through the scopes – always difficult to judge exactly how many different people are there because they come and go and of course it is dark. There was one other scope up there as well as mine and Brian's as one of the Abingdon crew set his up as well. Talked to quite a few people and think I have persuaded some to come along to the Spring Moonwatch. One gentleman in particular said that he has had a 10 inch reflector with an EQ5 mount and tripod for about 2 years but has never managed to set it up, I told him to bring it along and we would show him 🙂 By Doug Wells
  • 18th Mar 2013
    “Galactic Archaeology: Understanding the Universe’s past by looking at the present” On Monday we were very lucky to have Dr Chris Lintott give a talk to the group. The main theme of his talk was learning about the past universe from studying the remnants that remain visible today, which he described as a sort of galactic archaology. He began by describing how the universe is expanding, with more distant objects moving further away than nearer ones. This relationship between distance and velocity is known as the Hubble constant. Of course as things move away, the Doppler effect causes the wavelength of the light these objects emit to lengthen. So visible light moves to the red end of the spectrum, and beyond, which is why many of the current batch of telescopes are designed to look in the infrared. The very oldest objects have accelerated away for so long that the ‘light’ as we receive it has a wavelength in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Dr Lintott showed us the now famous CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) map of the early universe. The CMB radiation seems to come from the whole sky, but when temperature differences of a fraction of a degree are colour coded, the image seems quite mottled, revealing the beginnings of some structure emerging out of the uniformity. He talked about the data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the 2 Degree Field projects, which gives us a structure of the universe with images of galaxy clusters and super clusters. The areas of stringiness/clumpiness showed where local gravity between galaxies won the battle with Dark Energy, that force which is causing the universe to expand. The thing that is still a bit of a puzzle (apart from Dark Energy) is that this clumpiness appears to have been achieved in a much shorter time than the physics would predict was possible. There is a project under way to find an explanation as to why some galaxies no longer had much dust or star forming regions within them. It may be that the jets of material and radiation emitted from the central black holes have the effect of stopping or otherwise preventing new star formation. He talked about the distribution of galaxy types, where their ages were plotted against their mass. ‘Blue’ galaxies, ie those containing mostly younger stars, occupied thier own space at the bottom of the graph, while ‘red’ galaxies containing older stars were predominantly in the top half of the diagram. Dr Lintott explained that the graph showed that the more massive ‘red’ galaxies could only have been formed by merger of other old galaxies, and not directly by the aging of ‘blue’ ones. Finally, Dr Lintott presented a possible explanation for the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB), a period when the many of the craters were formed. Usually in a solar system that is relatively established many of the rougue bits of rock would have been hoovered up long before by the presence of the planets, so the fact that the LHB should happen was puzzling, unless an event happened that disrupted the orbits of some Kuiper Belt Objects and sent them into the inner solar system. One possibility is that the outer planets were much closer to the sun than they are now, with the orbit of Uranus being outside that of Neptune. Over time, the relative periods of Jupiter and Saturn’s orbits caused them to line up in the same place on several occasions, and this ‘resonance’ produced a regular gravitational kick that perturbed the orbits of Neptune and Uranus causing them to swap places. This would have disrupted the nearer KBOs causing some of them to have much more elongated orbits, taking them within range of the inner planets. An animation of this idea is shown here. All in all a very enjoyable presentation, a few concepts explained very well indeed. By Oliver Stogdon
  • 18th Mar 2013
    Talk and observing if clear
  • 5th Mar 2013
    Movie of comet setting. This comet, discovered in June 2011 by the Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii, passed closest to the Earth on 5th March, then the Sun on the 10th, and is now heading back out of the solar system. The closest it will get to the Earth is about 1.1 AU which is 10% greater than the earth-sun distance of 93 million miles (150 million km). Best seen from the Northern Hemisphere during March, starting low in the sky after sunset, in Pisces, and climbing gradually throught Pegasus and Andromeda as the month progresses. It should be visible to the naked eye. The comet is considered to be non-periodic, having originated from the Oort cloud, but after it passes the sun it will have a measurable orbit of about 110,000 years. More details and images are on the EarthSky website.
  • 3rd Mar 2013
    Wisely taking shelter from the south east wind in the lee of the Rollright Stone trees, 7 plucky astronomers made the most of a fine evening to take a look at Jupiter which is still a terrific sight. Early thin high cloud cleared as the temperature dropped throughout the evening and a haze gradually developed obscuring most stars up to about 20 degrees or so above the horizon. We all managed to watch Io as it slipped behind Jupiter whose gas belts stood out really well with more than a definite hint of a 3rd belt. Various magnifications were tried out with combinations of Barlow lenses which illustrated just how badly the image quality drops off once the capabilities of the optics are exceeded. Oliver was steering his Vixen with a bluetooth gamepad and Mel Gigg gave his new Takahashi refractor an airing, very nice – the scope that is, not Mel! Kevin H provided the evenings entertainment by (a) lining up on a star which was not Polaris and (b) getting North and South mixed up and wondering why things were not going fully to plan (but I promised I would never reveal that to anyone!) Don't worry Kevin, we have all been there. We were all packed up and leaving by 11.30pm, last man standing was Steve from Witney whose wide angle exposures suffered from the headlights of passing traffic. As we packed away, a film of frost on the grass and cars, and the flashing lights of gritting lorries reminded us that winter was far from over – a great enthusiastic turnout from everyone and, as usual Jupiter and astronomy won the evening.
  • 21st Feb 2013
    After an earlier postponement because of the snow a small and optimistic CNAAG contingent made its way to the 2nd Banbury Scouts camp site near Horley to the North West of Banbury. After some difficulty we located the entrance to the site which turned out to be about half a mile down possibly the most rutted and potholed muddy track any of us had seen. The cloud put paid to any observing but the illustrated talk dealing with the search for Earth-like planets, travelling to the stars and the problems inherent with travelling at light speed was well received by the 20+ scouts, leaders and parents with the promise of our return on another occasion. Due thanks to Doug W & Kevin W for coming along and acting as roadies.
  • 20th Feb 2013
    On a cold, windy and partly cloudy evening, CNAAG were pleased to be hosted by about 75 pupils and their parents at one of the many ‘outreach’ events we have run this winter. The evening began with a very fine overhead pass of the ISS before moving inside for a very well received, illustrated talk by Robin on the changes the digital revolution has made to astronomy and how amateurs can use quite basic equipment to achieve remarkable results. The evening moved outside again for a view of a –8 Iridium flare but by now the cloud had rolled in which took the edge of this potentially fine site. As the temperature dropped still further, the event drew to a close but nobody drifted away without seeing fine views of the Moon and Jupiter provided by Kevin, David and John. It was a very rewarding evening with lots of enthusiastic youngsters, very appreciative parents and a very warm welcome from all the staff at Enstone Primary School.
  • 18th Feb 2013
    The Fox, Chipping Norton. 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start.
  • 18th Feb 2013
    Talk, and observing if clear.
  • 15th Feb 2013
    Asteroid observing, check emails for details of when and where.
  • 15th Feb 2013
    THE CNAAG EVENT Putting our trust in the forecast which gave us almost ideal conditions to observe the close pass of Asteroid 2012 DA14, 9 telescopes were set up at Chipping Norton airfield in eager anticipation of the event. The asteroid weighing 130,000 tons and travelling at about 6km per second was calculated to pass within 18000 miles of the Earth and be visible through binoculars and promised to be a great target for the astrophotographers. With great irritation and testing our patience to the full , the encroaching cloud, which initially gave enough breaks to view the ISS, Moon, Jupiter and Orion, instead of clearing continued to thicken to the point where even the most optimistic CNAAGer had to admit defeat. Despite that setback an evening of astro chat and interviews by Barry and Laura of Witney Radio and the crew of Witney TV ensured that we all got something out of the evening. It appears that due to extensive cloud cover there were very few people that got a good view from the UK but one thing is for certain it will not be the last close shave for us all. THE RUSSIAN EVENT News broke in the early hours of Friday 15th Feb of a meteorite plunging to Earth in Northern Russia with an escalating number of reported injuries, ending up at over 1000. This object was originally estimated to have been around 10 tons in weight, this has since been revised and re estimated to have been closer to a staggering 10,000 tons. With a 500 kiloton blast the object exploded, the resultant shock wave shattering windows and showering people with shards of flying glass and causing one factory wall to collapse. By the sound of it, as many media people headed for the area as did rescue workers as the event headlined globally. The videos taken by people from their dashboard cams and mobile phones were fascinating and an edited selection can be seen on YouTube here – a truly staggering and spectacular rare event which can only serve as a warning to us all that these objects are lurking out there somewhere. For sheer timing it could have not been better as we prepared ourselves for the close pass of Asteroid 2012 DA14 that same evening. Both events carried a strange irony in as much as the interloping asteroid was something we detected some time ago and knew about well in advance, but we were not able to see; and the meteorite we had no warning of and knew nothing about at all was seen by thousands as it reached the ground.
  • 7th Feb 2013
  • 7th Feb 2013
  • 2nd Feb 2013
    Not sure yet about how clear it was at the Rollrights. It was clear but very cold near Ipswich!
  • 24th Jan 2013
    After the most dismal run of observing weather for our planned public Stargazing Live 2013 events, it was a relief to see the sky clearing as we drove towards Bidford on Avon school for our last SGL outreach event on Thursday 24th January. With lying snow everywhere, the sight of the Moon 3 days away from full, plus magnificent Jupiter high to the South East the evening promised to be clear but very cold. A bit of a rushed set up of the projector and screen in the lobby plus 2 telescopes outside and we were ready to go just after 6pm.’Other Worlds’ was the subject of the illustrated talk where the search for life in the solar system and some of the problems of travelling to the stars were discussed. Following the talk the 25 – 30 pupils parents & teachers quickly managed to view the Moon and Jupiter through the 8″ reflector and David Henderson's new Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 Cassegrain before encroaching cloud, tired youngsters and frosty air put an end to proceedings. However, everyone enjoyed the evening and the recieved comment from the organisers was ‘Thank you all for another fantastic evening’. Thanks to Kevin W and David H for coming along and the pub meal afterwards was a great way to round off our Stargazing Live 2013 events.
  • 23rd Jan 2013
    Talk – will be rescheduled for February
  • 22nd Jan 2013
    Sunday 20th and Tuesday 22nd January 2013 5:00pm – 9:00pm. From the forecourt of Jaffe & Neale’s Bookshop. This is also being postponed due to the ongoing weather and pavement conditions, but the plan is to reschedule it at a later date.
  • 21st Jan 2013
    It’s important to develop ideas about a planet by examining images of its surface, and the talk stressed the importance of looking at such evidence, and comparing it with the surfaces of the other rocky planets – still most of what we know. James Hutton proposed in 1785 that by looking at the relationships between rocks exposed at the Earth’s surface, we could identify repeated cycles of deposition, uplift and erosion, showing a continuity of geological processes over an immense time-scale, contradicting many contemporaries who wanted to argue that catastrophic events governed the Earth’s history. Hutton’s ideas implied that large-scale dynamic processes produce these ‘earth-movements’, but it wasn’t until the last few decades that we have been able to look at the topography of the oceans, and this led to the hypothesis of plate-tectonics, where basalts are erupted to form new ocean crust at volcanic ridges and this crust first spreads to form the oceans then dives below adjacent plates at great linear features marked by deep trenches. Importantly, the lines of volcanoes which mark this ‘subduction’ process typically produce andesite rather than basalt – while basalt is the product of melting essentially-dry mantle rock, water is needed to allow melting at lower temperatures to give the more silica-rich andesite. The Earth has a unique supply of liquid water in its oceans, and this may be essential for plate tectonics as well as life. There remain many things we don’t know about plate tectonics – just how it’s driven and even whether in fact its processes only involve relatively shallow depths of a few hundred metres into the mantle. Nor do we know if the process can be tracked close to the formation of the Earth’s crust over 4 billion years ago, although we do find very ancient rocks of types we now associate with plate tectonics. So ideas about other planets need to be guarded. On Mars and the Moon we seem to see large old (because heavily impact-cratered) upland areas which we might infer represent the earliest crust, not subject to the deformation and erosion processes seen by Hutton, and smoother areas – the North polar region on Mars, the ‘maria’ on the Moon. Both regions are relatively low and filled with basalt (we’re sure of this on the Moon). This phase of impact and volcanism is 3.9 billion years old, and on Mars it seems to have partly erased weak (?) magnetism in the crust of Mars. This apparently-similar geological ‘history’ could only be plausible if the impact event was widespread at least in the inner solar system, and its timing would leave little scope for Mars to have developed an atmosphere and liquid water, essential for life. No doubt Curiosity and its successors will add greatly to what we know, and it will be interesting to find out more about the huge martian volcanoes and whether the other large rocky planet, Venus, shares some of the Earth’s features; who knows? – plate tectonics of a sort, perhaps.
  • 20th Jan 2013
    Sadly this had to be cancelled due to the slippiness of the sloping pavement. Clutching at the nearest telescope in order to avoid falling over is never advisable!
  • 17th Jan 2013
    More like ‘All Snow and Waiters’!
    Alas, despite our best pleas, the weather put paid to our proposed ‘All Gas & Craters’ observing meeting at the Red Lion, Little Compton on Thursday 17th. A couple of plucky CNAAGers got there early for a bite to eat in the vain hope that there may be a chance of a glimpse of the Moon at least, but sadly it was not to be. However, one member of the public had come along just in case and had a meal and our good friends of WitneyTV & Witney Radio dropped in, also on the off chance to have a good chat about an exciting new project that I will update everyone on in due course. With the snow coming down harder by the minute we said our fond farewells and headed out into the frozen wastes; conclusively there was snow/no observing to be had. We will try again at a later date, probably in the early Spring.
  • 16th Jan 2013
    Talk and observing, with Jeanette Cotterill
  • 12th Jan 2013
    The CNAAG stand was situated in the lobby area one floor above the entrance to the Oxford University’s Department of Astrophysics.
    About eight members were on hand throughout the day to answer questions, which meant that when the cloud did start to break towards the end of the event, a group were able to take some telescopes up on to the roof to look at Jupiter, at the same time maintaining a presence at the stand. Towards the end there was a queue of people from the floor below waiting to get up to the roof and to the observatory.
    The stand was quite busy throughout the day, with people mostly asking about equipment, and how to get started in astrophotography. The images on display at the back of the stand impressed many people.
  • 6th Jan 2013
    The forecast for Sunday 6th Jan did not bode well for our first solar observing event, the first of four public events as our part in BBC Stargazing Live 2013. I had left the village of Little Compton behind under patches of blue sky and the sun breaking through, the further I motored up Harrow Hill the lower the mists descended and I ventured into the darkening hill fog, already obscuring the leafless tree tops.
    Occasional lighter patches in the murk and the breeze from the west hinted that the mist may disperse enough to permit some glimpses of our own star. Upon my arrival, to my great surprise the two laybys were already nearly full of cars and equipment was being set up in front of the King’s Men stone circle and the atmosphere already had an enthusiastic buzz. With British aplomb, teapots and china cups were the first thing you saw on entering the grounds as Sarah Withey and son Bert set up the welcome tea stand and already a steaming kettle was issuing forth, needless to say a small but orderly queue was already forming.
    Within the hour, 10 telescopes were assembled with polar axis pointing toward an invisible Polaris, aperture covers firmly on waiting for that elusive clearance. Visitors to the Rollright Stone monuments began to arrive, not great in number, but were warmly greeted by Warden Mary Edginton who had volunteered for the day. Most took advantage of tea and biscuits and took great interest in the astronomical display and took away the relevant literature. Hopefully we may see them again at our other Stargazing Live meetings. Barry Clack and his team from Witney TV spent a long time on site, interviewing and videoing the proceedings with the promise that they will be covering all of our SGL events. Despite several lighter patches developing the mist and low cloud never dispersed and, after 3 hours with feet starting to feel the cold and the temperature dropping, by 2pm astronomers were slowly packing away their equipment.
    The last pieces were packed away by approx 2.50 and, right on cue, the hazy disc of the sun poked its way through thinning cloud. Such is the power of the Sun in this mystical ancient setting that it caused 3 CNAAG members to behave in a very strange fashion, performing strange Neolithic dances, as depicted in the pictures. At this point I feared for my safety and took refuge in my warm motor car. As is advised to all visitors to the Rollright Stones – we left it as we found it, taking nothing but memories.
    Despite the weather and lack of any observing opportunities, enthusiasm and camaraderie won the day and to meet outside this early in January was a unique experience. A triumph for enthusiasm and a day for terrific people – we all took away some great memories . Here's to the next meeting and the fantastic astronomy to come. Link to the Witney TV item
  • 19th Dec 2012
    Postponed from November, a pre-Christmas observing session plus talk for the enthusiastic pupils plus parents Read More
  • 17th Dec 2012
    The Fox, Chipping Norton. 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start. With the incredible success of the Mars rovers this will be a fascinating subject and a fitting Christmas CNAAG celebration
  • 8th Dec 2012
    Cancelled
  • 21st Nov 2012
    Talk and observing – Cancelled due to flooding. Read More
  • 20th Nov 2012
    Participation by CNAAG in Oxford University’s Department of Astrophysics, for their outreach event. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
  • 20th Nov 2012
    Talk and observing – Cancelled due to flooding. Read More
  • 19th Nov 2012
    The Fox, Chipping Norton – 7:45pm for 8:00pm start ‘ET And What To Do If You Meet Him’ a talk by Geoffrey Cotterill
  • 17th Nov 2012
    Talk and Observing
  • 9/th Jan 012
    Saturday 9th November 2013 Outside Jaffe & Neale’s Bookshop.
  • 1st Oct 2012
    Autumn Moonwatch October 2012
  • 28th Jul 2012
    Around 40 CNAAGers, partners and friends veritably basked in the warm evening sunshine as the sound of sizzling sausages and burgers began to emanate from the amazing culinary accoutrements assembled and controlled by the newly appointed ‘CNAAG Head of Culinary Matters’, Ed Grimes. Embellished by salads, jacket potatoes and kebabs and washed down with appropriate liquids, it was a superb spread enjoyed to the full by everyone present. The Moon made its presence felt very early on being past 1st quarter and several scopes were set to provide the astronomical finale. When it was deemed dark enough we enjoyed some absorbing and thought provoking short videos. Shown on a huge screen the videos covering the up and coming landing of the Curiosity rover on the 6th August, an incredible HD time lapse video taken from the ISS and a thought provoking Steven Hawkings look into the future with a spaceship designed to travel at 95% of the speed of light. Trying to imagine that for every day that passes on that ship 1 year will pass on Earth is a staggering thought. Following on, the Moon was the majestic target it always is and most people managed to get an observation in. In almost continental warm conditions, this meeting was one of the most successful and informal we have had and with the terrific support shown demonstrates, once again, a terrific CNAAG membership, and what terrific times we can look forward to. Thanks to everyone for coming, special thanks to Ed and family for the barbeque – and to anyone reading this that wants to join a vibrant, active and enthusiastic astronomical society, contact CNAAG, you will not be disappointed. Chairman
  • 6th Jun 2012
    Here are some photos taken from the Venus Transit event
  • 16th Apr 2011
    As a brief aside from a frantic period of astronomical activities , 16 CNAAG members took the balmy spring weather and assembled under blue skies to visit the preserved Vulcan bomber on Wellesbourne airfield , kept in working condition by the XM655 Preservation Society headed by our host Charles Brimson . Filing in from the South Warwickshire Flying Club clubhouse we were dwarfed by the huge delta winged behemoth basking in the sunshine . The elegant profile was lost as moving under the huge wing the sheer size was a jaw dropper . After a brief H&S talk Charles gave us a brief run down on the history of the aeroplane , its arrival at Wellesbourne and the work his team does to keep it in running condition . Splitting into 4 groups we were taken great care of by the 655 Preservation team with detailed explanations of the function of the many different systems and empennages . Being ushered to safe areas we were treated to a start up of the auxiliary power unit (APU) allowing the flying surfaces to be moved and the spoilers above and below the wings to be cycled – if only they could just have kicked the 4 massive engines into life .We basked equally in the warm sunshine and the occasion , the buzz of light aircraft heard in the background adding an appropriate soundtrack to the ambience. In groups of 4 we took turns to climb the yellow ladder attached to the inside of the front undercarriage door and disappeared up into the black environs of the small cramped crew compartment . Festooned with all manner of very old technical equipment wherever you looked , it felt like you were stepping back in time into a era long gone , like entering the wheelhouse of an old abandoned sailing ship . Wall to wall black panels flaking paint and jammed tightly together studded with switches , knobs and dials gave an instant feeling of claustrophobia and huge admiration for the crews that spent hours at a time encased in a very small area . We were expertly and patiently guided through the crew functions and positions , all the time breathing in that heady smell only ever associated with old aeroplanes . Our expertly guided tour done , the afternoon was complete with many pictures being taken in front of the magnificent Vulcan resplendent in grey and green camouflage , wings outstretched and brooding , like a huge slumbering moth A magnificent day out of the ordinary for all of us and after sensing the enthusiasm , commitment and pride the XM 655 people clearly possess , it underlines what can be done when a group of like minded people who share a common passion get together to make a project work – just like our superb CNAAG group.
  • 21st Mar 2010
    Geoffrey Burbidge – 1925 – 2010 World renowned astrophysicist Geoffrey Burbidge, born in Chipping Norton, died in January this year 2010. As part of the team which included Margaret Burbidge, Fred Hoyle & Willy Fowler – known as the B2FH team, they produced one of the most profound scientific papers of the century in which they showed that every known element, probably every thing we are made of, came from the formation of stars. CNAAG will be presented an account of his life at the last meeting in March 2010 by Robin Smitten