Society News


‘Club Night’ Meetings Commence September 2017 At Chelveston

Following a discussion at our Annual Review Meeting earlier this year, we are introducing new monthly  ‘club night’ evenings at Chelveston Village Hall from September.  These will be held on the first Monday of each month at 8pm and will offer us the chance to meet in an informal atmosphere to discuss the latest astronomical happenings as well as help each other out with imaging, observing tips, setting up telescopes etc.  A monthly sky guide will be presented and as the hall is equipped with broadband, members are welcome to bring along their own laptops to share videos and download software.  If clear, telescopes can of course be set up outside for some practical stargazing.  Refreshments will also be available.

Our established lecture evenings on the third Monday at Chelveston along with our Friday evening observing sessions also continue.  Meetings at Sudborough will additionally continue on the first Thursday of the month and will include the repeated monthly sky guide from Chelveston.


Monday 17th July 2017 – Chelveston Meeting Information

‘The Outer Planets’ by Jerry Workman:

Our knowledge about Uranus and Neptune has  come almost exclusively from the Voyager 2  probe . Uranus showed a bland disk and its five main moons revealed different surfaces . Neptune displayed a far more dynamic atmosphere with a dark spot and Methane clouds . Triton Neptune’s largest moon was a real show stopper and revealed active Nitrogen geysers .

The New Horizons spacecraft showed Pluto to be a fascinating object with a large impact basin called Sputnik planum revealing all sorts of different terrain . Pluto’s largest moon called Charon showed extensive crustal faulting  and a mysterious dark crater .

Monday 15th May 2017 – Chelveston Meeting Information

‘Juno At Jupiter: The Mission And First Results’.  Lecture by Dr Jonathan Nichols, Reader In Planetary Auroras at Leicester University.

Dr Nichols talk will be focused on the NASA Juno Mission.  Leicester University is the UK’s sole formal involvement in this research.

From Galileo’s revolutionary observations of its system of satellites to hypotheses regarding its role in delivering water to the young Earth, Jupiter has played a distinguished role in furthering our understanding of our place in the cosmos.  However, many mysteries remain about the king planet, such as the nature of its interior structure, the abundance of water in its atmosphere and the behaviour of its mighty magnetic field.  With these mysteries in mind, in 2016 Jupiter gained an artificial companion charged with answering some of these questions; the NASA Juno spacecraft, successfully placed into a polar orbit on 4th July.  As well as taking the first ever pictures from over the poles of Jupiter, Juno is a mapping mission that will reveal the nature of the planet’s gravity and magnetic fields in great detail, is peering beneath the clouds to find Jupiter’s water and flying over the brightest and most powerful auroras in the solar system to reveal how Jupiter interacts with its space environment.  Juno has at present successfully executed four close-approaches with its science instruments on and is returning spectacular and surprising data about Jupiter.  In this talk, Dr Nichols will discuss the Juno mission and some of its first science results.

juno at jupiter

Monday 22nd February 2016 – Raunds Scouts

This evening, we were invited along by Raunds Scouts for a Stargazing Evening and for once the sky was clear!  Scouts were able to use the telescope to view the Moon, Jupiter, Orion Nebula and the Pleiades.  Additionally we identified the constellations of Orion and demonstrated how it’s stars could be used as signposts to identify other stars around the sky.  A great evening and we look forward to returning to run a similar event for the Explorer Scouts at some point this Autumn.

Thursday 5th November – Sudborough Village Hall

‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ a lecture by Dr Johanna Jarvis at Sudborough Village Hall, Main Street, Sudborough on Thursday 5th November.

Stars really do hang like beautiful diamonds in the sky and can be enjoyed by just looking up to study the Milky Way sweeping across the sky or tracing the features of a constellation. But what is a star, why are they different colours, different sizes and how does a pinpoint of light turn into a beautiful extended nebula? This talk will lead the audience through the process of stellar evolution and how this varies for different mass stars before looking at some of the more unusual and extreme examples of the common star.

jo jarvisDr Johanna Jarvis


Thursday 4th June – Sudborough Village Hall

‘The Solar Orbiter Spacecraft’ a lecture by Dr Ralph Cordey at Sudborough Village Hall, Main Street, Sudborough on Thursday 4th June.  All welcome.

The talk will centre on the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter mission, currently being built in Stevenage.  Solar Orbiter is due to be launched in 2018 and will carry a suite of instruments to observe simultaneously the Sun and  the charged particles and magnetic fields that fill the heliosphere.  It will do this from an orbit that takes it closer to the Sun than the planet Mercury..  Dr Cordey will talk about the engineering and technological challenges of creating the mission and put Solar Orbiter into the context of previous spacecraft that have observed the Sun.  Finally he will link the science of the Sun to the increasingly pressing need we have today to provide warnings of ‘space weather’ – solar outbursts that can impact our vital infrastructure here on Earth.

Visitors and members welcome.  £3 per person including refreshments.



Monday 11th May 2015 – Chelveston Village Hall Meeting

‘Clouds for Astronomers’ a lecture by Ian Loxley at Chelveston Village Hall, Caldecott Road, Chelveston at 8pm on Monday 11th May.  All welcome.

Ian Loxley is the Photo Gallery Editor for The Cloud Appreciation Society, and self confessed weather fanatic.  His talk will be his greatest challenge yet – attempting to persuade a group of astronomers that clouds should be appreciated.

The talk will be widely illustrated and will detail how his fascination with all things weather …was inspired.  It will include images to assist in identifying the main cloud types including the newly classified Asperatus undulates cloud.  He will show many of the varied gallery images which include some of the society’s favourite and amusing ‘clouds that look like things’.  He hopes by the end of the evening he will have achieved his objective in persuading a group of astronomers that clouds should be appreciated!


Wednesday 12th March 2014

This evening Steve Williams took along a couple of telescopes for a viewing session with the Astronomy Club at the Denfield Park Primary School in Rushden.  The Moon and Jupiter were the main objects viewed, with all four of the Galilean satellites being visible.  Steve also showed the club some of the stars in the night sky and demonstrated how to use some of the familiar and bright constellations to ‘star hop’ around the sky.  An excellent evening, with some great talks on the objects observed being given by some of the children.


Friday 7th March 2014

After what seemed to be a very long run of cloudy Friday nights (it was!), we finally managed a clear observing evening up at Chelveston.  The Moon and Jupiter were both nicely placed for viewing, however despite the first quarter Moon some deep sky objects were seen including the Orion nebula and courtesy of Paul’s 10-inch even M81 and M82.

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The Moon taken at our observing session on 7th March 2014

Tuesday 4th March 2014

This evening members of the society attended Finedon Junior School for a Stargazing Evening.  Around 50 or so school children with their parents attended to view the crescent Moon, Jupiter, the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades Star Cluster.  Thanks to all at the school for helping to make a successful evening.



Monday 17th February 2014

At our meeting at Chelveston Village Hall this evening, Steve Williams gave a short presentation on the European Space Agency Rosetta mission.  Explaining it’s passage through the solar system, including two asteroids and a martian encounter, the probe is now on route to it’s primary destination later this year.  A full article will be included on the mission in the next Stargazer newsletter.  The meeting also included our usual sky guide and concluded with a look at the Jupiter moon, Europa which has been in the news recently with icy water plumes erupting from it’s surface.

Thursday 6th February 2014

At our meeting at Sudborough Village Hall this evening, Dave Eagle gave an excellent presentation on Comets.  Taking us on a look back through some of the great comets of recent centuries, Dave brought us bang up to date with various images of Comet ISON before it’s demise as it approached perihelion at the end of November 2013.    Thanks, Dave!

Wednesday 5th February 2014

Steve Williams attended Preston Hedges Primary School this evening, to host a Stargazing Evening for around 80 pupils and parents.  After a short presentation on the solar system, Steve was able to show the Moon through the telescopes to some of the attendees through very short lived gaps in the cloud.  Unfortunately the weather did not really co-operate and much of the time spent was cloud watching.  Nevertheless, the evening as a whole was extremely enjoyable – thank you to all the staff at the school for hosting the session.

Monday 27th January 2014

The Nene Valley Astronomical Society has teamed up with Preston Hedges Primary School to stage a viewing evening for the pupils, parents and staff.  Steve Williams is attending on behalf of the society and will be taking telescopes along and offering a night sky presentation.  We are always willing to stage events for local schools and groups, for further information just contact Steve on 01933 650331.


Saturday 11th January 2014

Members of the Nene Valley Astronomical Society teamed up with the team at Stanwick Lakes for a public night sky observing session.  Following the broadcast of the BBC StargazingLIVE series earlier in the week, over 350 people attended.  Amongst the objects in the night sky which proved popular were the Moon, Jupiter and the Orion nebula.    Due to the success of this event, we have been invited back to Stanwick Lakes in the future for a repeat – watch out for details!

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