2016 has been another good year for the observatory. Although clear nights seem to have been in rather short supply, the observatory has been open on Friday evenings, when clear, for our regular observing sessions. One highlight was 8th May, a beautifully sunny day, when we were able safely to observe the transit of Mercury across the Sun over a period of 7 hours. We had visitors from far and wide who came to view this rare event.  Two new acquisitions help in this respect; a Herschel wedge which allows solar observing in white light through the 6”Meade ‘scope, and a special hydrogen alpha telescope for viewing the Sun’s activity in this particular wavelength. This shows up prominences and solar flares.


 In 2016 topics for our talks on the second Thursday of each month have ranged from historical aspects to visually stunning astro images, with contributions from invited speakers and our own members.  These have been fascinating, well supported and provided income for the observatory.   


For 2017 we have Dr Sarah Crowther who will be talking about the NASA Genesis mission on January 12th, Prof. Rob Jeffries on “Gravitational Waves – Einstein’s Messengers” on February 9th and Prof. Mike Bode on “The Liverpool Telescope – a giant robotic eye on the sky” on March 9th. These will be at St John’s Church Room starting at 7:30. Admission £3 under 18’s free. Please do come along, all are welcome.


If skies are clear the observatory will be open on Friday nights from about 8PM.  Admission is free – donations welcome. The observatory is also open during Abbey Leys Farmers Markets on the first Sunday of each month. Do call in and have a look round.


Thank you to all of you who have supported us over the year. We look forward to seeing you again. Remember – this is a community facility open to all, irrespective of age or ability. For more information see our website.


John Anderson.