“Once in a blue Moon” is a common enough expression. It refers to having two full Moons in the same calendar month, which is not a common event, as the Moon takes about 29 days to orbit the Earth. In fact there was a “blue” Moon at the end of January. It was also a “super” Moon in that it was at its closest to Earth and so appeared slightly larger. At HLCO we captured an image of the Moon a couple of days before it was full. More recently Mark Holmes took this great image of the Plato crater area. In fact one of our projects is to produce our own lunar map built up from images like this.

To increase the use of the observatory and take greater advantage of clear skies, we need 4 or 5 volunteers to operate it and the telescopes. Full training will be provided, so if this is something you would like to get involved with please contact me on 75-5570 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Attendances at our monthly public meetings so far this year have been high. In January  William Stewart gave an excellent talk about  the size of space and how astronomers measure distances, covering everything for the size of the Earth, the Moon to distant galaxies.  In February Dr Rob Crain wowed us with his talk “The cosmos in a computer”. He showed how modelling of the evolution of the cosmos in super computers can now produce simulations that are almost indistinguishable from actual observations. Then in March Brian Feast gave a detailed account of the two great British observatories at Greenwich and at Herstmonceux in Sussex.

Coming up - on 12th April Bernard Humphries will be talking about the Chinese FAST radio telescope –  at 500 meters in diameter, the largest in the world ! On 10th May our good friend, Prof. Ian Morison, will give his talk “It’s about time”. Full details are on our website www.highlegh-communityobservatory.com .

Don’t forget that the observatory is open on Friday evenings from 8PM if the sky is clear and at other times via our text alert system. Admission is free. The observatory is also open during Abbey Leys Farmers Markets. So do call in and have a look – all welcome.  Finally, in the words of the late, great, Stephen Hawking “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet” What better way to do that than at the observatory.

John Anderson