Located at Court Farm
Holiday Camp Site, St Stephen, Mid
Cornwall PL26 7LE.
16th May To
contact the Observatory Office (01726) 813602 or the Observatory
Site 07804 036959. We now have our own Facebook
page Roseland Observatory (Started by EMMA Hugo - thanks for
that) and we Twitter, under Brian Sheen as there are
several we are WOWAST. Please FOLLOW for
updates. For additional information data visit the Contact
Page see top tabs.
Computer Services when you simply need the best - just telephone 01726 68684.
Menu;- Just scroll down the
page until you come to the topic you want to look at.
UP B) SPACED OUT D) LEARN MORE
E) BUY OR
NOT TO BUY F) RESEARCH G) FOOT NOTES.
Then check all the
other pages by clicking on the links at the top or bottom of the page.
Exhibition open every day from 10.00am to 4.45pm
Stones;- The Carwynnen or Giants Quoit has been a pile of
rocks for many a year but efforts by Pip Richards of the
Sustainable Trust are underway to achieve a eventual reinstatement in
its original condition.
www.giantsquoit.org A good review can be found in the book
"Romance of the Stones" by Robin Payne. Although there may be
some alignments to this monument it is believed to be very much
older than the Hurlers.
The Sun is very
active;- Keep a close eye on Spaceweather.com as an
active region of the Sun swings towards Earth in the next day or so.
An X Flare could knock out your favourite TV satellite!
An image from SDO taken by a British camera I
think - Image credit
Saturn- the lord
of the rings;- reached opposition
on the 28th April is booming away in the southern sky - looks really
great in the Observatory telescopes.
Hubble image - NASA
Part of the
Paralympics has arrived in Cornwall - it is an Armillary
Good News;- The Par Community Association has been
supported by a grant of £660.00 towards installing the Sphere.
Image credit Sonia Clyne.
The Neptune Saga;- Continues with a
new book about Le Verrier which fills a black hole in our knowledge
of 19th cent. French Astronomy. Finished reading it prior to
review for publication in a number of journals. Also the long
awaited paper on the subject has now been published see below in the
main Neptune section.
during the Society for the History of Astronomy autumn conference
experience for years 10 & up;-
Interested students should contact their
school coordinator as soon as possible.
See also the News Page. All
letters and correspondence must go to the Par Office and
the Observatory site. 92 Par Green, PL24 2AG.
I learnt a lot from the experience and hope it
will benefit me in the future.
I really enjoyed the
time I spent at the Observatory and found it to be a very beneficial
and an educational experience.
Sale's txt is now in articles.
Mercury Bay - New Zealand Image
Credit for both pictures - Mike Sale
To see all of Paul's
images at full resolution go to www.zenfolio.com/paulh101
a lot of detail has been lost on the web page. His favourites file
can be run as a slide show covering a range of deep sky objects.
Mapping the Sun;- A
combined project with the county archaeologists culminating
in a five day "Summer School" on the Hurlers in September
( 16-20th). Working title "Mapping the Sun"
Involves survey work and mapping the Sun rise and set
positions. Found out how birds migrate using polarised light
and it works!
Courses are now
closed;- A children's course is in the planning.
Please note informal
meetings continue either Tuesday or Wednesday
"Astronomy for interest"
GCSE Astronomy, Life
and death of stars. Don't miss out. Astronomy for interest is our basic entry level course for new
comers to the sport. Tuesdays at 7.00pm
All courses start;-
and finish at 9.00pm and are £5.00 per night. Contact Brian Sheen
(01726) 813602. Astronomy for interest and Life and death of stars Tuesday
GCSE Astronomy Wednesday. Astronomy for Interest 10 week, Life and death of
stars 10 weeks. email
Observatory;- We have been on the radar for the
organisers of youth and adult groups for a while now. £6.00 per adult, £4.00 for U 16's
and U 8 foc, phone or email for more information. We also do 1 - 2 -
1 sessions for individuals, couples or families and do specials for
birthdays etc. Group bookings for schools, Scout & Guide
Association members. Please ring (01726) 813602 to book your
May Night Sky
Although May is reputed to the sunniest month it is not yet summer!
However watch out for Cygnus with its lovely double star, Lyra with
it planetary nebula and Aquila with two great clusters visible in
The Moon;- Last Quarter
2nd, New Moon 10th, First Quarter 18th,
Full Moon 25th. , Last Quarter 31st.
Mercury;- gets higher
in the western sky at the month progresses.
Venus;- again gets
higher in the western sky as the month progresses
Jupiter;- Time to say
good bye to this giant of the skies as it moves closer to the Sun.
Take every opportunity to study it as soon it will be lost to us for
This month’s spectacular;-
As you will have guessed from the notes above those three planets
get very close together from the 20th onwards make every
effort to observe this attractive grouping.
Saturn;- Remains a
stunning sight throughout the month, close to Spica..
Meteor Shower;- The Eta
Aquarids peak on the 6th. They are the remains of Comet
International Space Station;
As usual check exact times from www.heavens-above.com
Taken from our contribution to the St Austell
Our nearest Star M13
The Sun 27th July image Grant Macintosh & Brian Sheen
in H Alpha
M13 The Globular Cluster in Hercules Image Grant Macintosh
Shetland Astronomical Society; I was in Shetland in the summer 2011 working with the SAS. Check out
www.shetlandastrosoc.org.uk To see
Mike's - austroastro's video made from Chris Brown's images of the
click on the link. For other U tube videos by austroastro do a Google search.
Science Technology Engineering Maths Ambassador;-
or STEM for short. Mainly for those wishing to get involved teaching
with the Observatory. This is a National approval scheme that allows
us to teach/demonstrate in schools and youth groups. Any one can
apply (including those outside our team) is is good for those asked
to go into schools to represent the companies they work for, Includes
a CRB. To learn more contact us via any of the Observatory
A great link
from an American fan;- Matthew H. found A kids
Space Centre - Fun with Model Rockets - (http://orlandofuntickets.com/a-kids-space-center-fun-with-model-rockets.php)
while working with his local library.
A) LOOK UP
of Mars by Grant Mackintosh
was shown on the BBC's Stargazing Live 2012 the two photos
were taken a week apart to show the rotation of the planet.
Mike working on the
An image from a recent Open Day -
by Rob Stidston
Have your telescope in two places at
Well with Slooh you can.
A good way
to be able to image almost anywhere any time with your
"own" Robotic Telescope. The Observatory has a
The Space Station is visible in our skies from time to
time. See www.heavens-above.com
for exact times for you. There are chances to see it in the
daytime and towards dusk when it is getting dimsy.
It Is so bright
that it will flare as the Sun strikes one or two of the large solar
H-A are now giving suitable times for daylight passes.
D) LEARN MORE
The Introduction to the Night Sky Course:-
GCSE Astronomy;- A Level Standard course.
The A level
standard course is based on modules within the Physics syllabus and will be
delivered by lecturers used to working at this level. There is of course no
such thing as A Level Astronomy.
For all courses phone 01726 813602 . All at £5.00 per night.
Opportunities for schools
For more information about the courses see the
"NEWS" page and then contact the Observatory.
Key Stage One, Two and Three Astronomy.
Opportunities throughout the Year just phone and
book, more under News page on this site.
Beyond; Doing Space this term then
school teachers should see our News section.
& Talented sessions for years 10 & 12
at the Observatory.
Astronomy Practical Project work. Having successfully guided many
students through the GCSE Course work we offer opportunities
on a regular basis. Opportunities throughout the
year just phone and book.
£5.00 per session.
each case email firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone (01726) 813602 to learn more.
Extended project A Level
std. Global Dimming. This
experiment was extended this year into the IR as it produced a clearly measurable change
in light levels through the previous Christmas period.
Scouts, Guides and other youth groups see the separate
E) TO BUY OR
NOT TO BUY
F) RESEARCH AND SPECIALS
Our Neptune research
has reached the august pages of the Antiquarian
Astronomer issue 7 March 2013. it covers some 11 pages and is
described as "incisive".
year;- The year opened in January with a
special presentation in Seattle, USA. NB The Blue Planet is close to
opposition at the moment so a good time to observe given clear
Image credit "a friend
Note the Cornish Flag!
For a report see Sky & Telescope P. 28 (July edition).
Credit;- Jocelyn Murgatroyd and Cornish Cross Laneast
by John Chiswell from two cameo reliefs. The lady is Eliza
Adams nee Bruce - It is believed to be the only likeness in
existence. The sculpture was by Albert Bruce-Joy a relative and well
This image is of the memorial in
Westminster Abbey and is also by Bruce Joy. Image Credit Westminster
Bill Sheehan's Neptune with 10" RC.
Neptune discovery story.
For a short film of the Neptune story
visit Maarten Roos website. http://www.lightcurvefilms.com
Have continued my researches
by contacting the Chinese University in Hong Kong (been there got
the T.Shirt). Some 10 years ago they did some excellent work on
Neptune's orbit which I now have permission to use in my talks.
For Canoe Africa see below.
Site;- We are currently
working with Iain Rowe (based at the old Engine House Visitor Centre, The Hurlers.
(Minions is the nearest
work is centred on how to best interpret these ancient sites to an
interested general public. At the moment we
are helping with an APP to interpret the area in a modern way. Thanks to Cornwall Council and Cornwall Heritage Trust for
background;- The Hurlers can be
found on Google Earth 50 30' 58.67"N 4 27' 29.69"
W, the aerial view is supplemented by a number of photographs and
some text. Until recently people studying the various monuments around
the country would look closely at one aspect or site and not regard those
near by. The Hurlers are the focus of a much larger complex of ancient
Back to the
Hurlers. Lead by Gary and supported by Amanda we measured
the elevation of Rillaton Barrow above the horizon step by step
using a professional level. We had good results although more
work needs to be done. We have proved which star it
celebrates and when it was built. We seem to have identified the
Processional Way referred to by John Barnatt in "Prehistoric
Calendar Stone is to be found in the Centre Circle and to
the south of centre. For all time people have noted that
shadows cast by trees or stones change their length and direction
during the day and throughout the year. The length marked at midday
once a month requires only 7 marks to define the solar year. A more
complete explanation of system is available.
Archaeologists are often rightly sceptical of two point
alignments and require either a Back Sight or Fore Sight to support the
evidence. Extend the Hurlers SW - NE line northwards about a kilometre to
arrive at Tumuli. Due north is Stowe Hill due south is Minions Mound with more Tumuli. (Tumuli
are Bronze Age burial sites.) Due East is Kit Hill due west is a large
barrow. If you turn your back on Kit Hill and look towards the Pipers you will
find they lie one behind the other i.e. due west. Stand between the Pipers and
look towards Stowe Hill and you look North. Are the Pipers contemporary with the
Hurlers - the evidence points in a positive direction.
The N - S line can be extended on to Long Tom, Menhirs or
Long Stones predate Stone Circles and this one has had a Cross carved on it at a
later date. Although not exactly due south of the Hurlers it is due south of
Stowe Hill which is a long ridge of high ground.
Equinox;- To celebrate this we visited the Hurlers
on the Sunday 25th March 2012 Sunday AM was good in that it
was clear and we saw the Sunrise, over Kit Hill although Kit Hill itself was not
visible to the naked eye due to general murk. Sunday PM saw the Sun
setting due west close to a couple of burial mounds as predicted.
Summer Solstice;- It so happens that
the midsummer Sun rises above Stowe's Hill and sets over Brown Willy. Summer Solstice
21st June and we were at Craddock Tor for the event. A first for us was an observation of a
special Standing Stone on Stowe Hill It seemed to mark the actual
position of sunrise. (June 2010)
From Craddock Circle the Sun rose behind the Cheesewring on Stowe Hill as predicted, what was new
to me was to see the Sun hitting Tregarrick Tor before it rose for
us, this confirms that Tregarrick marks the winter solstice sun set.
(June 20th 2012)
The Sun rising over Stowe Hill (2012)
Image by Amanda King of the
The Sun rose and set as per the Vernal Equinox, although on the date we
were there (21st Sept. 2011) the fog was so thick it was impossible to
see across the Circles!
This time using a solar filter in conjunction with
a small telescope it was possible to determine that the Sun rose
just a bit to the right of Kit Hill stack. The sunset was impossible
due to thick cloud. 22nd Sept 2012.
The three stone circles known as the Hurlers near
Minions, Bodmin Moor. Appear to mirror the well known asterism of Orion’s
Belt in the centre of the Orion constellation.
In the 21st cent. this constellation, including
Orion’s Belt, is due south of the Hurlers on the
winter solstice (Dec 21st) at midnight. In the Bronze Age
circa 2000 BC this transit occurred earlier in the evening due to precession.
Remember the actual day of the winter solstice was marked from Craddock
Circle. Due north was marked by Stowe's Pound and the “ever present” pole
star, in those days Thuban in Draco and later Kocab in Ursa Minor. Directly north of the Hurlers is Stowe Hill with its Neolithic
enclosure and Rillaton Barrow, the Bronze Age users of the Hurlers would have
recognized that the stars directly above the Hill did not move and were
therefore special. Today the star that occupies that place is called the Pole Star,
North Star or
There is no doubt
that the view of the Hurlers would have been very special before the Quarry
removed much of the viewing area. However even today the torch lit Circles look
Paul Hughes of the Observatory Imaging Team
The Three Circles lit by torches, giving a very atmospheric
effect. It seems that at this time the
winter solstice was celebrated all over Europe by the lighting of bonfires. It consists of four individual images merged into one. It
was normal for special events to be marked by lighting fires. We carry this
practice forward today with our Torch Light Processions and lights on Christmas
Trees and in public places.
role of Craddock Stone Circle;- One question often
asked is, how did the people of 2000BC know which was the shortest day of
the year? It just happens that one of very few winter solstice alignments on the
Moor is between the nearby Craddock Stone Circle (1 kilometre distant) and
Tregarrick Tor. There is even a raised embankment avenue joining the
Stone Circle to the Hurlers complex - problem solved.
Clearly the Hurlers were very important in the Bronze Age and
this should be more widely recognized and appreciated.
A summary of work carried out in the county appears in "The Hurlers an
Archaeological Assessment" published by the Historic Environment Dept of
The papers on precession and
the second on astronomy
on Bodmin Moor
ages are on hold
at the moment.
find out more about my
attempt to spread the astronomy word
my link Canoe Africa and visit
our special Canoe Africa page. See
check out the reports
filed under IYA 2009.
dates are Sept 9th 2008 and Feb 12th 2009
- Thanks to Tammy Plotner.
ASTRONOMY TO CORNWALL