Transit of Mercury observations led by CAS team at Dyffryn Gardens on 11th November 2019

A rare astronomical event, November and the Society is based in Wales. And yet we had a clear sky and good views of the Mercury transit from its start at 12:35 p.m. until, over an hour later, the Sun became too low and was hidden by distant trees.

An optimistic team turned out at Dyffryn Gardens and, with the permission of the Visitor Centre staff and the Duty Manager, we set up solar telescopes and the Dobsonian on the grass on the main car park. Up the hill in the CAS Observatory, Bob Love organised the 11" Celestron telescope with a solar filter for any passing visitors within the gardens themselves.

We had a very busy afternoon entertaining those who passed by, and several Society members turned out for a look at the tiny pinprick Mercury as it went across the Sun. People were, as usual, impressed and grateful for a direct (and safe) look at the Sun, and Welsh Water employees were convinced in the end that we weren't 'twitchers' looking at resident bird life. We were also able to welcome Roy, our Treasurer, and his wife Dawn and demonstrate that the new lenses for the solar scopes were a justified purchase.

A (probably) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some of us and a worthwhile event with plenty of public engagement achieved.

Thanks must go to Joan Payne, Bob Love, Bob Biss and Edward Cooper for their sterling work, carried out reliably as usual. Lovely also to see Kath Biss - and we finally managed to show her Mercury as well!

"ALMA - The halfway to space telescope" - IET lecture on Tuesday, 19th November 2019

In partnership with the University of South Wales, the local committee of the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology) has arranged for Dr Anita Richards (UK ARC Node support astronomer at the Jodrell Bank Observatory) to give this lecture at CAB 205, University of South Wales, Atrium Campus, Cardiff CF24 2FN. This FREE event is open to the public and will start at 6.00 p.m. (for food and networking) with the talk itself commencing at 6.30 p.m. and lasting for about an hour. Drinks and more networking will follow the talk!

To obtain further details of the event and the venue (near the Motorpoint Arena), and to register to attend, please click here

More successful stargazing with Dark Sky Wales at Brecon - 18th October 2019

This was a very good evening. The weather was against us, but the packed house (some of whom had travelled from West Wales, others from Bristol) enjoyed a show in the Dark Sky Wales planetarium, a talk from CAS Chairperson, Phill Wallace, help and guidance from CAS stalwarts Stephen Webber, Bob Biss, Kath Compton and Bob Love. Edward Cooper handed out the meteorites (and fossils) provided by DSW whilst Bob Love and Theresa Cooper did a combined talk against Stellarium on a big screen - what to see at this time of year on your first night out, how to get started without much expense, and where to go from there. Joan Payne did her usual sterling job of public engagement and met everyone at the door with a cheery welcome before handing out useful information on equipment and advising them to check out the CAS website for all sorts of help to get them started. Lin Love once again proved to be great support to us all. Very resourceful as usual when something needs to be found, acquired and just all round helpful.

The keener and more resilient members of the public who were not in a hurry to leave were lucky enough to see some of the real thing as the clouds cleared and Theresa was able to give a short naked-eye tour of the night sky from a very dark site.

Astronomy books for Christmas?

Philip's 2020 Stargazing Month-by-Month Guide to the Night Sky Britain & Ireland - by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest - more details can be found here

2020 Guide to the Night Sky: A Month-by-Month Guide to Exploring the Skies Above Britain and Ireland by Storm Dunlop, Will Tirion and the Royal Observatory Greenwich - more details here

The Sky Atlas: The Greatest Maps, Myths and Discoveries of the Universe by Edward Brooke-Hitching - see here

Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Collection 8 by the Royal Observatory Greenwich - more details here

The Planets by Brian Cox with Andrew Cohen - more details here but please note that this book is available for CAS members to borrow from the Society's Library

The Universe Explained: A Cosmic Q and A by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest - see here

The Moon: A Celebration of Our Celestial Neighbour by the Royal Observatory Greenwich - see here

Philip's Astronomy Starter Pac by Wil Tirion and Philip's Maps - see here

Online purchases can be made via the easyfundraising scheme - please see below and here


>Next Talk

Thursday, 14th November 2019 at 7.30 p.m. "Britain's Best Top Ten Astronomers Ever!" to be given by Prof David W Hughes - B Sc. (Birmingham), D Phil (Oxford), FRAS, FRSA, F Inst P, C. Phys, MIAU, Emeritus Professor of Astronomy University of Sheffield.

Our talks - which finish no later than 9.30 p.m. - are usually held in Room T2.09 (the Trevithick Lecture Theatre) at the School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, The Queen's Buildings, The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AA - please click here

Prof Hughes spent 42 years at Sheffield University teaching astronomy and researching into meteoroids, asteroids and comets, the origin of planets, and the history of astronomy. He was on the Giotto mission to Comet Halley, asteroid 4205 is named after him and he wrote a book on the Star of Bethlehem. He served on the council of the RAS for fifteen years, and has been a vice president of the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Astronomical Association.

Do you have your own top ten list? If so, come and see how it compares!

>Next Star Party

Friday, 29th November 2019 from 7.30 p.m. until 9.30 p.m at Dyffryn Gardens - please click here

Enquiries about this Star Party should be made to Kath Compton, the Society's Membership Secretary, at

>Next Observing Session

Friday, 29th November or Saturday, 30th November 2019 from 8.00 p.m. until midnight at Dyffryn Gardens. Further details are available here


Introduction to CAS

The Cardiff Astronomical Society (CAS) is a thriving society located in South East Wales. It has been in existence for over 40 years and is one of the largest amateur astronomical societies in the UK. CAS provides a range of facilities for both Society members and the public at large including a varied programme of talks on Thursday evenings (except in August) at the Physics and Astronomy Department of Cardiff University. In addition, regular night sky (and occasional solar) Observing Sessions are held at the Society's own Observatory at Dyffryn Gardens.

Our members come from all walks of life and their knowledge of astronomy ranges from complete beginner to advanced. You don't need any specialist knowledge to join us and neither do you need to own a telescope or binoculars. It's also possible to try us out before joining!

More details about the Society and what it does are available here

We are keen to get more Society members on board to assist with the running of CAS events - please see here how you can Help Us

Society help for schools etc

As shown here, Cardiff Astronomical Society welcomes all invitations from organisations such as colleges, schools and guide/scout/brownie groups located in Cardiff and surrounding areas for an outreach stargazing/astronomical event for all ages and levels of knowledge. Society members very much enjoy bringing our passion for the subject to a wider audience and helping everyone to get started in this fascinating subject. We do not charge a fee for our expertise and participation; the enjoyment is enough reward and we will do our very best to ensure a worthwhile and enthralling evening. We would, however, be grateful for reimbursement of travelling expenses and petrol costs to venues outside of Cardiff and its environs. Otherwise the cost would fall on individuals and the non-profit-making Society. It should be noted that CAS has a formal Policy on Child Protection and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults


Catch the very latest astronomy news from

Day-by-day guide to this month's night sky

A beginner's guide to astronomy


Join the Society

Come and join some of the Society's 275 members at one of our talks or observing events. We promise a warm and friendly welcome for all. Only £15.00 per annum also means you can make use of our Library

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CAS is registered for Gift Aid. This means that, if you are a UK taxpayer, we can claim back the standard rate tax on subscriptions (and on any donations) paid since the Society became a registered charity on 31st October 2016 (giving an effective 25% boost to the amount the Society has received). However, in order to reclaim these monies from HMRC, we need all members who pay tax to complete and sign a Gift Aid Declaration form. Please note that if you have paid your subscriptions by PayPal, you will have already been asked if you would consent to those subscriptions being Gift Aided - but we still need a completed and signed Gift Aid Declaration form in order for us to reclaim the tax paid as Gift Aid.

If you are eligible, please take a form (using the button opposite) and then complete & sign it and pass it to us at one of the fortnightly talks or send it to CAS by post or email (see the bottom of the form). Thank you for your help!

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