All posts by Richard Hickman

Current Lunar research

Date: Saturday November 10th 2018 8:00pm

Soup etc. (included in price) from 7:30pm

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Location: National Trust Tea Room, Carding Mill Valley SY6 6JG

How to Get Here

The Nature of the Moon

We know more about the moon’s surface than we know about our oceans’ floor.  Although the far side of the moon isn't visible from earth, spacecraft have orbited the moon and studied it in depth with equipment designed to study the thin atmosphere, and to penetrate below the surface. Is there sufficient water and other chemicals to sustain a colony of people? 

Perhaps the moon will be a staging post for space travel to other planets and beyond.


Observing Opportunities

Another opportunity to see deep sky objects as there is no moon this evening

Artistic representation of a future Moon colony.
Credit: NASA/SAIC/Pat Rawlings

Apollo Program – The Eagle Landed

Apollo Program - The Eagle Landed

Date: Saturday July 21st 2018 

Soup etc. (included in price) from 7:30pm

Location: National Trust Tea Room, Carding Mill Valley SY6 6JG

How to Get Here

49 years ago - yesterday .....

49 years ago - yesterday

Apollo 11 launched on 16th July 1969. 49 years ago, yesterday, Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon accompanied by Buzz Aldrin. Michael Collins remained in orbit piloting the Apollo 11 spacecraft whilst the moon lander, Eagle with Neil and Buzz, descended to the surface. After planting a flag, collecting some surface samples, they returned to the orbiter and left for home leaving a memorial plaque. They arrived back, safely, on 24th July.

Pete Williamson will tell us more, and with recorded footage expand upon this story, and what happened next...

Observing Opportunities

Sunset is at 9 pm. Although it will not be dark until much later the Moon will be visible high in the southern sky by 8:30pm. With Binoculars, some major features will be visible.

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, Astronauts, prior to their successful landing on the moon. Credit NASA

The Memorial Plaque left on the Moon

The Apollo 11 memorial plaque is inscribed... "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969. We came in peace for all mankind." Credit NASA/ GSFC.

Early Moon shots Success and Failure

Date: Saturday April 7th 2018 8:00pm

Soup etc. (included in price) from 7:30pm


Location: National Trust Tea Room, Carding Mill Valley SY6 6JG

How to Get Here

The nature of the moon

Galileo Galilei made his own telescope and discovered the mountains and craters on the moon in 1609. Remote study was the only way to study the moon until the first probe Luna 2, launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact with the moon on September 4th 1959. Luna 3 was the first opportunity to photograph the far side of the moon just a few weeks later. Six years later, Luna 9 made a soft landing and sent back pictures from the surface. 

Since then, many other missions to the moon, as fly-bys, orbiters, landers, etc. brought new knowledge and experience leading us closer to being able to explore our universe further.


The moon rises just before 3am. In the evening, the skies will be dark, so deep sky and other faint objects should be visible.  The  Andromeda Galaxy, Orion Nebula and other objects are visible with the naked eye. Binoculars will help and Shropshire Astronomical Society will be supporting us with an array of their equipment.

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Moon with a rocket stuck in its eye

Screenshot from Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902) directed by Georges Méliès.

Luna 2 Russian Lander

Luna 2, the first human-made object to reach the surface of the moon (1959) impacted near the craters Aristides, Archimedes, and Autolycus. Credit: NASA