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About us

Hanwell Community Observatory comprises a group of volunteers based in Hanwell (near Banbury, North Oxfordshire) promoting astronomy in the community. Whether you have private or educational interests in the subject, our aim is to make astronomy accessible to you. We welcome public and school groups to star parties and other events that will open up the Heavens and share with you the wonders of the cosmos. If you are a student or teacher at a local school or university, please see the Education section for details of our current activities and how you can get involved. more...



Get ideas of things to see in the night sky, and find out what what HCO members have been observing, with Skynotes - excerpts from HCO member's own observing notes.

October: Altair in the Constellation Aquila

6th August · Altair in Aquila · by Bob Sayer
Wide field image of Altair in the Constellation Aquila. This evening was amazingly clear and the MilkyWay was was completely dominating the night sky and just a wonderful sight. The night was so full of stars it was difficult to make out some constellations because of the myriad of stars. The attached image is roughly centred on the star Altair (alpha Aquilae) the brightest star in the constellation more...

November: NGC 6992 - Eastern Veil Nebula

19-21st September · M16· by Bob Sayer
The Veil Nebula is a large faint supernova remnant in the Constellation Cygnus around 2,100 light-hears away and was discovered in 1784 by William Herschel. It is one of the best known supernova remnants deriving it name from it’s delicate filamentary structures which stretches across space 110 light-years. This image shows a portion of the Eastern Veil Nebula, NGC 6992, NGC 6995 and IC1340 more...

December: M15

29th December · M1 & M15· by Bob Sayer
At long last the weather has been kind enough to finally get imaging. This is the first outing since completely overhauling my EQ6 equatorial mount and fitting a Rowen belt kit. The mount performed amazingly well for this first outing and after carrying out some final tweaks I managed to capture 2 objects. My main target for the night was M1 but as it was still early and M1 was not in my view M15 was a easy target. more...


Would you like to join HCO?

Do you enjoy sharing the fascination of astronomy with others? Or feel you would like to?? In that case, the Hanwell Community Observatory team would love to welcome you as a member!
Find out how to get involved with HCO »


History at Hanwell

Archaeologist Stephen Wass embarked on a five year project to uncover the lost gardens of Hanwell Castle in January 2013. There have been substantial diggings all over the grounds and significant artefacts have been found.  Emerging is a picture of a very carfeully constructed and elaborate layout of walled walks and terraces. The gardens were visited in the seventeenth century by King James I and Charles I. The scientific interests of Sir Anthony Cope (d.1675) provide an interesting historic link for HCO. There is a sense of continuing in the spirit of a man, described by the Oxford Chemist, Sir Robert Plot,  as a 'great virtuoso', for his boring of cannons, polishing of stones and grinding of corn in these grounds which Plot called 'A New Atlantis'.
To find out more about the project, click here to visit the Polyolbion website »


Click here to see an album of astrophotography by HCO members on our facebook page (you can view the photos without a facebook account).

M65 and M66 Double Star