AINSDALE DISCOVERY CENTRE

SEFTON

ASTRONOMY EVENING

FRIDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2003

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Members of the Liverpool Astronomical Society, (founded in 1881), will display several telescopes for viewing the Moon, Mars, and Saturn, if clear. There will also be an illustrated talk on astronomy.

This event is free, and is open to all members of the public.

For more information contact:-

Ainsdale Discovery Centre - 01704 570173

Liverpool Astronomical Society

Geoff Regan, Observatory Director - 0151 292 7165

Dave Owen, LAS Sidewalk Astronomers - 07778 454524

EVENT REPORT - DAVE OWEN

A cold but beautifully sunny day seemed likely to produce a clear evening for this event. And so it proved to be.

Me and Geoff Regan arrived at about 19:45, after getting lost on the way, to find that quite a large number of visitors had already arrived, as well as several of our members. Jim Stacey had his 8 inch GoTo reflector, Dave Robinson brought his 4 inch f15 refractor and Yvonne West had her 4 inch reflector. Later, two more LAS members turned up with scopes; John Naylor with his 8 inch Dobsonian reflector and John Simcock with his 4.7 inch refractor.

While Geoff started doing a slide show indoors I was assisted by Graham Roberts and a small group of visitors and we had the 16 inch Dobsonian set up on the almost full Moon in about 15 minutes. The view was impressive in a 26mm eyepiece, about 90x, but was more spectacular in a 2 inch 40mm eyepiece, about 57x, as this was easily able to show the whole of the Moon.

At about 20:15, when Geoff had finished his slide show, a long queue of people formed by the 16 inch to look at the Moon. We then switched to looking at M57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra. To get a good view we had to put the cloth cover over the open frame tube. At 90x the view was surprisingly clear, despite interference from strong moonlight and nearby security lights that switched on when somebody walked past them. Luckily for us, they went off again almost immediately.

At about 20:55 we turned the 16 inch towards Mars and were able to see some dark markings and the South Polar Cap. These features became even easier to see when Jim Stacey put his red filter in the LAS 10mm eyepiece.

The last object we looked at before we packed up was Saturn. We had to wait until it rose above a nearby building but the view in the 26mm was well worth waiting for. We estimated that the total number of visitors was about 50.

Jim Stacey took a fair number of pictures with his digital camera so, hopefully, some of these will appear here shortly. Using his GoTo scope Jim was able to show visitors M57, the Dumbbell Nebula M27 and the great globular cluster in Hercules, M13.

Special thanks to the Sefton Ranger Rachel Northover, who we knew from her days as a Ranger at Pex Hill, where the LAS has its observatory. She provided plenty of hot drinks to keep the cold at bay. How cold was it? I almost had to put my hat on!


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