HALEWOOD VISITORS CENTRE

KNOWSLEY

ASTRONOMY EVENING

FRIDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2002

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Members of the Liverpool Astronomical Society, (founded in 1881), will display several telescopes for viewing the Moon and other objects in the night sky, 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:-

Halewood Visitors Centre - 0151 448 0960

Liverpool Astronomical Society

Geoff Regan, Observatory Director - 0151 292 7165

Dave Owen, LAS Sidewalk Astronomers - 07778 454524

EVENT REPORT - HALEWOOD - FRIDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2002

After a very sunny day this looked like it was going to be a cloud free Sidewalk event. Me and Geoff Regan loaded the 16-inch Sidewalk Dobsonian into and on to my Micra, as well as the Liverpool AS slide collection and slide projector.

We arrived at the Halewood Visitors' centre at 18:45. Five minutes later one of the Knowsley Rangers, Darren, arrived to open up the building. Fellow LAS member Jim Stacey arrived, with his 5 inch Maksutov scope at about 19:00. With the help of Geoff, I set up the 16 inch next to Jim Stacey's scope, about 100 yards from the front entrance. The first quarter Moon, low down in Ophiucus, was hidden by a high line of trees and there were no planets visible. We therefore had to wait until it was dark enough to see deep sky objects. The 16-inch needed a little bit of collimation but Geoff helped me to sort this out fairly quickly.

While this was going on another Ranger, Karen, turned up, as well as a Knowsley Council Media Relations Photographer. She whiled away a lot of the twilight time by getting people to pose in front of Jim Stacey's scope. After this, most of the visitors went indoors for a slide show by Geoff.

The first object that I was able to sight in the 16 inch was Arcturus. It was so bright that, for a moment, I thought I was looking at a sodium street light! At about 20:30, using a 40mm 2 inch eyepiece (about 50x) I was able to see M27, the Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula. M57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra was a lot easier to see, though quite small in the 40mm. By this time, Geoff's talk had finished and the car park seemed to be swarming with visitors. One of them had even brought a motorised 4-inch reflector. Darren was taking lots of photos with his digital camera. He agreed to email these to me so they may appear on this web site soon.

Unfortunately, observing was a bit restricted by increasing clouds. We managed to take advantage of some gaps to look at the double stars gamma Andromeda and Polaris. Polaris was easy to find and, unlike the other objects we viewed, did not need any movement of the telescope to keep it centred in the field of view!

The total number of visitors was estimated at about 30. Together with 4 LAS members, 2 Rangers and the photographer this made a total of about 37. LAS member Dave Bentley helped us pack away the 16 inch for the short drive to the LAS Pex Hill Observatory near Widnes. The next Sidewalk event will be at Otterspool in Liverpool on Fri 11 October 2002.

Dave Owen

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