FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2004 - 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Members of the Liverpool Astronomical Society, (founded in 1881), will display several telescopes for viewing 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


Although the weather prospects did not seem too hopeful a few hours before the start of this event, mostly cloudy, strong winds and a few showers, we decided to hope for a change in the weather and risked taking my 16 inch Dobsonian reflector and Geoff Regan's 12 inch Dobsonian. There would be no Moon or planets on view for most of this event so, if we wanted to show faint deep sky objects, in a heavily light polluted area, we needed telescopes that collected as much light as possible.

Thankfully, LAS member Jim Lawler was able to transport the 16 inch in his estate car so my Micra only had to transport the 12 inch scope. A small convoy of cars, LAS member Lew Brown was not sure of the route to this venue, then made the 3 mile trip from the Liverpool Astronomical Society's Leighton Observatory at Pex Hill to the Halewood Visitors Centre. LAS members Graham Roberts and Jim Stacey, as well as Darren, the Country Park Ranger, were already there when we arrived at about 19:20.

Jim Stacey soon had his 5 inch Maksutov set up and Lew Brown set up a 4.5 inch reflector that he had brought along. We also had use of a visitor's 60 mm refractor and Geoff's 4.5 inch reflector. LAS members Dave Bentley, John Simcock and Tom Green completed our complement of telescope users/helpers.

It took a little while to set up the 16 inch and Darren was able to supply us with a much better ladder than the one we had brought along. As the weather was now quite clear, and much calmer than a few hours before, we decided to abandon any attempt to show slides indoors and, instead, do some "real astronomy - looking at real objects".

The Ring Nebula, M57 was fairly bright in a 40 mm eyepiece, about 60x, but was even better with a 26 mm eyepiece, about 90x. M15, a globular star cluster in Pegasus was also an interesting sight but we were really waiting for the jewel of the solar system - Saturn - to rise. By about 20:45 Geoff Regan was able to observe this by moving his 12 inch reflector further up the hill. This was not as easy to do with the much bigger 16 inch so we had to wait until about 21:00 before it cleared the rooftops in front of this scope.

By about 22:15, most of the public had drifted away so we decided to take our telescopes back to Pex Hill, where some of us continued to take advantage of the clear skies until just after 04:00!

The total number of visitors was estimated at about 20. Together with 9 LAS members and the Knowsley Ranger this made a total of about 30.

Jim Stacey was able to take some photos of this event which can be seen below:-

The next Sidewalk event will be at Wirral Country Park on Sat 20 November 2004.

Dave Owen

HOW TO FIND HALEWOOD VISITORS CENTRE - Maps from www.multimap.com