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OTTERSPOOL FRI 26 OCT 2001

OTTERSPOOL VISITORS CENTRE

LIVERPOOL

ASTRONOMY EVENING

FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER 2001 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:-

Liverpool Ranger Service 0151 225 5910

Liverpool Astronomical Society

Geoff Regan, Observatory Director 0151 292 7165

Dave Owen, Sidewalk Astronomers 07778 454524

EVENT REPORT - Dave Owen

Weather prospects looked fairly good for this event, despite miserable weather during the morning. Thankfully, the weather forecast proved quite accurate and apart from a few spots of rain the whole event stayed dry, and mostly clear.

Geoff Regan helped me load the 16 inch Sidewalk telescope into my car but could not participate due to family committments. I arrived at about 18:35 and saw Jim Stacey who had brought his 8 inch motorised GoTo telescope. Another LAS member, Robert Simpson, arrived a few minutes later. The final telescope that arrived, at about 20:00, was the motorised 8 inch reflector owned by LAS member Graham Arnold. The Liverpool Council Ranger Paul Sutter arrived at about 18:50 and helped me to unload the 16 inch Rocker Box and Mirror Box. Once these were placed on a three wheeled trolley it was very easy to move them the 100 feet to our main observing area. This was just outside the Otterspool Visitors Centre, in full view of the many people looking out of the window of the Otterspool Pub. The Liverpool Parks Service had advertised this event in 5000 copies of their quarterly information leaflet.

I was able to enlist the help of some of the first batch of early arrivals to gradually assemble the 16 inch. To check on the telescopes collimation I used the nearest convenient bright source of light, the pub window! Thankfully, this did not need any adjustment. Collimation experts were thin on the ground that night. The waxing gibbous Moon was quickly found in the 10x50 finder and the view in the main scope with a 2 inch 40 mm eyepiece was very impressive. After the long queue had died down I swung the 16 inch around, just missing Jim Stacey, to look at the double star Mizar and Alcor, in Ursa Major.

At 20:15 I was able to hand over the 16 inch to LAS member Graham Roberts who looked after it until 21:00 while I did a slide show indoors. Before I went in however, I helped Graham find M57, the Ring Nebula. This was surprisingly bright and easy to see, despite the telescope being surrounded by lots of artificial light. This was probably due to the excellent transparency and the cloth cover wrapped around the telescope tube. Thanks Yvonne. Having a decent sized ladder also proved to be a major bonus and I was also very pleased with the way that the 16 inch could be moved quite easily in azimuth and altitude from the top of the ladder.

After a bit of confusion with Capella, we were finally able to see Saturn, creeping above the pub roof at about 21:25. At 21:45, when most of the 49 visitors had gone, the 16 inch was wheeled back to my car and carefully dismantled. Our next Sidewalk event is at Pickerings Pasture in Widnes, on Fri 23 Nov 2001 from 19:30 to 21:30. Another riverside event.

THREE EVENT PHOTOS BY JIM STACEY

Higher Res Pics