OTTERSPOOL VISITOR CENTRE

OTTERSPOOL DRIVE - LIVERPOOL

ASTRONOMY EVENING

FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER 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:-

Liverpool Ranger Service - 0151 225 5910

Liverpool Astronomical Society - http://www.liv.ac.uk/~ggastro/home.html

Geoff Regan, Observatory Director - 0151 292 7165

Dave Owen, LAS Sidewalk Astronomers - 07778 454524

OTTERSPOOL SIDEWALK EVENT – FRI 31 OCT 2003 - EVENT REPORT - DAVE OWEN

After watching the weather turn from very clear to hopelessly cloudy during the morning and afternoon of Fri 31 Oct 03 a decision was finally made, at about 16:15, to take the 16 inch Sidewalk Dobsonian to this event. So, me and Geoff Regan loaded it into my Micra at Pex Hill and arrived at the event at about 19:35.

Jim Stacey was already there and soon had his 8 inch GoTo reflector set up and he was shortly joined by Dave Robinson with his 4 inch f15 refractor. I was assisted by the Liverpool ranger Paul and a small crowd of LAS members/public who helped me set up the 16 inch. Panic set in when I realised that one altitude bearing had lost its 2 wing nuts! We eventually decided to steal a third wing nut from the base of the telescope so that one of the bearings was secured by only one wing nut. It hardly seemed to affect the scope at all. A quick check on the collimation, pointing the tube at the very bright windows of the Otterpool pub, less than 10 feet from the end of the telescope tube, revealed that it was a fair way short of being well collimated.

Our main collimation expert, Geoff Regan, by this time had already started his slide show indoors. So, we decided to make the most of the fairly clear weather to look at Mars, M31, M32, M15, M57, M45. The 16 inch worked quite well on its trolley, which also simplified the task of carrying its heavy bits back to the car later on.

I was surprised when somebody said, at about 21:00, that the 4 inch refractor was set on Saturn. My Treo pocket computer was saying that it was not due to rise until about 21:55. The explanation, I later discovered was that the computer was set for New York City, a long way from Liverpool.

The total number of visitors was about 20 and we had mostly clear skies. Thanks to Paul, the Park Ranger, who provided hot coffee from the Visitors Centre kitchen. We finally packed our scopes away at about 22:00 and headed off our separate ways.

Our next Sidewalk adventure is on Fri 7 Nov 03 at Ainsdale, in Sefton, about 15 miles north of Liverpool city centre. There are rumours that Dave Thomson’s 30 inch monster scope might put in an appearance!

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