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PICKERINGS PASTURE VISITORS CENTRE

WIDNES

ASTRONOMY EVENING

FRIDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2002

7:30 PM 9:30 PM

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

Pickerings Pasture Visitors Centre 0151 425 4706

Liverpool Astronomical Society

Geoff Regan, Observatory Director 0151 292 7165

Dave Owen, LAS Sidewalk Astronomers 07778 454524

EVENT REPORT BY DAVE THOMSON

I arrived at Pickerings Pasture for 6:30pm. The gates were not open at that time and I phoned Dave Owen to see if he could find out if the Ranger was at the Centre or not. Dave soon phoned me back and the Ranger came and opened the gates. I made my way down to the edge of the river and began to unload the 30 inch TROK. This was its first Sidewalk event since its re-build

I soon realized that I had set up the telescope in the wrong place. Light pollution is a big problem at the venue at the best of times, but I had a very bright sunflood right in my line of sight in a woodyard next door. I decided to move the telescope next to Jim Stacey using the Visitors Centre to block the glare. Luckily Graham, Geoff and Dave and others had turned up by now and we managed to get the telescope up and running in no time.

Jim Stacey set up his 5 inch Maksutov. Dave Robinson set up his 8 inch GEM mounted reflector and Dave Owen had brought his 6 inch F4 Dobsonian.

The weather was good with virtually no clouds in the sky. The Moon was 3/4 past full and rising, with Saturn close by. The main problem when I first looked through the scope was the wind!! It was shaking the image all over the place. By now there was a small queue of people and kids wanting to look though the telescope. They did not seem put off by the image being shaken and I had many Ooh's and Aah's from the kids, and the adults!

Favourite object of the night was Saturn. When the wind did calm down the view was excellent. Probably the best view I have ever had. Colours, detail and the number of moons was fantastic.

Geoff had been doing a slide show for some of the visitors in the Visitors Centre and Graham and Dave had been passing around the coffee to the rest of the people outside.

The Moon was spectacular at 400x, even if it did wobble in the wind a little. We also managed to see the Veil Nebula ! ( with an OIII filter), not bad for the middle of Widnes. M57 was very nice too and M15 was excellent, resolved through to the core.

Around 30 people attended this year with everybody going away very pleased with what they had seen. It is possible to do Astronomy in very poor skies. By 9:30 the clouds had gathered and we just managed to put the 30 inch away before the rain started to get too heavy.

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