This meeting was the official start of our Stargazing Kendal week, and started with Stuart Atkinson’s round-up of astronomy news, and also some of his recent photographs of the Aurora taken from Shap and the Milky Way from Dalby Star Camp, as well as Comet Jacques, currently visible in binoculars.
Simon White then showed his latest photos. He has been investigating the possibility of using Silecroft, on the coast out beyond Barrow, as an observing site with a dark sky to the South-West, only to discover that there is a huge, well-lit wind farm out to sea. So not as dark as he hoped, but he still got some impressive shots of the Milky Way. He has also been following Comet Jacques, and showed a beautiful photo of the comet moving past the Heart Nebula (albeit composed of two separate photos taken by two different telescopes, on two different continents!).
After the break we had Telescope Night. This is the chance for everyone to show off their telescopes, and answer questions about them – how the different types worked, and what their advantages and disadvantages were. Ten people brought telescopes along, varying from little birding telescopes to large reflectors which took two people to carry. Different devices are suitable for different applications, so it all depends on what you want to do, and on how important portability is to you. The discussion also highlighted the importance of picking the right tripod, where there is a distinct trade-off of stability against portability to be considered.
Finally, we were reminded of the events for the coming week, especially the observing sessions on Wednesday night at the Castle, and on Saturday.at the Brewery Arts Centre.