NW astronomy societies Christmas dinner

Well 4 intrepid EAS members, me, Liz, Simon and Graham, made the trek down to Garstang for the annual N Lancs, S Cumbria astronomy societies Christmas dinner. The event was organised by PADAS [Preston and District AS] with Lancaster and Morecambe AS, Blackpool and Fylde AS and Barrow AS members usually present too. This was the first time EAS members attended. Not for the first time, the after-dinner speaker was Dr Alan Chapman FRAS, an eminent historian of science from Oxford University.

So how did it go – well the meal was good and Alan Chapman gave a fascinating talk on William and Caroline Herschell. He fluently spoke without notes for an hour and placed the Herschells’ achievements in the historical context of the time. William, born 1738 in Germany and died in 1822, was originally a musician but came to fame as an astronomer and composer, the latter to make money! He is, of course, best known as the discoverer of Uranus.

Anyway, a fine night and thanks to Graham for driving. Roll on next year!

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EAS GEMINID WATCH December 13/14th

At the last meeting it was announced that there will be a “Meteor Watch” up at Orton Scar next Saturday night (13th).Why there? Well, there’s a big, wide open sky up there, and little (but not no) light pollution. So yes, it’s a bit “out of the way” but with a dark sky and plenty of parking space it’s a good place to go. So, if you haven’t been up there before, where is it? How do you get there?

First… get to Old Tebay…and take the B6260 to Orton…

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When you get there, go right through the village, staying on the same road…

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Then just keep on up that road, way out into the countryside, all the time going uphill…eventually you’ll emerge from all the trees and find yourself in open countryside. Keep going until you come to this cattle grid and go over it…

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Keep going up that same road until you come to a junction. DO NOT TURN LEFT. Keep going straight on…

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Eventually you will come to this area… the observing site is a small gravelly car park up ahead on the right…

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You’ll know you’re there when you see a small sign post at the side of the road. You’re going to turn right now…

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Turn right, and there you go…

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I think getting up there by ten pm is late enough, the radiant will be high enough to be spitting out some meteors by then…

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By midnight the waning Moon will be rising, and that will drown out the fainter ones, but should still leave plenty if bright ones for us to enjoy until tiredness and the cold overwhelm us!

Tips: wrap up warmly, bring a hot flask and snacks, a chair to sit on (essential, trust me!), a pair of binocs if you have them, so you can look at any smoke trails left behind by the brighter ones, and don’t forget your camera and tripod if you’re going to try and take pics. There should be a few of us there, so come along and join in the fun – meteor watching is always a lot more enjoyable in a group!

Hope to see some of you there!

Stu