The Societies activities are wide ranging, from our Thursday night lectures, short notice observing sessions or weekends away at star camps or BAA weekends.
7 members of the society attended the Kelling Heath Autumn Equinox Star Party, some booking camping pitches and others static caravans. The weather was overcast with showers with long dry spells and whilst the astronomical observations were very limited between clouds it was still a great event which I’d recommend any keen observers try to book.
Recently Mr Martin Crow, gave a talk entitled “A brief introduction to Astronomy” (The edges of the Jigsaw) for some of the societies new members, to help them better understand the “Jigsaw that is astronomy”.
Martin spoke amongst other things about.
· Measuring astronomical distance by using astronomical units (au) & light years,
· The spectrum of stars to determine their chemical components,
· Looking at objects with different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum i.e. infrared, white & Ultra- violet light.
The EQ6 is known for its power connector coming out or momentarily disconnecting, which is not something you want happening in the middle of an imaging session. I’d previously replaced all my power connectors to a type with a locking collar and decided to mod my EQ6 so that all my gear uses the same connector. This is not a particularly hard mod if you are confident around electronics and a soldering iron, but it will obviously void your warranty. You have to choose where to fit the connector carefully to avoid any components on the motherboard. Tapping onto the 12v on the board is pretty easy but worth checking with a multi-meter.
Gary organised a trip to Rochester Cathedral to view the huge 3D moon that is touring the UK and to hear a lecture on the moon.
We had an informal meeting over Christmas where Martin took the members through using AstroImageJ (AIJ) he covered the following…
- Loading an image
- analysing stars in an image
- plate solving an image
- batch processing images to calibrate them
- aligning and stacking images
- photometry on a sequence of images
Despite the poor weather our members were out in force observing the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun, something that has to be done carefully to be safe.
It was horizon – horizon cloud last Wednesday for the sold out star gazing event at Hall Place, however we were prepared for this and along with comet making, we held sessions on drawing objects in the night sky and a variety of talks about astronomy. We had brilliant support from our members – thanks to all – who bought a variety of telescopes, cameras, meteorites and other displays, overall the visitors went away happy despite not being able to view the heavens.
A big thanks to everyone who supported both of the recent Hall Place Solar Observing events which were an exciting mixture of hide and seek as far as the sun was concerned, but both in their own way very successful.
We had sideways rain at 1100 yesterday (18th August 2019), so we set displays up indoors for about half an hour, after which we relocated outside and never looked back.
Even the sun cream got an airing!
It was very encouraging to meet a couple of extremely bright 8 year olds asking / answering some great questions – future members I’m sure.
These things don’t happen by accident so for anyone who supported the two events with equipment, transport, setting up or engaging with the public, a huge thank you.
We will be back in the Winter for the pre- and post- Christmas Stargazing events and should consider any suggestions / fresh ideas to make these as engaging and informative as possible.
Once again, your support is greatly appreciated.
Thursday, 2019-04-18 was an informal observing evening and whilst not ideal with an almost full Moon, we had lots of telescopes out and other members learning how to use the Peter Hindle Telescope.