Our May meeting started early with an opportunity to review the sun's spectrum through Robin's new LHIRES III high resolution spectrograph kit. This splits the sun's light into its component colours, and the lines of the absorption spectra of the elements in the sun were clearly visible, and razor sharp. This was certainly an unusual view of the sun which few people had seen before.
There was a good turn out for the meeting (despite half term holidays and an England football match on TV) and it was great to see Stuart and Stella from the Eddington Astronomical Society (Kendal). After a quick news round up it was time for the first of two presentations. Dennis gave a presentation on his recent project to build a simple refractor, done as part of a GCSE Astronomy course. Despite some problems with the presentation technology, the talk was fascinating, covering a brief history of telescope and eyepiece design. Everyone trying the telescope was impressed with the clarity of the handmade instrument. There were plenty of questions and discussion after the talk, and definite enthusiasm for a future 'practical workshop' to allow people to try there hand at making their own instruments.
After a short break Chris gave a round up of methods for detecting Extrasolar planets, and an update on recent discoveries. There are now in the region of 180 known extrasolar planets, including some that amateur astronomers have been involved in discovering and observing.
Unfortunately our planned AGM didn't come off, we'll have to arrange that for a different date.