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Sunday, January 20

Stargazing 2013 event report

Well it has to be said that the weather conspired against us yet again at our 'Stargazing in Cockermouth' event this year. Things started on a promising note as we headed down to the United Reformed Church to set up our exhibition. There were patches of blue sky and the forecasts on the various websites we were checking promised breaking cloud and some hope of observing later on in the evening.

Part One: The Exhibition

As CAS members arrived it was clear a lot of work had been put in to creating displays, activities and demonstrations including; the scale of the solar system, astro imaging, killer asteroid impacts, spectroscopy as well as a good selection of telescope and binoculars.

Once we were set up there was just time for a quick lunch before doors opened at 1pm. It would be fair to say that we were not immediately overwhelmed with visitors. Perhaps the weather was putting people off, and a quick foray into Cockermouth confirmed that the whole town was unusually quiet for a Saturday afternoon. None the less, visitors did come and like the snow outside there were several flurries of visitors.

There was plenty to do, and it was great to chat to all our visitors, many of whom had made a special journey to attend the event. There were plenty of great questions and we were able to help people with advice on telescopes and astrophotography.

By far the favourite activity for the kids (young and old!) was the impact crater simulator. . .

Demonstrations of astro imaging were particularly popular with visitors and CAS members alike. Members were able to learn new techniques from each other.

Robin's demonstration of spectroscopy techniques was popular, as ever.

Vistors were shown a scary demonstration of the potential power of asteroid impacts . . .

Part Two: The Observing

This is where the wheels really came off our wagon! As the afternoon progressed and darkness fell, more and more cloud and drizzle came in. By 5pm things were looking gloomy, and as we packed displays and equipment away in the rain we all agreed that there was little prospect of observing. So reluctantly we had to cancel the observing for the 3rd year in a row! I kept an eye out all evening for any sign of clear patches but even at 11pm there was still total cloud cover. So frustrating!

My thanks again to everyone who came along to the event, and particularly the CAS members who really made the event with their preparation before hand and dedication on the day. I'm sure everyone got something out of the event.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I can experience this. During my childhood, we would often climb up on our roof to stargaze. It was one of my favorite activities with my dad.