Places of interest & Places to visit, including astro-tourism destinations

Perseid meteor observing in Sorrento, Italy

Although virtually no cloud or precipitation, unfortunately our observing was badly affected by severe light polluition from the mamy hotels, globe lights, cars, scooters and poorly screened street lights.

The hotel came to the rescue allowing Rhys and I to observe from the normally locked roof terrace. Although a lot darker there than elsewhere the Milky Way was only just visible around Cygnus and I had great difficulty finding Hercules due to the light pollution.

Over about an hour around midnight 12-13/8/2018, Rhys observed three meteors and I saw one.

So we managed to observe some but certainly it was not spectacular.

Jupiter was incredibly bright- see photo below together with enlargement of the planet – this is 8x digital zoom on my Samsung S7 smartphone.


Jupiter over Sorrento:

View across Bay of Naples as we attempted to observe meteors earlier in evening:

Where to go in Sorrento after a long night’s observing…..

So far i have not been able to find any details of a local astronomy group, possibly because everything on Google is in Italian and I don’t know what to search for or maybe because the local astronomers hold their meetings in here and consequently are not in a fit state to go ouside observing afterwards…..

We came across several shops like this in Sorrento.

Star over Sorrento

Like the famous Biblical Star over Bethlehem, this star shone over Sorrento, Italy, as the family and i went for a walk after our evening meal (three courses – lasagne, octopus on bed of maize, fruit and tiramisu – sounds strange combination but was delicious).

The star is of course Benus, at its brightness very near 50% phase.


Sorrento, Italy

Ean Ean, Rhys, Hannah and I have just arrived in Naples, on our way to Sorrento. Only got small pair binoculars but at least tonight’s main event only requires the naked eye – the Perseid meteor shower…..and look at the forecast here (see screenshot from below)! 0% rain probability (although i did capture the shot of a large cloud over Vesuvius on the way from Naples to Sorrento).

Even Ean Ean says she would like to take a walk later this evening and see if she csn onserve some meteors – although local light pollution levels are bound to make big difference to what we can see.


Mount Vesuvius on the way to Sorrento from the airport – still actove volcano!

Visit to Herschel Museum in Bath

Ean Ean, Rhys and Hannah and I visited the Herschel Astronomy in Bath on the way back from a weekend trip to Wells. The Herschel Museum of Astronomy at 19 New King Street, Bath, England, is located in a preserved town house that was formerly the home of William Herschel and his sister Caroline. Its patron is Queen’s Brian May and the introductory video is narrated by Patrick Moore. It was from this house, using a telescope of his own design that William discovered the planet Uranus in 1781, and below are some pictures from the garden from which this observation was made. The photos are from our visit today.

The objects in the pictures below are in some cases the Herschels’ own or those of people close to them. Other aspects of the house are re-creations to give idea of what life was like when the Herschels lived there, including items from the same era.

Andy, Ean Ean, Rhys and Hannah


Stoney Littleton Long Barrow

Ean Ean, Rhys, Hannah and I visited the Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, on our way to visit the Herschel Astronomy Museum (see next post for our visit to that museum). A long barrow is a prehistoric monument dating to the early Neolithic period. They are rectangular or trapezoidal tumuli or earth mounds traditionally interpreted as collective tombs. The Stoney Littleton Long Barrow (also known as Bath Tumulus and the Wellow Tumulus) is a Neolithic chambered tomb with multiple burial chambers, located near the village of Wellow, Somerset. It is an example of the Severn-Cotswold tomb. The barrow is about 30 metres (98 ft) in length and 15 metres (49 ft) wide at the south-east end, it stands nearly 3 metres (10 ft) high. Internally it consists of a 12.8 metres (42 ft) long gallery with three pairs of side chambers and an end chamber. There is a fossil ammonite decorating the left-hand door jamb. The site was excavated by John Skinner in 1816-17 who gained the entry through a hole originally made about 1760. The excavation revealed the bones (some burned) of several individuals (

A south-east north-west orientation is very common for Mendip barrows ( A discussion of possible Stoney Littleton Long Barrow Winter Solstice Alignment can be found at

Andy, Ean Ean, Rhys and Hannah


Views from today….

Following on from Andy’s earlier post from today (Darwin Walk and Biolam microscope)….

Lichfield Cathedral in the background…

3 hrs in…looking forward to lunch at Mable’s Cafe… Tweedledee and Tweedledumb taking a short break…(I’m not saying which, is which !)

Andy back at ours checking out my cheek cells ! You can see the photos he has just taken through the eye lens still on his phone…

My picture taken with an iPhone6 held up to the 10x eyepiece and 10x objective (plus 1.5x binoviewer).