Last time I bought my mobile meatiest scatter radio equipment to an outreach event at Rosliston forestry Centre, children were dipping and diving around pegs and ropes holding the ex-military Klansman aerial up. This was identified as a health and safety risk. I have just received the item below – recommended by Ed – it is a wonderfully well-designed piece of kit sold as a mobile stand for garden parasols – it locks both up and down using a spring-loaded mechanism and a metal bit which fits into a slot at the top or the bottom so that it is very solidly held in place in either the open or closed position. It is quite robust be made of solid metal construction, and its ability to fold up makes it easy to transport – bank said for a brilliant idea!
My Clansman radio mast that I am hoping to erect using this base:
I had a reply from George Mihail that I met in greece. It’s worth having a look at his website. Very interesting setup, a great view. The last photo is the latest live feed from his webcam at 1711 15th september. If you read further down, the english translation of my message is at the bottom
We manage to communicate and to take pictures of every activity of the stargate we have a very interesting winter here in Skopelos.Thanks with the best wishesGeorge Michail
We’ve just got back from a holiday in Greece, and as part of a local festival of music, dance and culture, I met a really nice chap George (Giorgiu),who had set up a viewing area for the public to see the Moon (Selene in Greek), Mars (Aris), Jupiter (DIas) and Saturn (Kronos). That’s George checking the view of Saturn in the second photo
He has the first, and only, observatory on the island and it’s in a great location away from the town lights (the lat long coordinates are on the poster in the first picture)
He was interested in what we are doing too so I’ll drop him a line and hopefully get to see his obsy next time
On paper, the Nightwatch event was going to be particularly amazing this year. This annual event is an outreach activity organised by Rosliston Forestry Centre, where the astronomy group always has a presence. Many members of the public come to look through our telescopes, watch owl and bird or prey displays, go on a bat walk and join the moth group to explore the world of moths.
Last night stool out in that it coincided with the date of one of our usual meetings, and at the start there was going to be a total lunar eclipse and many planets were on display.
In addition, the sky had been amazingly clear for weeks beforehand.
…….Until the day when it clouded over and we could not see a thing in the night sky during the event!
Good job I bought my mobile meteor radio kit along (telescope at the ready to go in car at home – replaced last minute when I looked at the sky) – worked well (thanks to Bob Williams in particular for his help here) – plenty of meteors detected – we are the start of the Perseid meteor show with the keep coming up in a couple of weeks. The kit includes small portable aerial, Yaesu FT-817 radio, audio cable connection to my windows laptop, Spectrum Lab software, all powered very successfully by Ed Mann’s power pack – the inclusion of in-built inverter and 240V sockets on the side is a real boon. The radio is 12V and currently I am running it through a power supply that plugs into 240V socket which is a bit ridiculous – must make a 12V socket version.
Nevertheless, quite a few people turned up from the club to meet members of the public. Plenty of scopes were on display. It stayed dry and we all had great fun.
This is what it means to observe in the UK. You’ve got to be interested in clouds.
Particular thanks are due to Damian who made the effort to attend in spite of needing to get up really early the following morning to catch the plane for his holiday.
Look at how dry the grass is! We have had a particularly dry summer this year.
One of the annual forestry centre outreach days, today was a day where members of our group joined with other groups to deliver a range of science-related activities at the forestry centre. The event occurs each year around this same date – the next one is the Night World event in July. This time, it was predicted to be cloudy, but turned out to be beautifully sunny and clear – we could not have asked for more! Being a bank holiday weekend, it led to hundreds of members of the public coming along to the event. Heather helped around 150 people to make rockets which were launched by Peter Hill using the club’s rocket launcher!
At the solar scopes, Ed, Roger, Damian, Nick, Dave, Terry and I demonstrated the sun in white and hydrogen alpha light to a constant queue of people for hours on end (apologies if I missed any one). I managed to get sun-burnt but it was a fantastic day – loads of young families and lots of oohs and ahhs when attendees saw the sun for the first time through a telescope.
Andy (our chairman) in middle talks about astronomy whilst Ed (left) and Peter Hill (right) look on:
Thanks to Peter (Hill), Ed, Bob, Roger, Geoff, Terry, Heather and Damian, who along with myself talked to 50+ members of the public about astronomy at the science discovery day today at Rosliston Forestry Centre.
The weather remained dry although persistent cloud meant that solar observing was limited to a few precious moments in the first hour. I ought along my LOMO polarising microscope and folks were excited to look at the birefrigement colour patterns on meteor thin microscope sections and at microfossils in thin sections of fossil-containing rock. Problems with my power inverter left my laptop out of action but Ed’s battery saved the day for the microscope illuminator so that the public could continue to look through the microscope!
The picture below was taken today through the LOMO microscope using my Bresser MikrOkular camera – it shows microfossils in rock thin section. Birefringence in the crystals of minerals in the fossil-bearing rock is evident:
I thought members might like to know about a World Service programme called Stargazing. It is introduced by Dava Sobell, she of Longitude, it is a series of five half hour episodes and can be found on the World Service web site.