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

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).

Blue Snowball nebula simulation

Jane and I are in Fuerteventura for a weeks hols until tomorrow evening 18th Oct. The TV has a really bright mid blue LED that shines like a searchlight when we are trying to sleep! To cover it up I used a piece of card then got on bed. When the lights were off I checked it and thought I can still just see the glow and it looks remarkably like the Blue Snowball nebula NGC7662 visually through a scope when the sky is affected by light pollution and its difficulty pick out! So I took a pic! Whilst not an actual astronomical observation as such, it was still interesting.

Obviously there aren’t any stars, but do you see the similarity?

V2; The brighter image was taken further away with much less zoom. I have also included a sketch I did back in 2016 as a comparison, which has been inverted (I had to colour the nebula orange so it came out bluish when inverted).

Huddlesford Heritage Gathering 2017

Forgot this was on the phone!

Sunday 24th Sep, J and I took a leisurely walk on the towpath towards Whittington and came across this ‘biennial gathering of Historic Boats’.

What’s that I see….a…

‘Star’ling…  😉

Why a painted urn above you ask..?

Well.. ‘Lisa’ – The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) the first space-based gravitational wave observatory of course!

Apart from the fantastic coachwork on display, I’m always on the look out for anything ‘astro themed’, turned up a few!

Like the boat ‘Lyra’!

Link to the site:

Here’s Jules… what is the astro link then with this… look carefully…

On the tiller, a beautifully polished brass…



And a Leo theme below…


RAG Meeting – September 2017

A great evening, 30 members kicked off the second half of the year and enjoyed a fascinating talk by Peter Hill – telling us all about his US Solar Eclipse experience!

Here are some shots of Pete in ‘full flow’…

After tea, coffee and biscuits, Andy then presented the second half – An October/November Night Sky Tour (with a few newsy bits thrown in for good measure).


Those with binoculars and telescopes even got to use them afterwards (made a welcome change).



Down for a few days at mum’s caravan in Amroth, Pembrokeshire.

Before we came I’d checked the forecast and there was zero chance of any clear skies, didn’t even bring the binos…. doh!

Woke around 1.30 last night to amazingly clear skies(!!!!), so headed out just in the dressing gown and J’s pink ‘Crocs’ – what a sight!

Found a pair of rubbish 8×30 binoculars  in the wardrobe to use… but better with just the eyes to be honest!

Never seen so many stars naked eye in Delphinius, sitting below and to the left of Cygnus right overhead. Altair the Eagle seen in full as it sat in the opening of the valley.

A faint patch of light to the left of Alberio turned out to be the Coathanger asterism in the binos (I wouldn’t have been able to discern naked eye).

Draco to the right was lost between the mass of stars overhead linking Hercules, Sagittarius  and the like.

Andromeda and Triangulum Galaxy visible naked eye. Double cluster as a largish patch of light in Perseus sitting directly below Cassiopeia. The Milky Way a solid bright swathe across the sky with dark rifts easily seen.

The Pleiades rising below the lot of them – as Nick mentioned (and to coin a Game of Thrones phrase)…. ‘Winter is Coming’!


The dark sky site of the Astronomical Society of Penang

In my previous posts, I mentioned that the Astronomical Society of Penang held its observing sessions in two locations – an observatory in Komtar in the centre of the main city in Penang, George Town. Observing here was aimed at going where the public is found, to show them the night sky, John Dobson-style. Other events were held at their dark sky site, such as the meteor observing session on 12/8/2017. I have pasted below details on the location of this observing plus some other information about the group, including their Facebook page (it appears most people use Facebook in Malaysia and so this is preferred medium for hosting websites) and details of an astronomy shop set up by two members in Penang “Perseid astronomy” – these two members also own the dark sky site and its observatory.




More photos of Andy teaching at Astronomical Society of Penang event 12/8/2017

The following pictures were taken by members of the Astronomical Society of Penang and sent to me. It is an exciting experience to tell so many new people to astronomy about the night sky – if you are feeling jaded or your interest in astronomy is waning, I can recommend it! Look out rather than in!