Day 1 – 8/2/2019:
Ed (Mann) and I stayed overnight at the Copthorne Tara Hotel before arriving at Astrofest at 8:45am on 8/2/2019 ready got the first day of European Astrofest 2019.
We come along for our annual trip to this conference, which advertises itself as the biggest and best annual European amateur astronomy conference. This may have been true in the past but now it has a run for its money with the International Astronomy Show held near Coventry each October/November.
It was great to meet many folks that we have met at previous Astrofests – after several years we know each other by sight with folks from Edinburgh astronomy soc, Bakers Street Astronomers, Leicester astronomy Soc, University of 3rd age astronomy groups, etc.
First impression was a mixture of positive and negative – on the negative side the number of vendors purchasing stand space in the exhibition has gone down for another year runnnig with significant spaces and stalls spreading out to fill gaps. Some big names are not here and I did not find any bargains that stood out as we wondered around the exhibition before the first talk.
In the positive side, all but the first session of talks are sold out and even the first is largely full. As always the range of topics in the talks is quite exciting and I am sure will kep us enthralled for both days. I also noticed that the Soyuz capsule/ISS docking simulator is back and I would to try it again to see if I can dock it successfully without having to fluke it as I did last time!
I have already purchased a copy off Brian May and David Eicher’s new book “Book 3D” and David Eicher was there to sign it for me and Happy to allow me to have a photograph taken with him. David is the editor of Astronomy magazine.
Purchases planned otherwise? I am looking for a Sky Watcher finder base but otherwise not expecting to buy anything.
The second talk of Friday stood out as a serious discussion of strategies to search for life starting on another planet, with emphasis to sort of things can put on probes to other planets to allow them to identify likely life. I was very interested in the speaker’s ideas on information processing indicators on planets that suggest that a planet has life.
NB There was only one thing I wanted to buy – a Sky Watcher finder base – the little bit the finder attached to…could I find one? Could I, heck!
Ed and Andy in the lecture theatre:
David Eicher, editor of Astronomy Magazine, and Andy: David is holding the new book he has co-authored with Brian May of Queen: