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.
Meteor detection screenshots from Spectrum Lab: