What a brilliant day! We are all hoping that the organisers will run this show again next year. This is possibly the best show we will go to this year! Helped by great venue, interesting speakers, masses of atro stuff to look at, plenty of space in capacious halls to wonder around, lots of bargains, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, efficient catering at a reasonable price, central location, lecture theatre where you can actually hear the speakers and see the slides whereber you sat, and of course no entry charge! Why can’t all amateur astronomy shows be like this?
Several members of RAG attended the inaugrel Practical Astronomy Show today near Kettering 9/3/2019, including myself, Pete Hill, Heather, Rob Leonard, Terry Grimes, Ed Mann, Pete and Paul, Neil Wyatt, Ken Critchon. We should have more of these club outings to things astronomical!
The emphasis of this new show was on practical aspects of amateur astronomy, so no professional academics or folks from NASA bit rather likes of Paul Money, Gary Palmer and Damian Peach gave talks.
Paul Money started the talks with a jaunt through his observing career and a jolly look at his aperture fever and increasing expenditure on telescopes over the years until eventually he bought a 500mm Dobsonian telescope. Usually these purchases occured after he fell in love with a telescope or other bit of astro kit after reviewing it for BBC Sky at Night magazine. His poor wife – at least that is what most wives would say! How did he get away with it – the question most of us would ask!
The talks were great fun and, given that both show and talks were all free, well attended with relaxed feel. Unlike Astrofest which feels so serious, today was about fun, fun, fun! The lecture room housed about 200 attendees and sound and visuals were good. The free tickets meant that the lectures were full, and it was important to arrive early to get tickets for the talks. We were impressed with rthe quality and passion of the speakers, with something for everyone regardless of your level of experience and knowledge in astronomy.
There were a large number of vendors in the three rooms used for the show. Many of them are not seen at other shows, as the prices for vendors was much cheaper to attend PAS than Astrofest or the International Astronomy Show. Astrofest is still the place to go for definitive lectures by leading professional astronomers and celebrity speakers but PAS is setting itself up as the conference for those us who want advice on how to observe or photograph the night sky.
We were also impressed by the catering with a reasonable selection at an acceptable price, with efficient service so that you did not need to wait too long.
Unlike Astrofest in January this year where sale items were few and limited when present, there were a fair number of true bargains at the show today – masses of cheap space allowed vendors to empty cupboards and bring along their findings and sell them cheap – some of this stuff was excellent and in new or as new condition:
Pete and Heather join the queue to go into the show:
Spectrometer for sale:
Yours truly models a new scope for the home observatory……How can I sneak that one home without being noticed? Actually, I am not even sure if it will fit in the new Peter Bolas Observatory at Rosliston Forestry Centre (RAG’s home in Derbyshire, England, UK).
Damian Peach speaking on high resolution astrophotography below:
Bargain I picked up at show – a right angled finder scope with illuminated eyepiece on Sky Watcher mounting bracket for £45! Used but in excellent condition (below):