Sunday, 10 May 2015

Astrocamp Day 1.

Astrocamp Day 1
Over the last couple of weeks, observing and activity of almost any kind has taken a back seat.  One ankle injury and two knee injuries along with a visit to the doc has meant that rest has been the order of the day.  So, my visit to astrocamp has been under threat for a while.  In truth, I'm still having to be careful what I get up to, but I've made it in some degree of discomfort.  I've got my 5 meter by 5 meter square of grass and my electric hookup on which I have my two tents.  One for me and one for the SBT!

My square bit of turf with enough to keep my occupied.  The SBT tent on the right.

First impressions, well, it's a busy event and certainly full of like minded people.  But they do like to cram people in.  Perhaps a little too busy.  Should I have gone for a larger pitch?  Perhaps, yes but I didn't want to take a larger pitch that could accomodate several people in a larger tent.  And kit!  Well, there's a huge amount on display and in use.  Everything from table top scopes for children to whole imaging sets and 18" dobs.

The Common

Social observing at it's best - except most people are still in bed nursing hangovers!
I've met up with Neil and Jane from Tring Astronomy centre again, and already re-acquainted with Rae who I met once a few years ago at SGL.  Along with some Facebook friends from the Cotswold Astronomical Society.
So, to the observing.  Weather conditions haven't been ideal.  The sky did begin to clear a bit last night, but only slightly.  It was enough for the brighter planets to shine through and observations were made of Jupiter with 3 of it's moons.  I haven't checked, but I assume the fourth Galilean moon must have been behind the planet at the time.  I have my list of prepared targets to go for while at camp, but the weather conditions meant that more time was spent more cloud hopping to pick out targets between the clouds, than star hopping to get to targets in constellations.  Nevertheless, I did manage to pick up the Leo Triplet last night.  All 3 of them fitting in the 70 degree field of view of the 32mm Sky-Watcher Panaview.  My only other target for the night was the Whirlpool galaxy.  Both of these target I have observed before, but given the conditions, I think I was lucky to get them.
This afternoon, it's time to re-locate to the village hall in Cwmdu for a couple of quizzes and a talk by Nick Howes (I think?!) which I'm looking forward to.  Rumour has it that there is also a licensed bar there too.  Alas though, I can't partake.  Apparently Naproxen and alcohol don't mix :-(
Until the next time, Cheers!

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