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Astro Pub - what do you think?


Jim-a
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Hats off to Nick for taking his bins to the pub. It was great to see his tweets and pictures last night and it sounds like a good night.

When we had the idea for AstroPub we'd seen it as an informal meetup (with some beer-garden observing thrown in if the sky was clear) of people already interested in Astronomy. A pub seemed like a good venue because its relatively easy to find a quiet country pub in a dark-ish spot and it meant that we could pick a date and still meetup even if the weather wasn't good enough for observing.

Nick's trip to his local last night has made me also think about the "outreach" possibilities (there must be a better word) - Maybe pub astronomy is our UK parallel to the US Sidewalk Astronomy thing?. Looks like Nick was able to introduce a few folk to some things they hadn't seen before, which is great. Those people probably won't go as far as taking astronomy up as a hobby, but maybe they know of a secure dark site; or maybe they would be more supportive of anti-LP campaigns etc;

I guess as we start experimenting with these pub meetups, we will get a sense of how much curiosity is generated by what we are doing and see where it takes us.

(by the way we're still gathering postcodes / email addresses of interested people here. We've started scouting some pubs near Reading - where I'm going to organise a meetup, but the idea is that anyone can organise their own meet-up and we will put people interested in organising an evening into contact with people near by who are interested in attending an evening. We'll then share around everyones experiences and lessons-learned and tips etc to help the all the organisers)

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following my drunken last post,(words of advice, drunk(yes!that would be me!!) people trip over scope legs!!!), i have to say, i now have another interested landlord!!

so any south leicester peeps interested can contact Rich @ the [removed word] inn @ peatling magna, or myself, with any ideas.

he has offered a carpark which he will turn lights out, and has access to a darker field "down the road",

http://thecockinnpeatling.co.uk/

he also really does serve a cracking pint of 'real' ale(many guests) and the menu is good as well

this is not an advert and tbh we did mention this a week or two before this post arrived so he(Rich) is happy with the idea.

it does prove that it isn't a mad idea tho;)

even some bino's on bonfire/haloween night in your local could show kids(and bigger kids,we all have some big toys;) )something new...

clear,DARK NIGHT skys to all;)

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Hi. This sounds like a really good idea. I like the idea of having a pint whilst doing some observing or just chatting in a pub if cloudy. I live in Woodley so this would be ideal for me. Reading astronomy club have a public dark site for members in Farley Hill which is south of reading about 10 mins from Junction 11. I've been there and it is nice and dark, as I'm sure anywhere in Farley Hill would be. I've just looked up pubs in Farley Hill and there's one called 'The Fox and Hounds' which could be promising, the beer garden has wide open views of the southern sky. Take a look at this link for google maps, street view shows what I mean. The post code is RG7 1UB.

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Just a thought - golf clubs have bars - plenty of car parking and wide open spaces and reasonably dark sites. You would have to be a bit picky on the ones that you approach - some are a bit sniffy in terms of having non members in for a drink!! However many would welcome an increase in bar takings on a cold clear winters night

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thanks for the heads-up Ben .. I think Mike is going to go out and scout some pubs this week !

Duns - good call on golf clubs - hadn't really thought in that direction, but could fit the bill - thanks!

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thanks for the heads-up Ben .. I think Mike is going to go out and scout some pubs this week !

Duns - good call on golf clubs - hadn't really thought in that direction, but could fit the bill - thanks!

he'll need to test out the quality of the beer too! lol :)

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Good idea. But have you ever tried to break the rig down at the end of the night after a few beers? I was having a good night three weeks ago (last time it was clear) and ended up downing a bottle of wine, four cans of stella and then a couple of whiskies over the course of the night. And I don't normally drink much :) Fortunately no harm done to my kit even though i was tempted to leave it out in my drunken haze....

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Given that we'll pick country pubs for the darkness, I'm guessing most people will be driving... so I'm not sure that will be a big problem, but with you on the difficulty of setting up / taking down after a few beers - happened to me when we had friends round for drinks etc and it was clear and everyone wanted to have a look at the stars...

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This is a great idea and I'll pass it on to my astro society to see if we can put it into action.

My only concern is drunks bumping into and damaging the scopes! But I'm sure we'll all take that into consideration being the sensible lot we are!

Alexxx

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Right - we have a venue and date for our first (experimental) meet up!

Its will be at the Castle Inn in Hurst (near Reading) from 8.00pm on Tuesday 6th November (looks like it may be clear as well!)

Further details are here

Really looking forward to it - and maybe see some of you there

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Thanks for the best wishes guys!

I'll be sure to do a little write up of the evening and share how we got on. A fair few people have ticked the 'interested in organising an event' box on the sign up form, so hopefuly we'll be able to get a few more similar things hapenning in different parts of the country.

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So we had our first meetup last night. It worked really well.

In total,12 people came along and I think it's fair to say everyone enjoyed the evening.

When we arrived at the pub, the sky was covered in cloud, although we could just see Jupiter trying to shine through. The landlord had given us the snug for the evening and had helpfully put a fan heater in there in case we needed to warm up after being outside. After about an hour or so of astro related chat and looking through some really nice planetary pictures that one of the guys (Steve - not sure if he's a member on here) had brought along, we agreed that it looked like the cloud was thinning a bit and that we'd set some scopes up.

The Landlord had switched the floodlight on the pub patio off & with three scopes set up we all shared views of Jupiter, the Pleiades and the double cluster through gaps in the clouds - but the best bit for me were the conversations happening around the scopes - Alan (AstroTux on here) showing us his home-made motor controller boards for his Celestron, sharing observing experiences with Ben (Bendiddley on here) and generally chatting about astronomy huddled around some scopes in a pub garden. (There were a few photo's taken on the evening, so I'll share those when I get them.)

With the clouds rolling back in we packed up and then headed back into the snug to warm up and continue the conversations.

All in all it was a great night and we'll definitely be doing it again!

PS - We're hoping that AstroPub type meetups start springing up all over the place (its so easy to organise and the format seems to work really well) so we're gathering email addresses and postcodes here and over the next few weeks will hopefully be able to put some potential organisers in touch with potential attendees.

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