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Herstmonceux Festival of Astronomy 10th anniversary 2014


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Well I'm just back after an absolutely cracking weekend at Herstmonceux.

The lecture line up was great, although sadly I'm left with a major AstroCrushTM on Dr Lucie Green.... The observatory itself is remarkable: I hadn't realised there were working telescopes in the domes, and it's steeped in UK astronomical history. The astronomy clubs and event organizers clearly worked their socks off to make it such a success - good on you guys and thanks from me. Even the food tent was spot on, run by the hardest-working bloke I've ever met (think Omid Djalili with a spatula) and his astronomy-loving uncle making home-made burgers with stilton, bacon sarnies, veggie butter bean smoosh - nom nom nom.

However, best of all was the lovely bunch of people there. Everyone (bar none) was so friendly and welcoming that even I made some friends; and if you're reading this Ian Kafka; Andy from 365Astronomy; Grace & Simon from next door tent; Sarah, Claire, Ru, Richard, Jules, Neil, and the rest of the Space Cadets - it was a real pleasure to meet you (and be part of the actual winning pub quiz team :wink:).

It was a real treat, and I'll be going back next year for sure, if not before.

If you've not been - its well worth a look next year. Honest.

Edited by Crebles
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Well you're a helpful cheery devil aren't you? The forecast was for rain last year and it turned out lovely. Good weekend out whatever happens.

They are taking bookings now and it has got very popular so pitches might start to go fairly quick. I got mine booked today.

A couple of pic's from a really excellent Herstmonceux, great company, great organization, great food, great lectures (could have done with more time between them) In fact to use a rather over used ad

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Certainly was a good weekend. I would have liked to have seen Lucie Green`s talk but it had sold out by the time I got there on Friday eve! 

We managed a look at the Moon and Albireo plus I noticed the Pleiades rising in the East later on, a sure sign winter is around the corner. 

The kids had loads of fun trying out all of the activities in the centre. If only they could hold it during the school holidays, it would be so much easier to get there

and we could even consider staying until Monday morning. 

There are a couple of books about the history of the observatory which really brings it to life what it must have been like working there as an astronomer.

The first book is `Astronomers at Herstmonceux - in their own words` and `The Isaac Newton Telescope at Herstmonceux and La Palma` by Anthony Wilson. 

Plus a surreal moment was when I was looking through one of the telescopes in the domes and we were using one of the actual old observing chairs. 

I couldn't help but wonder who or how many astronomers had used that chair in the course of their work there!

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Certainly was a good weekend. I would have liked to have seen Lucie Green`s talk but it had sold out by the time I got there on Friday eve! 

We managed a look at the Moon and Albireo ...

Was that through our deliberately defocussed dob? WAS had their scopes in the observatory grounds and we put the dob on albireo but deliberately slightly out of focus to show the colours. (not my idea and I'd never have thought of doing that)

Plus a surreal moment was when I was looking through one of the telescopes in the domes and we were using one of the actual old observing chairs. 

I couldn't help but wonder who or how many astronomers had used that chair in the course of their work there!

At Herstmonceux the main thing I wonder about "how many astronomers ... " is "How many astronomers have ended up in the pond?", it's an observatory what genius thought it would be a good idea to have a pond in the middle of the domes!

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I saw Albireo through the dome D scope and now you mention it, I do remember looking at Albireo through a dob set up outside which was deliberately de focussed.

I had never thought of doing that too! 

If I may quote from the book `Astronomers at Herstmonceux`

"The buildings were designed by an architect with little input from the Royal Observatory staff.

In consequence the group has features which are less that ideal for astronomical telescopes" (page 34)

Then on page 35 "at least one student fell into the pond after coming down the steps from the Astrographic dome"

I reckon the actual figure is a bit higher!

Edited by Phil Fargaze
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A couple of pic's from a really excellent Herstmonceux, great company, great organization, great food, great lectures (could have done with more time between them)

In fact to use a rather over used adjective is was "Amazing"  :grin:

Dave

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Had a great weekend at the Astronomy Festival.

Managed to glimpse the moon though the clouds on Friday night but Saturday and especially Sunday night were better, in fact on the Sunday night i saw Saturn M13, M57 M81, M82, the Owl Cluster, and M27 very difficult because of the moon, some Double stars mentioned in Astronomy Now, also looked at the moon which is something i rarely do. 

The trade stands were great, subscribed to Astronomy Now (will probably cancel the Sky at night mag)

bought a collimator from Astronomia, and all 3 Burnham's for £10.

On the Saturday both Bob Nichol's talk on the expanding universe and Lucie Green's on the sun were excellent,

and so was Andrew Coates on Mars exploration on Sunday.

 

Its also good to put faces to names on this forum, just realized Davey-T was the chap camping opposite, who we chatted to most of the weekend. 

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