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Woodsey65

HantsAstro.org - New Online Astronomy Group

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HantsAstro

We are an astronomy group which is quite unlike any other. We offer free membership and a free monthly PDF eZine 'Look Up', with general observing sessions for FREE starting in Sept '08 for beginners and those wishing just to observe.

We have 4 'scopes from 3" to 10" and have some special astrophotography sessions planned at several of the best dark sky sites in Hampshire. We do not have a clubhouse (that's why we are online!) and are funded by our online store, a bit of advertising and some of our special observing sessions... (not all the sites can be free, but some are!!!)

It's taken months to roll-out and now we're ready.

It's a different kind of group. Practical Astronomy with access to safe sites, a free eZine every month with unbiased reviews and a 'funkier' look at astronomy. Yes I said Funky. There. Told it like it is.

So, it's pay-as-you-go-astronomy with some free bits, and with no strings attached. We like free. Do you?

We have 22 members in just three months and are growing all the time.

Just a bit more 21st Century Savvy really, which is why HantsAstro is not your standard format group. We are 'Out There'.

To find out more please visit www.hantsastro.org. I'll let you know via SGL what's happening, it's very exciting (and V. Scary!) starting a new group. Thanks to all those who have supported me in getting this off the ground and believing it can happen. Now it is.

Thank you for reading and I hope you like it enough to join.

Dark Skies.

David Woods

david.woods@hantsastro.org

Founder

HantsAstro

Hampshire is our Playground.

post-14757-133877343117_thumb.jpg

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Welcome David, it was nice to chat with you on the phone last night.

Ant

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Thanks Ant,

It's good to talk! :thumbright:

Got loads of stuff I'll e-mail you. We covered many subjects last night that I'm still sorting through.

Really looking forward to doing more with SGL and meeting new people.

David

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Hi Steve,

Hope you're keeping busy. I'm finally getting the hang of using a forum.

The observing sessions timetable is about 75% completed and I will be launching everything via our site at the end of this month if can finalise all the details. A bit like plate spinning. We have booked Herstmonceux and now Kelling Heath in September so will see you there I hope. There are also several other events in the pipeline we are planning to go to or be involved in, including a 'telescope amnesty' and some 'sidewalk astronomy' stuff which should be fun.

It's going to be a busy first year.

Thanks for your help so far.

David

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Thanks Jamie,

Read that SGL and FLO are at the South-West Astro-Fair. Look forward to seeing you there! Always wanted to go to the NLO.

SGL & FLO @ the NLO. I must up my medication...

Jamie, I spend some time in Tarbert so swing past you on the way through, so perhaps we could hook up... I travel a lot in my line of work.

David

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Hello,

Sorry I haven't got back to you. The mail server has been playing up and so has the site due to heavy traffic. I lost some e-mails when the server fell over. Sorted now. I'll contact you shortly.

D

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Hi Dave

just wanted to say was great chatting to you the other night

look forward to working with you in the future

liked the ezine as well.

Al

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Hello Everyone!

August's edition is out now for subscribers, and for public release on the 1st August. Subscribe and get the Mag 1 week earlier. Now 20 Pages!!!!

I said eight, but I can't fit all the stuff in! Doh!

BIG exclusive interview with Dr Jenny Shipway of INTECH Planetarium, we get to see how it works. 32 TeraBytes of data storage for 6 projectors.

I should have asked her if it runs on Vista...

On 11/12th August we are holding a Perseid Watch at Buster Ancient Farm, Chalton, Hants PO8 0BG, starting at 9pm. It's members only and it's free! (normally £4) Refreshments and facilities are available.

Membership is also free... like Look Up! So why not join in? No catch, no hidden charges. Just pure astronomy.

PDF Membership forms are now available from our site, fill in, save and e-mail back. Simple.

Thanks to all those that subscribed to Look Up! from SGL.

Thanks to Ant, for your help and advice, and your page on M27 in the August edition. BTW, Look Up! now has an ISSN (1758-2210) so I guess that means you're published! Hehe.

Hope you all enjoyed the last read.

I think you'll like the next one.

Any questions, you know where I am.

Clear Dark Skies,

Dave

www.hantsastro.org

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Best of luck to the scheme....

I took onboard some of your comments for my webby, its coming along now...slowly!

And the free part of your website etc sounds very good, astronomy shouldn't be a chore, it should be fun for all involved.

If I ever move down south I'll be sure to visit someday (or night)

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Thanks, EA,

If you can get some advertising revenue and a place(s) to meet then offering free membership is not such a mad idea. The potential revenue earner for us is our magazine, that supports the group and gives us exposure. The existing model for existing membership fees means that many astronomers don't join for that and other reasons. A Poll was done here on SGL of 68 people reflects that.

The idea is to attract astronomy and make it more 'mainstream' Funky. I mean, the WO FLT 98 is the perfect example: Carbon Fibre Tube, exquisite finish, what's not to like? Think iPod.

I want to change the face of astronomy from the 1970's beardy, maths teacher ( with open-toe sandals and socks, ugh!) into something we can all relate to. Astronomy has moved on since then, but most people I speak to think I'm a geek when I say I do astronomy. Once you get anyone to look though a telescope for the first time, it completely changes their viewpoint, that for me is the buzz.

It's why we have two sites to cover Hampshire and to cater for different types of astronomy. It should be fun, and not just restricted to people who have the apparent know how or big observatories.

It needs to be more popularised to a degree or it will go into decline, which would be tragic. HantsAstro is an experiment to see if a club can work in a semi-commercial format. That way the clubs could sit between the 'industry' and the astronomer, and work together in developing astronomy. It's not been done before and the support we're getting shows that it might just work.

We get more astronomers, they get more chances of selling their wares. Everyone wins. Without the 'new' astronomers, no-one does. In Hampshire two groups have closed already, just died. Running any group is not cheap and time-consuming, so like it or not whatever it's status it is a micro-business, and committees have to wake up to it. It's an inescapable fact, that all hobbies cost, this one costs more than most. True? How do you buy a 'scope, with buttons? A business is involved somewhere, even if it's the job that pays you so you can afford that shiny scope.

There is a bottom line to every hobby, that's life I guess. If it's gonna a be death and taxes, then I'll take the fun the middle.

Astronomy is not a privilege, as we all share the same sky. It's one of the few things left you can't be charged for. Well actually you can, you join an astronomy group. But now you have an alternative other than being by yourself.

Our group is doubling every three months because most like the fact it's simple, de-restricted, not just because it's free. It's just practical astronomy.

Our three rules are simple and true, with nothing else to add, because if it's not about astronomy then we're not really interested. Check out our membership form. Download, fill in and send online, a third came back in 24 hours.

Good luck with your venture I hope it succeeds, you have some of the best dark skies there and would be good to see everything more tied together. It'll take time, (it's taken me 6 months!) and we only really kick-off in September.

Just keep it simple if you can.

Keep in touch,

Dave

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I've had a read and think it's very good! Page 8 is great :D

Do you want to make "Look Up" available for download from SGL? If you do then a member of Admin will have to do it as it's 2meg!

All in all very nice indeed! (got your voice mail BTW, I'll be in touch when I have a few minutes spare - end of the week).

Ant

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Thanks for the offer Ant.

Glad you like page 8!

Never thought we'd get to 20 pages so soon. Only thing is apart from the size is that we need to be able to get some stats on the downloads to get some idea of how well it's going. So far we have had over 1000+ from all over the UK, and this edition might be even better.

Would love some feedback from SGL members to improve the mag.

Thanks

Dave.

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Each attachment loaded directly to SGL boards have a "downloded x times" next to them!

That any good?

Ant

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Thanks Ant,

Could be useful. What we are trying to do with the Mag and the site is to tune it to what people want, so any constructive feedback is welcome. It has been downloaded over 2000 times since launch with 90% from all over the UK, especially the London area. I have received dozens of e-mails from people in London asking about local groups and dark sky sites.

Never thought it would take off like this, and the feed back we've had so far is why we have added pages and are building in more techy astronomy stuff.

This will no doubt improve when the group becomes fully active in September.

We are approaching 50 members and this will probably double by Xmas, if current growth continues, and with a 60% observing base to cater for we will be busy.

We are also starting our ClearSkies Aerial survey of Hampshire in the next couple of months, using a plane and two side-scanning video cameras to map most of the county. Some areas are no fly zones or controlled airspace. The idea is to identify any dark sky sites and areas of serious light pollution using GPS and ground based SQM readings. You read it here first, it's for real.

The imaging techniques I'll be using are similar to the shipwreck video-forensics I do, and can create seamless mosaics with lots of detail. The resolution should be down to less than 30 metres per pixel at max distance. I've done some daytime in-flight testing and worked out how it can be done quickly and therefore cost-effectively.

Downside is that Goodwood Aerodrome for instance closes at 9pm...

Landing fees at a commercial airport means that's not an option...

I might start this as another topic as the data gathered means it will be a big project and I will be needing some help nearer the time.

I don't think anyone's attempted this before.

I must be nuts, but it can be done.

Regards,

Dave

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Free Observing from September 10th 2008 - INTECH

Please send in your membership application form if you haven't already ASAP as we are now finalising the INTECH programme. We have capacity for about 90 people with about 40 signed up so far for Butser Ancient Farm & INTECH but are always looking for more!!! We now have 57 members with some as far flung as Scotland and Switzerland that have signed up to join in the fun!

Butser's start date will be announced soon and is only £4 per session with some of the darkest measured skies in Hampshire. It's ideal to hone your skills in astrophotography. We first met at Butser on the 11th Aug, and everyone had a great time even though there was a lot of cloud. It was like a mini-star party, just the way it should be.

Our September 'Look Up!' Mag is near completion, and observing members also exclusively get a copy of HantsAstro's 'Observer' Newsletter, with details on our observing sessions and group news, every month.

We're also going to be at the Herstmonceaux Astronomy Fair on 5-7th, so please feel free to visit our stand and meet the team, and if you're staying over, pop over to our camp place, we'll be observing too!

It's free to become a member, so what's not to like?

Join in with HantsAstro! It'd be great to see you.

David

www.hantsastro.org

david.woods@hantsastro.org if you have any questions...

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Thanks David.

I notice that Sir PM is giving a talk on 7th Sept.

Too far for me.

John

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Sorry for the late reply, and update. Graham Green our human GOTO and e-zine photographer, aptly titled it, 'Hertsmonsoon'. Oh yeah it rained and we were unhinged like a fridge door to camp over. Barking Mad. When the rain stopped Graham actually got some shots in and we were the only people to set up a small 'scope and observe there Friday/Sat as far as I know. Great event but the weather was awful. Hard rain was the main event.

Met Sir Patrick, always an honour and a very sharp mind, had our phto taken with hin and invited us to be added to his 2009 YearBook. He attended on the Sunday too for more talks and a book signing. We did well over the weekend, and interview with the BBC Sky@Night, the SPA want to collaborate with us on some stuff. We made some new friends and generated a lot of interest in our group. One of of newest members broke all rules. He's nine year old and does image. We talked about dark frames and periodic error. Can't wait to see how he does... stunning. How could we say no to such a young star? Watch this space.

We now have 80 members as a result of our efforts. 74 by the Sunday, the others either by post or e-mail during the week. Thanks and welcome!

Even with the bad weather, it's worth a trip. The Observatory is a great site and there was lots to do and see. The trade stands had some real bargains and the seminars were good as usual. I was tied to the HantsAstro stand so missed on some interesting talks.

SGL would do well to be there methinks... better than the NLO Fair, IMHO.

Make a slot in your diaries next year. The more we all support these the events, the better they get, and hopefully more of them.

I'm sure everyone would welcome that.

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Observing at Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton on 19th Sept @ 8pm (passes available £4)

and at INTECH, Winchester (23rd Sept Free Passes still available!)...

Looks like clear nights for both! About time!!!

A range of telescopes will be available for use from 3" to 10". See site for details and free membership. Yep, plug over.

Be great to meet you and get down to some real astronomy!

www.hantsastro.org

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