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EAS Christmas Trip to Jodrell Bank

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Today 18 members of Kendal’s Eddington Astronomical Society travelled down to Jodrell Bank for our Christmas Social Trip, and it was a fantastic day from start to finish! The bus was on time (early actually); everyone going on the trip turned up on time; we got away on time, and arrived early, and when we got to the observatory not only was the weather perfect – a crisp, cobalt blue sky, without a cloud in sight – but the huge dish was pointed right at the visitor centre, allowing us a spectacular view…

We had travelled down to Jodrell Bank to take advantage of a very special offer the observatory was running: entrance into the visitor centre, plus two 3D films, plus a full christmas dinner, for a knock down price. It was too good an offer to pass up, so we set off at 9am this morning and arrived just an hour and a half later, a little early so we had to wait a short while for someone to come along and let us into the car park. But that was no real hardship: it was a spectacularly crisp and sunny morning, and it was nice to just sit and take in the view before getting off the coach and setting off up the path to the visitor centre…

Our timetable was arranged well in advance, and after arriving we had an hour to walk around outside, taking pictures, before going back inside to the theatre to watch a 3D film about Mars. So, cameras in hand, we set off walking around and beneath the huge telescope. Here are some pictures… feel free to click on them to bring up full size versions…

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Above: EAS member Stella Coxon posing beneath – and dwarfed by – the Jodrell Bank telescope…

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Above: members Gary Vernon and Ian Bradley with the Big Dish!

After returning inside we all headed into the theatre to watch a special 3D presentation about Mars. After being handed our 3D glasses – the polarised “sunglasses” type, not the classic red and blue versions, which disappointed some! – we sat back and watched the Mars movie, which was okay, but it was followed by a second 3D film, this time showing planets and moons in the solar system and then the Sun and different sized stars to scale, and that was fascinating!

Then, back out into the light, and time for our food! 🙂

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Above: Christmas merriment! The meal we were served was, it has to be said, excellent. It was served hot, and quickly, and the quality of the meal was superb. Plenty of choice, good service too, I really couldn’t fault it. And nice “little touches” too, like crackers on the table, plus party poppers and lots of little glitter stars… some of which found their way on to this EAS member’s arm in a pattern you might recognise…

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After the meal we had an hour or so left for some more picture-taking, so it was time to go back outside again and get our cameras back out. By now the Sun was sinking low, and the telescope had been turned slightly away from the visitor centre, so it was possible to take some really beautiful images…

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 All too soon it was time to get back on the bus, but no-one could complain. The weather had been absolutely perfect – the ice blue sky a perfect backdrop for the huge dish – and the meal had been great value. All in all, a perfect day!

So, thanks to all the EAS members who came along and made it such a successful day – especially David Iles, who set the ball rolling in the first place by flagging up the event to me – and to the staff at Jodrell Bank too.

Next… an EAS trip to either Liverpool or maybe even Edinburgh… stay tuned! 🙂

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