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MOONWATCH – skywatching success in Kendal at last!


Well, tonight was a case of ‘fourth time lucky’ for members of Kendal’s Eddington Astronomical Society – our “MOONWATCH”, held at the Brewery Arts Centre, was a fantastic success!

The event had looked very much 50/50 earlier in the day; the sky had been overcast and cloudy from dawn until just before teatime, when patches of blue sky finally started to fight their way through, and by 7.00pm the Moon itself was clearly visible in the sky. Half an hour later members of the Eddington AS started to arrive at the Brewery and began setting up telescopes on the beer garden lawn, to the obvious bafflement of many of the early evening drinkers gathered there! Within just a few minutes of the first tripod legs being set onto the ground people started to come up to us, asking if they could see the Moon, and by quarter to eight there were already people waiting around every one of the telescopes set up on the grass.


Soon the air was full of impressed “ooh!”s and shocked “Wow!”s as people enjoyed their first good look at the Moon through a telescope. And slowly people started to come down off the steps and out of the Brewery itself to see what was going on, until eventually a small crowd was gathered around each of the half dozen ‘scopes set up on the dewy grass.


Everyone seemed absolutely delighted and hypnotised by what they saw, and many enjoyed using the specially-prepared maps to help them identify some of the lunar features they saw through the eyepieces. The craters Plato, Tycho and Clavius stood out particularly well, and the landing site of Apollo 11 was easy to point out to people too.

Being held next to a popular night spot on a warm(ish!) Spring evening meant a steady stream of people passed through the event (whether they wanted to or not!) and there was a good variety of interested Moonwatchers: young and old, experienced and absolute beginners, everyone came along, and the view of the Moon was just fantastic, and by the time the sky was really dark the graceful curve of the Appennine Mountains was catching the eye of many of the people who peered thru my ‘scope. Several people asked if they could try and photograph the Moon through my ‘scope, with differing levels of success; the photo at the top of this post was taken by myself, just by holding my simple digi-camera up to the eyepiece of my 4.5″ scope, clicking, and hoping for the best! It turned out pretty well. 🙂

One of the best things about the MOONWATCH was the number of kids and families who came along to look at the Moon. Some parents struggled to hold their sons and daughters up to the eyepiece, but it was worth it just to see the looks of joy and wonder on their faces when they saw the Moon “properly” for the first time. Thanks to our Chairman, Ken (below, right), who made sure that the littlest little ‘uns were able enjoy the view, too…


All in all the evening was a fantastic success, and I’m sure that we must have shown the Moon to over 100 people by the time we were forced to pack up by mist and cloud drifting in over the Moon. 

So, many thanks to all the EAS members who came along to take part in the MOONWATCH, to the staff of the Brewery Arts Centre for giving us the go ahead to stage the event in the first place (thanks Kirsty!) and then for making us so welcome when we got there, and finally to everyone who came along to look at the Moon! We handed out lots of info slips, so hopefully some of those visitors have found their way to this webpage – if that’s you, then welcome!

Edit: for another report on the Moonwatch, with lots more pics, take a look at the blog of EAS’s original founder member, Philip Stobbart, here. It was great to see Phil at the Brewery, and like all the EAS members gathered there he did a really good job making sure people enjoyed the evening.