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Eddington AS MoonWatch Success!

Tada!!! 🙂 The clouds parted, the rain stopped, and people flocked to the garden at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre tonight for the Eddington AS’s November “MoonWatch”!

The event was scheduled to begin at 7pm, but there were already people waiting eagerly at the Brewery at 6.30 when I arrived to set up my ‘scope, and by 7 we had half a dozen different telescopes set up on the (rather muddy and shloppy) garden, with a good sized crowd of wannabe Moonwatchers eager to look through them.

Soon the number of telescopes had risen to 9, and for the next hour and a half members of Eddington Astronomical Society showed the Moon, and Jupiter, to over a hundred people. Some were Brewery visitors, come to watch a film or a play, so came across us by accident, but many people had come especially for the MoonWatch, having seen posters around town or in the Library, or read about it in the Gazette or online. There were lots of impressed “ooh!”s and “aaah!”s as people bent down to peer into the eyepieces. Many people there had never looked at anything through a telescope before, so seeing the Moon’s craters, mountains and seas in stunning detail and clarity was – literally! – an eye-opener for them.

The weather was kind to us for around 90 minutes, and the view through my own humble 4.5″ reflector was gorgeous…

Then the clear sky and the beautiful Moon were swallowed up by a great dirty bank of black cloud, and it started to rain too, so telescopes were hastily packed away and the event was brought to a close… only for the sky to clear ten minutes later! With people still milling around outside the Brewery, Eddington AS’s founder, Philip Stobbart, and I, and Stella too, decided to set up our ‘scopes again in the hope of showing the Moon to a last few people, and another 3 or 4 did manage a peek before the clouds rolled back in and rain started to fall again, so that was that.

So, yes, tonight was a great success! A lovely clear sky – until 8.00pm at least – and lots of very interested people wanting to see the Moon. With so many telescopes set up to look through, everyone had a variety of different views to enjoy, from high mangification views of selected craters and features to wide-field views of the whole Moon shining against the blackness of space. There were families, couples, lots of kids – a really good turnout. And all the members of the EAS who came along to help out were kept really busy, answering questions and talking about astronomy. Hopefully we’ll have attracted a few new members to the Society, but that wasn’t the point of the evening; the point was to just show people something amazing in the night sky, and we certainly did that!

Some more pictures of the event on Philip Stobbart’s photo site, here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philipstobbart/sets/72157622889355456/show/with/4139272977/