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Eddington AS “Moonwatch”, Brewery Arts Centre, Friday January 14th 2011

(All photos courtesy EAS founder, Philip Stobbart)

Last night’s “MoonWatch” at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre was a *tremendous* success, with – we guesstimated – around 150 people coming together in the garden at the Brewery Arts Centre to enjoy spectacular views of the Moon through telescopes belonging to members of Kendal’s Eddington Astronomical Society.

The weather had been winding us up all day, with 100% cloud cover from dawn until teatime, then ragged, torn gaps appeared in the cloud, allowing glimpses of the Moon. Those gaps came and went with the scudding clouds, but by the time we arrived at the BAC to set up the Moon was shining high and bright above us, clearly visible in a large hole in the clouds. And for the rest of the evening we enjoyed long spells of clear sky, which allowed us to show our eager visitors quite spellbinding views of the Moon, and of Jupiter and some other sights in the sky, too.

There were more than half a dozen telescopes available for people to use, a variety of low-tech and hi-tech, inexpensive and “HOW much?!?!” and they were all surrounded by crowds of people, young and old, curious passer-by, absolute beginner or very interested, and everyone who looked into a ‘scope and saw the Moon in all its blazing glory was very impressed. We had a lot of very good feedback, people in and around Kendal clearly really enjoy these events of ours, so hopefully we’ll have recruited a few new members last night, too! 🙂

Another big hit last night was the small, glossy, “flip chart” booklet produced by the BBC as part of their “Stargazing Live!” series. We must have given out thirty or forty of those booklets, which contain easy-to-use star charts and even have a little compass fitted to them! – and I can see we’re going to have to get hold of some more for our remaining 2011 events, they’re extremely well made and very useful for beginners who want to get started in amateur astronomy. In fact, many of the people who came alongto the MoonWatch said how much they’d enjoyed the BBC programmes and how they’d made them want to learn more about astronomy. (More than a few told me how annoying and pointless Jonathan Ross’s contributions were, too, but time to let that one go, I think…!)

It was good to see so many kids there last night, too, and there were lots of shouts and cries of “Wow!!!” and “That’s cool!!” as our younger visitors looked into a telescope for the first time and saw the Moon in all its cratered, asteroid-blasted glory!

We have another three MoonWatch events planned for 2011, plus lots more. There are full details on our website – there’s a link to that on the right.

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