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EAS “MoonWatch” April 9th

Last night the Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal held another of our hugely popular “MoonWatch” observing nights, at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre. And despite what I shall tactfully call “less than perfect weather” it was a great success with, we estimate, around a hundred or so people enjoying views of the 6 day old Moon through almost a dozen different telescopes.

When we got to the Brewery to set up, at around 6.45pm, it really wasn’t looking good. At all. After three days of almost cloudless skies, by teatime yesterday Kendal was under a hazy blanket of high misty cloud and some larger puffier clouds too. The Moon was hard to see, because of the combination of the bright background sky and all the haze, but we knew from past experience that you have to just set up and hope for the best, so that’s what we did, and it paid off. And by 7.15 we had eleven – eleven! – different telescopes spread out across the Brewery Arts Centre’s beer gardens…to the obvious bemusement of many of the drinkers collected and guzzling on the steps and chairs, who were clearly thinking “It’s still daytime… what are they going to see..?” 🙂

The first half hour/45 minutes was very frustrating. The Moon was there, in the sky, we could see it through the haze, but through the telescopes, large and small, it was fuzzy and showed very little detail. Lots of people still enjoyed their views tho, never having seen the Moon through a telescope before, and we could see that the sky was clearing…a little… and that as darkness was falling the Moon was steadily looking better and better.

Finally, by around 8.00pm, we had the views we had been waiting for. The sky had cleared enough to allow us to see a lot of detail on the Moon, especially through the larger telescopes, and there were some really stunning views on offer through the very impressive collection of Dobsonians, Newtonians, refractors and giant binoculars which was spread out across the grass….

By now a steady stream of people was coming through our event, and many exclaimations of “Wow!”s and “That’s cool!” could be heard ringing out across the beer garden. It still wasn’t a perfect view, by any means, but it was better – a lot better! – than what we’d all expected to see as we’d been setting up!

The event wrapped up at around 9.15, when our flow of visitors ran dry, so everyone packed up and headed home, after a very busy, but very enjoyable night. Yet again members of the Eddington Astronomical Society turned out in great numbers to support a Society event, and show the night sky to the people of the South Lakes, so thanks to everyone who came along for making it the success it eventually was!

* Many thanks to Philip Stobbart for letting me use some of his pictures in this post.

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