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Nick Howes Visits Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal.

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Last night members of the Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal were treated to a fantastic talk by a very special guest speaker. Astronomer/comet expert/writer/broadcaster/Outreacher Nick Howes came up from his home in Lincolnshire to talk to us, even though is is ridiculously, frighteningly busy getting ready to start his new job as a professional astronomer up at Kielder Observatory. It was a great turn out – 47 people! – and was one of our most enjoyable and entertaining nights for a long time.

Having known Nick for quite a while now via Twitter and Facebook, and got to know about him and his work as an Outreacher, I knew we were in for a good night, but it was even better than I had imagined. Nick is a very engaging speaker, and, like all good Outreachers and science communicators, during his presentation he combines science with personal experiences, hard facts and figures with entertaining anecdotes and stories. The result is a talk which has something for everyone in the room, and Nick’s talk on Comets was enjoyed by all.

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Although the Museum resembles a building site at the moment – probably because it *is* a building site; some serious modernisation and renovation work is going on – and our meeting room floor was covered in enough bits of wood to make an Ark (not a bad idea, given our recent bad weather!), Nick seemed to enjoy his visit, and before the meeting began even managed to grab some time to look around the Museum’s history, archaeology and geology collections.

And after the meeting, even though he was on a very tight schedule and had to hit the road, Nick very generously found time to talk to our local radio station, and was interviewed by Lakeland Radio presenters Dan Beale (below) and John Pye (who are also Eddington AS members) for the station and the next edition of the “Heavens Above” podcast, which will be released out into the wild soon…

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Eddington AS has had lots of guest speakers in its ten year history (did we mention it’s our tenth anniversary this year? 😉 ) but I think everyone who was at last night’s meeting will agree Nick was one of our most entertaining and inspiring. Nick’s obvious love of and passion for astronomy, and Outreach literally shone from him as he talked, and his dedication to promoting and encouraging the participation of schools and school pupils in science and astronomy via the Faulkes Telescopes was obvious to everyone. Which was very fitting because that’s what we’ve always tried to do as an astronomy society – involve as many people as possible, and share the wonders of the night sky and the universe with young and old. Nick is going to be a fantastic asset to the team at Kielder, and I know he thinks he’s lucky to get the job but they are much more lucky to get him! So, a huge THANK YOU to Nick for coming such a long way to talk to us. We hope you’ll come back and see us again!

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PS: It was lovely to welcome another brilliant astronomy Outreacher, Jasmine Evans (@Astro_Jaz on Twitter) (not pictured above, as she ran away as soon as the cameras came out!) to our meeting last night.

 

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One Response

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