April 8th 2013 - Meeting
Following on the successful COMETWATCH last month, we had lots of photos of Comet PANSTARRS taken by various members of the society, plus Stuart Atkinson's account of his first Star Party at Kielder (in the snow) and some pictures of the Aurora Borealis by Ian Bradley. Finally, Simon White explained how he had tracked down a very faint Comet ISON (we think).
March 13th 2013 - COMETWATCH
Another clear sky, after several nights of low clouds. A large number of people, EAS members and visitors, gathered up at Kendal Castle to watch a beautiful sunset. Comet PANSTARRS was quite hard to see at first in the sunset haze, but as the sky darkened it became reasonably easy to spot with binoculars or a telescope. Everyone went home happy, anyway! See Stuart's Comet blog.
March 4th 2013 - Meeting
The main theme of the meeting was the two comets coming this year - Comet PANSTARRS in mid-March, and Comet ISON at the end of the year. Comet ISON has the potential to be really dramatic (if it doesn't fall apart going round the sun!). We also saw some new photos by members Simon White (asteroid video) and Ian Bradley, and a demo of a portable telescope by David Allan.
February 15th 2013 - MOONWATCH
At last we had a clear night! A good turnout by the society members, and plenty of interested vistors. However, the highlight wasn't the moon but Jupiter, beautifully poised above our heads, with the Galilean moons clearly visible. We also saw the ISS go overhead, to the amazement of some of our visitors.
February 4th 2013 - Meeting
This was the Annual General Meeting of the society. David Alllen is retiring as Treasurer, and Simon White will take over. The society is doing very well generally, with good attendance at meetings throughout the year. Allen Wilkinson followed up with a fascinating insight into the world of amateur radio, and explained the atmospheric science behind long-distance communications.
Jan 11th 2013 - Stargazing Live LECTURE
Another well-attended event, where Stuart Atkinson presented a Tourist Guide to the Universe, with some spectacular photographs of the solar system and beyond, and tantalising pictures of what we hope future tourists will be able to see on other planets, some day in the future.
Jan 9th 2013 - Stargazing Live SKY WATCH
Sadly, this was more of a Fog Watch! The weather was very poor, and the visibility reduced to a few hundred metres or less. This certainly gave Kendal an interesting spooky look as seen from the Castle, but not quite what we had been hoping for.
January 7th 2013 - Meeting
Because of the tie-in with the BBC Skywatching Live events, this meeting was aimed at beginners and non-members. It was very well attended, and Stuart Atkinson gave a presentation on how to start out in astronomy, with the absolute miniumum of equipment, and work your way up.
December 3rd 2012 - Meeting
This was our Christmas Social meeting, enlivend by a quiz provided by Graham Fell, the Chairman of the society. It was quite challenging! Afterwards we had a Jacob's Join supper, and discussed observing plans for the new year ahead.
November 5th 2012 - Meeting
The Astronomer Royal of Scotland, Professor John Brown, spoke to a packed meeting about gravity, and how it basically holds the universe together, as well as making the sun shine. He illustrated his talk with a few magic tricks to keep us on our toes. We hope to see Prof. Brown again next year to tell us about comets, which are a major research area for him.
October 1st 2012 - Meeting
This was a night devoted to the members of the society, with Stuart Atkinson talking about the new astronomy "apps" available for smartphones, Simon White tracing his learning curve in using a simple camera on a tripod for astrophotography, and Simon and Carol Grayson describing the fireball they witnessed on while star-gazing on the night of the 21st September.
September 3rd 2012 - Meeting
A very well-attended meeting heard Dr John Lockett from Leeds on 'The Eye and Astronomy', an explanation of how the human eye works. He started with the basic biology of the eye, and went on to describe how the eye sees at different light levels, the complicated interface with the brain, and how this all impacts on astronomical observations.
August 6th 2012 - Meeting
Beginner's night, with a good turnout for an August meeting. Stuart Atkinson gave a rousing presentation on how anyone can do astronomy, at the level that suits them. Graham Fell, David Allan and Carol Grayson also gave short talks on stars, using cameras with telescopes, and the advantages of binoculars for beginners. However, the highlight of the meeting was definitely the news that the Curiosity Rover has safely landed on Mars, and the chance to look at some of the pictures sent back.
July 19th 2012 - Lecture on Cassini
Dr John Spencer of NASA, who has spoken to the EAS before, was in the UK briefly and agreed to give a special lecture on 'Highlights from Cassini's Exploration of Saturn and its Moons', very well attended. He showed many wonderful photos, and also explained how the spacecraft is powered, and how the orbits are chosen to get the maxiumum scientific value from the time available.
July 2nd 2012 - Meeting
Member's talks - David Allan gave a presentation on how photosynthesis by early life on earth changed the chemistry of Earth's atmosphere, making life possible for higher organisms. Liz Hodgson spoke about adaptive optics, and the impact on ground-based telescopes. Carol Grayson explained how the Observing Group works, and asked anyone interested to contact her directly.
June 11th 2012 - Meeting
Stuart Atkinson described the science behind noctilucent clouds, a striking feature of night skies in summer, if it isn't impenetrably cloudy, of course.
May 28th 2012 - MOONWATCH
May 14th 2012 - Meeting
This was a well-attended meeting with an excellent talk from Martin Lunn, MBE FRAS, whose subject was "Viking Astronomy". Martin explained how the Vikings thought of Polaris as "A nail driven through the heavens", and described how the Vikings saw the whole starry sky as the glittering inside of the decapitated skull of an enormous frost giant. An amazing mental image!
Apr 21st 2012 - Spring Trip to Jodrell Bank
Apr 2nd 2012 - Meeting
This was a Telescopes meeting, so lots of members bought their telescopes along to the meeting to 'show-and-tell'. After the news round-up, we were able to walk round and discuss the different telescopes, and their good features and limitations. It was particularly helpful for new members and guests, looking for advice on setting up and using their new telescopes. We also had some great examples of photos taken though some of the telescopes, which will end up in the gallery if people remember to send them to Liz Hodgson.
One less pleasant surprise last night was the news that there is now a 24hr parking fee at the Museum, so attending an EAS meeting will now set you back £2 if you park in the car park. This sudden change in the rules caught a few people out, but the Museum don't own or run the car park, so cannot change the rules. We are lucky to be able to hold meetings at the Museum at all.
Mar 5th 2012 - Meeting
Jeremy Hunt came from Cockermouth to give a presentation on Astrophotography. This is an area of astronomy that has become much more accessible with the advent of digital cameras, now you no longer have to pay film processing costs, and software enhancement of images is possible with free sofware on a standard PC. That said, a great deal of time, effort and skill is still required to take the sort of pictures that Jeremy showed us! Astrophotography is open to all, but experience really counts.
Mar 2nd 2012 - PLANET FEAST
Meeting at Kendal Castle to admire Venus and Jupiter together in the sky.