Events 2004 to Date
Equinox Sky Camp: September 25th to 29th 2008
In the annuals of UK astronomical related events, this year's Equinox Sky Camp has to go down as being a "classic". We had a total of eleven Society members attend the event, and while most stayed from September 25th to the 29th, several travelled down on the Saturday for a nice day out.
On the whole, the weather was superb; with warm sunny autumnal days, and relatively warm nights. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights were very clear, and members made the most of them. Sunday was a disappointment as light rain moved in during the morning, but it soon cleared away, and even though the rest of the day was mainly cloudy, it was still fit enough to have a walk around the local countryside.
The infamous Kelling Heath Wind Factor stayed away for another year, but was substituted instead by absolutely awful dew - optics and electronic equipment didn't like it one bit. The sound of hairdryers being wafted around was heard all across the campsite on Friday and Saturday night! Several GOTO telescopes were also seen to go haywire - almost certainly a result of the dew. The good news was that no damage was done.
With the dark clear skies, IDAS members Matt Bowley and Russell King managed to produce some stunning images of deep sky objects during the weekend. Meanwhile, Mark Thomas managed to obtain enough footage to start production on another Equinox Sky Camp video, which will hopefully be shown to members later on in 2009.
The good news is that the Society has already booked its pitch and chalet for 2009 - not long to go now!
Jodrell Bank Trip: June 7th 2008
Saturday June 7th marked our sixth Society visit to the Jodrell Bank Science Centre. As always, this popular venue attracted a good percentage of the membership to come along and enjoy a day of astronomical discovery. On this occasion our guide around the complex was Dr Alistair Gunn, who started out by giving us a talk about the history of Jodrell Bank, and then went on to show us the control room and the labs, where all the hard work is done to produce radio maps of the sky. There's more to Jodrell Bank than just pointing a big dish into the sky!
After a spot of lunch, we all had a look around the arboretum, and admired the Lovell Mk1a close-up. A big thank you to Dr Gunn for sparing his time to show us around the complex. Some images of the event will be added to our Gallery soon.
Visit to AstroAdventures: April 26th - 29th 2008
Six Society members made the annual pilgrimage to the ever-popular AstroAdventures during late April - for the hope of dark clear skies. On this occasion their hopes were realised with two good clear nights, and it allowed everyone to observe the wonders of the heavens from this very dark location. Besides the astronomy, members also enjoyed touring around the local countryside, which was made all the better by having decent weather. Some photographs from the visit can be found here.
IDAS Spring Display & Open Day - April 2008
Our static Spring Display at Shipley Park lasted throughout April, and was a good opportunity for us to show the local community some of our excellent and wide-ranging astronomical photographs and drawings - all produced by our very own members. On Saturday April 12th we held an Open Day at the Shipley Park Visitor Centre, where members managed to demonstrate a variety of astronomical equipment to the public. Even through members were not swamped out by visitors, it still ended up being an enjoyable day for everyone.
Visit to Derby A.S. Observatory - March 15th 2008
We had a good turnout of members for our much anticipated visit to the Derby A.S.'s observatory on March 15th. Members met up at the Rose and Crown pub in Brailsford, and from there they travelled in convoy to the observatory. Guided by Mike Lancaster and other members of the Derby Society, they showed us around their impressive set up, which unfortunately was marred somewhat by the very wet weather. However, Andrew Fryer and Alan Halton very kindly brought along some very warming soup, which apparently went down very well - and a big thanks to them for bringing it along, as it was most appreciated by everyone. Once the comprehensive tour had concluded members returned to the Rose and Crown for some refreshments. A big thank you to the Derby Society for their hospitality during the evening.
Autumn Display & Open Evening - November 2007
The Society's Autumn Astronomy Display was held at the Erewash Museum in Ilkeston, throughout November, and was an excellent showcase of members' photographs and drawings. On Tuesday November 20th we held an Open Evening at the Museum, in the hope of allowing the general public to look through telescopes and listen to some astronomy related talks. As usual, for such an event the weather was wet and cloudy, making quite sure we didn't use any telescopes.
However, we did have a small group of people who came along and braved the weather, and they were able to examine our display and look at members telescopes. Besides the short talks about the night sky, a Star Trail around the Museum proved popular amongst the children who attended.
Overall, the event went more or less according to plan though it has to be said that the number of visitors were lower than we had expected. This was most likely down to the poor weather. Anyway, thanks to everyone who were able to come along to help out on the night.
Equinox Sky Camp: September 14th - 17th 2007
Nine Society members attended this year's Autumn Equinox Sky Camp, which took place at the usual venue of the Kelling Heath Touring Park, near Holt in North Norfolk during mid-September. This year, members were treated to excellent weather, with good clear nights on the Friday and Saturday. For the second time in two years the now legendry Kelling Heath "wind factor" stayed away just long enough to make for a wonderful time. Sunday proved to be the windiest, and there was a report of a damaged telescope due to the wind, which was unfortunate. Instead of living in tents for the weekend most members had the luxury of staying in a large warm and dry holiday chalet. A tent pitch was also booked, and this acted as a meeting point during the day and a place where members could set up their telescopes during the evening. A great time was had by all. A selection of photographs can be found here.
Society Trip to York - July 7th 2007
Members thoroughly enjoyed a day visit to York on July 7th, to have a tour of the York Observatory, and of several astronomical related locations around the city centre. Members were entertained by the ever-popular Martin Lunn (MBE) of the York Museum, and whose enthusiastic guided tour made for an excellent day out.
Afterwards, members spent an enjoyable time at the National Railway Museum. A big thanks to Martin Lunn for sharing his time and knowledge with us.
Shipley Park Night Watch - June 23rd 2007
This year's Shipley Park "Night Watch" took place on the evening of Saturday June 23rd, when Members had hoped to have shown the general public the wonders of the night sky. Alas, the sky remained cloudy throughout the event; except for a brief appearance of Jupiter for a mere two minutes, and the odd rare glimpse of the Moon! Shipley Park had a good turnout of 82 people coming along on the night, to take part in guided walks, a look at moths and bats, as well as being entertained by our own members. Even though the weather was not on our side, the event was considered to be a success. A big thank you to all our members who were able to help out on the night.
Ilkeston Hobbies Exhibition: April 1st 2007
This year's Hobbies Exhibition, which was organised by the Ilkeston & District Rotary Club took place on Sunday April 1st, and was held at the Co-operative Regency Rooms on Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston. As expected, the exhibition boasted a varied display of hobbies and interests, with many local clubs and societies in attendance. Our own excellent display was very well attended by Members during the day. The public turnout appeared to be much better than last year's event, with plenty of people milling around the various displays.
It's nice to report that several members were able to supply additional pictures for the display and this included photographic results from the total lunar eclipse of March 3rd 2007. Russell King also very kindly used his laptop to project astronomical images onto a screen, and this certainly helped to catch the eye of members of the public as they wandered around. Some images of the day can be found in our gallery.
Lincoln A.S. Visit - March 24th 2007
IDAS Members were invited along to make a return visit to the Lincoln Astronomical Society (LAS) and their impressive observatory on the evening of March 24th 2007. Once again, everyone had a very enjoyable time touring around the facilities. Even though observing was not possible, everyone enjoyed tea, coffee and biscuits, along with a short slide show by Mark Thomas. We'd like to extend our thanks to David Swaby and the other members of LAS for making us most welcome.
Visit to AstroAdventures: March 17th - 20th 2007
Several Society members made another visit to AstroAdventures during mid-March, hoping for clear dark skies and the prospect of viewing the zodiacal light. Unfortunately, severe gales, rain, sleet and snow did their best to spoil the visit. Naked-eye observing was just about possible during the brief clear periods, while a number of members managed to obtain some astronomical photographs between the clouds.
Even though on this occasion the astronomy was a bit of a disappointment, members did manage to make amends with several days of interesting sight-seeing of the local area. Some photographs of the trip can be found here.
Observing Session: March 3rd 2007
The Society held an observing session at Shipley Park on the evening of March 3rd, so members could observe a total lunar eclipse from a fairly dark location. Luckily, the weather turned out to be very clear and members were able to view the eclipse from start to finish. Members used a variety of telescopes to make their observations, and many took photographs (with both film and digital) to record this memorable event. IDAS member Russell King has submitted this fantastic composite picture of the eclipse. It certainly sums up what a "classic" evening it turned out to be.
Equinox Sky Camp: September 22nd - 25th 2006
After last year's sabbatical from the annual Equinox Sky Camp, several members decided to attend the event this year. Heavy rain spoilt the Friday and Monday, but the main event days of Saturday and Sunday were blessed with very nice warm sunny weather - perfect Sky Camp weather! Alas, only the Friday night was clear enough for some observing to be done. Even so, a great event as usual. Several photographs from the event can be found here. A full report about the weekend can also be found in our Newsletter 272.
IDAS Summer Display & Open Day - August/September 2006
The Society held its Summer Open Day at the Erewash Museum, Ilkeston, on August 19th 2006, and members were on hand to show off the Sun to visitors as well as answering their astronomical questions. Our collection of astronomical photographs and drawings were on show in the "Hayloft" until mid-September.
Shipley Park Night Watch - July 1st 2006
The annual "Night Watch" event, organised by Shipley Country Park took place on the evening of July 1st 2006. For once, the sky stayed fairly clear throughout the evening and our members were able to show almost one hundred people the Moon, Jupiter and several other astronomical objects. A lot of those who attended were able to see the International Space Station pass across the south western sky - a thrilling experience for those who had not seen it before. Yet another success, and thanks go to all our members who were able to help out on the night.
IDAS Open Day & Display - June/July 2006
The Society held its late spring Astronomy Open Day at the Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre on June 18th, and this enabled members to show off their telescopes and talk to members of the public about astronomical matters. A steady stream of people passed by our static display of photographs and drawings throughout the day, and we had several favourable comments from people about it. Solar observing in visible and hydrogen alpha light was not possible due to cloudy skies - which was a pity. Our static display continued until mid-July. Finally a big thanks to John Brown, Mark Thomas, Russell King, Mary McNulty and John Cuthbertson for helping out on the day.
IDAS Silver Jubilee Convention - May 20th 2006
IDAS celebrated it's 25th year of existence on May 20th 2006 by holding a special Silver Jubilee Astronomy Convention. The event was held at the Heanor Welfare Centre, Heanor, Derbyshire, where the audience were treated to four excellent and diverse talks. Rother Valley Optics and The Widescreen Centre provided the trade support, and both had a good selection of equipment and accessories for sale. A more detailed report about the event can be found here. Also, a comprehensive series of photographs from the day can be found here.
Ilkeston Hobbies Exhibition: April 9th 2006
This year's Ilkeston Hobbies Exhibition, organised by the local Rotary Club was held on April 9th, and IDAS was in attendance. The event took place at the Co-operative Regency Rooms on Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston, and the exhibition was a good opportunity for the Society to show off its excellent display of photographs and drawings to the general public. There was a good steady flow of visitors throughout the day, and our display seemed to attract a lot of interest. A big thanks to Russell King, John Brown, Mark Thomas and Robin Gray for helping out on the day. A few photographs of the day can be found here.
Visit to AstroAdventures: March 4th - 8th 2006
After last October's successful visit to AstroAdventures, a handful of Society members made a return visit during early March. Once again, they were blessed with some clear and very dark skies, and they made the most of them. One of the highlights of the visit was members observing numerous galaxies with AstroAdventures' half metre dobsonian reflector - absolutely incredible views! Unfortunately, members missed the opportunity to see the Zodiacal Light, due to the poor position of the Moon - perhaps this is an excuse to make another return visit! Even though the weather was a lot colder than last October's visit, it didn't stop members from being active throughout this visit. Some photographs of the trip can be found here.
Visit to AstroAdventures: October 7th - 11th 2005
During early October several enthusiastic members went on a four day visit to AstroAdventures in the hope of some quality observing from a very dark countryside location. Run by former IDAS member Tony Gibbons and his friends Murray and Valerie Barber, their self catering chalets are based in the countryside of North Devon, where light pollution is almost non-existent. Alas, only Saturday night remained clear, but what a night it was! It was obvious from the very start of the evening that the site was extremely dark; it is not often that members get the chance to see the Milk-Way clearly stretch from horizon to horizon - a glorious sight. There was only one disappointment though during the trip. Tony had tried to wake everyone up early on Monday morning - but unfortunately no one heard him. Members found out later in the day that Tony had seen the sky suddenly clear and the Zodiacal Light had been easily visible that very morning. To sum up, everyone enjoyed the visit, and we'd like to thank Tony, Murray and Valerie for their kind hospitality and for making all of us so welcome. It's almost guaranteed that a return visit will be organised sometime next year.
IDAS Summer Display & Open Day - August/September 2005
Due to the success of our 2004 Display and Open Day at Erewash Museum, Ilkeston, we repeated the event again in August and September 2005. On August 20th we held our Open Day, and this was well attended by members of the public. Besides our extensive display of photographs and drawings, Russell King was able to show the public the Sun, while Mary McNulty's children's Star Trail event was as popular as ever. Thanks to all our Members who were able to come along and help out on the day. Some photographs from the Open Day can be found here.
Shipley Park Night Watch - July 2nd 2005
This year's Shipley Country Park "Night Watch" took place on the evening of Saturday July 2nd 2005, and even though it remained fairly cloudy during the evening it was deemed to be a great success. We had six telescopes on hand to show members of the public the wonders of the night sky, but in the end we were only able to show them the planet Jupiter. At least it didn't rain! Thanks go to all our members who were able to help out on the night. Several photographs from the event can be found here.
IDAS Spring Display & Open Day - April/May 2005
The Society had a month-long display at the Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre, lasting from late April through to May 25th. On May 7th the Society held its Spring Astronomy Open Day at the Visitor Centre, where Members demonstrated their telescopes and gave astronomical advice. A couple of slide shows (by John Brown) also took place during the day, and these were quite popular, as was our solar observing set-up which was provided by Harry Bingham and Russell King. The Children's Star Trail event also proved popular, and thanks go to Mary McNulty for organising this. Overall, another very good day, and thanks to everyone who were able to help out. Photographs of the day can be found here.
Kelling Heath Weekend Trip: March 4th - 7th 2005
Five Society Members hired a large holiday chalet at the Kelling Heath Touring Park, Norfolk, during the first weekend of March 2005. The hope was that Members would be able to enjoy observing the night sky from a dark part of the country. However, the weather wasn't kind and Members only managed about one hour of observing during the whole weekend. Once again, the strong wind played its part and heavy snow showers didn't help either! Even though the weather was far from perfect it certainly didn't stop Members from exploring the local area. Several photographs of the weekend can be found here.
Lincoln A.S. Visit - October 23rd 2004
David Swaby of the Lincoln Astronomical Society (LAS) invited IDAS Members to visit the LAS's observatory on the evening of October 23rd 2004. Even though it rained heavily on the night everyone had a very enjoyable visit touring around the LAS's facilities. We'd like to extend our thanks to David Swaby and the other members of LAS for making us most welcome.
F.A.S. Convention: October 2nd 2004
This year's F.A.S. Convention took place on October 2nd, at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. Several members attended the event, and they reported that it was an excellent day out, as usual.
The 10th Equinox Sky Camp - September 2004
Seven Society members attended this year's Equinox Sky Camp, which took place at the Kelling Heath Touring Park, Norfolk from September 10th to 13th. Alas, high winds once again spoilt what was otherwise an excellent event. On the plus side, the evening of the 11th turned out to be very clear for a time, and some excellent observing was possible. Overall, another very enjoyable weekend.
Display & Open Day at Erewash Museum - August/September 2004
As a result of last year's very successful NAW2003 event, Erewash Museum in Ilkeston asked the Society to put on a similar event in August 2004. A static display was held at the museum's "Hayloft" from August 7th through to September 14th. Meanwhile, our Astronomy Open Day took place on August 21st, and IDAS Members were at the Museum demonstrating their telescopes and answering astronomical questions. The Children's "Star Trail" also proved very popular once again - which was nice. Solar observing was also possible during the day, and this certainly attracted a lot of interest. Overall, another very successful event and thanks to everyone who helped out on the day.
Shipley Park Night Watch - July 3rd 2004
This year's Shipley Country Park "Night Watch" event took place on the evening of Saturday July 3rd, and IDAS members were there to show the public the night sky. Cloud and rain had threatened to spoil the evening, but the sky eventually cleared enough for us to show people the planet Jupiter, the Moon and one or two deep sky objects. About 90 people attended the "Night Watch", which was very good indeed, especially as the weather had been rather poor all day. It was another good opportunity for us to show people a few of the wonders of the night sky. Thanks go to John Brown, Brian Griffin, Russell King, Mark Thomas and Robin Gray for helping out on the night
Kelling Heath Weekend Trip: March 19th - 22nd 2004
To coincide with the Spring Equinox Sky Camp several members hired a large holiday chalet at the Kelling Heath Touring Park, in Norfolk. Even though most of the weekend was sunny, severe gales took their toll on those who were brave enough to camp. Sadly, reports of broken tents and telescopes due to the gales seemed to be a common occurrence during the event.
On a lighter note, Saturday night turned out to be very dark and clear, certainly proving that this brand new venue for the ever-popular Sky Camp was a good choice. Members made the most of this clear spell, and all agreed that the location was much darker than the Dower House Touring Park. This September's Equinox Sky Camp should be a good one, though let's hope the weather is a little kinder!