The Society continues to organise observing sessions at Shipley Country Park, usually on Saturday eveneings and at very short notice. Interested members wishing to join our "ring-around" system should contact the Observational Coordinator. See the contact page for more details.
Autumn Equinox Sky Camp: September 2012
Once again we had a large society contingent at the Equinox Star Party at Kelling Heath in north Norfolk. We had three clear nights and the skies were superb. Our members brought a variety of scopes and spent the nights observing or imaging. The deep sky pictures below were taken at Kelling and are also availble to view from the gallery in a larger size.
Spring Equinox Sky Camp: April 16th to 19th 2010
The Society has organised a weekend trip to the Kelling Heath Touring Park, to coincide with the Spring Equinox Sky Camp. Like our traditional September visit, we have booked a nice warm comfortable chalet and a tent pitch for the weekend This event is a smaller affair than the traditional Autumn Sky Camp, and it allows participants to view different parts of the sky than what you get during September. Hopefully, members will get clear skies, and no doubt they will report back at our Shipley Park meeting on April 28th.
Shipley Park Display & Open Day: April 2010
Our Spring Astronomy Display and Open Day takes place at the Shipley Park Visitor Centre during April. Our static display of members’ photographs and drawings will last from April 3rd to 28th, while our main Open Day will take place on Saturday April 24th. Members of the public will be able to learn about telescopes and astronomy in general. We’ll also be having several audio/visual presentations during the day, and we hope to have our Star Trail event, which always seems popular with children. In addition to all of this, solar observing may be possible - but this all depends upon the weather!
Erewash Museum – Open Day/Evening – Saturday May 15th 2010
To coincide with the nationally organised “Museums at Night” event, IDAS will be joining up with Erewash Museum in Ilkeston to hold an Astronomy Open Day/Evening. Besides the astronomy side of things, the museum will also be hosting other interesting nighttime activities, which will be suitable for all. Our event begins at 12noon on May 15th, and runs up until 9pm. We’ll be having a display of photographs, drawings and telescopes, along with several presentations throughout the day. If we get a clear evening we’ll also be showing members of the public some of astronomical gems of the season.
Shipley Park Oserving Session: January 30th, 2010
Our first observing session for 2010 was against the backdrop of the full moon but this did not detract from the good seeing conditions. Mars was visible all evening and was a perfect observational target.
The movie below shows a rotation of about 1 hour 30 minutes and then the end frame is held still to show surface detail.
This movie was made from 7 individual images themselves each created from 1,500 frames of an avi movie. These movies were captured using a web cam attached to a 250mm Newtonian telescope with an additional 5x barlow giving an overall focal ratio of f25.
“Star Watch” Event at the British Geological Survey: September 26th 2009
The Nottingham Astronomical Society invited IDAS to take part in their “Star Watch” public astronomy event, that was held at the British Geological Survey, near Keyworth on Saturday September 26th. The event turned out to be a good day out, and was in many ways very similar to our open day at Shipley Park, the previous May. We were able to show off our display of member’s drawings and photographs, while a video display was used to show Society related videos and images. Turnout was good, with a steady stream of visitors throughout the day; though most people turned up for the evening’s telescope viewing – which actually turned out to be very clear. Nottingham AS had also organised several speakers to give talks, and this included Prof Mike Merrifield from the University of Nottingham, and the popular Paul Money. Overall, another successful event, and congratulations to Nottingham Astronomical Society for organising an excellent “Star Watch”.
IDAS Visit to AstroAdventures: April 25th - 28th, 2009
Our first weekend trip of 2009 took place during late April, when eight Society members travelled down to the ever-popular AstroAdventures in North Devon for a short break of astronomy and sight-seeing. As to be expected everyone had a good time, and the weather co-operated to allow members to take a look at the sky from a very dark location.
During the days members travelled to local places of interest. Not surprisingly for an astronomical society, this included the Dartmouth Railway at Okehampton, as well as a return visit to Hartland Point. A pleasant walk around Bude was also enjoyed, while a delicious pasty at one of the local cafes capped it off nicely. Members also had outings to Duck Pool Bay, and the Tamar Lakes.
Members were treated to two relatively clear nights, and they were able to use AstroAdventures’ ½ metre Dobsonian reflector for observing “faint fuzzies”, while the fully equipped observatory catered for those members who wished to undertake astro-imaging with a 180mm Intes Maksutov-Newtonian. Overall, another well patronised visit, that was enjoyed by everyone.
IDAS Spring Display & Open Day: May 2009
To coincide with the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), the Society organised a Spring Astronomy Display and Open Day, at the Shipley Park Visitor Centre during May 2009. Our static display of drawings and photographs were on show throughout the whole of May, while our main informal Open Day took place on Saturday May 16th 2009.
Public attendances at these types of events is hard to predict, through it has to be said that the Society had done quite a lot of publicity for the Open Day. In the end we were rewarded with a good steady stream of people coming along to look at our display and discuss astronomical matters.
We had a good selection of telescopes on show, while several automated PowerPoint and video presentations ran throughout the day. With all of this going on, and members talking to visitors, it looked and felt that something was going on continually, and was much better than looking like everyone was just sitting around drinking tea and coffee – though there was a bit of that as well!
We also held the popular Childrens’ star trail event, and we had quite a few kiddies looking around the Visitor Centre for the constellation maps. Thanks to Mary McNulty for doing a great job as usual.
Equinox Sky Camp: September 17th to 21st 2009
The 15th Equinox Sky Camp took place between September 17th and 21st 2009, and was held at the usual venue of the Kelling Heath Touring Park, near Holt in North Norfolk. Once again, the Society had booked a large holiday chalet and a tent pitch for the weekend. This allowed members to live in a comfortable environment, while having the benefit of a pitch which was used as a meeting point during the day, and where telescopes were set up during the evening. In 2009 we had members all grouped together on three pitches that made the weekend much more like a big Society event, and everyone enjoyed themselves as usual.
The weather remained pleasant throughout the weekend, and members enjoyed clear nights on the 18th and 20th - and they all made the most of them. One surprising aspect to the 2009 Sky Camp was that there were quite a few empty pitches around the campsite. Since there had been a mad rush to book pitches for 2009 at the previous event, this was most unusual. A camper told our Newsletter editor that they were under opinion that the event had got too large for its own good, and people were staying away! However, considering the very long queues outside reception on the Friday morning to book pitches for 2010, this may not be the case. Overall, another superb weekend event.
Lincoln A.S. Visit: March 28th 2009
Our visit to the Lincoln Astronomical Society (LAS) and their impressive observatory complex took place on the evening of March 28th, and it turned out to be an enjoyable night out. Members all met up at the observatory for 8pm, and we were greeted by David Swaby and other members of LAS. We were shown around their observatory and 12 inch reflecting telescope, both of which had just had a major overhaul. We were also treated to some refreshments, and during the break we were given a short slide show of astronomical images taken by LAS members. Afterwards, and with a clearing sky we were invited to use the telescope. Alas, a very attractive crescent Moon was just a little too low down on the horizon to be seen from the telescope, but instead members managed to spend some quality time in observing some wonderful views of Saturn. In addition to this, a couple of galaxies in Leo were seen, along with several other deep sky objects - which was nice.
Unfortuntately, time was not on our side, and so our visit ended late in the evening. It was nice to have had a clear sky for once, and the opportunity to look through LAS's excellent telescope. We wish to thank members of LAS for their hospitality and for showing us around their great facilties.
Wollaton Park SkyWatch: March 14th 2009
The very first Wollaton Park SkyWatch event took place on the evening of March 14th, and was deemed to be a great success. The event was jointly organised by the Mansfield & Sutton Astronomical Society and Wollaton Park, and was supported by the Nottingham Astronomical Society, the University of Nottingham, and ourselves. We were given a marquee with tables and chairs, and space to set up our own display boards, and this allowed us to show off our excellent set of member's photographs and drawings. Mark Thomas used his laptop to show off some video of Society events, along with astronomical images, and this helped to attract members of the public to the stand. John and Neil Cuthbertson, Chris Wilson and Russell King kindly brought along their telescopes, and due to the relatively clear skies they were able to show members of the public some of the astronomical gems of the season. Robin Gray, Jeff Smeeton and Andy White also helped out at the marquee during the event, and took on the role of "floaters" for other members. It was estimated that about a hundred people came along to the event which considering the cold weather was not a bad turnout at all. Overall, an excellent evening which hopefully will turn out to be an annual event.