A small contingent from the Worthing Astronomers, me included headed down to the Somerset coast for the St Audries Bay star party on the weekend of April 4th. This new addition to the star party calendar is on a camp site located just to the east of Minehead in West Quantoxhead and promised some very dark skies for observing and imaging under. Rob Aro and I arrived at around 3PM on the Friday afternoon to a patchy sky but the forecast for the evening did carry some hope.
We were immediately struck by how beautiful the coast line was with views across to Minehead in the West and out across the Bristol Channel to Wales in the North and there wasn’t a street light to be seen!!
As more and more people started to arrive there was a great atmosphere building and it was really nice to put faces to names that we had conversed with in the past on the Facebook groups but never actually met.
For a new event it boasted a great line up of speakers
John Slinn, founder of Disciples of the Dark Arts, Nigel Bradbury, commentator on the Aurora flights, Nick Howes, professional astronomer at Kielder Observatory and Damien Peach, world renowned planetary imager.
Image: Andy Lee
As well as trade stands from Io Astronomy http://www.hampshireastronomy.co.uk/ and SCS Astro http://www.scsastro.co.uk/
Image: Andy Lee
Sadly on both evenings the weather never really cleared. We did get a very brief clear patch on Friday afternoon/evening which gave us a chance to do some solar observing through John Slinn’s solar scopes and we had a few small patches later in the evening which gave us glimpses of Jupiter and the Moon. but nowhere near enough to any imaging done. We spent our time tinkering with set ups and exchanging tips and ideas. It was great to be in a place where everyone shared a common interest. Looking forward to next year!!
This shot of a Sundog was the only astro related shot I took all weekend
Huge thanks to the Staff at St Audries Bay Holiday club and also to Andy Lee for putting in the hours helping to arrange the event!!
To keep up to date with St Audries bay visit there website here
Sunday March 16th saw the shadows of Io and Ganymede on the disc of Jupiter at the same time. A few of the Worthing Astronomers and I headed down to Worthing seafront and set up on the promenade to capture this event
The evening started really well with lots of frames being captured in the build up to the double transit which started at 22:22. Almost unbelievably at 22:10 my Battery started to die (My 17Ah battery is no longer adequate). Fortunately I was lent a power supply just in time to capture some frames that I stacked into a half decent image. I have achieved better with the little SPC900 before but I think the power failure and the rush to maintain my tracking didn't help
This is 1600 frames taken using my 150P and the Phillips SPC900 aligned and stacked in Registax 6