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Apr-May 2009 Issue 01r Quarterly

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ISSN 2040-8609

The Astronomy Directory for the South of England

RELOADED!

Hello again.

IOWSTARPARTY Report + Pictures

More Groups added across the South! Up to date Info on astronomy across the South of England every quarter

news | reviews | space | what’s on | out there

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Butser Ancient Farm under a darker sky... Butser Ancient Farm is naturally shielded from the worst of the light pollution from three sides. It is ideal for deep sky observing, imaging and getting the best out of your telescope. Skies have been recorded here down (so far!) to Magnitude 20.7 per ArcSecond, and are as good as the West Country or the Norfolk Coast. For only £4 per session you can experience dark skies in a tranquil and safe setting. If it’s cold, a warm and welcoming fire awaits you in the ancient roundhouse. A Multi-Session Pass is available from only £25.

Just off the A3, south of Butser Hill, and 10 miles north of Portsmouth it has easy access from all points of the compass, is an hour and a half from London, and twenty minutes from the South Coast.

For further info and to book yourself a Pass, please contact HantsAstro on 023 9261 7092 or by e-mail: subscribe@hantsastro.org TM


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AstroSouth Directory ISSN 2040-8609 Cover: Ferry coming in to Portsmouth Harbour - Picture Graham Green

contents AstroSouth Apr-May 2009 issue 01r - Reloaded! News

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AstroSouth - What’s this all about then?

Directory Pages from Kent to Cornwall

First Contact

Page 7- 39

Astronomy Societies & Planetariums, & Museums

Features View

Page 8-9

Light Pollution - Sign Up!

Review

Page 16-17

Page 20-23

IOW Star Party 2009

Review Meade ETX Buyers’ Guide

Richard Day’s definitive guide on this little scope

Review

Page 29

Page 30-31

Page 32-36

Book - Hubble:The Mirror on the Universe

Review Sky-Watcher 150P EQ3-2 Reflector

Interview Dr Jenny Shipway - INTECH Planetarium

Members’ Image

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Richie Jarvis - Flame Nubula TM

Contacts and Details David Woods - Editor & Publisher iodesign ltd - www.iodesign.co.uk

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David Woods - david.woods@hantsastro.org Web Site: - www.astrosouth.org Tel: 023 9261 7092 Fax: 023 9257 0283 Skype: HantsAstro Post: AstroSouth.org 11 Drift Road, Clanfield, Hants PO8 0JJ AstroSouth Electronic e-Directory is published quarterly ISSN 2040-8609 This eZine is published on behalf of HantsAstro.orgTM. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Editor, Publisher, Sponsors or Advertisers of AstroSouth. HantsAstroTM is a society member of the Federation of Astronomical Societies (www.fedastro.org.uk). Where Links take you to other sites, the Editor, Publisher and Webmaster cannot be held responsible for the content of those sites. HantsAstro.orgTM, AstroSouth and Look Up! e-Zine and related devices are protected by registered copyright. ©2009 All Rights Reserved. HantsAstroTM a trading name of I.O Design Limited. No reproduction of any material is permitted without express permission of the respective owners.

Contributors:/behind the scenes: Graham Green, Sharon Rose, Elaine Long, Andrew Clarke, Richard Day & Willow.

Welcome to the re-loaded edition of AstroSouth. Six weeks ago we launched this brand new directory and received a phenomenal response to this – the UK’s first free astronomy directory. We strive for continuous improvement and we have added new information, updated society contacts and planetariums and are gathering even more information as I write. Our next issue is due out at the end of May, but in the meantime please feel free to re-visit the directory which is now bang up to date. This is probably the most comprehensive source of astronomy societies and planetaria in the South of England, as we now cover all 62 Groups from Kent to Cornwall. If you have any events planned and wish to promote them, then this is one of the best places you can do that. With a great response from many astronomy groups in the South, we are committed to providing the best astronomy directory available. Join In! David Woods Publisher – AstroSouth.org

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NEWS

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It is quite unique in the world as I believe there were only ever a handful made. This was a telescope instrument but was used to visually track rockets! Currently the 21st century is on the cusp of “space tourism” and renewed interest in our solar system. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 covers the past 400 years; AstroSouth is a nod to the future of the UK astronomy scene and its related careers. IYA 2009 is a global event, but what about 2010?

Getting the Message out We love astronomy, so we promote all groups in the region by providing this Directory free of charge. All costs are covered from advertising revenue and sponsorship. Like HantsAstro we will be promoting AstroSouth across the South of England and if it’s anything like Look Up! ezine it will be downloaded by thousands of people across the UK and worldwide. We do not charge membership fees for HantsAstro because we prefer ‘Pay As You Go Astronomy’ to cover our costs.

However, I digress. The main aim of AstroSouth is to say ‘Hello’. AstroSouth has been created by HantsAstro and, as part of that rapid evolution, we are demonstrating The Power of Free that we are quite unlike any other astronomical group. We have been OK then – let’s get down to business. going barely a year and now have over AstroSouth is a quarterly Directory 135 members who observe across committed to doing three things, a number of sites in Hampshire; two promoting astronomy, educational of these being the INTECH Science outreach and showing the career paths Centre & Planetarium at Winchester possible in the Space Industry in the and Butser Ancient Farm nr. Chalton, South. If you look back through history, Petersfield. Great Britain has led the way in many technological advances, quite a few of Stand & Delivered them linked to the cosmos. We have just completed two successful

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Old Tech The 17th and 18th centuries were particularly busy with the development of longitude, chronometry and navigation. Remember Newton’s octant and then later, Hadley’s precursor to the sextant? These are just some of the advances that are linked to this country, our planet and its place in the universe. There have been many advances since that time that enrich our heritage. During the late 1950s, the Space Race at the end of World War II drove many advances in rocket propulsion which effectively spawned satellite telecommunications (as predicted by Arthur C. Clarke – Wireless World, 1945), and this inventiveness shows up in the South of England. For instance, Cody Astronomical Group has a very special telescope; a 6” Carl Zeiss Coude refractor.

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Telescope Amnesties at INTECH Planetarium, developed a website, publish a free monthly magazine, utilise three observing sites and have eight telescopes for group use. HantsAstro, remember, is less than a year old.

We do not strive to compete with any group as this is not about competition! We all share the same sky, so why shouldn’t it be as free as it can be? So – please e-mail me your stories, images, letters, seminar details and events to: david.woods@hantsastro.org Wishing you Clear Dark Skies, David Woods & Graham Green Founders HantsAstro.org AstroSouth.org March 2009

The South of England can turn up some really special observing sites - like Butser Ancient Farm. A regular Mag 20.7 dark sky.

Picture: Graham Green


Butser Ancient Farm Astronomy Event

25th & 26th April 2009 from 10am - 5pm A unique look at ancient and modern Astronomy through the ages...

Large Planetarium in the Great Roundhouse £3 (Only £1 for registered HantsAstro members, Saturday only)

Astronomy Talks - Workshops - Bring your own Telescope - Childrens Activities - Raffle. A Hog Roast and Refreshments are available.

Admission £6 Adults £3 Children

(£4/2 Concession for registered HantsAstro members, Saturday only children 8+ for admission to planetarium)

Just off the A3, south of Butser Hill, and 10 miles north of Portsmouth it has easy access from all points of the compass, is an hour and a half from London, and twenty minutes from the South Coast.

For further info please contact HantsAstro on 023 9261 7092 or Butser Ancient Farm 023 9259 8838 www.butserancientfarm.co.uk TM

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Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Ashford Astronomical Society www.ashfordastro.org.uk jacethebace@gmail.com Cranbrook and District Science and Astronomy Society www.cadsas.com mail@cadsas.com Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society www.crayfordmanorastro.com mike@mrushton.demon.co.uk Mid-Kent Astronomical Society www.mkas-site.co.uk South East Kent Astronomical Society www.sekas.co.uk treasurer@sekas.co.uk Orpington Astronomical Society www.orpington-astronomy.org.uk

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April 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. The Obervatory Science Centre Herstmonceux, Hailsham Admission £7.70/£5.70 Check site for schedule and opening dates www.the-observatory.org/ The Royal Observatory Greenwich National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF A brand new 120 seated planetarium, phone: 020 8312 6565 website:  www.rog.nmm.ac.uk email: bookings@nmm.ac.uk The Astronomy Road Show Sittingbourne, Kent We can travel up to 150 miles from Kent. We can incorporate other subjects in our shows Over 100GB of material is available as well as models, geology samples & meteorites for the shows. phone:01795 420 372 www.astronomyroadshow.com astroroadshow@blueyonder. co.uk Events

If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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Weapons of Mass C “I’m paying for that!” says Philip Flint every

time he steps outside at night and looks at the orange glow of street lighting that pervades nearly every part of our road system. As a recently new astronomer Philip shares the common bond of detesting light pollution. As we all know, a lot of our street lighting is based on old designs that throw up a lot of unnecessary light into the sky. But rather than ‘harp on’ about the age old war of astronomers against councils and the spoiling of our pretty skies, Philip decided to take a different route. Money.

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So compelled was he that he has started a campaign on the No. 10 Government website, which is based around reducing the cost of lighting some of the major routes across the UK. This idea is currently being trialed in several counties but has already met with some opposition and cries of ‘increased crime and increased accidents’. Philip’s response is simple and precise, “if it’s that important why isn’t every country lane lit up with lamp posts?” Again – the answer is one of cost. The roads in Devon, as an example, cost over £2.5


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Consumption

Interview: David Woods Picture: Graham Green

million a year to light 70,000 street lamps and 12,000 and the deadline for signing the petition is 15th May street signs. A reduction of 20% as Philip is suggesting 2009. Philip is petitioning for these actions to be taken would save £500,000. This lighting by all councils in the UK and put “It costs £2.5 million a into effect by 2012. The benefits equates to 40% of the carbon emissions for Devon council. Switching off the year to light 70,000 street for the environment are obvious lights simply creates less light pollution, lamps and 12,000 street in terms of CO2 emissions but and better views of the night sky. The signs” - Devon Council the underlying benefit for us as money saved could then be released for astronomers is that we also get better policing and improved road safety. If you think to see more of the night sky. back to last year when the UK budget for astronomy research was cut back to a measly £80 million pounds, It is estimated that there are about 500,000 people with would it not be possible to re-invest the savings into an interest in astronomy in the UK. Previous campaigns providing a better space industry for this country, which have netted a response of only a few thousand in turn could help improve the UK economy! astronomers. The UK is currently in a recession and if money is being spent on lighting then it is not being spent elsewhere. His campaign has been picked up by many of the UK astronomical societies. So far, his response on the No.10 Government website is heading towards 400 people,

Join the other 700+ people by adding your name. Click on the link below...

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/LightingSavings/ The deadline is 15th May 2009 09


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Essex

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Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Clacton & District Astronomical Association www.clactonastronomy.co.uk pugh-d@sky.com North Essex Astronomical Society www.neas.me.uk rogerhumm@btinternet.com Castlepoint Astronomy Club www.cpac.org.uk secretary@cpac.org.uk Loughton Astronomical Society http://uk.geocities.com/las_astro@btinternet.com las_allan-lasweb@yahoo.co.uk Thurrock Astronomical Society www.thurrockastronomy.com thurrockastrosociety@btinternet.com Havering Astronomical Society www.havastro.co.uk

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April 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details.

Southend Planetarium Central Museum, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, Essex SS2 6ES phone: 01702 434449 website: www.southendmuseums.co.uk email: museums@southend.gov.uk The Astronomy Road Show Sittingbourne, Kent We can travel up to 150 miles from Kent. We can incorporate other subjects in our shows Over 100GB of material is available as well as models, geology samples & meteorites for the shows. phone:01795 420 372 www.astronomyroadshow.com astroroadshow@blueyonder. co.uk Events

If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Hampstead Garden Suburb Astronomical Society www.groups.msn.com dianne@dfish.demon.co.uk West of London Astronomical Society www.wolas.org.uk duncan.radbourne@gmail.com Flamsteed Astronomy Society www.flamsteed.info enquiry@flamsteed.info

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April 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details.

The Obervatory Science Centre Herstmonceux, Hailsham Admission £7.70/£5.70 Check site for schedule and opening dates www.the-observatory.org/ The Royal Observatory Greenwich National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF A brand new 120 seated planetarium, phone: 020 8312 6565 website:  www.rog.nmm.ac.uk email: bookings@nmm.ac.uk Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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It’s Free. Every Month. Why not Look it Up?

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Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Farnham Astronomical Society www.farnham-as.co.uk barry.bellinger@nokia.com Guildford Astronomical Society www.guildfordas.org johnaxtell42@aol.com Richmond & Kew Astronomical Society www.rkas.org.uk ian.coster@rkas.org.uk Ewell Astronomical Society www.ewell-as.co.uk mgavin@ntlworld.com Croydon Astronomical Society www.croydonastro.org.uk chairman07@croydonastro.org.uk

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April 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details.

The Obervatory Science Centre Herstmonceux, Hailsham Admission £7.70/£5.70 Check site for schedule and opening dates www.the-observatory.org/ The Royal Observatory Greenwich National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF A brand new 120 seated planetarium, phone: 020 8312 6565 website:  www.rog.nmm.ac.uk email: bookings@nmm.ac.uk Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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East Sussex

Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

East Sussex Crawley Astronomical Society http://uk.geocities.com cytron@btinternet.com Eastbourne Astronomical Society www.eastbourneas.org.uk bobwcripps@btinternet.com Lewes Astronomers www.lewesastro.org.uk alice.smol@tesco.net Wealden Astronomical Society www.wealdenas.co.uk info@wealdenas.co.uk East Sussex Astronomical Society www.esas.org.uk david@esas.org.uk Wadhurst & District Astronomical Society http://wadhurst.info/was/

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. Southdowns Planetarium Chichester, West Sussex Various Monthly Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £6 Adults £4 under 16s www.southdowns.org.uk/sdpt The Royal Observatory Greenwich National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF A brand new 120 seated planetarium, phone: 020 8312 6565 website:  www.rog.nmm.ac.uk email: bookings@nmm.ac.uk

Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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West Sussex

Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

West Sussex Horsham Astronomical Society www.horshamastronomy.com richard@ozone.demon.co.uk Brighton & Hove Astronomical Society http://homepage.ntlworld.com/john_wade/bhas/ Foredown Tower Astronomers gardenannie60@hotmail.com Worthing Astronomical Society www.was.org.uk g.boots@sky.com Worthing Astronomers www.worthingastronomers.org.uk Adur Astronomical Society www.adur-astronomical.com robin-durant@btconnect.com South Downs Astronomical Society www.southdownsas.org.uk markf@ssl.gb.com

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. Southdowns Planetarium Chichester, West Sussex Various Monthly Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £6 Adults £4 under 16s www.southdowns.org.uk/sdpt The Royal Observatory Greenwich National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF A brand new 120 seated planetarium, phone: 020 8312 6565 website:  www.rog.nmm.ac.uk email: bookings@nmm.ac.uk

Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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REVIEW

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Pictures: Graham Green Words: David Woods

IOWSTARPARTY 2009 The IOW Star Party at Brighstone took place again but this time under much darker skies. Stephen Griffith and Lucy Rogers pulled off yet another spectacular series of observing nights. Under skies that were measured by us at mag 21.3 per arc sec

Our thanks go out to both Lucy and Stephen and the other volunteers in providing what is becoming a real jewel in the south. Organiser Stephen Griffith gets to grip with an ‘Obsession 15’ Dobsonian which packs down into a small case... Very rare.

... is this what they mean by ‘hands on’ astronomy?

Richie Jarvis’s Witch’s Broom on the previous pages perfectly illustrates the immeasurable vastness of the Cosmos. Transparency was quite good over the channel facing south and many observers were up until the wee hours of the morning making the most of the stunning vistas that opened up above them. Now in its second year this event is maturing quite nicely and over 50 people attended, and were rewarded with great skies, good food and camaraderie. There were a number of informative talks and discussions during the day, with full on observing and imaging after dinner. The cloud fronts tried to do their best to dampen spirits on Saturday, but everyone just wanted the night to begin.

The dates for 2010 have just been released! Put it in your diaries... 11th March - 15th March 2010 www.iowstarparty.org

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Astronomia of Dorking were there... also to lend a hand.


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Away from the mainland and you get some of the South Coast darkest skies with a best of Mag 21.5 - SQL meters reportedly stop at 22.2...

Wandering Star?

Big guns were out in force as well as some smaller ones below -

Life’s a beach...

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Hampshire & IOW

Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Andover Astronomical Society www.andoverastronomy.org.uk secretary@andoverastronomy.org.uk Basingstoke Astronomical Society www.basingstokeas.org.uk john.stapleton@tesco.net Cody Astronomical Society www.codyastrosoc.co.uk phil.alner@ntlworld.com Hampshire Astronomical Group www.hantsastro.org.uk carol.bryan@hantsastro.org.uk HantsAstro www.hantsastro.org david.woods@hantsastro.org t:023 9261 7092 f:023 9257 0283 skype:hantsastro Solent Amateur Astronomers www.delscope.demon.co.uk astropete@toothill.org Southampton Astronomical Society www.southampton-astronomical-society.org.uk info@southampton-astronomical-society.org.uk

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. Southdowns Planetarium Chichester, West Sussex Various Monthly Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £6 Adults £4 under 16s www.southdowns.org.uk/sdpt INTECH Science Centre + Planetarium Winchester, Hants Cost £2 per show in addition to exhibition entry Cost - £6.95 Adults £4.65 under 14 Check site for schedule www.intech-uk.com Norman Lockyer Observatory & Planetarium Sidmouth, Devon Various Monthly Visits Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £5 Adults £2.50 under 16s http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/nlo/ Home~EN.php

Isle of Wight Vectis Astronomical Society www.wightastronomy.org secretary@vectis-astro.org.uk

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Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.


REVIEW

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Words & Pictures: Richard Day

Meade ETX buyers’ guide

It’s no secret

that I think the Meade ETX is one of the most marvellous telescopes ever created...I know it’s not perfect, but for what it costs, what it can do, and what it has done, it is an icon. If you have a chance, do try one. Which Meade ETX? Without question, one of the largest selling telescope series in the world, the Meade ETX is a tremendously popular choice for a first telescope.

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Picture: Graham Green

However, there are many variations to choose from, so make sure you know as much as possible about the one you’re bidding on/buying!

ETX 90RA While now discontinued, the RA continues to provide first class views of the heavens. They still occasionally surface on Ebay, and can go for bargain prices! They are the simplest of the ETX family, in that they are not computer controlled. They come standard with the Meade table tripod, a set of three legs which screw into the telescope base and will then polar align the scope. Once you have a reasonable polar alignment, the battery powered RA (Get it?) drive tracks at sidereal speed to keep your target in the eyepiece. I like the RA, these are great optics at a superb price. As no large tripod is required, the RA is an almost ideal travel scope. If in doubt, they can be identified by the long declination knob at the top of the right fork, and the two dials on the mount under the tube. As it’s not Autostar equipped, you will need to learn your way around the sky on your own...but that’s not a bad thing.

As there’s more than one model, which one should you choose, and why? Here’s what I think. This guide assumes you have a basic knowledge of astronomical terms. I’ve kept it fairly straightforward. Starting from the beginning:

ETX 60 Seen for the first time by my eyes recently, this diminutive member of


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the ETX family is a charmer. It shares very similar external dimensions to the ETX70, but requires a larger ring to anchor the objective into the oversize optical tube of the ETX 70. I think the ETX 60 really needs to be considered very much a beginner’s scope, as 60mm is quite a small aperture (finders of this size are not unusual). However, as with the ETX 70, it is a potentially useful allround terrestrial/astronomical package. These were recently made available quite inexpensively in the US, and sold as ‘backpack observatories’. This helps explain the current abundance of them on Ebay in the U.S.

ETX 70 Also now discontinued, and replaced with the ETX 80, the ETX 70 gained a reputation for one of the best value computer guided scopes available. The lack of a viewfinder can sometimes make alignment a little tricky, but it’s not too difficult. The 70 should really be considered a taster to see if you get the star bug. It can show you some detail on some of the planets, and a reasonable amount of deep sky objects. If the bug eludes you, the fast refractor optics mean it works well as a terrestrial scope too. ETX 80 The 80 replaced the 70, so many points remain the same. The slightly larger aperture contributes to a little more light grasp, it has a different tripod, and a built in Barlow lens.

The plastic tube of the 70/80 is gone, and in its place a superb purpley metal version. It also differs greatly on the inside: the refractor optics are gone, with Maksutov Cassegrain optics in their place. This means more magnification, and a narrower field of view (I won’t touch on the MakCass design any further. It will get too wordy and there’s loads of web info on it). The ETX 90 is widely considered the world’s best selling telescope. ETX 90s have been, and continue to travel everywhere. It’s ultra portable, light, and small (so easily fits into hand baggage). It’s a superb planetary scope, and handles deep sky objects reasonably well. The viewfinder is a little awkward (virtually impossible at the zenith) and, eventually, the aperture may leave you wanting. A sometimes unique and quite surprisingly idiosyncratic telescope (mine sometimes sounds as if a mouse is driving the motors), it’s unlikely that you would ever regret owning one.

ETX 105 Introduced a few years later in the ETX timeline (the cover on the earlier manual features on the 90 & 125), the 105 utilises the motors from its bigger brother (the 125). For this alone, some people consider the 105 to be the optimum ETX. Its larger tube is handled easily by the beefier motors, and I’ve personally found them to often be the quietest ETX. The larger aperture starts to show off more deep sky objects, and more planetary detail is visible. The right angle finder is standard, and while also a bit challenging to figure out (as your other eye is unable to view the alignment star in question), it’s a nice perk. It’s also still reasonably portable (although you’ll be pushing the flexibility of your airline’s hand baggage limits).

**The ETX 105 was sadly discontinued recently by Meade A stronger seller in the UK than in the U.S., this probably lead to its demise.

ETX 125 The Big Daddy of the ETX family, the 125 will surprise you at just how big it actually is! Its main disadvantage is its weight and bulk. It’s not really cut out to be a travel scope the way its little brothers are (by the way, by travel scope I mean something more elaborate than driving the car to Devon). However attractive, the 125 was not built to be looked at...it easily proves its worth when you look through it! The big 125 light grasp shows off the planets in fantastic detail, many double star observations are possible, and it performs very well on deep sky objects. Meade Mak-Cass optics are well respected, and the 125 shows them off in impressive style. Even at a second hand price, a 125 is not an insignificant amount of money, but the 125 may well be a telescope you never get rid of. cont’d

1st published in

Look Up!

ETX 90

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90/105/125 Premier Edition For a premium price, these three ETXs are available in a PE version. This consists of the same optics (different tube), the red dot “smart finder” replaces the optical finder (effective, but breaks easily), a very similar mount, but a much smarter Autostar. Courtesy of the LNT module, after you turn it on your ETX will figure out the time, level itself, point itself north, and aim for its first alignment star. You centre the two alignment stars and you’re off and running. It’s fascinating to watch! They save you some time, and are very slick to watch, but they’re pricey and can be a little high maintenance. In February ‘07: the Premier Edition was redesigned. Mechanically, it is virtually the same, but cosmetic changes have taken place. The anodised picture on the tube is now gone (thankfully), and in its place a solid blue tube. Also, the delicate red dot shield is gone, and is replaced by a standard red dot finder. Both ETX 90 & 125 are now sold in this version.

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Meade 2040-2045 While not an ETX, in some cases this little scope can be mistaken for one, and it is included in this guide really more out of interest. Riding on a table tripod, as the ETX RA does, the main difference is that the 20s were a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope, and not a Mak. Originally appearing in the ‘80s as the 2040, with a single arm mount and a simple drive in RA. This later evolved into the similar 2044, which then quickly vanished. The 2045 rose from their ashes. This was a stable unit with a double fork mount and table tripod, and this too evolved slightly... until the mid ‘90s. At this point in time, Meade decided that a small Maksutov would be the next addition to their line up. The 2045 never had a chance and was quickly, and quietly, dropped. While the structure of the mount (non-GoTo) is considered excellent (all metal), they apparently vary optically and are considered to be several optical notches below their successor, the ETX. This scope would be tilted into a polar alignment using legs in the same way that the ETX 90RA would be. Note the flat corrector plate of the SCT, compared to the steep curve of the Maksutov version.

UHTC coatings The three largest ETXs are also available with UHTC (Ultra High Transmission Coatings). This is a Meade trademark coating that coaxes approximately 15% more light through the glass than standard coatings. In the UK, UHTC is pretty much standard on the larger ETXs, but it wasn’t always this way. While almost always on the 105 & 125, the 90 is regularly seen without UHTC (if in doubt, ask the seller). The only real clue to their presence is a small sticker underneath the tube at the base. Try to get the UHTC if you can,

although this can increase the price (approximately 10% to 20% more).... but with Ebay, who knows?

Can you tell the difference without the UHTC sticker?* One of the above ETX 90 OTAs has UHTC, the other does not. Notice the slight difference in colour hues (this is only visible in some light and from some angles): Purple on the left, red on the right. Can you tell which one is which? Answer at the end of this guide!!! There are no prizes if you get it right, sorry... Autostar It’s not hype. With all the ETX family, if the scope and Autostar are properly aligned the Autostar works very well, and will amaze you! Remember to be patient at first as it may take a few tries and a bit of practice to get a good alignment. With all the ETX family, they can be polar aligned with a suitable tripod (the Meade Deluxe Field tripod is most common) or used in a standard altaz (up/down, left/right) configuration. With any option, I will always recommend learning where things are for yourself! Use the Autostar as a bonus, not your saviour. You will find this much more rewarding...and anyway, what happens if the batteries are dead? How old is it? How old is the ETX you’re considering buying? That’s a tough one, as there have been few cosmetic changes in the ETX during their evolution (with the exception of the PE). Autostar version numbers don’t help, as this can be updated to the current software. The manual can sometimes help, as


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the 105 was not pictured on the cover of the earlier versions (but this can be misleading, as it may not be the original manual). There are clues which may help a little, but they are internal and involve a bit of dismantling (a web search can help with this). Having said that, this should really be for your own curiosity only, as I wouldn’t ask a seller to tear his telescope apart on my behalf. Please also don’t interpret this as a request to dismantle your own telescope! The million dollar question: How much does it matter? In my opinion, I think the ETX ages well. The insides are remarkably simple, and its brains are in the Autostar handset (which can be replaced if necessary). Check the condition, if you’re concerned about it, ask. Are there any signs of impact damage or misuse? Are both motors functioning normally? Two common issues are: 1. Does the RA drive stall or stick? (Could be missing gear teeth in the drive - the RA unit can be replaced.) 2. Grease can bleed into the friction wheels of the declination axis, causing the tube to slip down ** (this can be cleaned and corrected). Both of these should be easily fixed by your local dealer, but at a price. Has the scope been used recently? If not, why not? If so, how is its pointing accuracy?) I personally check all this, so don’t be afraid to ask questions...if the seller is expecting you to spend £200-300 or more, he/she should really know the answers. Make sure there’s a good close up of the optics (if not, ask for one). The coatings help them photograph well, but you should be able to make out any major issues. If the seller can’t deal with your concerns, and isn’t prepared to back up the scope they’re selling, then reconsider bidding. Another ETX will come along. ** the declination tube slippage can lead to something more sinister: The locks holding the tube at a vertical angle are simple friction locks. Grease moves around and if excess is introduced into

the friction rings the tube will begin to slip, and gradually keep slipping. The operator may unknowingly crank the Dec lock to counter this and pressure will build, potentially cracking the main support arm. I’ve seen two ETXs like this, both 90s, and both on Ebay. The first sold honestly (I bought it...my first Ebay purchase!), the second sold with a “cosmetic flaw”...ouch. I contacted the seller of the second in case they were unaware of the problem. The listing remained unchanged and was bought by someone...Hmm, buyer beware indeed. The crack shows at the very top of the arm and can sometimes look like a flaw in the plastic. This can only be repaired by a complete replacement of the upper support arm (if you can find one), and this is a pain! If you see one of these, unless you can get it as a bargain (!) DIY project, stay away from it. A rare issue, but one to watch for.

A webcam is ok, and depending on the weight, you can piggyback a camera for some wide field shots (where precise tracking is not so crucial). Keep in mind, a heavy camera will put strain on the motors of your ETX. An ETX will only be suitable for 1.25 eyepieces. Lots and lots (& lots) of accessories have been made for the ETX - it is a marketing dream come true! Get a dew shield (the soft one is much easier to store) and a Barlow lens (1.25 short barrel) then use it for a while before you start shopping. If you can’t wait, get: flexi focus cable (all models), the right angle finder (for the 90), and an Alignmate. These should start you off nicely. I hope this guide is of some use.

How many owners? An interesting one. I think this is personal... I have to admit, this doesn’t matter to me personally. If the scope, regardless of model, has been abused this should show and alarm bells should ring. One owner, two owners, more? If the owners used care, other than potential warranty transfer, what difference does this make? Chances are, numerous hands and eyes will have used it for looks at the Moon, Saturn etc. in back gardens and star parties anyway. I wouldn’t get too hung up on this. If the owner(s) have cared for it, it won’t matter.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or feel I’ve missed something in this guide. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I will always try to help. Please send an e-mail to:

But it’s plastic?! Yes, the arm supports are made of plastic. If you were to dismantle the ETX, you may find the supports appear a little insubstantial looking... Rest assured, the ETX was designed to be entirely capable of supporting the weight of its tube. Once all the parts of the ETX are attached together, the unit works as one interlocking piece and it is perfectly solid.

PS. *Did you spot the difference?

info@skylightelescopes.co.uk

Richard Day Skylight Telescopes http://skylight.myshopify.com/ Tel: 0771 889 7774

The tube on the left is a Premier Edition OTA and has UHTC. The tube on the right was an original EC and has standard coatings.

Some things to remember Astrophotography: Well, not really. The mount is just not accurate enough for long exposure photography.

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An Astronomy course is a great way to learn about the history of this science and the night sky. Some run practical workshops as well as offering you the chance of gaining a qualification. Check them out on-line or get in touch with your local Further Education Centre.

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details.

We have listed some contacts for you below... The following qualification courses are ideal for amateur astronomers and are by part-time study only and are ideal for disitance learning. BIRKBECK COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON (School of Earth Sciences) Certificate in Planetary Geology (two-year course by class attendance): www. bbk.ac.uk/es LIVERPOOL JOHN MOORES UNIVERSITY (Astrophysics Research Institute) Programme of courses in astronomy by distance learning: www.astro.livjm.ac.uk/distance THE OPEN UNIVERSITY (Department of Physics and Astronomy) Certificate in Astronomy and Planetary Science (by distance learning): http:// physics.open.ac.uk UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON (Department of Physics and Astronomy) Diploma in Astronomy (two-year course by class attendance): www.phys.ucl.ac.uk/diploma UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE Bsc (Hons.) degree in Astronomy (by distance learning): www.StudyAstronomy.com UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER - JODRELL BANK OBSERVATORY Programme of courses in astronomy by distance learning: www.manchester. ac.uk/jodrellbank/distance For schools and colleges in your locality that do GCSE or intriductory astronomy courses, one of the easiest things to do is to search the web site www.hotcourse.com which lists all the courses in your area, and have over 1,000,000 courses available to choose from.

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Southdowns Planetarium Chichester, West Sussex Various Monthly Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £6 Adults £4 under 16s www.southdowns.org.uk/sdpt INTECH Science Centre + Planetarium Winchester, Hants Cost £2 per show in addition to exhibition entry Cost - £6.95 Adults £4.65 under 14 Check site for schedule www.intech-uk.com Island Planetarium and Dr. Robert Hooke Exhibition Fort Victoria Country Park, Westhill Lane,Yarmmouth, Isle of Wight, PO41 0RRA Evening Astronomy Lectures/ Shows, Stargazing Evenings and Courses. See web site for full details phone:0800 1958295 or 01983 761555 www.islandplanetarium.co.uk email:enquiry@ islandastronomy.co.uk


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SPACE LECTURES 2008-09 8th April

12th November

Are We Star-dust or Nuclear Waste? The Story of the Birth and Death of Stars

Black Holes, Black Magic and Interstellar Travel Prof John Brown (Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Glasgow University)

Dr Robin Catchpole (Cambridge University)

13th May

10th December

Impacts from Space and the Death of the Dinosaurs

A (Potted) History of the Telescope Ninian Boyle (BBC Sky at Night, Venturescope)

Dr Paul Roche (Faulks Telescope Project)

14th January

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life in the Universe

10th June

Toys in the Sky: The Challenges of Space to the Human Mind

Prof Malcolm Coe (University of Southampton) 11th February

Neville Poulton (Astrium)

Tour of the Universe

8th July

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Astrium) 11th March

What Can We Know About the Universe?

They Really Did Land: Apollo at Forty Piers Bizony (AETV)

Prof Russell Stannard OBE (Open University)

Tickets ÂŁ6.00 and ÂŁ5.00 All lectures start at 6.30pm. The lectures are for adults and older children (11+) and each one will be followed by a short planetarium show about that month's sky.

Booking line: 01962 863791 www.intech-uk.com for more information INTECH Science Centre, Telegraph Way, Morn Hill, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 1HZ

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Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Herschel Astronomy Society www.herscel-astrosoc.co.uk hasadmin@gmail.com Maidenhead Astronomical Society www.maidenhead-astro.net tvh.observatory@btinternet.co mbandrews@maindenhead-astro.net Newbury Amateur Astronomical Society www.newburyas.org.uk monjohn.balstone@virgin.net Reading Astronomical Society www.readingastro.org.uk Chris.Menmuir@readingastro.org.uk

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. INTECH Science Centre + Planetarium Winchester, Hants Cost £2 per show in addition to exhibition entry Cost - £6.95 Adults £4.65 under 14 Check site for schedule www.intech-uk.com

Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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April-May 2009

Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Wiltshire Astronomical Society http://wasnwt.co.uk/ Swindon Stargazers www.swindonstargazers.com michaelj.partridge@hotmail.co.uk

Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. INTECH Science Centre + Planetarium Winchester, Hants Cost £2 per show in addition to exhibition entry Cost - £6.95 Adults £4.65 under 14 Check site for schedule www.intech-uk.com

For more business... look no further than

Look Up!

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LookUp! is an exciting new concept in astronomy publishing. Downloaded by thousands of astronomers in the UK and in over sixty countries, it’s still growing every month This free publication offers the best chance for your astronomy related business to promote itself in a truly cost effective way. AstroSouth is a new astronomy directory that will throw a spotlight on astronomy in the South of England, from astronomy courses, education, career to regional news. Ask for a copy of our rate card today!

Call David Woods now! on Tel: 023 9261 7092 email: david.woods@iodesign.co.uk

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Oxfordshire

Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Abingdon Astronomical Society www.abingdonastro.org.uk chris.c.holt@ntlworld.com Chipping Norton Astronomical Society www.cnaag.com robin@chippingnortontheatre.com

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. INTECH Science Centre + Planetarium Winchester, Hants Cost £2 per show in addition to exhibition entry Cost - £6.95 Adults £4.65 under 14 Check site for schedule www.intech-uk.com


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REVIEW

Words: Andrew ‘Boo’ Clarke

1st published in

Look Up!

Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe Revised & Updated by Robin Kerrod & Carol Stott. ISBN 978-0715329238

RRP £12.99 Hubble: Mirror on the universe is, as the name suggests, a book dedicated to the Edwin P. Hubble Space Telescope (HST). From the foreword to the last sentence you can tell the authors and contributors to this incredible book really have a genuine fondness for the greatest apparatus, for looking into space that we have. The Mirror on the Universe is broken up into six sections. These sections encompass all the different uses for the HST, from studying the farthest galaxies and stars we can see, to looking at our closest neighbours, the planets in our solar system. There is even a part about different types of telescopes and a full spec on the HST itself. Each of the six sections is accompanied by some of the most awe inspiring pictures ever recorded, from the pillars of creation (page 30-31) to the tadpole galaxy (page 86-87). These pictures provide a welcome distraction if you struggle to follow all the technical terminology. That said, you are never left wondering what the techy words are as they are usually explained in such a manner that even a complete novice in astronomy is able to understand. As a relative newcomer to astronomy myself, I found this book to be informative and well written and never over complicated. It answered some questions I have and left me with a few new ones. It has also made me

interested in fields of astronomy that I previously didn’t know about. In short the book is perfect if you’ve just become interested in astronomy or even if you’re a professional astronomer with 30 years experience. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in astronomy, or even if you just like looking at amazing pictures. Its reader friendly manner keeps you hooked on the book. The text is lavishly supported with lots of illustrations which aides understanding of the mainframe structure of the book and the work in general will be a valuable contribution to any serious amateur astronomer’s library.

h t t p : / / w w w. a m a z o n . c o . u k / Hubble-Mirror-Universe-RobinKerrod/dp/0715329235

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REVIEW

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Wordy stuff: David Woods

Sky Watcher 150P (EQ3-2) £259

For many years the 6” reflector was the weapon of choice for many

a serious amateur astronomer. As prices have come down, people naturally looked to bigger telescopes for greater light gathering, or smaller ones if just starting out on a budget. The 6” or 150mm reflector is often overlooked for this reason as an 8” telescope can give you up to 77% more light grabbing potential, and as prices have come down the 8” is now seen as a standard instrument. Any reflector above 10” in diameter is getting quite bulky in size

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and weight, and simply requires more care to move around. This is where the SkyWatcher 150P comes into its own. Big Brother This is effectively the bigger brother to the ubiquitous and hugely popular SkyWatcher 130PM. It also comes, like its smaller brother, in long wheel base and sawn off telescope guises. The longer tube versions offer higher magnification, but also at a higher price. It’s quite a fast telescope, at F5, and is suited to deep sky observing. The

1st published in

Look Up!

images are a good step up from the 130P if you are looking to do more observing. It gathers 33% more light than the 130P and for its price, comes with a very sturdy EQ3-2 mount, which can be upgraded to dual-axis motor drives at a later date. Crash Test Dummy You may have read earlier this year when I crash tested this particular example during an observing session at INTECH. During tear-down it slipped out of my arms (it was an icy night!), it went end over end, but luckily still had its main cap on. Seething, I drove home with thoughts flashing through my mind of what damage could have occurred during a 3ft drop. I needn’t have worried. After checking it over thoroughly and checking its collimation the only thing I had to do was remove some mud from the dove tail. Either I was very lucky or the build quality of these little scopes is quite robust. I would say it’s the latter. A centre collimation circle on the primary mirror helps with a quick visual check of alignment, and should be standard on every Newtonian reflector. It comes supplied with 10mm and 25mm eyepieces and a 2 x Barlow as standard. The 6X30 finder scope on the earlier models is ok, but I personally prefer the red dot finders on the latest versions. As for beginners they are easy to use, which is why we based starting the Group with the Explorer range of telescopes. They are cheaper to purchase, quite robust (as I have proved) and give good performance. The thin spider vanes aid getting excellent contrast which is sometimes a problem on cheaper Newtonian telescopes. As a new Group with limited funds these telescopes came up secondhand which was a real boon, as we now have a range of telescopes from 3” to 10” diameter across the range of different types. Views of the Orion Nebula, M42 are quite breathtaking with this little scope and not far off the quality of the more expensive Meade LXD75.


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For observing, the focuser is ok, but this is where the cost cutting starts to creep in. It comes with a camera adaptor, which if you then decide to motorise the mount, allows you to experiment with some basic astrophotography. Sermon of the Mount The EQ3-2 mount also has a useful polar alignment scope option to help you set up properly. For lunar and planetary observations it really is a good all rounder. If you favour higher magnifications for planetary work, then maybe the 150PL would be better suited for you, as it has a focal ratio of F8 and only costs a few pounds more. I was lucky enough to find this barely year old example on Ebay, it’s a useful asset to the club and one I would heartily recommend.

Single and Dual Axis motor drives are cheaper, easier and more cost effective upgrades from £75/£99 rather than the SynScan option below....

Later on we will be looking at its bigger brother – the 8” or 200P telescope. This is more expensive at about £450.00 but comes with the impressive SkyWatcher EQ5 mount., and 77% more light gathering...

Specs: EXPLORER-150P (EQ3-2) 150MM (6”) F/750 Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Telescope Magnifications (with eyepieces supplied): x30, x60, x75, x150 Highest Practical Power (potential):x300 Diameter of Primary Mirror: 150mm Telescope Focal Length: 750mm (f/5) Tube assembly available separately Supplied complete with 10mm & 25mm eyepieces 6x30 finderscope x2 Barlow lens 1.25” (with camera adaptor) Parabolic Primary Mirror 0.5mm Ultra-Thin Secondary Mirror Supports Direct SLR Camera Connection EQ3-2 Deluxe Equatorial Mount Built in Polar Alignment Scope Holder Aluminium Tripod with Accessory Tray

The EQ3-2 Mount is a sturdy beast and will give many years service

Tube rings and dovetail mounting bar

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INTERVIEW: Dr Jenny Shipway INTECH Planetarium

“To team up with someone who can offer really good observing sessions, we can get them whipped up, excited, with the question ‘what do I do next?’. Then the answer is to come along one night and see it for yourself though a telescope.

It’s real.” Dr Jenny Shipway


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Words: David Woods Pictures: Graham Green

When you drive along the A32 towards Winchester, you will be greeted at the end by a massive white pyramid attached to a giant dome. What is it? It’s the INTECH Science Centre & Planetarium, where HantsAstro will be observing from in September 2008. Want to know what’s going on inside that dome?

We talk to Dr Jenny Shipway, about one of the most advanced planetariums available and what goes on inside: David - Hello Jenny The Planetarium opened formally on 19th March this year - what was the launch like? Jenny - The launch was absolutely tremendous! We had a fantastic day, with Sir Patrick Moore and Terry Pratchett who formally opened it. We had a good day itself and when we opened (the planetarium) it was crazy. We had so many people come through the doors, down to the entrance, and people in their cars queuing to get in the car park! The response has been tremendous. DW - It must have been huge! How big is the car park? JS - Depends on how many people travel per car but we can get about a thousand a day through the planetarium working at full tilt. DW - How many seats are in the planetarium? JS - 176 seats. with 6 spaces for wheelchair users.

DW - So this is the largest digital planetarium in the UK. JS - In terms of capacity yes; in terms of size there is one slightly, slightly larger. In other countries there are larger, but we’re confident to say that we are the best in the UK. DW - What equipment drives the planetarium? JS – We have six digital projectors, so they throw the image on to the huge domed screen and the image is sliced in six parts. Where the projectors meet they are very cleverly blended together, so there’s no sharp edge between them. The blending has to be just right. DW - How do you control that and what can you do? JS - It took a few days to set the edge blending, all the projectors had to be exactly positioned and then you have to let the software know exactly where they are so it can slice up and display the images correctly. We have about four thousand pixels across the dome so it has more pixels than a HD (Hi- Definition) TV. DW – What’s the diameter of this dome? JS – It’s about 17 metres ( about 47 feet dia). DW - That’s a big screen then. JS - It’s huge. Part of the problem is getting content with a enough pixels. If you get a video camera and a put a fish-eye lens on it you’re not going to have enough pixels to fit across our screen and make it look good.

DW - So what sort of show do you run then? JS - At the moment we are running three different shows for the public. We have one on black holes which has absolutely amazing graphics; it’s pre-rendered and runs like a film. It doesn’t have a live presenter. We have one called Cosmic Journey 3, which is about bodies in the Solar System and where you might find life. Then we have our own in-house production, which is a presenter-led show. It’s basically me on the stage explaining the sorts of things you might see from your own back garden. DW - You’ve got the stage area here so can you use it for other things than just planetarium shows? JS - Yeah, this is one of the most beautiful things about this planetarium. In particular, we don’t have any projection in the middle of the audience, which is what you have in all the older traditional planetariums. We have a great stage area, all the audience can see the stage. We could hold all sorts of different events in here; we could have musicians.I’m looking into having a musician here, accompanied with visual effects on the screen. We could have theatre productions in here. We use it as an normal auditorium as the seats do sit upright, but you could use it for anything really. DW - The perfect job for you then! JS - I was amazed when this job came along and it is absolutely the perfect job, so it’s great to be in right at the start, getting things set

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up. It’s just this amazing toy! You can do absolutely anything with it. The hard bit is just trying to choose the projects to go with first. Obviously, we’re concentrating on getting a good solid schools programme, a good offering for the public and we’re concentrating on astronomy

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to begin with. Hopefully in the future, once this has settled down, we’d like to bring in more crazy events. DW - I was going to ask - you can do all sorts of presentations, like environmental sciences, all sorts of things. Can you actually produce your own bespoke shows here?

JS – We have this software called UniView. It lets us fly in real time around the observed universe. For instance, on the 1st August we have ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a lecture that accompanies the film. They’ll be here doing that, then afterwards, we’re going to do a short planetarium show using our software. It’s exactly like you describe, dealing with environmental issues. We can show


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on the Earth, sea temperatures, things like this.You can do that easily with the software we have but you can project anything. If you’ve got the content, you can put it up there.

load a new show, change all the lighting and all the audio levels. DW - How do you think the Planetarium is going to change people’s perception of astronomy in general?

DW - Where does all this modelling come from? It must be constantly updated.

JS - I think the main thing the planetarium does exceedingly well, and is difficult to do any other way, is give an idea of the scale of everything. Space just doesn’t fit in a book or on a computer screen or in a cinema. Because we have this, it gives you the illusion of being in a larger space because everywhere you look it’s like being in a real world.

JS - There is a dataset called the Digital Universe which our modelling is based on and that is updated regularly.We can put a high resolution wrap on the Earth, zoom in, and see your road! Or you can have a bar graph coming out of the world, showing populations, with the shape of the country coming out. You can make your own solar systems, you could have the Death Star hovering there! Spaceships in space, with their trajectories.

DW - So you are one of the few people I know that can give DW - I’ve seen you walking a people the World so to speak, and round with a touch-screen tablet, probably the Universe as well! so you can control it that way? JS - I can actually leave the JS – Yes, down from the stage, observable universe which is my wandering around with this wireless favourite thing to do, clearly not panel I can shut off the projectors, allowed by Physics!

DW - HantsAstro - Gotta get on to the subject! How do you think that’s going to pan out with people coming here and seeing such fantastic vistas, and then going out and seeing it in a small telescope? Is it part of the hands on experience you hope people are expecting?

DW - How do you store this in the way of graphics? You must have a huge storage facility. JS – Well, behind that wall there, we have a room that contains not only the computers, but lots of gizmos and equipment. So each of the six projectors has its own computer. Then we have another computer that talks to those computers and synchronises them and the AMX panel that controls everything. Each computer holds 30 Terabytes of hard drives.

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The 6-way digital projector system at the INTECH Planetarium

JS – This is the point, INTECH’s history is that we are a ‘hands-on’ science centre, and we encourage people to get to grips with things. In the Planetarium it can be quite a passive experience. You’re sitting back, watching and listening, but you feel that you are in the action, all the same. What I want to do is to get people excited about astronomy and the other subjects too. But I want them to leave here and then take action to get involved. We’re not an observatory, we’re open during the day. To team up with someone who can offer really good observing sessions, we can get them whipped up, excited, with the question ‘what

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do I do next?’ Then the answer is to come along one night and see it for your self though a telescope. It’s real. DW – Telescope Amnesty What can you tell me about that? JS - It’s trying to get people out observing and see stuff for themselves. The idea is there are probably quite a lot of telescopes, hidden away in attics, not really being used because people are not quite sure what to do with them. They just need a bit more encouragement. So if you have one of these telescopes, being it along here. You get free advice from our experts and people we’re teaming up with, astronomical societies, people from universities, on how to use these

instruments. We can poke them up in the sky, as it’s going to be an evening event. Have a look and see what you can find with them. Then afterwards, a planetarium show, which is going to be about ‘now you’ve got your telescope working what can you see’. DW - The next Telescope Amnesty is planned for OCT/NOV 2009. A video is available from YouTube http://www.youtube .com/ watch?v=e1hEHGuns_4 DW www.intech-uk.com


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Dorset & Somerset

Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Dorset Wessex Astronomical Society www.wessex-astro.org.uk alan@ajefferis.freeserve.co.uk Science Dome St John`s Centre, 26 Shelley Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth BH1 4HY phone: 01202 304734 website:  www.sciencedome.co.uk email: sciencedome@ntlworld.com Somerset Beckington Astronomical Society www.basnet.org.uk rosie@w1lk5freeserve.co.uk Bristol Astronomical Society www.bristolastrosoc.org.uk secretary@bristolastrosoc.org.uk Crewkerne & District Astronomical Society www.cadas.net intrasites@ukonline.co.uk South Somerset Astronomical Society http://ssas.fateback.com/home.html jrbrimble@btinternet.com

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. Hershel Museum of Astronomy Various Monthly Shows Check site for details + times and booking http://www.bath-preservationtrust.org.uk/index.php?id=8 Explore@Bristol Planetarium Bristol Various Monthly Visits Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £11.90 Adults £7.70 under 16s http://www.at-bristol.org.uk/ Education/Planetarium.htm Mizar Travelling Planetarium Wimborne, Dorset The inflatable dome holds up to 35 and can be tailored to suit individual requirements. phone: 01202 887 084 www.mizar-astro.freeserve.co.uk

Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

Bridgewater Astronomical Society www.bwastrosoc.org.uk bwastrosoc@hotmail.com

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www.astrosouth.org

AstroSouth

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Devon

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Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Norman Lockyer Observatory Society www.normanlockyer.org enquiries@normanlockyer.org North Devon Astronomical Society www.ndastros.org juliebuckingham@tiscali.co.uk Plymouth Astronomical Society oakmount12@aol.com Tiverton & Mid Devon Astronomy Society www.tivas.org.uk nick@tivas.org.uk Torbay Astronomical Society www.torbayastro.org.uk lizanden@care4free.net TAS@halien.net Bridgend Astronomical Society www.bridgendastronomicalsociety.co.uk

AstroSouth

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details. Explore@Bristol Planetarium Bristol Various Monthly Visits Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £11.90 Adults £7.70 under 16s http://www.at-bristol.org.uk/ Education/Planetarium.htm Norman Lockyer Observatory & Planetarium Sidmouth, Devon Various Monthly Visits Shows Check site for details + times and booking Cost - £5 Adults £2.50 under 16s http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/nlo/ Home~EN.php Space Odyssey Foxglove Banks, 35 Longmead, Hemyock, Devon, EX15 3SG phone: 0844 335 1353 website: www.spaceodyssey.co.uk email: info@spaceodyssey.co.uk Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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www.astrosouth.org

AstroSouth

.org

Cornwall

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Interesting local Astronomy talks take place in the South every month, so please check the relevant web-site for any updates and contact details. Why not pay them a visit and support astronomy on your doorstep!

Cornwall Astro Society www.cornwallas.org.uk info@cornwallas.org.uk Brannel Astronomy www.brannelastronomy.com frankjohns@brannelastronomy.com Callington Community Astronomy Group www.callington-astro.org.uk enquiries@callington-astro.org.uk

AstroSouth

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April-May 2009 Planetarium shows and events take place across the South of England. Please check relevant web site for updates and contact details.

Explorer Dome Mailbox 42, 14 Clifton Down Road, Bristol BS8 4BFA mobile planetarium. Geared to the National Curriculum from KS1 to A-level. Topics include Space, Light, Forces and inside the Body. Explorer Dome is very well known and travels throughout the South West of England & Wales and beyond… phone:0117 914 1526 website:  www.explorerdomeco.uk email: information@ explorerdome.co.uk Space Odyssey Foxglove Banks, 35 Longmead, Hemyock, Devon, EX15 3SG phone: 0844 335 1353 website: www.spaceodyssey.co.uk email: info@spaceodyssey.co.uk Events If you have any talks or events you wish to be included in this listing then please get in touch.

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Members’ Images Flame Nebula NGC2024 - Richie Jarvis Location: South Common Observatory in East Sussex UK. Date: Date: 2009-02-10 & 2009-02-13

Scope: Astro Professional 102ED Guide Scope: Williams Optics Zenithstar 66mm Exposure (Ha): 18 x 300 seconds

Camera: Starlight Xpress SXV-H9 Guide Camera: SX Guidehead Exposure (OIII): 25 x 432 seconds

AstroSouth Reloaded edition 01r  

Astronomy in the South of UK

AstroSouth Reloaded edition 01r  

Astronomy in the South of UK

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