Public open evenings at the Guernsey Observatory include illustrated talks and, if clear, observing with the 16-inch, 11-inch, 5-inch and sometimes other telescopes. Members are on hand to point out the constellations and objects of interest. Click here for a poster (pdf file) of Open Evenings in 2014. Feel free to display and distribute it. These are drop-in events, the times shown being those from which the Observatory will be open.
We welcome donations to assist with running and maintenance costs are welcome. We suggest £2 per adult and £1 per child. Click here for directions to the Observatory (pdf file).
The Observatory will next be open to the public on Bank Holiday Monday 26 May from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm, specifically to observe the Sun. Looking at the Sun with any optical instrument is normally very dangerous, but the Observatory telescopes are equipped with special filters, enabling solar observation to be carried out safely. There is also a ‘heliostat’ for projecting an image of the Sun onto a screen so that it can be observed safely.
With the Sun close to the maximum of its activity cycle, it is hoped that there will be sunspots to see. The event will be punctuated by talks/slide-shows about the Sun.
Don’t forget that the Observatory will be open every Thursday evening during the summer States school holidays (ie 24 July to 28 August).
We had a very successful year for Open Evenings in 2013, with observing possible on most of them, and we look forward to an equally successful 2014.
The first two Open Evenings of the year were indeed successful. The first one was held on Thursday, 09 January 2014, in association with the BBC’s Stargazing Live television series. Skies were partially clear, and an estimated 60-70 people attended. The Moon was particularly well-placed for observing, and there were good views of Jupiter and the Orion Nebula. With an early start time of 6.30pm it was hoped that children would be encouraged to come along, and this indeed proved to be the case. Click here for details of this event posted on the BBC website.
The second Open Evening, on Friday, 07 March, was held in association with National Astronomy Week. The massive planet Jupiter and its moons were well-placed, as was Earth’s Moon. Again, a relatively early start time of 7.30 pm encouraged many children as well as adults to attend. An estimated 100+ people came to this event, and despite foggy conditions all were able to view the Moon and Jupiter. Click here for details of this event posted on the National Astronomy Week website.
The full list is:
Thursday, 09 January from 6.30 pm (BBC Stargazing Live, observing Moon, etc.).
Friday, 07 March from 7.30 pm (National Astronomy Week, observing Moon and Jupiter).
Bank Holiday Monday, 26 May from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm (observing the Sun).
Thursday evenings after dark during summer school holidays (24 July to 28 August).
Thursday, 30 October from 6.00 pm (half-term week, observing Moon, etc.).
ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
The Section’s Annual Business Meeting was held on Tuesday, 04 February for the purpose of electing officers, considering the accounts, planning for the coming year, and any other business. Existing officer were re-elected, and Paul Seymour was elected IT officer.
WEA STAR GAZING COURSE
This popular 6-week introduction to astronomy was held at the Observatory on Thursdays from 06 February to 13 March 2014 – its 13th year. As usual it was run by members of the Astronomy Section of La Société Guernesiaise, led by Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society David Le Conte. It is likely to re-run in 2015. An announcement by WEA Guernsey is likely in November 2014. Early booking is advisable as the course is invariably over-subscribed, being limited to 20 places.
The 2015 fee will be determined by the WEA; the 2014 fee was £45. Bookings are made through WEA Guernsey – see its website (www.wea.org.gg), where it is possible to enrol online. Brochures will be widely available. Alternatively call 237888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Astronomy Section also welcomes a limited number of group visits, by prior arrangement. See our introduction page for details.
Members’ annual barbecue and Perseid meteor count will be held at the Observatory in August on a date to be announced (probably Tuesday, 12 August 2014).