The 21st June marked the third anniversary of the opening of the observatory. That was a great village event with over 200 people present including the High Legh Primary School Brass band. Our log book shows the very many people who have visited us since then, for our regular Friday night observing sessions and for special events like the partial solar eclipse and the transit of Mercury. Even with the long summer evenings we have had some good observing sessions with good views of Jupiter and its four moons. Saturn is now low down on the horizon late in the evening with its rings clearly visible.

Sunday 18th June was International SUNday and we took advantage of the warm clear weather to view the Sun safely through our special telescopes. There were a few sun spots visible and our Coronado ‘scope shows up the structure of the Sun quite nicely in the red hydrogen alpha wavelength. So astronomy can be a daytime activity as well, although, as ever, we are open on Friday evenings from 8 PM or dusk whichever is later. Admission is free- donations welcome.

 

Speakers

On 6th April our own Brian Feast gave a great talk on his trip to view the Northern Lights with some excellent stills and movie footage. In May Prof Ian Morison talked about The Art of Astro-photography with plenty of useful tips on the subject, all in his recently published book.

Our speaker on 14th July is Malc. Beesley who will give a talk with the intriguing title “Measuring the Impossible” with a challenge for amateur astronomers. His talks are always entertaining and informative.

After the summer break we have Dr Rob Crain from Liverpool University on 7th September (the 1st Thursday) with a great talk entitled “The cosmos in a computer” .

On October 12th Prof. Andy Newsam will talk about “Astronomy – universal appeal?”. The talks begin at 7:30 in St John’s Church Room. Admission £3 under 18s free.

The observatory is also open for Abbey Leys Farmers Market on the first Sunday of each month. Do call in and have a look round. See our website www.highlegh-communityobservatory.com for more information

HLCO

2016 has been another good year for the observatory. Although clear nights seem to have been in rather short supply, the observatory has been open on Friday evenings, when clear, for our regular observing sessions. One highlight was 8th May, a beautifully sunny day, when we were able safely to observe the transit of Mercury across the Sun over a period of 7 hours. We had visitors from far and wide who came to view this rare event.  Two new acquisitions help in this respect; a Herschel wedge which allows solar observing in white light through the 6”Meade ‘scope, and a special hydrogen alpha telescope for viewing the Sun’s activity in this particular wavelength. This shows up prominences and solar flares.

 

 In 2016 topics for our talks on the second Thursday of each month have ranged from historical aspects to visually stunning astro images, with contributions from invited speakers and our own members.  These have been fascinating, well supported and provided income for the observatory.   

 

For 2017 we have Dr Sarah Crowther who will be talking about the NASA Genesis mission on January 12th, Prof. Rob Jeffries on “Gravitational Waves – Einstein’s Messengers” on February 9th and Prof. Mike Bode on “The Liverpool Telescope – a giant robotic eye on the sky” on March 9th. These will be at St John’s Church Room starting at 7:30. Admission £3 under 18’s free. Please do come along, all are welcome.

 

If skies are clear the observatory will be open on Friday nights from about 8PM.  Admission is free – donations welcome. The observatory is also open during Abbey Leys Farmers Markets on the first Sunday of each month. Do call in and have a look round.

 

Thank you to all of you who have supported us over the year. We look forward to seeing you again. Remember – this is a community facility open to all, irrespective of age or ability. For more information see our website.

 

John Anderson.