SOCIETY in focus
Martin Whipp, York Astronomical Society To find out more about the society visit: www.yorkastro.org.uk
On 15 September, in the wake of our spectacular and extremely well-attended 1,000th society meeting just one week earlier, members of York Astronomical Society were on hand once again to entertain the public. On this occasion it was in the beautiful surroundings of Rievaulx Terrace in North Yorkshire, owned and operated by The National Trust.
Despite some sunshine during the day, as night drew in and we set up our instruments things were not looking good. Around 65 members of the public arrived at 7pm and were kept entertained by looking at the telescopes and photographs on members’ laptops. The main event started at 7.30pm and the group was split in two. One group went for a nocturnal walk, visiting moth traps and detecting bats. The other half sat in the undercroft of the beautiful Ionic Temple to listen to an autumnal astronomy talk by one of society’s members.
Unfortunately for the public, the night sky simulation show was the nearest they would get to seeing actual objects in the sky. Although there were some fairly large gaps, the steady winds meant that we had only fleeting glimpses of the Plough in its entirety and the Summer Triangle overhead. This still wowed the crowds, who had been introduced to them in the talk, and everybody went away having had an enjoyable night.
The York Astronomical Society will continue its programme of public outreach over the winter with regular star parties at York Racecourse, and at the new home of our observatory at Beetle Bank Farm on the eastern outskirts of the city. We also have two formal meetings per month held at the Priory Street Centre in York.