Please note this event has been confirmed for tomorrow, Wednesday 26th. http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk/
The Baker Street Irregular Astronomers (BSIA) meet every month in central London to look at the sky and socialise. Bring a 'scope if you have one, if not, don't worry, everyone is very friendly and happy to share - some nights there are 30+ telescopes there.
February Message from the BSIA
For the February meeting we’re very excited to be welcoming Al Nagler to Regent’s Park. Al is one of the most respected people in the astronomy equipment industry, having worked for NASA designing the optical simulators used by the Gemini and Apollo astronauts during training (and the emergency we all saw in the 'Apollo 13’ movie). He founded the Tele Vue Optics company to bring his unique eyepiece designs to amateur astronomers - eyepieces that let you feel like your walking into the telescope. Take a look through any Tele Vue eyepieces around at The Hub and I think you’ll be astounded at what Al’s created. We’re certainly looking forward to observing with him.
But onto the skies: with Jupiter only a month past opposition, (where the gas giant & Earth were at their closest point in their orbits) it’s still looking big and bright in the eyepiece and on the 5th February, during the event, we get to watch the Great Red Spot (a giant anticyclonic storm 3 times the size of Earth that’s been raging for at least 350 years) move across the face of the planet.
We also have a lovely crescent moon to admire before 10pm. This moon phase lets us gaze into the Sea of Tranquillity – where our guest, Al Nagler’s, optics allowed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to train for their historic moon landing. If you haven’t seen the moon through a telescope before, this is one of the prettiest and haunting phases, with hundreds of craters that you can peer right into.
Looking further afield, the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters in Taurus won’t be too affected by the glow of the moon. To the naked-eye they look very nice, but absolutely come alive through binoculars or a small scope. Then there’s the double Cluster in Perseus and the Owl (or ET Cluster– you tell us which you think it looks most like) in Cassiopeia to gaze into.
But in deep sky observing in light polluted London, I think the object that will capture most people’s scope time is likely to be the Great Nebula in Orion, pictured below. This vast cloud of gas and dust over a thousand light years away (meaning we’re seeing it as it was more than a thousand years ago), is a stellar nursery, where new stars are being born and lighting up the gas and dust that compressed to create these new stars. Look out for the Trapezium Cluster in the middle. You should see four tightly bound stars right in the heart of Orion’s Sword.
Although you’re welcome to bring any equipment you like, please don’t worry if you don’t have a scope of your own, everyone is welcome from advanced to absolute beginner – there will be plenty of scopes around on the night and people will be more than happy to find objects for you to observe if you ask. And if you are new to astronomy – there are no silly questions, just ask away!
The nights are still cold so please do bring along plenty of warm layers and coats to keep the cold out. And to help out, there will be hot and cold drinks and snacks available from the café until around 10pm to cater for whatever the weather.
All the park’s gates are closed at 6pm, so only Monkey Gate (the one nearest to London Zoo see map), will be open to enter and leave through, and we must insist that you only use this gate and never try to climb over the fences. Parking outside Monkey Gate is free on the Outer Circle after 6.30pm and it’s about 150m walk from the road to The Hub along the floor-lit pathway.
Ralph Wilkins for
The Unofficial Force.
Visit the BSIA's website here for more details: http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk (http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk/)
On a clear night, there can be over 100 people at this event, so to help us connect with other members of this group, we'll stake out a table inside the Hub, with a Meetup sign.
There are detailed directions on this customised Google Map (http://goo.gl/maps/QlLEb).
Summary of directions:
Enter the Park through the Monkey Gate, which is at the very north of the park. If you have short legs like me, it's a 20-25 minute walk from either Baker Street or Camden Town stations. So instead, I'd recommend going to Baker Street or Camden Town and catching the 274 bus to London Zoo to save the walking.
Once inside the park, it's only 150 meters or so (3 minutes) to the Hub - please be vigilant when it's dark.
Geek Chic costs: Full Membership of this group is £15 a year. You can attend two events for free. You can pay any time by Paypal using the link on the left navigation pane, or
Click here now to pay your membership fee (http://www.meetup.com/GeekChic/dues/)
**Please note, this cost is for Geek Chic Membership, not for attending the BSIA stargazing events, which are free and open to the public for no fee.**