Past Meetup

Star-gazing with Baker Street Astronomers

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The BSIA Christmas Party!

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.

December Message from the BSIA

As it’s our end of year bash, we’re banishing the launch window this month and this means we’ll be gathering at The Hub in Regent’s Park from 6.30pm on 12th December.

The five-day forecast suggests there’ll be no rain and a good chance of observing. But, as long as it doesn’t rain, the atmosphere will be perfect in any case as our December meetings are always the annual highlight in the BSIA calendar – replete with cakes, mince pies and a few winter tipples to keep the cold at bay. What wonderful members we have to bring festive cheer and plenty of carbohydrates! Calling all bakers…

It’ll already be dark by the time we begin assembling our scopes on the Telescope Deck at 6.30pm and we’re in for a real treat as the peak of the Geminid meteor shower is just one day away. There should be plenty of meteors to see all night and we’re hoping for a few fireballs too - there’s every chance we’ll see some.

Having just passed opposition, the planet Jupiter (above), will not only be high in the eastern skies, it will also be looming big and bright in the sky – giving us our best views of the King of Planets until 2020! The Great Red Spot should be visible from 11pm and the four Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede & Callisto) will all be stretched out in a row for most of the evening.

Neptune (pictured right) will also be visible low down in the constellation Aquarius, above the south west horizon early on and the other ice giant, Uranus, is higher up in the constellation of Pisces all evening.

Looking deeper into the cosmos, we have the winter gems of Orion, Gemini and Cancer to give us some views of the beautiful Orion Nebula (pictured below), M35 cluster and the Beehive Cluster. Overhead is Perseus, Andromeda and Cassiopeia with the Double Cluster, Andromeda Galaxy and the Owl cluster on show – Cassiopeia also contains the beautiful yellow/red binary pair of Eta Cassiopeia.

This time of year is excellent for astronomy but it will be very cold so please do bring along lots of warm layers or coats. There will be warm drinks and snacks available from the café until around 10pm too. Although there are pathway lights from Monkey Gate to The Hub (see map (http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk/info/location/)), bringing a torch would be advisable – preferably red light torches, if you have them.

As the Park closes their gated before 6.30pm, we can only ensure that Monkey Gate (the one nearest to London Zoo), will be open to enter and leave through. 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.

Visit the BSIA's website here for more details: http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk (http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk/)

COST

Free.

[Geek Chic costs: Your first two events with Geek Chic are free to attend. Thereafter, membership is £15 a year. You can pay by Paypal (on the left here) or pay your Host in cash at any Meetup.]

MEETING UP

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.

GETTING THERE

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.