Location visible to members
Postponed again til 8th/9th May.
The Baker Street Irregular Astronomers is another (much larger) London group, not associated with us, who have monthly-ish meetings in Regent's Park. Their meetings are (as in the title), irregular, a bit like ours :) and move date based on moon/planet/star rising times and weather status. These meetings are very well attended (many many more than come from our group, typically somewhere between 50-a bit over 100ish, mostly ~100 at the busiest point).
For their future meetings, see the facebook group or website (links below)/mailing list.
Finding the event/parking
Their stargazing meetings are held at the Hub, Regent's Park - a cafe on a raised bump in the middle of the park. All park gates are only open til sunset; after sunset there is only one park gate open (usually Monkey Gate, near the zoo, the gate to the right of it when looking from outside the park), along a low-lit path (and some parts are not lit). 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. Turn up when light/leave with someone from the meet if you're nervous in the dark.
PLEASE NOTE: * Do not drive into the Park. This is not allowed and risks losing their permit to continue meeting there. * Please sign the visitor’s book upon arrival. * Please only use open gates and never try to climb over the fences, for safety/security/their continued use of the park.
I (your meetup group organiser, John) usually attend their meetings too (from ~7.30-8pm onwards or so), and sometimes their pub socials; but you should not rely on finding me there; though you will find some of the BSIA hosts (not connected with our group) Carl, Jerry, Mike, Paul, Ralph, Simon or Tom. There can also be other meetup groups there too. Some of the event's organisers are from the Widescreen center around the corner from the park, where you can buy telescopes, binoculars and find much more knowledge and advice about equipment and astronomy.
Note - the Hub meeting usually has a "launch window" to cater for selecting the best day (of 3) for the weather, and facebook/website will have the final date a day or two before the meeting time-window and I'll update this event when I can. They prefer Wednesdays when possible but last-minute updates are possible; DO check the site to be sure as sometimes it takes me a day to update this event to match!
For further details see their facebook group (http://en-gb.facebook.com/BakerStAstro) (posts HERE (http://www.facebook.com/groups/132196206819659/)) or its own website (http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk/). There's a podcast (http://www.facebook.com/groups/197643350345054/) too by some of the same people.
In summer, they do more sun observing of sunspots and storms (carefully, with proper filters) and the planet Venus will probably be around (which also goes through phases), so don't think there's nothing to do til late when the sun sets. Depending on the time of year, the beautiful ringworld of Saturn or the massive Jupiter and up to 4 of its moons should be visible in binoculars/scopes too - some of the best sights for beginners though there are many more objects with an array of colours. There will be many and varied scopes to look through, just ask nicely of the members who bring them (might be short queues for the best of them if clear weather).
While for everyone in the South West of London they may be more of a trek than many of our meetings, they are a large and well-attended group (50-100+ depending on weather/time of year) with many members bringing along telescopes that most of the time you are free to view through (or to queue for, on the biggest), even companies sometimes demonstrating their latest products or with competitions. Its a great way to find out what sort of equipment you might be happiest with, to try before you buy, with realistic expectations of what you'll see; and to learn about others' experiences and generally more about astronomy and the universe. Plus of course just hanging out socially with other amateur astronomers. They have pub meets too, to increase the social side.
All in, a great group - so why do I continue to run this one? For more local meetups, potentially at shorter notice and more of them, and generally aiming to be easier to access for those scared of going alone in the dark (at least some of the time).
NOTE (again): the rough date may not be set until a week or two before, or often known for sure until a couple of days beforehand. The event usually runs til ~10pm or a bit later.
DO NOT ASSUME THE DATE IS CORRECT for future meetings unless you have checked their website/facebook group (or are on the mailing list), or I've confirmed it here. Please do check their website for last-minute changes due to the weather as it can be as late as the evening before in the worst case.