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Join "Baker Street Irregulars" (other group)

NOTE: date may change depending on weather (but final confirmation as Wednesday now set).

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. Find out more about getting there (public transport/driving),

Getting there

The Hub, Regents Park, is a cafe on a raised earth mound in the middle of the park's biggest space nearer the North side (nearest Monkey gate next to the Zoo).

Public Transport/Walking

The nearest tube stops are Baker Street/St. Johns Wood, or Regents Park if you want a longer walk across the park in summer when its open later. From Baker St. its a good walk; nearest bus stop is Primrose Hill on the 274 route (every 10mins, 2 stops 'Q' & 'R' on Gloucester Place are ~5mins at a fast walk from Baker Street tube). Or Wells Rise stop if coming the other direction/heading back to Baker St. tube. [If using 274, at Primrose Hill stop, coming from Baker St. direction, cross the zebra-crossing behind you, and take the path almost-aligned with the crossing, away from the road towards the Outer Circle road; then cross that road to the park gate and keep almost-straight-on into the park; take the left path when it forks inside the park, ignoring the far left path forking off earlier that heads nearer the fence]

Driving?

PLEASE Do not drive into the Park. This is not allowed and risks losing their permit to continue meeting there; officials will notice.

Parking outside Monkey Gate is free on the Outer Circle after 6.30pm.

Notes for All

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). From the gate  on the "Outer Circle" road, its about 150m walk to The Hub along a path with a low-lit section further in.

Turn up when light/leave with a small group from the meet if you're nervous in the dark, people will be coming and going through the evening.

Please only use open gates and never try to climb the fences, for safety/security/their continued use of the park. If the Monkey Gate is accidentally locked by a warden early, check you have the right entrance (very occasionally, events might switch gates for post-sunset entry/exit), then call/message the BSIA "unofficial force" organisers to fix it.

To expect once there

Central London still allows many fascinating and amazing views of planets (surface detail on some), their moons, and stuff outside our solar system like stars, nebulae, galaxies and clusters. Many colours to see (not just white!). Wondering what some of those are? We'll explain - no such thing as a stupid question! Saturn or Jupiter (and its moons) are always big highlights when they're visible.

In good weather, you can expect lots of telescopes of many shapes and sizes set up around the outside of the cafe, all with owners keen to share views with you and to learn from each other and teach you how to use them and what to expect or what they're best for. There'll be some binoculars, astro-photography too, and 'scopes from beginner level all the way up to some very impressive and some custom-built well over 12" aperture 'scopes or very high quality smaller ones (just as useful), depending on the crowd (and weather a bit) each month. Ask nicely and join queues where they form (tend to form around the largest scopes for Saturn/Jupiter/special event watching). If unfamiliar, ask for advice to get the best use (eg. firstly: don't touch the scope at all, just hold your eye next to the eyepiece; ask/find owner if view empty/out of focus).

In summer, there's more sun-observing early in the evening with proper filters for safety (V.dangerous otherwise) - sunspots, prominences/filaments in hydrogen-alpha wavelengths (depending on equipment people bring) showing even more colours.

Even on cloudier nights, the social aspect makes for a (if-slightly-geeky) fun night and chance to chat for longer in the warmer cafe; but there might only be a handful of telescopes instead of 20 or 30-odd.

The Organisers

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.com 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. Our members have recommended them.

Date Shifting

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!

Further Details

For further details see their facebook group (posts HERE) or its own website. There's a podcast too by some of the same people.

Why Go?

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 at least 10pm (up til 11pm), though its quieting down from 9.30.

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 - usually at top of this description. 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.

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  • Robert

    Really enjoyed. Thanks.

    August 21, 2014

  • Baz

    Great evening!

    1 · August 21, 2014

  • John G

    For first timers: this group (and ours) is very beginner friendly, and you can still turn up later on without problem; but DO bring an extra layer of clothing! One of first things most people learn after their first couple of evenings stargazing, they're usually not well enough prepared for the chill as it cools down while standing still outside for extended periods. The cafe is a good refuge, but don't get stuck inside half the evening if you want to be enjoying clearer skies.

    1 · August 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Not coming tonight guys, was hoping for a nearly clear sky. Im taking my telescope on vacation next week (south France) so hoping to use it daily there!

      August 20, 2014

    • John G

      Iss pass at 8.38 if visible

      August 20, 2014

  • Tej D.

    I will be bringing my HA Solar scope and an 8" Cassegrain once again. I have planned out the objects for us to observe on the night which includes the comet Jacques! With the combination of Stellarium and a wonderful book called "Turn Left at Orion" that I purchased recently, I plan for us to view the following:

    6:30pm Our local Star, The Sun!
    8:15pm Saturn
    9:00pm Comet c/2014 E2 (Jaques)
    9:30pm Andromeda Galaxy
    Albireo double star
    M17 Omega (Swan) nebula mag 6
    m27 Dumbbell nebula mag 8
    M81+M82 galaxy
    M51 Whirlpool galaxy mag 9
    m8 Lagoon Nebula mag 6
    m20 Trifid nebula mag 6-7

    10:30pm Neptune and Uranus

    Fingers crossed for at least some clear skies :)

    2 · August 19, 2014

    • Vic H.

      Wish I was coming. I have never looked through a telescope before.

      August 20, 2014

    • Tej D.

      There will be lots lots more opportunities to come, Vic, so dont worry about missing this one :)

      August 20, 2014

  • Vic H.

    Sorry John, was looking forward to this but will have to come another time. Hope you have a cloud free evening. PS I have bought a tripod and mount! Vic

    1 · August 19, 2014

    • John G

      Thanks for the apology, and Well done! Hope it's a good mount. Might you bring it along in future?

      August 19, 2014

    • Vic H.

      The mount was recommended by the binocular manufacture and was a slimline type at £10.49. Tripod was £24.99 Velbon DF51. Reduced from £39. Not tested it yet!

      August 19, 2014

  • David C.

    Can't make this one as I am on call for the next week.

    August 19, 2014

  • John G

    Date is confirmed as Wednesday, so no change

    August 19, 2014

  • John G

    In case some of you aren't on the mailing list or don't see updates from the official facebook group/their website: While it’s still light Simon and Nick from The Widescreen Centre will be giving more of those telescope tutorials that proved so popular last month. Suggestions taken for future tutorials, or personalised advice if needed. Launch window is 18-20th (Monday-Wednesday) but as I write above, they prefer Wednesdays if they can.

    1 · August 12, 2014

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