In November CAS members took part in the annual ‘Festival of Stars’ in Grasmere, right in the heart of the Lake District.
The event was organised by the village and, despite its name, if not a dedicated astronomy event. However, this alongside the many other events, an astronomy theme was introduced. This started with CAS member Linda Davidson displaying her excellent night sky photos in a shop in the village during the day.
In the evening Stuart Atkinson (former CAS Secretary and now Secretary of the Eddington Astronomical Society in Kendal), gave a lecture entitled “A Tourist’s Guide to the Universe”. This was a great success with around 40 members of the public attending. After the meeting there was an opportunity for questions and answers as well as time to look at Stuart’s extensive collection of Meteorites.
Meanwhile CAS members were hard at work setting up telescopes in the nearby Grasmere Sports Field. As we arrived the sky was crystal clear from horizon to horizon, providing a spectacular backdrop to the mountains all around us. Around 9.00pm members of the public started arriving, and so did the clouds !
Despite the ever present clouds, there was always a patch of clear sky somewhere, and something interesting to point our telescopes at. Orion was particularly prominent in the east, with Mars and the Pleiades star cluster high towards the south. After a couple of hours showing people objects through telescopes and binoculars, and answering numerous questions it was time to pack up and head back to Cockermouth.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, one which we hope will be repeated at many future Festivals of Stars.