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The stars on display

The clear sky on Saturday made this one of biggest BBC Stagazing Events in the South.
Over 450 people from across Hampshire looked through a large array of the latest portable telescopes.
Picture: Graham Green.

The clear sky on Saturday made this one of biggest BBC Stagazing Events in the South. Over 450 people from across Hampshire looked through a large array of the latest portable telescopes. Picture: Graham Green.

A crystal-clear sky gave amateur astronomers a crystal-clear view of the constellations and planets above us at a stargazing event.

More than 400 people went to Queen Elizabeth Country Park for the BBC’s Stargazing Live event, held in partnership with HantsAstro.

The evening was a huge success with visitors able to see the moon, Jupiter and Orion’s nebular clearly through HantsAstro’s telescopes.

Organiser Dave Woods said: ‘The conditions were perfect and the only reason we finished at 10pm was because the temperature fell to -2C.

‘There was a lot of interest because just days before the huge Russian asteroid which had the explosive power of 30 Hiroshima bombs had landed injuring 1,200 people.

‘And literally the day before a meteor half the size of an Olympic swimming pool skimmed past earth 14,000 miles away. It meant a lot of excitement had built up by Saturday night.’

Visitors who arrived at the country park at 5pm were able to try out the many telescopes available.

Mr Woods, from Clanfield, said some people had never seen the moon through a telescope before.

He added: ‘People were so amazed they joined our group there and then.

‘Of the 16 new members nine were women. We put that down to the Brian Cox effect. What was good to see was a lot of people brought their own telescopes. It was very heartening.’

HantsAstro was formed in 2008 and has almost 400 members. To keep the public up to date with what’s going on in the world of astronomy Mr Woods and other members produce a monthly podcast which anyone can download from 2020astro.com.

‘It’s actually just me and a mate in a pub talking about astronomy,’ said Mr Woods.

‘But it’s proved so popular that it’s in iTunes top 20 downloads.’

Go to hantsastro.com.

 

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