By Richard Harvey
Alongside our internet lectures and Zoom meetings, the society has arranged several observations sessions and outreach events in the past few months. Here’s a quick overview of what’s been going on ‘off-line’ recently.
On 12th August we met once again at Halfpenny Green Vineyard for a meteor watch, on the evening of the peak of the Perseids. This was a most successful event, with quite a crowd turning up. We were blessed with clear skies for once, and over sixty Perseid meteors were seen over three hours. Some were bright fireballs with smoke trails, and one showed a bright green hue. This was a real fun event, as many people got excited as they spotted Perseids streaking across the sky, it was like a cosmic piece of theatre! Using the BAA meteor observing forms I tried to keep track of them all, and some of us also managed to do some deep-sky and planetary observing as well. Quite a few members tried to capture an image, and Doug’s photo shows a Perseid in Aquarius, above Jupiter (there’s an un-cropped version of Doug’s photo on the society’s Flickr page).
Our thanks to the team at Halfpenny Green for letting us use their fishery car park once again, it really is a perfect place to observe locally.
In early August, WolvAS member Adam Forster was interviewed on ITV Central News. They were filming a piece on the rise of astrophotography over lockdown, and visited Adam at his home in Sedgley. This was great publicity for the society and the hobby in general. Adam has a very interesting blog where you can read about his impressive astro-journey.
In September, Sunrise of Tettenhall held a ‘Space Week’ for their residents. They borrowed the society’s displays, and I gave a talk on the solar system to around twenty five residents one afternoon, followed by a space-themed recital on the Sunrise grand piano. Throughout the week the residents enjoyed space related activities and films. Thanks to Geraldine, Paula and the activities team for asking us to get involved, we intend to have another Sunrise Space Week in the future, as the positive feedback from the residents proved it was a great success.
The WolvAS observing weekend took place on the first week of October, in a private camping field near the Long Mynd in Shropshire. This was a basically a low-key trial for future events, and we were very happy with the outcome. We were treated to three clear nights on Fri/Sat/Sun, and some of the best skies I’ve seen in Shropshire, (as evidenced by Robin’s shot of Orion taken on the Sunday night). We were joined on one evening by some friends from Knowle Astronomical Society. More observation weekends will be arranged there and members will be kept informed well in advance. This rural site is only an hour’s drive from Wolverhampton, and the sky quality is exceptional, with the Milky Way clearly visible, as well as deep-sky objects like the Andromeda Galaxy and Perseus Double Cluster easily seen with the naked eye. Having our own field also means we can completely control the amount of artificial light around us. With electrical hook-ups available, this is the perfect site for observing and astro-photography.
In October members were invited to a meet up in the private room of the Merry Hill pub in Finchfield. We’ve used this room before for socials, and it’s always nice to catch up with members and get the chance to chat – not always about astronomy.
More plans are being made for observing sessions and social events as we move forward, so please keep your eyes on your inboxes for regular updates.