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Stargazing Live at Braywick – 21 January 2012

A man (probably not older than 35) with a cheery face, clad in a polo shirt, fleece, and jeans, stands presenting an introductory PowerPoint in the Braywick Nature Centre. One detects a hint of a restrained eccentricity as he speaks quite quickly whilst discussing his areas of speciality. He’s talking about the various consolations and what one can see in the night’s sky, using hand gestures to show the size of the four moons that orbit Jupiter. Sitting before him, myself and fellow ambitious stargazers are well-wrapped in coats, scarves, and gloves, ready for an evening under the sky.

I PRESENT THE MOON: An  member talks about the four moons of Jupiter. (IMG_2139)

After the gentleman enthusiastically answers our questions, we walk outside where seven or eight telescopes are set up for the public to use. Surrounding them, a surprisingly large number of people, with children being urged by their parents to stand on the supplied boxes to more easily see through the eyepieces.

VIRTUAL SKY: When it was cloudy outside, Matthew headed indoors to try out the virtual stargazing PC software. (IMG_2116)

The event’s being run by the Maidenhead Astronomical Society, to tie in with the BBC’s Stargazing Live week of nightly programming. Though posters about the society feature members of both genders, those are manning the equipment outside are all male, with their wives making the hot drinks and selling Mars bars indoors. All of the owners are – as one would expect – extremely knowledgeable and even more keen to share that knowledge with the inquisitive visitors.

TWINKLE TWINKLE: A failed attempt at phoographing some of the tars in the sky. (IMG_2134)

There’s one guy who sees me with my camera trying, but failing, to photograph the starry sky. He encourages me to remove the lens, screw on his adapter, and fit the body to the back of his Schmidt-Cassegrain, meaning my camera effectively becomes a telescope. This allows me to, with his assistance, get an albeit blurry picture of Jupiter.

A CLOSE-UP: Though blurry, noisy, and vague, one can just about make out Jupiter in this shot. (IMG_2128)

As we walk back to the Braywick Heath Nurseries car-park, I discuss with Mum and Matthew what we saw. We all really enjoyed the evening, and agreed that the Society seems a very active group.

While my photography has left a lot to be desired, the sights we saw with our naked eye will stay with us for a long time.

THE STARRY SKY: Flecs of light were magnified by the telescopes to revail more detail. (IMG_2113)

Photo of the Week – 10 April 2011

BLUE SKIES_This week's Photo of the Week.


This Week’s Photo

Taken yesterday (Saturday), at the Jamboree training camp, this photo shows green branches of a tree in front of the blue sky and sun on the right. It was a gorgeous day, and this photo captures just some of that beauty.


About ‘Photo of the Week’

Every Sunday, I’m intending to post a photograph taken at some point during the previous seven days. I know that many of the photos featured will not be of enviable quality, but then the aim is mainly to give me something to nostalgically look back over at the end of the year.

Catch up with photos featured in previous weeks by clicking here.


File Reference

On system (DSCF9449.JPG).

TV: How Times Have Changed – 27 February 2011

MONOCHROME BOX_Children watching Andy Pandy on a black and white TV.

Television today is a world apart from the TV of yesteryear. While programmes like Blue Peter, Coronation Street, and Panorama have all celebrated 50 years on the airwaves in the last decade, the way in which we watch them has changed dramatically.

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