Typically, it looks like the weather has made a turn for the worse, just in time for our solar viewing sessions to start! The forecast for Wednesday suggests that we may have sunny spells early on, but it will cloud over later… still plenty of time for this to change, though. It’s too early to make any forecasts for Saturday yet.
Our inclination is to go ahead with the sessions regardless, unless the forecast is for rain. The main reason being to blow the cobwebs off of the equipment, and make sure that everything is working OK. If we have to write off the day, at least we will have achieved something!
I know that a few forum regulars are down to help out at the events on Wednesday and Saturday this week. Make the assumption that we are going to go ahead, unless it looks like raining. We will probably make a final decision on the morning of each event (earlier, if possible).
For anyone else, you’d be very welcome to come along to the ROG… we will be at our usual location, by the Altazimuth Pavilion on the planetarium terrace. Even if we can’t see anything, I’m sure we will keep each other entertained! We’ve got a great bunch of volunteers for both events, so it should be good fun regardless.
Unless it’s absolutely chucking it down, I’ll be there on Wednesday!
Hell – I’ve probably just cursed the weather…
The threat of rain seems to have receded, at least during the daytime, today… so we will go ahead with our solar observing event at the ROG today (Wednesday 9 July).
Cloud moving in from the east suggests that we are unlikely to see much of the Sun today. However, we are going ahead mainly to check the equipment, and will treat the event more like a training session.
Volunteers are most welcome to come along, but it is unlikely that much in the way of solar viewing will take place. If you need to drop out, then there is no problem.
Maybe these guys can help…..
I suspect not… I think only this will help: Zarkov Cloud Gun.
That is ace. We should run a competition to win one, awarding the prize in time to scatter the rainy spring clouds – round about April 1st, perhaps.
And I thought the link was going to demonstrate your knowledge of Scandinavian heavy metal, Mike.
Edit – Judging by the customer reviews, this is clearly an excellent and effective product. I love this: “The silencer works very well indeed if it wasn’t for the blinding green flash I would not have known it had fired.”
Well, it appears that the Zarkov Cloud Gun was at least partially successful!
Despite the early forecast suggesting that we wouldn’t see much of the Sun today, we actually managed to hold a decent solar viewing session at the ROG today. Cloud was intermittent throughout the session, but we had some good clear periods in which to view the Sun. And it was quite a sight today, with 8-9 large sunspots visible and a beautiful large prominence system on the western limb.
Many thanks to all of our volunteers today: Andy, Clive and Dave, who, along with Nick and myself, had a reasonably busy day looking after our visitors. Not the busiest day we’ve ever had, but still around 200 people looked through the 90mm Solar-scope that we had set up.
Let’s hope that the forecast improves for Saturday’s planned session.
My first time at one of these things and what a great day it was! Apart from the weather being better than expected – helped by a triple blast from Mike’s Zarkov Cloud Gun (I promised to organise a whip-round for replacement ammunition) – it was fantastic to see the reaction by members of the public. Once they realised that all they were being asked to do was look through a telescope and not sign up for a time-share on Neptune, they were very relieved and most grateful for the scientific knowledge and experience we tried to impart.
Seriously, though, their reactions were fantastic. Lots of “Wow!” and “Cool!” and “That was awesome!” My favourite was an American who looked through the scope and said, “Damn!” as though it were a two-syllable word.
We inadvertently had a gang of about 30 school kids from Dagenham who were surprisingly patient as they queued up to take their turn. As the sun and clouds were coming and going about every minute or so, I was wondering how long it would take to let all the kids get a look! A gold star to one girl whom I told, “This is a special telescope and you can’t use it to look at the stars.” “Yes, you can!” she said, as she pointed at the sun. “That one!” Clever girl.
I met lots of interesting people, including a high school astronomy teacher from the States, a guy from Belfast who told me about James Clerk Maxwell’s burial place in rural Scotland and Lord Kelvin’s tide calculator (mission: look for it in the Science Museum) and a young Russian girl who is really interested in deep sky observing and asked us what kind of telescope she should buy.
My only regret was not bringing a hat with me to protect my bald pate – proving just how badly it’s possible to risk-manage a solar viewing event.
The selection of hats at previous solar viewing events has been quite eye opening in the past. Maybe we need a range of Flamsteed baseball hats, What do you think Mike?
Judging by Mike’s and Clive’s headgear – and the titfer I left at home – I reckon that Tilley hats are the chapeaux de rigueur. Baseball caps are great, but you have to wear them the wrong way round when using telescopes…
Maybe we need a range of Flamsteed baseball hats
The day will never come when you see me wearing a baseball hat!
As Andy says, Tilley hats are the only option… I am thinking of making it a uniform requirement 😉
http://www.google.co.uk/aclk?sa=l&ai=CqoVjWHy-U73EMKK-7QbzsYDAAZGiqZsE8bXm6IoB5c7k1YEBCAYQBSgIUPXwqr37_____wFguwagAa321f4DyAEHqQJhh6H0jbi8PqoEJU_Q9YGBz5FcAQUW3QhnZ-j-AJybqk3mbR0JU_eOSRYdUCvwXafABQWgBiaAB7uJqgGIBwGQBwLgEoOx7ayf1I-KyAE&sig=AOD64_1-pqjYrO03cSoXYEYpMzzzMehK2w&ctype=5&rct=j&q=&ved=0CNEBEPQO&adurl=http://www.outdoorkit.co.uk/product.php%3Fproduct_id%3D16414%26utm_source%3Dfroogle%26utm_medium%3Dorganic%26utm_campaign%3Dfroogle. I like this design.
But the camouflage design might make it more difficult to see and avoid bumping into each other on Blackheath….
Thanks to Andy for writing a report of this event. The report is now online:
FYI, this has been a very tricky call… but we’ve decided to CANCEL our solar viewing event planned for today (Saturday 12 July).
The forecast is suggesting cloudy conditions early on, with the likelihood that the cloud will burn away just after lunchtime. However, this comes with an increasing risk of rain showers during the afternoon.
On that basis, we don’t think we can risk running the event. Firstly, it would be very frustrating playing “dodge the cloud” on a very busy Saturday… and, secondly, we are worried about the rain risk.
No doubt the gods of astronomy are now secretly chuckling away, preparing to give us the finest day of the year in revenge for this decision… ah well, we have to make a call one way or the other!
Thanks to all those who were willing to volunteer.
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