Just Another Weekend II

Bestival again! – Somehow or other I was badgered into visiting the Ray-Ban tent. The sound levels were way above my normal threshold but I stuck with it as one of our group had volunteered for a free haircut!

The barbers menu was quite short – somethings along the lines of: Quick Tidy, All Off, Mohican and Barber’s Choice – Madeline, being nuts, ;), chose “Barber’s Choice” and we all stood around watching while she underwent the efforts of a well disguised, professional hair dresser putting on a flamboyant display for the onlookers. She ended up with a few minor tweaks  and a lot of red and glitter spray.

Yours truly was cajoled into joining he queue and bottled it by requesting  a “Quick Tidy”. All was going very smoothly until the end when I too was subjected to the colour and glitter sprays. Goodness only knows what I looked like for the rest of the evening, thankfully I didn’t have to look at it, and the telescope viewing public didn’t seem to care! The good news was that the colour washed out really easily when I got home!

Add this to the “Staring Contest” that I also got dragged into and you’ll understand that this was not a normal night for me.

The end result though was very satisfying. I got a free haircut, won the Staring Contest and picked up a pile of Ray-Ban goodies for my efforts  -thanks guys!

Just Another Weekend

Bestival! – it’s that time of year again and, for the third time, Vectis Astronomical Society were asked to provide telescopes at the Bestival.

Thursday and Friday were very cloudy but, nonetheless, we attracted quite a few interested persons to take a look at our ‘scopes even though the were only directed at cranes and ferris wheels. Saturday was almost perfecto clear though and we had almost flawless vies of the moon.

The 12′ dob attracted visitors and, along with the 10’ Orion allowed visitors good views. There were loads of “oh my god” moments and the smiles on observers faces made it all worth the dust and general hubbub.

I like to think we added something to the Bestival experience for the c 800 people who came to see us over he weekend and hope they all enjoyed their stay on the Island.

Light pollution is always a problem a big events like this and despite the efforts of the organisers, the energy efficient bulbs and the use of fewer large floodlights on the site didn’t really help the overall impact in the Island’s skies. The site is huge and really needs some followup work from us to reduce the effect next time.

Mending Stuff is Good!

Meade 884 Delux Tripod

A friend recently found that her telescope tripod was damaged even though it was properly stored in the supplied case. The tripod in question is a Meade #884 deluxe field tripod (cost about £180 new) but suffers a few design problems which no doubt caused the problem:

  1. The supplied case is too small to easily pack the tripod
  2. The locking wheels/knobs which hold the tripod in the correct position are on the inside of the legs which means they all bash against each other when the tripod is folded for storage, and
  3. The locking wheels/knobs are made of brittle plastic.

The problem here was a broken plastic knob on one of these locking knobs.

Easy to solve eh? Well not quite, a search for Meade tripod spares gave no real results so I had to find out what these things are really called and then find a supplier. It turns out that they are usually called “Star Knobs” or “Handwheels” in the world outside of astronomy and tripods.

GAN4255987H

I found a supplier in Portsmouth who arranged to get three for me, and I collected them earlier today. Fantastic service from Cromwell Tools who even called me to let me know they had arrived. I fitted all three just make the tripod look the part and she now has two spares should the problem happen again.

Anyhow, anyone with a similar problem may be interested to know, the thread is M8 and about 15mm long, the Cromwell part number is GAN4255987H (direct product link) and they cost a paltry £1.50 each inc VAT.

IW Planning Applications

Suburban Milky Way
The Milky Way On My Doorstep – Copyright Chad Powell

A lot of you will know that I have been pretty busy lately with the IW Dark Skies project.

You can follow what we are up to at Darkwightskies.com

Well, I need some help – if you care about this Island, please take a look at our latest post and read about two plans which, if implemented as they stand, will seriously affect our skies.

Feel free to comment on the post there or perhaps you’d like to make your feelings known to the IW Planning Department or the companies concerned.

Whatever you choose, we need your help.