Event Report: Leighton Observatory Open Day 8th March 2014, by Brenda Jones

Thanks to Brenda Jones for sending us her report of our National Astronomy Week 2014 open day/evening at the Leighton Observatory.

I just wanted to express our thanks to the Liverpool Astronomical Society & their members. Although we live in Cheadle, Greater Manchester we’d found out about the event at Pex Hill via my brother who is the editor of Prescot Online. It had been quite cloudy & we weren’t sure if we’d see anything but when we came to leave we could see some stars we decided to go & I’m so glad we did!

We had a great time. When we got there we could see lots of telescopes so we just kind of wandered around & then we were approached by someone who explained to us what we would be able to see through the telescopes. First we got to see Jupiter. It was amazing- I’ve never seen a planet ‘close up’ before, only on TV & I’m not sure that counts! The people were really great & explained to the kids (& the adults!) what they were looking at & giving them little bits of information.

Just when we were thinking of going we decided to go & see what was happening in the observatory. I’m so glad we did – it was the highlight! We had a bit of a wait but it was fine – the kids played iSpy with ‘Telescope Dave’. When we went into the observatory there were quite a lot of people but we all got a turn to look at the moon. The man speaking, also called Dave, was really good at explaining what we were looking at & answering all of our questions. After we’d looked at the moon, Jupiter & it’s moons & the Orion Nebula some of the other people needed to go so Dave asked us if we wanted to stay. My Daughter, Iona-Mae, wanted to see the moon again so we said yes. Who wouldn’t say yes to their own private viewing? We got to see the moon at a higher magnification & it gave the kids a bit of a chance to speak to Dave.

I’m so glad we went. The people were great & very friendly & approachable. ‘Telescope Dave’, who I think was from near Manchester, gave us some details of some astronomical societies a bit closer to where we live & I’ve liked the LAS page on Facebook so I can keep up with any other events.

Brenda Jones