Both of the early June Star Parties went ahead as scheduled. 

The event on the 3rd drew a reasonable crowd over the duration.  Solar observations were initially possible, the sun still above the horizon low in the NW and a noticeable sunspot grouping was visible, which was an unexpected bonus.  Once the sun had set attention turned to the moon, a gibbous phase with some lovely detail on show, particularly around the Clavius crater area. 

As twilight deepened further Jupiter emerged, a pleasing spectacle, showing great contrast with a hint of colour on the disk.  All four Galilean moons were also present.  Later on, Saturn was picked up low to the horizon, not brilliant detail it has to be said, but the rings could be made out, much to the satisfaction of the public. 

By 23:00h things had quietened down, conditions becoming less conducive for standing around as a chilly ‘off sea’ breeze became more noticeable.  Time to pack up. 

The event held on the 9th was primarily intended to view the full moon rising – as much as anything else.  Solar viewing was prevented by a low lying cloud bank in the west; otherwise conditions were similar to the previous week, although somewhat warmer.  Public involvement was greater, the full moonrise certainly creating interest attracting a sizable gathering around the scopes.  Astronomers tend to regard an ordinary full moon with a little distain; big and bright with little contrast and no shadows.  On the upside lunar rays are at their most evident, streaked across the lunar surface emanating from ‘fresher’ impact sites.  The dark lunar mares are also fully visible, aspects which still seem to bring joy and amazement to the public. 

Having grabbed people’s attention with the rising moon, it was time to flaw them with the two summer planets on show; Jupiter and Saturn.  Compared to the previous week Jupiter lacked a little in detail, perhaps seeing was not as good in that part of the sky.  Saturn on the other hand appeared somewhat sharper, though still too ‘wobbly’ compared to when at its best; ie higher in the sky.  Still, people seemed impressed. 

Gradually seeing did deteriorate and by 22:45h thin, high cloud curtailed proceedings.  Two events in the space of six days, hopefully there will be some more to follow this summer.