No, that didn’t work either... moving Regatta to later in the month, that is.  Different dates, same weather. 

Saturday- clouded out both afternoon and evening.  We didn’t even bother to unload any equipment for these events, squally showers and really quite strong winds do not make for ‘quality’ observing.  Having said that, three people do technically qualify as a ‘party’ and we did briefly spot a couple of stars in the Plough handle, so that’s star party in my book.  Regatta Sunday would be better.

Sunday was a lot more encouraging, the Sun was actually shining, whoopee!

Solar Viewing at Whitby Regatta: John with his Solar Scope.  This is an entry
for the Google Deep Style competition(!)  See The Gallery for original photos.

So having set up on the West Cliff next to our colleague, Marcus, from Grovers Optics, we were quite eager to count all those sunspots.  0, nowt, zilch, *** all (3*’s not 4) the cupboard was bare.  On closer inspection though... no... still absolutely nothing.  Luckily people seemed quite happy to view a round white disk!

However all was not lost.  John L arrived with his solar scope and lo and behold there was some activity on the limb, a small solar prominence and perhaps a hint of an embryonic sunspot group forming on the surface.

At least we could console ourselves that considerable interest was being shown for that night’s star party, and furthermore conditions were looking decidedly encouraging with clear skies forecast by 9pm.  9pm arrived, and so did the cloud, obviously!

No pictures from the Regatta Star Parties, but this is from the 30th July 2016 star party, in the Edvard Munch style of Mark's silent cloudy-night screams.

Many, many silent expletives later, Mark gave one of his famous cloud party talks to the assembled gathering, who had also been taken in by all those jokers at the Met office, BBC and various other forecasting bodies.  The scale solar system demo went down rather well, and just as we thought erecting the scopes had been a waste of time, Lo, a lurid orange moon rose above the hotel roofs, much to everyone’s surprise and delight.  Five minutes later drops of rain began to fall, heralding a hasty departure.

The first half of Monday was similar to standing under a lukewarm power shower.  By the early afternoon however, skies dried and cleared.  Although nothing had been planned for the Monday, Mark wandered up to the cliff to join Marcus on the Grovers stand and perhaps utilise his Celestron refractor and Kendrick solar filter to view a ‘round white disk’.  After setting up and on first inspection...  hang on a minute, what’s this, two sunspot groups, now where did they emerge from.  Well, that’s just typical, summing up our luck this summer.

You may have noticed that Regatta Monday evening was fine and clear, 24 hours too late for us, but one hell of a backdrop for the fireworks display and a stunning gibbous moon rising out of the sea.  People would have queued for ages to view that.. Aaahhhhh!

Folk Week Event

Based on an original work by Warren: twilight at the 26th August Follk Week Star Party, 20:50h.
See The Gallery for original photos.

Cloudy conditions persisted throughout much of Folkweek- at least when it mattered on an evening.  However Friday 26th saw an unscheduled event on the west cliff making the most of fine, still conditions.  Skies were not totally clear, but at least there were enough people around to make it worthwhile, interested, and thrilled to observe a plethora of summer deep sky wonders.  It was also the first real run out for the LX 200 this year and it’s nearly September!  Saturday’s event was rained off.