For our event on July 9th, settled weather provided almost perfect conditions for a star party, albeit one almost exclusively tailored to the Moon with planetary and celestial observational targets still not really present. Actually, we did manange to observe a few very nice sunspot groups as the Sun dropped to the horizon. Having placed out an advertising placard earlier, the fine sunset, clear, calm conditions and pleasant temperature encouraged more people out. 

All set up and ship shape (click for larger image) Image - Keith D

Keith and Mark, were joined by Brian on the Cook headland - West Cliff, setting up the 3 scopes Mark had packed for the event. The poster boards were also set out against the railings, giving the feeling of a more normal star party. Just as at the June event, the 120mm refractor married to Celestron AVX mount was in operation, along with the 8" dobsonian and the 100mm Helios refractor. This had been fitted intially with a baader solar filter with the intention of observing any visible sunspots, which turnned out to be the case.

Unlike the June event Mark had remebered to bring the 120mm dew/sunshield and a functioning power tank (thank's to Keith). This was not utilised however, again skies too light until very late for spotting guide stars. The Moon required very little in tracking down and was at a similar phase to the June event, ie a waxing Qtr phase.

People begin to gather and chat about objects on view.
(click for full image) Photo by Keith D 

Sunset was enjoyed by many on the West Cliff including Keith, who also managed to capture a beautiful sun-ray sytem long after sunset.  

A really very fine sunset captured by Keith (click for larger image)

A beautiful 'Tellytubby sun ray' system eminating from below the horizon.

(click for full image) - image by Keith D

Having watched the Sun set, attention focussed on the gibbous Moon. Viewing was positive, people very much enjoying exploring the lunar surface through the eyepiece. The terminator edge has just crossed over Mare Imbrium and Sinus Iridum (Bay of Rainbows) was prominent, as too was the huge crater Clavius - perhaps a day passed its best. There was enough shadow created on the terminator edge to highlight the lunar terrain. People were either curious or had specifically come along having seen the boards out advertising the event. As evening turned to dusk we were finally able point out a few bright stars - Arcturus, Vega, Altair etc - the usual suspects, even managing to turn a scope toward one or two. All in all then, quite a sucessfull event. As we move in August matters will become a whole lot more hectic.

Yes it was an image from last month, apart from John,
the scene was very similar. (click for full image)

Image - Keith D 

... starting with Whitby Regatta.