Perhaps not a first, but at least opening star party event of the summer season on May 23rd went ahead in pretty decent conditions, with just a little cloud around the horizon.  With five scopes deployed and eight members present, the most was made of the bright twilight conditions that prevail at this time of year.  A lovely waxing crescent moon, the planets; Venus and Jupiter and Saturn and finally some of the brighter stars, made it an enjoyable evening, certainly plenty of ‘goodies’ to keep a quite sizeable and interested crowd at the eyepieces for a couple of hours.

Star Party on West Cliff, Sat 23-May-2015
Photo taken by Mark Dawson

Star Party on West Cliff, Sat 23-May-2015
Photo taken by Warren Tiplady


As the sun went down, the moon proved the initial draw, then a game of ‘spot the planet’ ensued, naturally Venus won hands down.  Jupiter then followed, and with four moons visible it proved a hit with the crowd, more so than Saturn, which although became visible later, was also considerably effected by rising turbulence, making the image somewhat unsteady.  Saturn’s time will come.

All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening under the stars, planets and seagulls.

Weather permitting; we are planning to host around twenty star parties over the outdoor summer season.  Some, (and if past history is anything to go by ) many, will fall victim to our fickle British weather, so do not be surprised if several unscheduled star party events are added, making the best of conditions on that night.  Mark will ring or e-mail those of you likely to attend at short notice, and if you cannot make it...  no worries.  I am sure we will see you at some of the planned events.

Sometimes the unscheduled events are those enjoyed most, and as proved on countless occasions W.D.A.S members who regularly support star parties will testify (electrodes, needles and large dogs were not used to extract this information) how rewarding these can be.  All that is required is a fine evening, a curious public (some of which may, or may not have been abducted by aliens...according to them) and the scopes.

Assistance is always welcome - actually it's becoming a necessity, even it's just to lend a hand in setting up equipment and keeping a watchful eye on things.  So if you can make it along, please do join us.