La Société Guernesiaise Astronomy Section is holding a Solar Open Day on Sunday [29 July] to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the group and the naming and reopening of the telescope building.
Section Secretary, Dr Jean Dean, said the event was open to all islanders and will go ahead “whatever the weather”. She said families and children were particularly encouraged to attend and free solar eclipse glasses and rainbow peepholes would be given out.
“The Solar Open Day is a three-fold event. The telescope building has been closed for a couple of years due to structural damage, so we are celebrating the re-opening. It is also an opportunity to celebrate our 50-year anniversary this year,” said Dr Dean.
Pictured: The summer Milky Way from the observatory building. (Credit: Dr Jean Dean)
Dr Dean continued: “We are also marking the naming of the building as the David Le Conte Astronomical Observatory. David was a professional astronomer and was subcontracted to work for NASA in the United States. He eventually moved back to Guernsey and joined the Astronomy Section shortly after it began.
“David was integral to the group and naming the telescope building after him is a great way for us to be able to honour his contribution and memory.”
Dr Dean said the new telescope building now had a “dual use”.
“As well as being open to the public again, we are also re-open for education. Our previous classroom could only accommodate 20 pupils, but class sizes have become bigger over the years. We now have an additional classroom for up to 30 pupils,” she said.
“I would like to extend my thanks to Crocker Building and Norman Piette. It would not have been possible for us to re-open without their contributions. Crocker Building fitted us in when the building trade was exceptionally busy after the covid lockdown and we are very grateful for that.”
Pictured: The Horsehead Nebula in the constellation of Orion. (Credit: Dr Jean Dean.)
As well as the opportunity for islanders to view our nearest star, there will also be other activities.
“We will have indoor displays about the solar system for children and adults who want to learn more about astronomical subjects. The event will be completely free of charge. We try to make everything we do as accessible as possible; people shouldn’t have to pay to look at the night sky,” said Dr Dean.
Founded in 1972, the Astronomy Section of La Société Guernesiaise is an active group with around 60 members and welcomes anyone with an interest in astronomy, whether beginner or experienced.
The Section has a fully equipped observatory, with advanced instruments, including a computerised 16-inch Meade reflector, and a five-inch Takahashi refractor.
Members have many interests, including: the planets, comets, deep sky objects including galaxies and nebulae, double stars, celestial mechanics, computers, photography, and imaging.
More information is available HERE
The open day is open to the public from 11:00 to 13:00 on Sunday 29 July.
Parking is available at La Houguette School. There will be signs to give directions to the David Le Conte Astronomical Observatory.
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