Another successful observing session was held in a field adjacent to the home of Mr. & Mrs. Coultrup our hosts this year.
Right from the start the evening lived up to its expectations of a very clear sky without any passing cloud to cause any interruptions to the proceedings.
The hard core of the committee turn up with various telescopes to show and explain the wonders of the night sky to friends and neighbours of Mr. & Mrs. Coultrup.
In much demand was a view of Mars through my 5in. refractor, faint surface markings and the tiny south polar cap could just be made out and the disk just beginning to show a gibbous phase on its following limb, this effect was particularly noticeable through Ivor Clarke 4in. catadioptic telescope.
Once the interest in Mars became satisfied Jupiter became the next target. A large sharpe image of the planet was apparent to all who looked through the eyepiece and the northern and southern tropical belts were easily seen and remarked on along with three of Jupiter's moons preceding the planet.
At approximately 10.20p.m. Rob. reported the emergence of the fourth moon appearing from behind Jupiters following limb this I found very difficult to see at first.
Rob Moseley picked up a few deep sky gems with his 5in. Celestron Newtonian like the Andromeda galaxy M31 and M33 the faint face on spiral in Triangulum. M33 was a bit of a disappointment as it appeared a lot fainter than I'd expected from such a dark sky.
My own deep sky search stretched as far as 40,000 light years to M15 a globular cluster in Pegasus, this 7th. mag. cluster appeared asa faint fuzzy path of light around 7seconds of arc across and viewed by Steve Payne and his colleague from work, mean while several metres away Barry Merrikin was busy taking timed exposures of the night sky with his camera on a home made portable equatorial mounting.
Towards 11 o'clock the general ground frost and condensation on the optics ceased any further practical observing so a deserved warm up was required before departing for home.
I would like to thank Mr. & Mrs. Coultrup for their kind hospitality to all who attended the observing session as they went to a lot of trouble to lay on for us something to eat a constant supply of tea and coffee and a most welcoming hot water bottle to relieve ones chilled feet, to the committee members who gave up their evening and brought along their telescopes and to Ivor Clarke and Stuart Williams the only two members who turned up, but I wonder what happened to the rest of you.