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Magical night under the stars

People gather in Onchan park to try their hand at Stargazing

People gather in Onchan park to try their hand at Stargazing

  • by Jackie Turley
 

Hundreds of budding astronomers of all ages explored the wonders of the night sky with the Isle of Man Astronomical Society.

Stargazing Live was a three-day event held at Onchan Park last week.

It coincided with the fourth series of a BBC programme of the same name, hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain.

Club secretary James Martin explained the first night saw about 60 visitors, who were restricted in what they could see due to the cloud cover.

The following night was then cancelled due to the weather.

But he said that on the final night there were too many people to count, and estimated there were more than 350 people.

‘There were swarms of people,’ he said.

‘The whole path was packed with people.

‘There were a dozen members with their instruments set up, all busy with queues of people wanting to see things through their telescope.’

In addition to the Moon and Jupiter, Orion Nebula – where new stars are being born, and double stars could be seen.

‘They were all “wowing”,’ he said.

‘They were impressed with it.’

He said it was a rare chance for people to look through telescopes of such high quality.

Mr Martin thanked Andrea Dentith and Onchan Commissioners for their support.

Some of the lights inside, and near the park, were switched off to make the experience even better.

Mr Martin said there was ‘tremendous interest’ in astronomy at the moment.

He attributed the growth in interest to the Stargazing Live programme, which has helped to popularise it.

The society first held a stargazing event at Onchan Park in January last year.

It was also a success, with about 200 people on the two clear nights.

Find out more about the society’s meetings – held at 8pm on the first Thursday of every month at the observatory at Foxdale – at www.iomastronomy.org

 

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