Blog for Saturday 21st June 2014


I think that this must be my 5th Webb Deep Sky Society meeting and I’m not sure if they get better every year or if the excellence of the previous one fades just enough over the 12 months to make the latest to appear to be the best yet?

This year was no exception, the day started well; the weather was glorious so I set out for the 20 mile journey to the IOA Cambridge on my motorbike. As soon as pulled up outside the social began, chatting to friends as we entered the building. Time flew until the talk program began as I chatted, shock hands with friends and kindred spirits, there was the biggest contingent to date from my society, the Norwich Astronomy Society (NAS).

Talking with Adrian Orr over coffee shortly after arriving


    09:30                           Coffee

    10:15 – 10:45               Bob Argyle – Introduction and AGM

    10:45 – 11:30               Guy Hurst – The Evolution of Star Clusters

    11:30 – 12:15               Mark Hurn  (IoA) – Sir Arthur Eddington: Man, Myth and Mystic.  The life of  the Great Astrophysicist who Proved Einstein right 

    12:15 – 13:00               Dr Vasily Belokurov (IoA) – Discovery of the new Milky Way Satellite in Crater

    13:00                           Lunch

    14:30 – 15:15               Nick James – Remote Observing of the Deep Sky with Practical Demo

    15:15 – 16:00               Gain Lee – Observing & Imaging the Distant Deep Sky

    16:00                           Tea

    16:30 – 17:30               Wil Tirion – Charting the Heavens: Uranography Yesterday and Today          

    17:30                            Bob Argyle – Close of Meeting

Trade Stands confirmed:

    British Astronomical Association

    Cambridge University Press

    The Webb Deep-Sky Society

    Scope n Skies & Pulsar Observatories


My highlights of the day were Mark Hurn’s historical talk on Eddington and Wil Tirion’s talk on the history of sky maps and his role over the past 4 decades in producing them. I can’t see that there was one person in the auditorium that didn’t have at least one example of his work at home, many like me with numerous maps and atlases that Wil had drawn. It was humbling to listen to him and to meet him briefly afterwards.

Will Tirion and me

OK so I had two favourites but there wasn’t a bad talk amongst them, Dr Vasily Belokurov rather lost me in the end with his astrophysics but his passion kept me engaged.

 Sadly Gain Lee who I know slightly was unable to attend and speak as he had lost a family member the previous day; his spot was filled at short notice by John Gail speaking on the ’joy of star parties’ which was very entertaining and well thought out.

Nick James’s live remote imaging demonstration worked superbly giving an excellent result which you can see below.

Image taken live at the meeting showing the fan shape of variable nebula NGC 6729

Whilst on sad matters Tim Walker who had been Webb, web master I understand for some 14 years stepped down. Tim had done a sterling job for little recognition; I personally owe him a debt of gratitude in that he was always eager to post and highlight my video assisted sketches.

Lunch was good, a kind of super ploughman’s buffet. I’m looking forward to next year and not just for the lunch, as I know many other are too.

Clock wise around the table, starting with me, top left with check shirt, Tom Moss Davies, Steve ?, Jack Martin, Es Reid and David Davies