Another March brings another Spring Kielder Forest Star Camp – supported by the Sunderland Astronomical Society. Unfortunately, this year I was unable to camp due to other commitments, but I did travel over to spend the day with members of The York Astronomical Society who were visiting.
As per usual, the weather was not very good while I was there, missing clear skies both before I arrived and after I had departed. In fact, the cloud cover was so bad that I didn’t even get around to taking my camera out of its bag!
The fantastic company and the beautiful surroundings made it all worth while, and I’m now looking forward to the next Kielder Star Camp in October.
This year brought the 10th Autumn Kielder Forest Star Camp, and I decided to head along to camp with astronomers from all over the country with the hope of getting a clear dark sky. Before I arrived, my friend Martin Whipp from The York Astronomical Society managed to take the above picture of aurora seen from the Kielder Observatory – so my hopes were high that I would get a glimpse of the truly dark sky for myself.
I arrived on the Wednesday to clouds and fog, and ended up spending most of the evening in The Anglers Arms with good food and good company, and by the time we got out we managed to get about five minutes of clear sky before the clouds set in.
Thursday brought rain, and the wettest Kielder Star Camp that I have been to so far. Unfortunately, the rain did not stop, and a number of us ended up getting a little wet inside our tents – including my sleeping compartment. So after a quick nap in the car, decided to head home on Friday morning to get dry and get a good night’s sleep.
Not wanting to miss out on the adventures, this was not the end of the Kielder Star Camp for me. A number of fellow astronomers from The York Astronomical Society decided to head up to Kielder for the main events on Saturday, which included a number of interesting talks at Kielder Castle.
Unfortunately, as is usually the case with these things, the weather was not ideal, but I did get one good night of seeing on the Thursday.
Even the dark sky of Kielder is subject to light pollution, but here you can make out a very prominent Jupiter, the Pleiades and a rising Orion.
Here I just pointed my camera up towards the Milky Way, where there is far less light polution.
You can see a close up here of the Andromeda Galaxy. This photograph really reminds me of the early pictures I took of Jupiter. Just imagine the detail I’ll be able to get in the years to come! (If I ever get equipment like the very impressive telescope shown below…)
The larger versions of the pictures above have been uploaded to my Flickr page if you want to see the details.
For myself, no trip to Kielder Forest would be complete without a walk up Deadwater, which has some of the most amazing views! *
It’s that time of year again – the 6th annual spring Kielder Forest Star Camp is just around the corner.
Previous years I’ve taken some very nice photographs of the surroundings, but I’ve not been particularly successful at taking anything impressive of the stars themselves… But hopefully this time I’ll make a couple of timelapse videos – probably not as amazing as the one above by the super talented Martin Whipp, but hey – watch this space!
Many thanks to the Sunderland Astronomical Society and the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society for arranging both the spring and autumn star camps respectively. (Though both of their websites are *so* terrible I wont be linking them!)