Report on Dark Skies Festival, Brecon Beacons National Park 24 th September 2022
Déjà vu! For the second consecutive week, here were the CAS outreach team heading for the scenic views of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Mountain Visitor Centre, our base for the Dark Skies Festival. This place is beginning to feel like home!
As usual the staff were very welcoming, pleased to see us and helped us to set up for solar viewing in the morning and afternoon, and the stargazing in the evening. The catering company took pre-orders for hot meals and gave us a discount, and we had many thanks for participating in this new venture.
A (so far) unique experience for us because as soon as the Sun went down it was off with the daytime clothes for warmish weather and on with the multi-layered thermals, on with our highly fashionable Hi-Viz jackets with red lights, away with the solar observing kit and out with the stargazing scopes.
As is often the case there we had a multinational event including a couple from Pennsylvania, another from France, some who had come especially from different parts of the UK and a family from Germany. The latter were very taken aback to be able to discuss astronomy in German with our own multi language speaker - Joan!
The Sun put on a good show nearly all day, and the evening sky started clear with good omens.
We did have glimpses of some of the Autumn constellations, and Jupiter but not the full dark skies in all their glory that we experienced the previous week. But never mind - pressing on Bob Love helped with some scope queries, many people now know to buy binoculars, many more know about red lights and the best app with a red lit background for a phone and that the first rule is to dress up very warm.
Phill and Greg gave a talk on the Life Cycle of Stars and the First Images from the JWST and it was a happy day meeting up with fellow astronomers from Usk AS who we have known over many years. They ran planetarium shows and set up observing kit alongside us.
Tickets were sold quickly, over 90 of those pre-booked came along plus an unknown but good number of people who came along to talk about all things astronomical and see what they could see.
A very enjoyable, fun day doing what we like best. Please join us next time, if you are reading this you must be interested in astronomy. Add more to your membership and enjoy these events too as I'm sure you will.