Sunday, 19 May 2013

suddenly telescopes, hundreds of them

telescopes for sale
Yesterday we had a day out at the International Astronomy Show, at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, near Leamington Spa. This was a big barn/hanger-like building, with multiple stands from different astronomical kit vendors.  On sale were telescopes, lenses, binoculars, astronomy books and posters, meteorites, plots of land in New Mexico, university courses, small domes, and other astronomically-related things.
more telescopes

a view from the restaurant area, on high

no chance to test any of the kit...
The vibe was a bit like computer shows in their hey-day 30-odd years ago, with crowds of people looking through lots of high tech kit. (The photos here were taken towards the end of the day, when the crowds had thinned. Earlier it was quite a crush.)

It was a typical spring day: cloudy and overcast. However, that didn't stop us buying stuff in anticipation of clear skies later.

We were tempted by the whole sky camera, and the solar telescope, but we eventually just bought a pair of binoculars, in anticipation of comet ISON later this year.

The small comet Panstarrs earlier this year was a bit of a dim, fuzzy disappointment (although some people got spectacular shots of it close to Andromeda).  But we remember the glorious Hale-Bopp from the late 1990s.  So we are getting prepared for later this year with suitable binoculars.  Comet viewing doesn't want a very high magnification, but needs good  light gathering.  So we went for a pair of 15x70.  Let's hope we get those clear skies!

Ironically, we bought the binoculars from Green Witch, our local astronomical supplier, so we could have saved a trip.  (We had previously bough a cardboard solar telescope from them, to watch the 1999 eclipse.  We also bought our proper telescope from them about a decade ago.)

But it was worth going, to see all the different peripherals that are becoming common.  Maybe we'll go for the whole sky camera when the price drops a bit.

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