Starfest Report

The annual Starfest astronomy event is now history and once again, weather was a factor. About 50% of the four nights of the 4-day event were clear for some or all of the time. And the talks, once again, were outstanding with enough variety to engage both beginners and experts. The BAS contingent was one of the largest groups there this year!

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The star attraction was, of course, viewing with the Webster and on clear nights, there were long lineups at the eyepiece. Even on the less than perfect nights, it was an attraction as 28-inches of mirror has the ability to punch through a lot of haze! Saturn was always the first target as it is the first to disappear in the west. M13 was, as always, spectacular and so was the Ring Nebula. M27, the Dumbbell Nebula, and the nebulae and clusters above Sagittarius in the Milky Way were also viewed. And, of course, M11, the Borg Cube really does look like a cube with all the cluster stars visible in the big aperture.

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The group pictured above drove all night from the Toronto area and arrived after midnight. They were treated well by our scope guides, Brett T., Frank P., Steve G., and Lorraine R., who took turns showing off some favourite objects to these folks and others who came earlier. Our BAS guide shared their talents at finding interesting objects to observe and were great astronomy ambassadors! BAS thanks you for your efforts!

A special thank you goes out to Brett T. who made the extra effort to trailer the Webster to Starfest (which he has done 4 times since we purchased it in 2012) and then set it up and take it down at the end of the week. Thank you Brett!

To top it all off, the atmosphere also experienced an impact of particles from the Sun and we got a faint northern lights display! That, on top of a very good Perseid meteor shower. In the world of amateur astronomy it really does not get any better!

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All images Ⓒ 2015 John Hlynialuk