News and events

The society now has a Facebook page that Patrick Kiernan set up, so a big thank you to Patrick.

Following the award of our 2016 Skipton Building Society Grassroots grant, the noticeboard has now been installed near the observatory in Hesketh Park.

On Wednesday, 26th April  the observatory was handed back to Sefton MBC by the contractor Maysand. These photographs confirm the observatory is probably now in the best condition since installed in Hesketh Park in 1901.

A number of members have completed the introduction phase of telescope training, and further practical training will be arranged by Mike. Unfortunately, due to some damage to the Cooke telescope, Sefton have closed the observatory to all visitors and users, until Mike and Ray have completed repairs. These should be completed by the end of January. As a result the “hands on” training has had to be delayed, and this incident has prompted some significant changes to the user handbook.

A short term Observatory sub-group consisting of members from the SAS, FOHG, and Sefton staff chaired by Mike Pennington (Sefton) has been established. The aims and objectives of this group are to ensure the full potential the observatory can be exploited for the benefits of Sefton MBC’s residents.

Sefton have decided that the downstairs area should be used to describe the historical meteorological work carried out by Joseph Baxendell and his son for the former Southport Corporation. By the same token given our historic relationship and astronomical expertise, they now  accepts we can maximise the educational value and interest this subject has to offer. In the event of inclement weather PowerPoint presentations on a range of existing astronomy topics can be given, together with Q & A sessions.

The society has purchased a full aperture white light solar filter for observing the sun. The Societies “Imaging Source” CCD camera will enable digital astro photography to be undertaken including the sun. In the future, the purchase of a Hydrogen-alpha telescope will be considered when funds become available. This specialised telescope enables many more features in the suns chromosphere to be seen, such as bright active areas called plages, and other features like fibrils, spicules, filaments, and prominence’s.

During 2015, 2016 & 2017 the society supported “Sun”day open days organised by the  Fernley Observatory Heritage Group (FOHG) that was set up in 2014. These will occur on the last Sunday in the month, and when sunny safe observation of the sun using the Cooke telescope and/or member’s telescopes will possible. Members from both groups will be on hand to answer questions about Baxendell’s observatory, its history, astronomy, buying & using telescopes/binoculars safely, and what one can realistically expect to see. For further information on its history visit our Joseph Baxendell & his observatory page, or for information on buying and using telescopes visit our Introduction to astronomy page.