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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 20:39:00 EDT
Subject: Great BBQ, Meade Binocs, ISS

Hi all,

1. IAA BBQ: Our great run of luck with the weather at the IAA's midsummer BBQ 
at Amrmagh Observatory continued on Saturday 18th with a warm dry day and 
some late afternoon Sun. We got some nice views of two major & complex sunspot 
groups with my excellent little 70mm refractor from Lidl's.
   But the highlight (apart from the refreshments, of course!) was the fun we 
had with the Observatory's superb new 'Human Orrery' which would take far too 
long to describe! Suffice to say that our host, Prof Mark Bailey (Director) 
had compiled a fiendishly clever, challenging, and instructive competition 
based on using the orrery, which was won by the pairing of Philip Baxter and Danny 
Collins - well done to them.
   I also ran a much simpler astronomy paper quiz, which was won by Pat 
O'Neill - well done Pat.
   Thanks again Mark, for the hospitality, and of course the lovely setting. 
We had quite a few new visitors this year, all of who vowed to come back!

2. Has anyone had any problems, or even disappointments, with the Meade 10x50 
binocs recently available from Lidl for £13.99 / €19.99? My pair are fine, 
and I've heard 'good' to 'great' reports from others, but I've also recently had 
a report from one person who was disappointed. In the interests of fairness & 
honesty I'd like to hear from anyone else who was disappointed in their 
performance.

3. The ISS is currently becoming visible in morning skies, and because of the 
fact that the Sun doesn't get very far below the N horizon at local midnight 
here, and the resultant very short break between evening and morning 
nautical/astronomical twilight, it will become visible in the evenings by month's end 
too. Full details for your own location are available free from 
www.heavens-above.com. 
They cover a period of up to 10 days ahead, but as the predicted 
times get increasingly inaccurate over a period of more than a few days, it's 
best to update them every second day or so.
   That site also gives lots of other interesting astronomical information, 
such as visibility of other bright satellites, Iridium Flares, comets, etc.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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