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Stargazing in Chesterfield

Updated on February 17, 2013

BBC Stargazing Live

Stargazing and Astronomy have become increasingly popular as we consider the wonders of the Universe.

The BBC through it's popular and entertaining programs in the Stargazing Live series have helped to bring Stargazing and Astronomy into mainstream entertainment. Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain who host the Stargazing Live programs, complement each other well with a combination of wit and science. Due to the popularity of the programs there will be a fourth series of Stargazing Live later this month. The programs this year will be on BBC2 at 8pm on Tuesday 8th, Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th January 2013.

Chesterfield Astronomical Society

To coincide with last year's Stargazing Live events, Chesterfield Astronomical Society held three open evenings where members of the public could use the Society's telescopes to view the night sky. The Society was delighted to receive over 400 visitors over the three night period. In addition to viewing through the telescopes, visitors were throughout each evening provided with talks that had been prepared by Society members.

The Society is delighted to announce that it will be holding open evenings this year to coincide with the Stargazing Live events. The Observatory will be open to visitors from 8pm on Wednesday 9th January and Thursday 10th January. Visitors will have a chance to see the night sky through the Society's telescopes as well as hear talks that have been prepared by Society members. What can be seen on each evening through the telescopes will depend upon how clear the night sky is. Admission is free of charge. However, I would point out that the Chesterfield Astronomical Society is a registered charity and as such any donations that visitors might wish to make would be greatly appreciated as the Society does have running costs.

On Friday evenings from 8pm onwards it is members club night. Visitors are more than welcome to visit on Friday evenings. When visiting please be mindful of the fact that the Observatory is located in a residential area and as such considerate parking of vehicles is politely requested. Unfortunately anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

The Main Telescope

The Society is very proud of it's 12" telescope which is believed to be the 9th largest privately owned telescope in the United Kingdom. The telescope is unique in that it was built from scratch by the Society founder Horace Barnett with the support of Val Warburton and Douglas Saunderson who were members of the British Astronomical Association. William Brown, from the Chesterfield Tube Company kindly donated the raw materials for the telescope to Horace and his team. The completion of the construction of the hemispherical dome that houses the telescope and the telescope itself took place in circa 1960.

On a clear night through the telescope you can see small craters on the Moon as well as Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. In addition to this you can see far off Galaxies, Stars and Nebula. These are just examples of what you can see on a clear night. Also it is the case that the night sky changes every month and as such what you can see will vary from month to month.

The location of the Observatory is The Barnett Observatory Hastings Close Newbold Chesterfield Derbyshire S41 8RH


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