The Long Eaton Astronomical Society met on April 24th for a special celebration, the 25th anniversary of the launching of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The meeting was very well attended indeed and was started off by Mr Perkins who gave a welcome followed by a guide to polar alignment whilst our guest speaker Miss Hayley Flood was making her way from Banbury in the Friday rush hour.
Polar alignment is important when using an equatorial mount in astronomy as it allows us to accurately follow the motion of the stars and other celestial bodies as they pass over the night sky. A useful piece of software for finding the position of Polaris, essential for accurate polar alignment, is Polar Finder and can be found at the following link: www.polarfinder.com
Hayley Flood arrived right on cue and was put straight to work cutting the Hubble 25 celebration cake which gave time to settle in after the drive up whilst attendees enjoyed a slice of cake and a drink.
And so onto the main talk of the night. Hayley started with an overview of The Space Studio Banbury where she is now the head of science. The Space Studio is a new style of school where the curriculum is taught entirely with a space theme. Next Hayley moved on to the main topic of Hubble. Talking through from early telescopes through to the reasons for building HST. We then heard a brief history of why the name Hubble was chosen and how it was named after Edwin Hubble, an Astronomer of the early 20th century who’s sheer determination to see a job through to the end should be an example to us all.
Hayley went on to take us through the timeline of the HST and it’s many instruments, which of course had to include the famous repair mission of 1993 which effectively saved the mission. We were shown some fantastic images taken by HST and given a quick guide as to how we ourselves can use actual data from HST and produce our very own images. The talk was rounded off with a quick summary of a handful of the vast number of great discoveries and advancements that HST has enabled us to make before Hayley answered questions.
It was great to have Hayley back at the society that she herself had set up back in 2012, we hope Hayley enjoyed the evening (and cake) as much as we enjoyed having her back for this special occasion. Hopefully we can persuade Hayley to return again soon for another talk.
Our next meeting is on Thursday May 21st at 6:30pm. The topic will be the Sun and our speakers will be Mr Perkins of the school and Steve Ibbottson (FRAS) of Astrosphere. Fingers crossed it might be clear so that some observations of the Sun can be made with our solar telescopes before we get started with the talk.