Here's an opportunity to spot planets and star clusters at an event celebrating the exceptional dark night sky of Bodmin Moor, which was designated an International Dark Sky Landscape in July after a successful bid by Cornwall Council and Caradon Observatory.
The dark sky evening on 21 October will be in two parts. At 7pm there will be a dinner – carvery and dessert for £15 per person. Please call Jamaica Inn on 01566 86250 to book. This will be followed by a free stargazing session at 8.30pm, which is open to everyone.
The dinner event will include a talk on Neptune and the Cornishman John Couch Adams, who predicted the planet’s existence in the 1800s based on irregularities in the motion of Uranus. John Couch Adams initially worked out the calculations in his head before committing them to paper, where they took up some 20 sheets!
The free stargazing session will start at 8.30pm with a chance to chat with the astronomers. Wrap up warm and keep your fingers crossed for clear skies! Outside observing will begin from 9pm. There will be an array of telescopes for viewing the night sky, including a 12 inch telescope on loan from First Light Optics in Exeter.
Mike Willmott, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Association and Caradon Observatory’s Director with responsibility for Theoretical Astronomy and Education, said: “Everyone is welcome to join us for this opportunity to view the stars and planets from one of the darkest areas of night sky in the country. The main focus of the evening will be on the discovery of Neptune, and the work of Cornishman John Couch Adams. In 1845, he used mathematics to predict the position of a new planet which would explain the observed irregularities in the position of Uranus. If it’s a clear night, you’ll be able to see the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest spiral galaxy and the most distant object you can view with the naked eye. If it’s cloudy, you’ll still be able to enjoy talks about the wonders of our universe and to put your questions to the astronomers.”
There will also be an opportunity to see Neptune and its moon Triton illustrated on the Magic Planet, and interactive globe that depicts the topography of planets.
To book a place at the dinner event, ring Jamaica Inn on 01566 86250. There's no need to book in advance for the free stargazing, and people are welcome to drop in from 8.30pm.
More information about Bodmin Moor’s International Dark Sky Landscape designation is available at www.cornwall.gov.uk/darksky