Report on the WMA's BBC Stargazing Live Event, 7th January 2014

Launched at the 2013 'Stargazing Live', the group has just celebrated its first birthday with its biggest public star party yet for the BBC’s latest edition of 'Stargazing'. There was an excellent turnout for the event on 7th January which was organised with the WMA's partner organisation, the Wells and Mendip Museum. The floodlights on the Cathedral's west front were switched off, to allow darker skies for the group of astronomers from all over Somerset who set up their telescopes on the Green. Members of the public who joined us were able to view the Moon early on, despite some cloud cover. Those who stayed on had a clear sky later in the evening, and were treated to magnificent views of giant Jupiter and its moons, and the Orion Nebula.

Meanwhile, in the Museum, families enjoyed talks and activities on the constellations and the Solar System, hunting for information in the exhibitions to try and win the prizes on offer. The younger attendees enjoyed making (then eating) chocolate button constellations! Visitors were also able to discover stunning exhibitions of photography of the cosmos by WMA members, from the Sun, Moon and planets to distant galaxies, as well as watch a live demonstration of meteor hunting using radio techniques.

The BBC Radio Somerset Bus and TV's 'Points West' team joined the festivities for what was a memorable evening of discovery. A number of members were interviewed for BBC Radio, and 'Points West' ran a live feature on the night, as well as filming for a longer item  on TV the following evening.

The event completed a very successful first year for the group. Thanks to all who attended, contributed and helped out. Clear skies for 2014!