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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 20:02:40 EDT
Subject: Great Mars night, Stardust, WSP

Hi all,

We had another fantastic Mars night at Carnfunnock on Sat night, with about 
200 people and a beautifully clear sky! Our 100% observing record there 
continues, and with similar results at Castle Espie, we now have a record of 13 out 
of 13 for our observing events at those two venues! Some were only partially 
clear, but on each occasion we at least got observing our target object(s), and 
many have been superbly clear. In all cases, I had picked the dates many 
months in advance... That's pretty good in our climate! 

Mark & Cathy did their Planetarium shows upstairs, Derek Heatly gave 
presentations downstairs on his recent 'near-space' flight and on the Mars missions, 
and Andy McCrea and I gave talks on Mars from an astronomical & observing 
aspect at the covered BBQ area, all running in parallel. And all the time the 
people flocked to the telescopes. We got nice views of the gibbous Moon while 
waiting for Mars to get higher. The views through Mark & Nigel Stronge's 12" LX200 
were excellent, as were views of other DSOs in spite of the Moon. Thanks to 
them & all others, too many to mention, who helped. Thanks also to Zoe, Liz, et 
al at Carnfunnock for the refreshments, & their help in every way.

I'm now available on a consultancy basis for picking dates for observing 
events.... Dr Alan Fitzsimmons from QUB, who was there with his nice 8" SCT, 
almost promised me a trip to La Palma with him for his next observing run, if I 
could guarantee clear skies! But maybe my date choices only work for the IAA? 
Anyway, with more Mars events at Castle Espie next Sat & Sunday nights (13 & 14), 
we'll have to see if the run of luck continues! ;-)

Meanwhile, I'm appealing for contributions for the next issue of STARDUST: 
articles, observations, letters, photos, sketches, crosswords, answers to the 
Mars Teaser in the last issue, etc etc. Get them to me within the next week 

And don't forget the forthcoming Whirlpool Star Party at Birr on 26-28 Sept. 
It's another brilliant line-up; details on < http://gofree.indigo.ie/~sdbell >
. I have a more comprehensive & more up-to date list of accommodation in Birr &
 the surrounding area than on that website, and can send to you on request.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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