image: Robin Manford - Deep Sky image from Plymouth, UK. The Crescent Nebula has set now, so onto The Horsehead (IC434) and Flame (NGC2024)
Moon image: Robin Manford taken on Dartmoor, UK
author. Ashleigh Howells
WELCOME TO ASTRONOMY the sign reads and I'm rooted to my seat. I have been interested in stars since a child and my first visit to Leicestershire Space Station and Centre. An unexpected workshop for a festival, at least to me. Dartmoor Skies, an unregistered charity sure know their stuff, aiming boldly to convert and indoctrinate astrology virgins into their astronomy church Tom their spokesman jokes. Astronomy he says is owned by humans and he feels more of us fellow humans should take a greater interest and have a deeper knowledge of it. This is all about patterns, a creative process I exclaim, a hidden affinity I have with this citizen of science who could be, it seems, misinterpreted as a purely a man of academia. we have moved on a lot, Tom says, from the days where we humans believed the earth was flat, and the moon was made from cheese...well some of us! Astrology is more accessible to everyone these days.
It feels like the kind of science lesson we all wished we had had at school in here. Gone are the teachers droning on about Jupiter and Mars following an outdated textbook. This is cutting edge stuff and the Dartmoor Skies team are zealous and passionate about their calling and it shows. Their passion resonates and their clear, direct talk is easy to follow. An excellent introduction to the British skies and naked eye astronomy.
I know more accurately what I'm looking for now and feeling all the wiser and more astrologically inclined I resign, excited for the stargazing sessions Dartmoor Skies and their team are hosting later this week.