Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)
CADAS Visit To Orwell Park
Saturday 06 September 2003 saw half a dozen members of the recently formed Crewkerne and District Astronomical Society (CADAS) travelling to sunny Suffolk to visit Orwell Park Observatory. Why come so far? Well, it was all down to our excellent web site (their words) and the irresistible lure of a large-aperture, working Victorian refractor.
OASI and CADAS members arranged to meet in the Shepherd & Dog pub-restaurant for a carvery meal. It was rather fraught at first, given that neither group had met anyone from the other and the whole scene resembled one of those corny I'll be wearing a red rose and standing under the station clock scenarios! However, we managed to find each other eventually and settled down to a pleasant repast before going on to the Observatory. Small world that it evidently is, table chatter elicited that one of the CADAS members is the brother of a teacher at Orwell Park School!
Its very easy for members of OASI to become a little blasé about our excellent resources at Orwell Park and it was quite enlightening to hear the oohs and aahs from a group of astronomers without such a facility. We spent the evening observing Mars, the Moon and one or two stars - Albireo (Beta Cygni) attracting much comment. Seeing wasn't particularly brilliant but that did not dampen the spirits of our visitors, who seemingly couldn't get enough of the views! At length the gravitational attraction of the Levington Ship pub finally overwhelmed us and consumption of a pint or two of Adnams Broadside rounded off the evening. The thrust of the banter was that the CADAS folk would try to smuggle the Tomline Refractor into their tents overnight…!
The following morning Garry Coleman kindly took the CADAS party on a tour of Playford village to inspect the Airy family monuments before our guests began their 220-mile drive home.
A very successful weekend was much enjoyed by all who attended and Anne Dodgson, secretary of CADAS, has written to express thanks. Members of CADAS have ambitions to build an observatory as soon as they can raise the funds. Anne says that OASI will be the first group to be invited to visit. Judging by their self-evident enthusiasm, we won't have to wait too long for an invitation to "Scrumpy Country"!
Ken Goward, FRAS