Club members were guests of Mr. Linton Guise and the Bedford School Planetarium and Observatory last evening. Although the afternoon was wet and windy, by the time we had come out of the planetarium, the sky was completely clear and dark. From the 5m domed observatory which houses the 16 inch computer controlled Meade telescope being driven by Phil, we could see Jupiter and three of it’s moons, as well as close ups of our moon.
Outside the dome was another smaller telescope trained on the double stars, Mizar and Alcor in the ‘tail’ of Ursa Major which looks like a single star, unless you have excellent eyesight. Earlier, while we were in the planetarium, Mr. Guise explained that these two stars were used by the Romans to test the eyesight of those wishing to be centurions and mused whether it would be an advantage to see the separation or not.
On 2 May, Mr Guise will visit the club to talk about the history of local astronomy and how the Observatory and Planetarium were built.