Joining the Cambridge Astronomy Association

On Friday 15th February I took a trip to the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, for my first ever meeting of the Cambridge Astronomy Association.  I had viewed their website before, but something caught my eye which was a talk by Ralph Bell from Green Witch in Cambridge about imaging with a web cam and how to process it using Registax.

I did not have a clue what to expect when I arrived at 7.45pm for the talk at 8pm.  I did feel quite privileged to actually be visiting the Institute of Astronomy where actual real professional astronomers study and work, I’m sure most local astronomy groups don’t meet in such elaborate surroundings.

I was given a thoroughly warm welcome by Brian Lister the Chairman and told the basics of the site and what goes on.  The association has regular seminars, outings, open days and more.  They also have a library where you can hire books and a telescope booking system, which allows you to even borrow telescopes and use them at home.

The meeting was attended by what seemed around 50 people. Ralph’s talk lasted about 1.5hrs and thoroughly enjoyable and I was learning new things straight away. I had never really read the Registax manual but Ralph took us through the manual process which was brilliant! Ralph if your reading this can you do a seminar on the Meade DSI?

After the talk we all had tea or coffee and biscuits as well as a chat session. I originally thought I would just attend the meeting for the sum of £1, but I ended up joining for 14  months for the sum of £4.

In summary, find out about your local association or astronomy club and give it a go, you can probably learn a lot and discuss ideas with other astronomers, as the hobby of astronomy sometimes does feel a lonely one, being out on your own in the dark most nights.