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8 ways to take up stargazing in 2014
"You don't need to be an astronomical expert in order to be a successful stargazer. What you do need is three things: a clear view of the night sky, a simple guide to help you map your way through the constellations and, above all, curiosity."
Cox and comedian Dara O'Briain, best known for his comedy skills but also the science mad holder of a physics degree, also featured Mark co presenting from various locations on to topics including how to unravel the mysteries of the universe, how best to observe the moons of Jupiter and how to use a telescope.
"I don't think I've ever seen Saturn looking better, although I've definitely seen it more clearly since. It was incredible. I was hooked from that moment on and I've never looked back."
His first telescope was from Norwich's Secondhand Land and cost a princely 20. Complete with a home made stand, it allowed him to chart the progress of Halley's Comet in 1986.
This year the programme has also featured live shots of stars from Kelling Heath Holiday Park, near Holt.
To that end he has published A Down to Earth Guide to the Cosmos, which is described as an accessible guide to the night's sky throughout the 12 months of the year.
Mark is keen to promote astronomy as a hobby that everyone can enjoy without feeling they need to have a scientific or academic background.
"How often have you gazed into the velvety night sky and wished you knew which constellation was which, how to spot a planet or even how to find the North Star?" says Mark. "A lot of people think astronomy, the universe, is a big scary subject but people can understand quite a lot of it. It's a great leveller and I think this is one of the appeals of it.
"To be honest, a pair of binoculars probably would have been better, but when you're a child, you want a telescope. People watch birds through binoculars, astronomers use telescopes!" he recalled.
The stargazers will be congregating on the green at Pakefield cliffs, next to the car park at the end of All Saints' Road.
Mark began gazing heavenwards when he was a child and his father, Neville, took him along to an open evening at the Norwich Astronomical Society's observatory, then based at Colney.
"It can be seen as a bit 'anoraky', but you don't need loads of kit or degrees in astro physics to enjoy astronomy," he said. "I'm a real enthusiast, and I want to get other people enthusiastic about stargazing, too."
Moon, planets, stars, nebulae and even other galaxies from the dark skies. Experienced observer Dave Balcombe will give presentations aimed at helping you find your way around the beautiful night skies. The views of Jupiter and the Orion Nebula are magnificent at this time of year, as are some of the less well known objects too. Many of our members will have their telescopes in use for you to have a look through. Dress warmly and take a red torch if possible. Hot drinks will be available.
"I remember it vividly," said Mark, also the One Show's astronomer and president of the Norwich Astronomical Society. "I looked through the big telescope and saw Saturn, looking exactly like it did in books. Creamy brown with the trademark rings, it looked as if it was just hanging in this huge, black, velvety sky.
The programmes, fronted by Wonders of the Solar System presenter Professor Brian Nike More Uptempo Amazon
will be able to take a tour of the night sky and its many wonders through the society's telescopes. There will be static displays and models of space objects, including a scale size of the solar system, together with audio visual presentations of space exploration. A variety of telescopes and binoculars for you to see the night sky in all its glory. Objects they hope will be visible (weather permitting) include the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune to the distant galaxies and spectacular Nebulae such as The Horsehead Nebulae and The Cone Nebulae. With activities on hand from colouring in, picture competition and find the constellation puzzles there is something for everyone. There will be a 15 minute presentation on astronomy. Samples of meteorites to look at and buy. Amateur astronomers will be on hand to answer your questions. Refreshments will also be available. Take warm clothing for outside viewing.
Community stargazing sessions will be held on Pakefield Cliffs near Lowestoft tonight to coincide with the programmes. The free event has been organised by the Lowestoft and Yarmouth Regional Astronomers (LYRA) and will be held behind the Trowel and Hammer pub from 6pm. LYRA treasurer John Perring said the sessions would suit anyone, from those with a keen interest Nike Uptempo 97 Black in astronomy to complete beginners.
He said: "It is easy stargazing in Norfolk. You don't have to travel a lot of ground to find a dark sky. Visitors Nike Air Max Uptempo Sale
Family feat pix 9/1/14
Two family friendly nights run by Norwich Astronomical Society on the themes raised on the BBC's programme, plus chance to view through telescopes and quiz the experts. View the Nike Air More Uptempo Scottie Pippen Shoes Black
His first glimpse through a telescope at the age of 10 sparked a passion that this week again saw Mark Thompson bring the stars into the nation's front rooms as part of the BBC2 .
The three programme event has again been a big hit attracting more than four million viewers and proving that if you present it in the right way the general public does have an interest in science and with the dark winter nights there is no better time to continue that interest.
There are a number of events happening in Norfolk (see panel right) that seek to follow up on the interest generated and encourage us to take the next step from watching on our sofa to getting out into the dark to see for ourselves.
Family feat pix 9/1/14
, which is back on our screens for a foruth series this week, aims to encourage us to forgo the comfy sofa in favour of gazing skywards to take in the glorious sight of the star filled night sky.
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