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Alston weekend 2011

4th March 2011

The annual Alston Observatory weekend took place on February 25-27 2011. Students enjoyed the astronomy activities, observing, talks and interaction with other students and Course Team staff.

A very friendly bunch of 19 distance learning students currently working towards their University Certificates (AA1051, AA1053 and AA1059) descended onto Alston Observatory, for the annual optional weekend.

The activities included group work on coordinates and magnitudes, analysis of spectra, and galaxy and stellar evolution. We had a planetarium session and talks on 'Asteroseismology: The real music of the spheres' and 'Building a galaxy byte-by-byte'.

The weather was kind to us this year, and we observed the night sky for the entire evening on Saturday. We also witnessed the passage of the International Space Station just above us!! In the afternoon we observed the Sun in white light and H-alpha.

The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are some quotes from comments received:

" It was great to meet fellow students and there was a huge sense of cameraderie and of having fun."

"Not having a telescope encouraged me to attend this weekend. What a good decision. It was good to see so many people at Alston. ... You were all welcoming, friendly and helpful. You all put myself and my peers at ease."

"The weekend provided me with some noticeable firsts. My first view of solar prominences through a telescope in H‑alpha and fortuitously a chance to see the ISS streak through the sky in front of the belt of Orion. I don't think the astronauts would have seen our waves though!"

We look forward to the 2012 weekend!!

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