Isle of Man News - POSTED Fri 20-01-2012

Craze for astronomy grows in the Isle of Man

by Bill Dale

Craze for astronomy grows in the Isle of Man


MORE people than ever in the Isle of Man are showing an interest in astronomy, thanks to media publicity - but mostly because of the very clear Manx skies and access to one of the best observatories in Britain.         


In the wake of this week’s BBC “Stargazing Live” series, local astronomy enthusiasts are being offered more information than ever before, thanks to the efforts of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society and, in particular, its chairman Howard Parkin.


He said: "We have an observatory that is the envy of many societies on the neighbouring islands and some of the darkest skies in Britain. We are very fortunate.”


The Isle of Man’s high profile in the space industry is also focusing attention on the Island, including the event last summer when the Isle of Man Astronomical Society hosted the crew from the shuttle Discovery mission STS 133, last July.


To add to the momentum, a lecture on the Manx night sky and the Isle of Man's continuing role in the space industry will be held next week, on January 25.


Then, on June 6 there will be the chance to watch a transit of the planet Venus alongside some of the Island's experts.


"The Sun will rise at about 05:00 (GMT) and the planet Venus will be seen on the disc of the Sun until just after 06:00 (GMT)," said Mr Parkin.


"The Society hopes to arrange a series of transit watches to enable people to safely observe an image of the projected sun on a piece of card - the only way to safely observe the sun."


More information about the stargazing events can be found on the The Isle of Man Astronomy Society website.


Photo: Bill Dale

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