“ Coxmoor Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts. NG17 5LF. tel = 01623 552276 „
I went along to the observatory on Monday & was made very welcome by everyone there, it was amazing, much better then I ever dreamed it would be.I am going back on Tuesday next week with a group of people I work with & I cant wait.Thank you so much for making my 1st visit so very interesting.I would recommend everyone to go & share the experance.Christine27/02/07
Here is a chance to use a large telescope to look at the moon, the stars and the planets. About half a dozen times during the Winter months the Sherwood Observatory has open evenings on a Saturday night when members of the public can learn about space and have the opportunity to look at some of sights of the night sky. The Sherwood Observatory is run by the Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society, that was formed in 1970, who set themselves the task of building an observatory. The observatory was built on Coxmoor Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, on one of the highest spots in the county and was opened in 1986. We decided to go along to one of these open evenings and we were very pleasantly surprised by the whole event. We were not sure at all what to expect and when we arrived we saw that about 50 people has turned up for the evening, of all ages. Admission was £1.50 for adults and 50p for children. Downstairs there is a lecture room and soon after arrival a slide show was started with a commentary by one of the volunteer members. The slide show lasted about 90 minutes and this gentleman narrated the whole show with no notes and just had such an immense wealth of knowledge about our Solar System, our Galaxy and beyond. The talk was totally fascinating. During the slide show people were able to wander in and out to go and use the telescopes. On the first floor was the big telescope, which is in a motorised dome. This telescope is a 24 inch reflecting telescope. We each patiently waited for our turn to climb a set of steps to peer into the eyepiece at the moon. With a magnification of 160 times the details you could see of the moon and its craters was incredible. We had thought it might be cold so we had put on jumpers and coats, but we were not quite prepared for how cold. It was a very clear Winter’s evening, and the temperature was below zero and of course the dome was open, so it was very cold
. The telescope automatically moves to track whatever it is looking at, to compensate for the spin of the Earth, so you can observe an object without it moving out of vision. Because the telescope is moving continuously and very slowly its movement is hardly noticeable, but the dome itself only moves about every 3 or 4 minutes. This is a very strange feeling because most of are not used to a building moving whilst we stand still. After a few times you do get used to it. After everybody had seen the moon (you could have as many looks as you wanted) the telescope was moved to look at Jupiter. At this time we had gone back to see some more of the slide show (and to warm up a bit). When we went to look at Jupiter I was very impressed. As well as a very good view of the planet, with two bands very plain to see, it was very easy to see four of the planet’s moons. This was an amazing view. Outside the observatory the Society members had also set up a 6 inch reflector telescope. This was pointed at the Moon when we used it and the clarity of the image was outstanding. Apparently this “little” telescope (it was about 5 foot long) cost thousands of pounds. We were not told the full price of the large telescope but one of the members told me that the 24 inch mirror alone cost £22,000. Although leaflets about joining the Society were available this was not a recruiting evening, it was just an opportunity for anyone to use this wonderful facility and to learn something about the universe we live in. If you want to find out any more about the Society or the Observatory then you can look at their website on: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/graham.shepherd/Sherwood_Observatory.html We left shortly after the end of the slide show, but we had the feeling that the evening could well go on until quite late. If you are interested in astronomy and live in this area then why not have a look on their web
site and find out the next open evening and go along. Do remember to wrap up warm. It is a very fascinating evening and well worth a visit.