Scheduled somewhat later in the month than usual, but always one of the observing highlights on the society calendar, this year’s Westerdale village star party held on Oct 14th coincided with clear skies, but unlike last year, which was decidedly chilly, conditions this time were calm and pretty mild. The forecast had been one of those 'will it, won't it affairs, which seemed to change from one day to the next. Fortunately skies cleared just in time for the evening, coming as something of a relief. Setting off from Whitby in three cars, Mark, Brian, Keith, John and Lee hoped to make the journey over to Westerdale in good time and most did, Mark was a little late, putting his 'back out' on loading up equipment at home, then getting stuck behind slow moving vehicles en route. Finally arriving at the village hall car park, Mark found the hall already full with people, obviously the event publicity accredited to Amy Farmer had been very successful, and it was nice to meet up along with society member (and village elder) John Randles.     

With clear skies overhead, plan B (the indoor presentation) was dispensed with and after a quick scouting exercise to decide setting up locations, two were chosen, one that facilitated views of Saturn just above the village hall rooftop, the other to observe Jupiter from the get-go at the bottom side of the car park. With conditions too good to waste, Mark ushered the very sizable audience (over 40) outside to start observing. Two dobsonians, 10 and 8", Lee's 8" Newtonian scope, John's 90mm refractor and Keith's EV scope the instruments in use that night.  

Keith had no time to take any images for the website unfortunately – we were all pressed for time. Views of Jupiter and Saturn were exceptional, thrilling those queuing to look through the eyepieces. As usual Mark gave a laser pointer tour of the constellations visible, while Keith captured some really fine images of various deep sky objects with the eVscope, with people amazed by the technology. John, Lee and Brian were all gainfully employed with their scopes, Brian on hand to manoeuvre the dobs whilst Mark was busy talking and pointing. The planets were not the only objects targeted, the Ring nebula, Andromeda galaxy, Whirlpool galaxy, M13 globular cluster as well as several double and primary stars, were all viewed one way or another. Refreshments in the hall (tea and coffee etc) were in great demand, people alternating from these and the eyepieces. Time seemed to fly by; a good sign of a busy and enjoyable evening, certainly people seemed enthralled asking many questions on all sorts of matters relating to the heavens and working of. Hopefully the answers seemed as intelligent.

By 21:15hrs people began to depart, and after reloading the vehicles and some final goodbyes we did likewise around shortly after. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable evening, with great viewing, good interaction with those attending and no need to thaw out afterwards. Many thanks go to Amy and all the volunteers at the village hall, also to John Randles and society members for their time and assistance. Looking forward to next year.