With heavy rain showers peppering much of the country, the outlook for the annual Westerdale event did not look overly encouraging.

Having packed a couple of the manual ‘Dobs’ into Mark’s Car; just in case, together with all the ‘plan B’ equipment for the indoor presentation, Mark and Keith set off for the Village hall in yet another deluge.  It soon became apparent looking at the skies on the way over, that there was a chance of being able to observe something after all.

On arrival we were warmly greeted, but deciding it was still too risky erect the scopes outside, we quickly unloaded and set up ‘plan B’ in the hall.  It was great to meet fellow member and village elder John Randles again, along with a number of other residents who had come along, not as many as usual, but perhaps the weather had deterred.  Utilising the Starry Night Pro program, Mark toured the night sky showing what was visible, but also kept half an eye on the conditions outside.  Fortune was with us as skies cleared.  The Dobsonians were erected and within 5 minutes or so we were unexpectedly observing Saturn, much to the joy of all attending.

Keith saw a bright meteor and shortly after, another one was witnessed by nearly all present.  The ring nebula looked bright and crisp, as did M13 in Hercules.  Alberio appeared very colourful and the Andromeda galaxy looked massive, with M32 and 110 very evident.  It was undecided as to whether comet Africano W2 was actually spotted through the 10” dob, Mark was sure it was, everyone else said something about spec savers.  Another meteor streaked down toward the SW horizon, and as we were packing up, the ISS appeared in the same direction.  Things had turned out far better than expected, or foreseen and everyone was highly delighted with the evening.  Pity all those who missed out thinking that the weather would be awful.  You just never know sometimes.