NORTH WEST ASTROFEST 2017

Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd July 2017

The Heath Business Park

Runcorn, Cheshire

A SIMPLY FABULOUS TWO-DAY EVENT

Enormous thanks to Sue and Andrew Davies of The Knowledge Observatory, and everyone else who worked so hard to make this event so magical.

I was privileged to have been invited to open 'Ladies Day' on the Saturday and began with my presentation, 'Never In A Million Years'.

Jane in action sharing perspective.

I was humbled to receive such wonderful feedback, which included the following:

'Brilliant as usual!' - Janice Hayman

'I'm so sad that I wasn't able to be there at the festival this year. So many people told me how inspiring your talk was to them last year; people were talking about it all weekend!' - Mary, The UK Women in Astronomy Network

'The North West Astronomy Festival hit the ground running with an excellent lecture from Jane Green. Superbly delivered in her engaging and enthusiastic style, Jane kept us thoroughly entertained with her encyclopaedic memory and brilliant subject matter. Thank you again.' - Jonathen Harty

'Thank you for another brilliant and inspiring lecture.' - Mark Charles

'You were brilliant. We received amazing feedback.' - Julia Hamer

But I was not alone, of course, and this was only the beginning! Hilary Abernethy followed with a terrific talk on Caroline Herschel.

Hilary works in the field of psychiatry and public health, and is an avid amateur astronomer, with a particular interest in moons. She is also a passionate amateur historian - especially about women in science. She is a member of Liverpool Astronomical Society and the Society for the History of Astronomy.

Jane MacArthur gave a wonderfully insightful and enthusiastic presentation about Meteorites, Impact Cratering and Mars.

As with myself and Hilary, organiser Andrew Davies very kindly presented Jane with a pendant containing a piece of the Martian meteorite, NWA4925 found in Morocco in 2007. A wonderful momento!

Jane is studying planetary materials at the University of Leicester, in particular, the first breccia meteorite from Mars and comet grains returned by NASA's Stardust mission. Her studies have taken her to the Sudbury Impact Basin and the Kaali craters in Estonia, and involved astrobiology in the Azores, volcanology in Tenerife and New Mexico, and planetary surface processes in northern Arizona and Utah. Jane recently completed her 3 year elected term on the Royal Astronomical Society Council and remains a member of the RAS200 Steering Group, a five year education and outreach funding initiative.

Both Hilary and Jane were incredibly knowledgeable and inspiring and it was a pleasure to meet them. I learned so much!

The first day ended with an Astro Question Time, hosted by Paul Hill of Sirius Astronomy.

Dr Julian Onions and Jane answering one of the many questions posed by Paul.

The full Question Time panel. From left Anthony Jennings; Dr Hilary Abernethy, Dr Jane MacArthur,

Dr Julian Onions, Jane Green FRAS, Stuart Atkinson and Gary Palmer.

Paul Hill is a space science and astronomy communicator working with and for a range of organisations such as ESERO, UKSA, Science Museum, STFC, Royal Institution, Bestival and Super/Collider to take space workshops and shows into schools, science fairs, music festivals and art installations. He made a for a great host to the Panel and gave an amazing Science Show to take everyone into the traditional Saturday Social Supper.

A brilliant first day, followed by an equally fabulous second day, starting with Stuart Atkinson's fun presentation. Stuart Atkinson is the Secretary of the Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal, the largest and most active astronomy group on Cumbria. He writes a weekly "Skywatch" column for The Westmorland Gazette, and several monthly columns for "All About Space" magazine. Stuart broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Cumbria and is also the Comet Section Director of the Society for Popular Astronomy. His tenth book will be published later this year.

Gary Palmer's amazing workshop on Solar Imaging followed, laced with the most breath-taking images. Gary is a solar imager whose images have been widely published across a variety of media around the world. Prior to that he was a planetary and deep sky imager. Gary now concentrates on imaging the Sun at high resolution and creating large mosaics of the Sun. Gary is passionate about "Solar Outreach" bringing solar viewing to a wide range of people and groups. Gary has a wide ranging knowledge of equipment and how to set it up. He also works with large equipment manufacturers testing new equipment and provides them with images for publication.

After Gary came Dr Julian Onions to talk about 'Galaxies, one Gigayear at a time'.

Julian is a researcher in the Astronomy department at the University of Nottingham, where he studies how the universe evolves using large computer models to simulate the history since the big bang. He has given many public talks and appeared on TV and radio discussing a variety of astronomical phenomena. A really fun chap with a terrific smile!

Anthony Jennings closed the event with his presentation on 3D Photography and its application in astronomy.

Anthony is the President of Manchester Astronomical Society, one of the oldest astronomical societies in the country. His 3D images have appeared on NASA’s STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) website. He has had photographs in Sky At Night and Astronomy Now magazines, and shown on Granada Television. The Late Sir Patrick Moore once said about his colour pictures of the Moon, “These images have been taken by the Apollo Missions” when in fact they had been taken from a back garden in Manchester.

But, as with last year, the entire event was fabulous from start to finish. The North West Astrofest represents, in my opinion, the heart and soul of astronomy. It was wonderful to meet up with old friends and make many new. The entire event was fun and educational, with representatives from astronomy societies and clubs, retailers, educational outlets, et al, all working together to make this an occasion not to be missed. I was so glad to have been involved and truly hope there will be a NWAF 2018 Bring it on!

The stand for The UK Women in Astronomy Network, connecting, celebrating and promoting women with a passion for astronomy and astrophotography. I was shocked and delighted to have been nominated as someone who has inspired so many over the years, and honoured to be mentioned alongside those whom I greatly admire: Caroline Herschel, Vera Rubin, Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, Lucie Green, and more ...

(Below) Jacquie and Emma who, as always, did an amazing job behind the scenes!

The lovely Tracey Snelus, and Pete Williamson of 'Solarsphere' manning the airwaves, and more!

Definitely the end of a long day!

Image Credits: Enormous thanks extend to Dave Hart, Stuart Atkinson and Julia Hamer for the use of their terrific photos

For further enjoyment, please click the link below:

http://nwastrofest.co.uk/welcome-to-festival-17/

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