It was a thoroughly enjoyable day. The typical British weather put paid to an outdoor practical segment, but that was more than compensated for by the talks inside the observatory.
The people on hand from the observatory and the workshop company were all really knowledgeable and enthusiastic and the whole thing was crammed full of useful information. And they had Jaffa Cakes.
I had, in my ignorance, assumed that astronomy in most cities and towns was largely a waste of time due to light pollution but the images on display were often breathtaking. Photography has the advantage over direct human viewing in that a final image can be constructed by taking the light from lots of photos and combining them. That combined with techniques to reduce the effect of light pollution means that urban astrophotography shouldn’t view it as a barrier at all. Peter Jenkins was one of the speakers (http://www.pjastro.co.uk); he uses a telescope in his back garden in what looks like a well lit urban area. I wouldn’t have imagined that was possible before yesterday. Have a look at some of his images, they’re amazing.
I definitely want to give this a go, so I’ve drawn up a list of some simple starter projects: A star trail landscape and a moon shot to start with – using equipment I already have – so nothing specialist. From there we’ll see…