'Reaching for the Stars'
The Universe is amazing - and the Members of Rosliston Astronomy Group want more people to have the opportunity to see it. We want to build an Observatory so that we can help children and the myriad of adult groups to discover the wonders of the Universe for themselves.
We need to raise £20K in total, and we are grateful to the South Derbyshire Community Partnership Fund for already awarding us £10k towards the Project. However, we still need to raise the remaining £10K - and we can't do it without your help!
We already have the land, agreed with the support of the Forestry Commission and S.Derbyshire DC, we have the planning permission, we have half the required funding, the site is ideally set in a 'dark sky' area not 'polluted' by artificial light, and we have a builder all set to start in the New Year....all we need is the final £10,000, and we can begin building!
Why do we 'need' the Observatory ?
Factually - there is not another Observatory in our locality that is available to members of the public.
Inspirationally - everyone needs a 'WOW' in their lives every now and then! To have a Galaxy suddenly 'pop' into your field of view, albeit as a 'fuzzy blob' - is a wondrous experience.... To see up close the 'jewel like' Stars of the Pleiades - is beautiful.... To see 'Sunspots', or a Solar Flare that is as big across as 'five Earths' placed end to end - is 'mind blowing'.
An Observatory would not be just for ourselves. It would be also for our Members to use with any interested people from the wider community - school groups, scout and guide groups, people with disabilities, those who are infirm or vulnerable, younger children .... anyone who finds it difficult or too challenging to look through a small eyepiece, using an unfamiliar object like a telescope, whilst standing outside exposed to the elements, on uneven ground, and usually in the dark!
Who are we ?
We are a small, but very enthusistic, amateur Astronomy Group, with members ranging from complete Beginners to experienced Astronomers, and some who are dedicated Astrophotographers. All the fantastic astrophotographs that we are using as 'rewards' for your pledges have been taken by these gifted individuals, and are, therefore, exclusive.
We meet at Rosliston Forestry Centre situated on the border of South Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
As a Group, we have been in existence for 16 years, and we have always encouraged the concept of 'lifelong learning' for the general public, as well as for our Members. Learning about the simple as well as the more complicated aspects of our Galaxy, the planets, the stars, and the other galaxies around us.
We have never accepted that disability or age should prevent anyone from sharing our hobby (or should we say 'passion'!) - being 'wowed' by the wonders of our universe.... We have tried to facilitate this through regular public 'outreach' events - but with an Observatory we could do it much better!
What will the Observatory achieve ?
Somewhere where the sky can be 'discovered'.... by anyone who would like join us to search for it.
We regularly hold a number of public 'outreach' sessions throughout the year, both for daytme and nighttime observing outside, as well as giving 'information sharing' talks. We always have a good response from the public, despite the constraints of being outside...but it could be so much better. We could reach so many more people.....
With an Observatory we would have a permanent base to present displays, storage facilities (currently we have none) and most importantly a more conducive environment for observing.
An Observatory will allow all groups to enjoy exploring the night sky, and the sun during the day - in warm, protected conditions and on a level floor with all its Health & Safety benefits.
We plan to link the main 'fixed' telescope in the Dome, to a large television screen mounted in the group room, where people can 'sit', whether on a conventional chair or in a wheelchair, to be able to carry out live observing safely, while other individuals observe through the eyepiece of the telescope next door.
Why is observing the Sky important - important enough for you to help us to achieve our goal ?
An understanding of our planet, and our place in the wider scheme of things is important - and whether we make a detailed study of that, or just spend an hour having a single observing session, the very experience makes a difference, and sticks in our memories, to make us more aware - regardless of age, or ability.
Most people do not have the opportunity to own their personal telescope - but many of those are fascinated by the sky above. With an Observatory we can develop this fascination with them ...practically!
People with disabilities often 'discount' being able to have an interest in Astronomy as they find it difficult to balance, to stand, to focus, be outside, be in a wheelchair, or something else.... Young children need to have their imaginations stimulated - to experience practically what they are taught in school....but in safe, controlled conditions.
Have you ever had the opportunity to be outside in a completely 'dark sky' place with no street lights, and no lights from buildings...and to be able to look up, and see with your naked eye, thousands of stars in just one glance?! That sense of 'awe' takes your breathe away...!!
To see a Star that is 640 Light Years away - and to suddenly realise that what you are looking at is actually 'back in time' by hundreds of years .... that fact is truly amazing for all of us!
Everyone should have an opportunity to forget the worries and stress of their daily lives....and to 'Reach for the Stars'!
Please help us to raise the remaining £10,000, so that we can enable people to do just that!