Looking to the skies

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There will be a rare opportunity for people to see Jupiter from Stoney Wood just outside Wirksworth this week as the planet will reach its highest point in the sky for many years.

Put on by the White Peak Astronomical Observing Group, the event is free of charge and will allow people to see various star clusters, constellations and the planet Jupiter itself.

The event is part of National Astronomy week, and will take place at the Star Disc in Stoney Wood on the evening of Saturday the 1st, and Saturday the 8th March.

Tony Hubbard, a member of the White Peak Astronomical Observing Group, said that the opportunity to see Jupiter at the highest point will not come around again for many years.

He added: “Usually there is a lot of atmosphere distorting the view of Jupiter, but next week there will be less atmosphere to get in the way, so weather permitting it should be the clearest view for a long time.

“There will also be loads of other things for people to see, such as the Andromeda galaxy, nebulars, star clusters and the star disk itself is really interesting.

“Being frank, people are used to seeing photos from the humble telescope, but at our event you will be able to see objects for real, in real time, and that’s the beauty of it.

In the afternoon there will be a telescope with a solar filter, manned by a member of the group, which will allow people to see the Sun.

Tony added that the group hope there will be as many people as possible attend the event.

He said: “People often forget, but the night sky itself is really interesting, there will be a good view of the Milky Way through our scopes and it should be great for kids.

“If there is anything to see, our telescopes will allow people to see it well.”

Around six members of the WPAOG will be on hand during the evening, manning six to eight good quality telescopes and helping people out.

There will also be a ten minute rolling computer aided programme of the night sky, which will help people find their way around the sky,

The event will run across two days, depending on the weather, and will start at 4pm, on Saturday the 8th there will also be a good opportunity to see the moon and get a good perspective on it’s craters.